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Routine Cum Therapy

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It’s weird, going back to something like a normal routine after all of that. Some of it is good, a lot of it is boring.

Meeting Anne for lunch every other week is always a highlight, though. They’re still figuring each other out, feeling out what their deal is going to be from here. Some days, it’s fine; other days, it’s painful. Sometimes she’ll lean her cheek on the heel of her palm, and Eddie will have to remind himself that he can’t just reach over and play with the hair draping over her shoulder anymore.

But it’s nice, learning her as a friend. They’d dated after meeting for the first time, and they hadn’t ever known each other without that layer of romance.

Venom even behaves during the lunches, thank God. As much as he can, anyway.

Order the steak.

Anne laughs at a joke from the server. Eddie takes the moment to pretend to sneeze into his shirt collar and whispers, “I’m not ordering a steak for lunch .”

Why not?

“Ooh, BLT and soup of the day - sounds good,” says Anne, and the waiter jots it down helpfully. She lists off her preferred sides while Eddie mutters that a heavy chunk of meat at noon is going to sit terribly in his stomach for the rest of the day.

Venom rumbles in discontent. Fine.

“And for you, sir?”

“Uh, yeah,” he fumbles with the menu and gives it a quick scan, settling on, “...potato rolls.”

Bread. Really.

Anne raises a brow.

Whatever.

The server takes their menus and leaves their table.

“So,” Anne raps her nails against the side of her water glass and waggles her brows. “How’s things?”

They both chuckle. It’s good that Anne feels it too, the strangeness of going from people who went home together to people who met for lunch.

“Ah, you know,” he waves, grinning. “Work. Sleep. San Francisco rent.”

“You never did tell me how you managed to afford that place without a job for six months.”

“Lotta unsavoury things...” Eddie makes a mock serious expression, squinting and drawing his lips into a hard line; Anne rolls her eyes. “I could tell you, but then I’d have to get a hitman.”

She rips a corner off her napkin at tosses it at him. “Fine, don’t tell me. Guess you can have your secrets now, huh?”

Today must be one of the good days, because they can joke about it and Eddie’s chest won’t tighten and his smile won’t congeal on his face. And she’s right, anyway - the biggest secret either of them could possibly have is curling around in his muscles right now, rumbling into Eddie’s ear about getting a milkshake. This place doesn’t even have milkshakes.

Milkshake after.

“What’s Dan up to today?” he asks.

“Swamped,” she says. “He said it’s going to be a late night for him. Doctors, you know? I don’t know how they do it.”

He likes Dan; Eddie has never had to fight anyone for anyone else’s honour before - rarely could he even muster up the effort when it came to his own - and he’s kind of glad he’s never going to have to do that for Anne. Not that she couldn’t handle herself, anyway. She’d probably get mad if she knew what he was thinking.

Good girl.

Don’t think about her like that , he wants to say - but Venom can’t read his thoughts. Besides, it’s not as though he doesn’t still catch himself thinking that stuff anyway.

He really does like Dan - even if he sometimes he still imagines living at Anne’s again, bearing Mr. Belvedere’s stink eye and waking up with her tie still looped around his neck.

Their food comes - Eddie adds in a request for a glass of coke, in lieu of a milkshake. Venom grumbles that Anne’s BLT looks way better than his potato rolls; Eddie kind of agrees, but he’s made his choice. And he’s always thought it seemed shitty to send something back to the kitchen.

There’s a few quiet, comfortable moments where they eat and don’t say much. It’s almost like it was before, where they could be silent together. Being friends is different, it feels more urgent - like he has to keep talking to make the most of it, to soak up whatever little of her time he gets to have now. Hopefully, one day, they can find a nice middle ground.

“Mm,” she sighs around her bite. “God, I love this place.”

“Yeah.”

Ask for her bacon.

“Aw, I can’t do that,” Eddie murmurs back. Anne squints at him, and he waves. “Uh - I mean I can’t wait to come back.”

She grins. “Potato rolls that good, huh?”

“Oh, You bet.”

Gross.

In lieu of being able to do much else, Eddie reaches down and pats his own thigh; he thinks he might hear a quiet, grudging “hmph” somewhere in the back of his head, but who knows. He’ll make it up to the big guy later.

 

*

 

Eddie hasn’t thought about his dick in weeks.

In all the excitement of getting extremely fired, and then bodily-possessed by an alien, and then everything that happened with Drake and the car chases and rocket launch right after - Eddie hadn’t had a moment to breathe without it clogging his schedule. There just hadn’t been any real time to think about his dick barring when he needed to take a piss with it.

Even a month after, it feels like his body is still riding out the stress - tense, waiting for the next thing to hit. Going out into the streets and biting the heads off ne’er-do-wells usually ends with Eddie passing out on his couch, stomach weirdly - very fucking weirdly - full and skin buzzing from a satisfaction that’s sort of his own, but mostly Venom’s.

Getting back into a Drake-free routine these days mostly revolves around patching things up with Anne, making friends with Dan, sorting out the kinks in his new job, and learning how to manage his new roommate. The thought of sex is mostly just a vague possibility in the midst of all that.

So the morning Eddie wakes up with his first hard-on in his post-Venom life, he finds himself at a bit of a loss.

He stares, blurry-eyed, at the tent. “Uh…”

You should fix that.

He’s still too sleepy to really jump, but his hips do twitch in surprise. He wonders if it’s possible for Venom to turn down the volume in his head or something. It’s like there’s a subwoofer in there; “ Use your inside voice, ” he wants to say, just to be funny.   

Reaching up, he rubs at his eyes. Yawns into his palms. Wrinkles his nose at his morning breath and rubs at the crusty patch of drool at the corner of his mouth with his thumb.

Dropping his hands onto his belly over his ratty sleep shirt, he drums his fingers on his sternum and looks at his erection in careful, suspicious consideration.

It is still there.

“Yeah...that’s usually how it works,” Eddie murmurs.

Well?

Of course this was going to be a thing he would’ve had to deal with sooner or later. He just kind of figured it’d be later , in that vague way that meant he hadn’t actually considered it at all.

Venom has seen him do all sorts of stuff by now - eat, shower, piss, shit. Had all sorts of rumbling quips for all of them. Eddie figures this shouldn’t be any different, not to an alien parasite, but everything in his brain wants to balk at the thought of taking care of this kind of thing with Venom just...there. Watching . Possibly commentating, maybe judging his performance.

Other people don’t have these kinds of problems , he thinks, in one absurd moment of clarity.

“It’s just…” he shifts, tugging the blanket over his dick. “Jerking off isn’t supposed to be a spectator sport, y’know?”

Not a spectator. We are one .

“Sure…” he’s waking up now. Hard not to, with that voice booming in his head. “Look man, you know we don’t have to do...everything...together right? Could you just...look away?”

Look away?

“Yeah, I mean -” he gestures, vaguely, with his hands. “Y’know, pretend like you’re not there for a little bit.”

What for.

“Ugh.”

He figures the morning wood should be flagging by now, shamed by awkwardness. But no, it’s still there - rowdy and disobedient, just like the alien body-hopper sharing his meat suit.

Touch it.

“Not gonna do that,” Eddie snipes, suddenly resolute. It’s probably from the part of him that doesn’t like being told what to do, the part of him that knew his job was on the line but chose to grill Drake during that disastrous interview in the first place. “Nope.”

Touch it!

“It’s quiet time now baby, shh.”

He gets up and stumbles to the bathroom, aiming to brush his teeth, wash his face, and absolutely nothing else.

Venom scoffs in his head.

Coward.

“Says you.”

 

*

 

Should have touched it.

“Why’re you so obsessed, man?”

Your memories.

“What about them?”

They have good feelings. And embarrassing ones.

Accurate.

“What, you want to see me get embarrassed?” he scoffs, and more people give him funny looks as he passes. Luckily, Eddie’s about as thick-skinned as one can get about public humiliation at this point; he hasn’t asked, but he is fairly sure he’s banned from that restaurant with the lobsters.

It is amusing.

“Glad someone thinks so,” Eddie mutters. “But it’s not gonna happen.”

Venom growls, though it’s more disappointed than angry.

“Don’t sulk,” he spies an interesting opportunity. “Here, I’ll make it up to you.”

The shop is one of those overpriced, fancy candy stores. One of those ones styled to look vintage, and were patronized by adults more than actual kids. Normally he doesn’t go into places like this but Venom being pouty actually kind of sucked most of the time; it made his stomach roil, and spawned a strangely similar guilty sort of feeling that he used to get when Anne got upset, and if he thought too hard about that he might really go crazy.   

The pretty girl behind the register glances up from her phone to wave and greet him, and he smiles back. He makes a beeline for the front desk and points at the row of pre-wrapped cotton candy behind her: “One of those, please,” he says, and plucks a couple of ridiculously expensive chocolate bars from one of the gondolas for good measure.

Venom purrs.

You are very good to us.

When the girl’s back is turned, Eddie mutters: “Don’t say I never did anything for you, buddy.”

 

*

 

There are a few more inconvenient hard-ons over the next couple of weeks; Eddie ignores every one of them.

Venom badgers him each time, egging him on with increasing agitation. Placating him with candy and his favourite foods and extended prowls for bad guys in damp alleyways usually did the trick to shut him up, but Eddie knows he can’t keep this up forever.

It’s completely irrational to expect to never jack off again, to never have sex again - but for all the weirdness of his life in the last few months, getting off while his alien roommate watches just feels too much like too far .

So, no. He’s not going to do it.

Do it.

“Nope.”

 

*

 

It is back, Eddie.

“Hey, that’s too bad - too bad I’m going back to sleep .”

Ridiculous.

 

*

 

“...For fuck’s sake.”

Now?

Never .”

 

*

 

Touch -

“No.”

 

*

 

“Eddie...are you okay?”

Anne’s concerned face is such a beautiful thing. He used to like it a lot when she fussed over him, cooed at him when he got sick or had a bad day. Her voice would get all soft and her eyes would shine; it would always be real nice, having that kind of attention.

Now though, he’s kind of wishing she would back off and mind her own damn business.

“Yeah,” he says, close-but-not-quite-snapping over his lunch steak. “Why do you ask?”

“You look terrible.”

“Yeah well you look great .”

“Eddie.”

“...Sorry.”

You fucked up.

Shut up .”

“What?”

“Nothing.”

He can’t really explain over their nice, quaint lunch that, “sorry Anne, I actually fucking lied about the whole Venom thing, and now I’ve got a self-imposed moratorium on jacking off until further notice because he’s weirdly into watching it happen and I’m not sure I’m there yet with him, you feel me?”

What he does say is: “Sorry, I slept really badly last night. Like total shit.”

“Ah,” she says, though he knows her well enough to know that she doesn’t quite buy it.

Smart girl. Smarter than you.

Eddie is half tempted to just toss the steak and order a salad, out of spite.

 

*

 

You are getting cranky.

“How do you figure, huh?”

Because we are one.

“Yeah, and y’know - I’m feeling a bit of buyer’s remorse these days.”

Do not take it out on me.

“...Sorry, man.”

 

*

 

He does throw in the towel, eventually.

It happens when he’s watching - though not really watching - TV. Mostly, it’s just on so he can have something to stare at until he feels tired enough to go to sleep. There’s some nostalgic film marathon on, or something - it doesn’t really matter because they’re running From Dusk till Dawn and before he knows it, Salma Hayek is gyrating in a red cloth bikini with a snake around her shoulders and Eddie is pitching an urgent tent.

Venom, suspiciously enough, says nothing at first. In hindsight, maybe the symbiote just sensed that Eddie was finally going to be a big quitter about it even before Eddie himself did.

He taps his fingers on his thighs, looking at the bump in his jeans and considers the low, tired ache in his belly. He really can’t do this forever, and it’s looking less and less worth it as time goes on.

Eddie sighs and pops the button on his fly.

Took you long enough.

“Just - shh,” Eddie says, peeling his jeans and underwear down to his knees. Looking at his cock, ruddy and fat against the crease of his thigh, he nearly apologizes to it.

There’s a sharp sting of anticipation prickling at his fingertips and Eddie is not entirely sure it’s all his. He can feel how focused Venom is, eager like he’s been for nothing else - not even snatching up criminals into his great, terrifying jaw. It’s a little thrilling, feeling it so close to his own emotions, or maybe he’s just so pent up now that his senses are totally out the window.

Eddie wraps his hand around himself, and his stomach jumps at the touch; he sighs, pleased and relieved .

That is good.

Eddie falls back against the couch and touches himself with long, indulgent strokes. There’s no more dancing on the TV, not that he’s even looking there anymore; he’s watching his own hand, the precum beading on the tip of his cock, and berating himself for putting this off.

We like this.

“Yeah...yeah we do…”

Maybe it doesn’t have to be as weird as he was making it out to be in his head. Maybe he had been overthinking everything to a pointless extreme -

Venom’s head materializes at Eddie’s hip, big white eyes honed on his fist, and sharp, nasty teeth only inches from his knuckles.     

“What -” he jumps, hand flying away.

No stopping now.

Without thinking, Eddie flicks his finger at Venom’s little blob of a head - though it passes right through, like touching water, the symbiote hisses at him anyway and snaps his jaw.

That was rude.

“What are you doing!”

Getting a better look.

Eddie runs a jittery hand through his hair. “You don’t need a better look.”

Venom was never going to make things too easy for him, ever. Sometimes he forgot that this was a creature who barely understood the concept of boundaries.

Do not be that way. Continue.

Eddie groans, rubbing a hand down his face. “Just...don’t do anything, okay? Stay there, and...don’t move. Just let me have this one.”

...Fine.

The interruption made him flag a little, but once he gets back to work it doesn’t take much to catch up. Eddie focuses on enjoying it, taking his time rather than rushing, because he can feel the buildup of stress in his muscles and how little action his body has gotten in months. He’d been too broken up over Anne to mess around with anyone since the split, and as he bucks into his own fist he finds himself thinking it might be time to consider going back on the market.

Or maybe not, Eddie thinks. Venom’s still watching, tongue flicking out like a snake and wisping over his own teeth. He can feel the symbiote’s satisfaction, layered faintly under his own. There’s growling in his head - not words, just gravelly, beasty sounds that should really scare him but somehow makes him even harder instead.

Don’t think about it , he tells himself, reaching up under his sweatshirt with his free hand and brushing at his nipples. Wow, don’t ever think about that, holy shit.

For all that he’s trying to take his time with it, his body has other ideas. He gets close, and shuts his eyes to keep out the image of Venom’s white, alien stare. All those teeth. That tongue.

The growling gets louder, like it senses where his thoughts are going, and Eddie comes with a ragged gasp.

Venom, all of him, including the bits of him still hidden in Eddie’s bones, feels it too - coming makes the symbiote shudder and curl, and Eddie gasps again, throat tight. His sticky hands clutch at his thighs as he rides out whatever sympathy orgasm Venom is having, bearing the loud, roaring yell that rings inside his skull.

After a tight, breathless moment Eddie collapses - both of them do - back against the couch, head lolling to the side like there’s no more meat in his neck. Dazed, chest heaving, he wipes his hands on his jeans.

Venom’s little head is resting on his bare thigh, eyes like slits - maybe they’re closed, he can’t really tell - and the pink tip of his tongue is peeking through the seam of his mouth.

Slowly, Eddie reaches out and pokes him. “Hey, you still with me?”

... That ...was orgasm?

Eddie nods, weirdly giddy. Maybe verging on hysterical. He grins and strokes along the space between Venom’s eyes: “Congrats.”   

We must do that again. Immediately.

Eddie laughs, a disbelieving wheeze that makes his belly shake. Venom is propping himself up from his thigh, eyes big and alert again, looking at Eddie’s spent cock like round 2 is just around the corner.

Well? Make it happen, Eddie.

“No can do, man,” Eddie says, sitting straight. “I’m tired. And I gotta go to bed now and try not to have a big freak out over this in an hour, you know.”

Venom grudgingly withdraws back into his body.

Hmph. In the morning, then.

Gingerly, Eddie stands, popping his back. “No promises.”