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On Top of the World

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Eddie’s blood sings as they leap from rooftop to rooftop in the pre-dawn light. He’s still terrified of heights when he’s just Eddie, but as Venom , when the two of them are the most in sync and Eddie gives Venom free reign of their body, the sensation of flying through the air and scaling buildings is exhilarating in a way he never could have expected.

They’ve just finished taking down some nasty guys -- they’ll be well fed for the next few days at least -- and are now simply enjoying the quiet hours of early morning. Well, New York is never completely quiet but 5am is as close as it gets.

Venom grumbles as they scale a building to its roof where they can get their bearings. The sky is just beginning to lighten up--the ink blacks and blues are fading into lavenders and pinks. The sounds of early morning commuters reach their ears as doors slam shut an cars start. It’s a softer, calmer version of the city and it only ever lasts for a brief time in the earliest of hours.

Venom makes a content rumbling sound deep in their chest as they gaze over the skyline and Eddie can’t help but admire the view for a minute before sighing.

Hey, V, we should think about going back to the hotel soon. Sun’s comin’ up.

Like it out here, Eddie.

I know, but we really can’t afford to be seen here. We don’t want the Avengers on our ass.

Pft, Venom scoffs. We can take the Avengers.

I really don’t think we can, bud.

Are they not already aware of our presence in their city? We have worked alongside the Spider-kid a few times now and he is one of theirs.

Eddie concedes to the point. But still, V, we can’t be seen in broad daylight. And I need to sleep at some point today.

Pussy, Venom says, but it's teasing, affectionate. Eddie rolls his eyes.

Venom scans the horizon while scenting the air with their tongue. Eddie will never get over how scents taste. And New York smell-tastes pretty bad. The first time they had taken a whiff of their temporary home, Eddie had nearly thrown up from the onslaught. Venom had just laughed at him as they greedily took in more scents.

This time, Venom catches a familiar scent on the wind; Eddie is still trying to process the smell when Venom takes off again, bounding over a few rooftops and clattering up and down fire escapes and allies.

Hey! What’s--

Spider-kid is out! Might be another head to eat..

We’ve had plenty tonight! Plus we agreed that we would not eat anyone while working with Spider-Man.

Fine, Venom grumbles. They continue for a few more blocks; one of these days they’d test just how far Venom could scent things; it could seriously come in handy at some point.

Finally, Venom slows down. They cock their head to the side in curiosity as they approach a figure sitting on the edge of the roof on the opposite side from where they had landed. He's slumped over and wearing a bright red hoodie. A backpack sits against the low wall next to him.

Venom moves cautiously closer. He definitely smells like Spider-Man.

Spider-Man?”

Just as they ask the question, the figure jumps to his feet and spins around, his eyes wide and hair sticking up in all directions. He fumbles something he had been holding and he tries to catch it only to fumble it again. Before the object goes over the ledge, Venom dashes forward and extends a tendril to snag it out of the air.

“Holy shit!” The kid’s voice cracks--and holy shit indeed, Spider-Man really is just a kid. Fuck.

The kid continues with a nervous chuckle. “What? Spider-Man? I don’t--I don’t know what you’re talking about?”

Venom inches closer, still holding the object; Eddie notices it’s a camera. The kid flinches back, hands going up defensively. “Don’t eat me!”

Venom frowns, offended. “ We do not eat friends. Or kids. You are both.”

The kid’s mouth is moving up and down, no sound coming out. Eddie takes pity on him. He sighs.

Hey, V? Let me out, bud.

But our identity. You have wanted to keep it secret.

Yeah, and now we know Spider-Man’s. Well, his face at least. Plus, the kid’s about to panic.

Venom glaces at the kid, who is still standing with his hands up, his eyes wide. They dart the tip of their tongue out and, yes, the kid reeks of panic.

Eddie feels Venom's displeasure and concern like a heavy weight around his shoulders before they ripple off of Eddie. They retract most of themselves back into their body, leaving just their standard floating head over Eddie’s shoulder.

Eddie takes a step forward, hand holding the camera in front of him. The poor kid’s eyes are huge in his head and for once he seems to be rendered speechless.

Venom chuckles and Eddie feels their smug satisfaction at that. Eddie sends them a mental eye roll. Be nice.

“Hey, uh, as they said,” Eddie tilts their head in Venom’s direction, “we have no intention of eating you.” He holds up the camera and takes a quick look at it. “This is a nice camera, wow.” He turns it over in his hands before holding it out to the kid. “You might want to get a strap for it or something so you don't drop it.”

The kid takes the camera, his eyes darting from Eddie to Venom and back again, rapid fire.

“You’re….you’re Eddie Brock,” he finally gets out.

Eddie is about to confirm and ask him for his name in return, but the kid speaks over the top of him in a rush.

“You’re Eddie Brock but you’re a-also Venom? But you eat people! Bad people. I’ve seen you do it! I didn’t think anything of it--not really-- because I just thought you were an alien or a monster and monsters have to eat I get that but you’re human. I think.”

He snaps his mouth shut and takes a deep breath. “Ahh. Um. That--that was rude.” He fiddles with his camera and gestures with it towards Eddie. “Um, thanks. For catching this.”

You’re welcome,” Venom says, deep voice infused with amusement.

The kid yelps. “You talk.”

And you never shut up.”

“V, that’s rude!” But Eddie’s chuckling.

It’s true, Eddie.

The kid is looking between them again, fascination written clear on his face. “So, wait, what--what are you guys? Do you--”

Eddie butts in quickly before he can get going again. “That’s Venom. And you know I’m Eddie Brock. Who are you when you’re not Spider-Man?”

The kid’s body languages closes off and his eyes get shifty and wary. “Ah, I still don’t know what you’re talking about?”

“Cut the shit, kid.”

We know you are the Spider-kid. You smell the same. And your voice is the same too, when it is not cracking and high pitched.”

We won’t tell anyone about you as long as you don’t tell anyone about us.”

The kid looks between them again before sighing and flopping bonelessly to the ground. “Fine. Fair’s fair. I’m--I’m Peter. Peter Parker.”

Eddie sits carefully on the ground by Peter.

“And I’m not a kid.”

Eddie raises an eyebrow.

“Well, not really? I’m sixteen!”

Jesus. They knew before that Spider-Man was young, but sixteen?

He is but a baby. We must protect him.

Eddie has to agree. Who just lets a teen go out and be a superhero like this? But…

He’s also Spider-Man, though. We’ve seen what he can do.

Venom ripples, their version of a contemplative hum.

“Are--are you guys--? Does it--he--they?”

They is fine.”

“Do they talk to you telepathically?”

“Sorta?” Eddie glances at Venom, who is shrinking down and losing their sharp fangs and vicious smile. They curl up in Eddie’s lap and he wraps his arms around them. “We share headspace, so it’s kind of like..like talking to yourself? Except someone answers back.”

“That’s so cool!”

Eddie feels Venom’s pleasure at Peter’s enthusiasm. It’s rare for someone to express anything but wariness or disgust or fear when they reveal themselves. Pure curiosity is new.

“I don’t mean to be rude, Venom, sir, but what are you?”

Venom blinks at the ‘sir’. Peter is...nice.

Eddie glances down at Venom. They’re shy. This is new. He chuckles lightly and pets the symbiote.

“I think you’ve broken them.”

Not broken.

Shocked, then.

“Wha--? What did I do? I didn’t mean--”

Eddie sighs. “It’s okay, kid. Peter.” He glances up at Peter, who is watching Venom with a slight frown. “They--we--aren’t used to...curiosity. Politeness.”

Kindness. Only Eddie is kind. Sometimes Anne. But usually only Eddie.” Their voice is quieter, more subdued. It hurts, not being accepted or understood. They understand why, but it doesn't make it easier. Eddie tightens his arms around the goo.

Peter is blinking at them and he blurts out, “That’s bullshit. I--I mean. Crap. Bullcrap.”

Eddie huffs out a laugh. “It is, but.” He looks up at Peter. “Venom’s an alien. They can’t survive in our atmosphere without a host.”

“And you’re their host.”

Eddie nods. “I am. The scientists who brought them and some of their kind here called them symbiotes, but I don’t know what they call themselves.”

Venom flinches slightly. “ Does not matter. Symbiote is fine. We want only perfect symbioses with our host. Not...do not want to be a parasite.”

One day Eddie will get Venom to talk about their kind and homeworld, if not their past.

“So, if you help them survive here, what do you get out of the symbioses?” Peter’s eyes are filled with earnest curiosity.

Everything, Eddie thinks to Venom. I get everything. Venom vibrates softly and radiates a soft, warm feeling at Eddie.

To Peter, he says, “Mostly a pain in the neck, but it’s not all bad.”

“What-What about...Mr Brock, I’ve seen you eat people. In the other form.”

Eddie grimaces at both the form of address and the topic. “Just call me Eddie, please. And, uh, Venom requires a lot of food. And there’s something in particular in, well, brains, that fills them up like nothing else.”

“Only eat very bad people,” Venom says defensively.

“And chocolate,” Eddie continues. “Chocolate seems to help, too, but not as well as brains.”

Peter is tugging on his bottom lip with his teeth, brows furrowed in a frown.

“And you need this chemical to survive?”

Yes,” Eddie and Venom say together.

The kid nods to himself, like he’s just come to some sort of decision. “If you could isolate the chemical and, I don’t know, find another way to take it, like as a pill or something, would you still eat people?”

Eddie blinks and looks down at Venom, who is looking back up at him.

Venom turns back to Peter. “ Eddie does not like brains.” Eddie shudders. “ We enjoy the hunt, but we would stop eating bad men for Eddie.”

Peter grins. “I might be able to help!” he says excitedly.

“Seriously?”

“Yeah! I can probably figure it out by doing some research, but if not I bet Dr. Banner would be able to for sure.”

Eddie’s heart rate spikes in fear. “Banner? Like, the Bruce Banner?”

“Yeah…?” Peter seems to sense Eddie’s panic.

“No, no no no. We’re not getting the Avengers involved with this. At all. We’ll figure something else out.”

“But--”

NO.” Eddie and Venom snarl together, Eddie’s panic feeding through to Venom, causing them to act out defensively. “ They cannot know about us. They would wish to separate us. To experiment on us and contain us until we become useless to them or die.”

To the kid’s credit, Peter hardly flinches. “I wasn’t going to tell him about you. Just say it was for a science experiment or out of curiosity or something.”

They sit in silence for a minute, the sun continuing to rise over the rooftops. Finally, Eddie sighs.

“We’ll think about it.”

“Okay.”

They continue to sit quietly, not really looking at each other, until Eddie jerks his head at the camera Peter is still holding.

“So, what are you doing up here with that?”

“Oh, this?” Peter holds the camera up. “I like taking photographs. And I have a photography assignment due…” He trails off, his eyes going wide in horror. “Today,” he squeaks. “It's due today! I was going to do it last night but I got caught up in my patrols and then I was going to do it before class, but I was just so tired and I must have fallen asleep because next thing I knew I was standing up and my spidey-senses were going nuts and you guys were standing there and--”The kid inhales deeply. “I’m so screwed!”

He continues to talk, mostly thinking out loud and trying to come up with some way to get the assignment done in the forty-five minutes before class. The kid’s long winded rambling is incredibly endearing and Eddie laughs softly.

Eddie.

Yeah, V?

We like this kid, Eddie.

Eddie smiles. Yeah, we do.