2019-06-15 - Friends At Least


Forgiveness is divine. And a lil weird.

Log Info:

Storyteller: {$storyteller}
Date: June 15th, 2019
Location: Betty's Studio, Hell's Kitchen, NYC

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Eddie has cleaned up his life a little bit, getting a bit of a grip, although Venom is still…Venom, so things are never going to exactly be normal.

A few text exchanges got him Betty's new address and he actually makes his way to the door, knocking on it. He brought along a pizza and a six pack, clad in a leather jacket, jeans, boots and an AC/DC t-shirt. "Candygram!" he calls playfully.

Betty Brant glances toward the door and tenses. She heard his voice so at least, for now, she didn't have to take a weapon with her. Moving to the barrier, she unlatches a few locks and smiles his way. The once over, her head cants to the side. "You're looking good." She compliments without thinking. Shaking her head, she sighs, "I meant better. Com'on in." Allowing him in, she closes the door and resets the latches. It was a simple place, slightly bigger than her joint in Queens, but similiar in format. It was a studio with two sections blocked off to form 'rooms' - bedroom and bathroom respectively.

Dressed in shorts, socks, and a tanktop, she moves some space on the small kitchen island for the food and drinks. Some boxes remain unpacked, but at least there's furniture set up. Drinking in a deep breath, she exhales smoothly and looks to the box. "That smells…amazing. Is that Luigi's?"

He nods, "It is. I'm not so foolish as to show up with chain store pizza," he grins, as if he doesn't have half a dozen Domino boxes stacked in a corner of his apartment next to the trash can.

He sets it down, shrugging off his jacket and looking her over, "You look good, too," he says, without caveat before he moves in, "Interesting neighborhood you picked out. I hear there are devils 'round these parts," he says.

"I like it. I like the Devil and the Punisher…I, after everything I just…" It was a rare event when Brant was out of words. There was no wit, no spark, just something heavy on her shoulders and chest. After their reunion, the world turned side-ways more so than it had in their younger years.

She'd seen him. It. With a hint of hesitation, she pads closer to him and wraps her arms around his torso. Brow down, she rests it against his chest and hugs, tighter, her fingers digging in against his shirt.

Eddie returns the embrace, his strong arms lacing aroun her and holding her against him. Is he taller somehow? Maybe. He smells good, at least, of cologne and soap. He's taken a shower today. Better shape than when last she saw him, yes.

"I'm sorry I wasn't here for your troubles. I know you needed me. We've been…" he pauses, "I've been getting a handle on things. It's not perfect. But better, like you said," he says. "I haven't met either the Punisher or the Devil yet. I kind of think I'll be better off if I don't."

"Shut up and just hold me, Eddie…" She muffles gently. Her grip tightens all the more and after a swell of silence, she pulls back with a sniffle and smiles up into his face. Cupping his cheeks, she studies him a moment longer. "You had your shit, I had mine. I-I just wanted you around, y'know? Big ass city and I see you and my brain goes, 'Call Eddie'. Been like that since Philly." She gives his cheeks a squeeze. "He…still in there with you?"

Eddie strokes her hair, but he takes the command seriously, going quiet and offering just his presence as the comfort it can be. He raises a teasing eyebrow at the question, "I thought I was supposed to shut up," he jokes, but then nods, "Yeah. Always here. But he's…quiet at the moment. We did a little punishing of our own last night. It tends to leave him satisfied."

"Yeah? Still doing good?" She asks, good being a 'relative' term. "If that's what you two do, you might get along with the Devil and Frank. Hard to say." Shrugging, her hands linger on his face before brushing down and setting atop his chest. "We should eat." She decides finally. "Before it gets cold. And we can catch up with one another." She nods even if she doesn't pull away.

He leads her over to the sofa and helps her take a seat, taking a moment to do the serving. He opens up the pie, letting the steam escape and opens up a pair of beers, one for each of them.

"Honestly, this stuff's almost better cold," he says. "Well, on my end…I've found some work. Some writing. Some…not. A girl in trouble is going to pay me to keep her safe. I'm not even sure she's really in danger, if I'm honest. But she's nice and rich and harmless. Harmless I could always use more of," he says.

"How've you been?"

"I can't say I trust the rich, but as long as your, well…as long as your intincts are cool with it that's good. Just keep your senses up. Rich and Harmless don't go together." Nibbling on her slice, she chews and swallows. "I hope she's ok, though. If she or you need help, let me know? I can dig around, see what I can find, too." Another bite, she reaches for her brew and tips it back.

"I've…been ok. I still miss mom, but I'm writing again. At least I've returned to the Bugle." A sip. "No word from Bennett. I have no idea if he's even alive anymore." Pause, "Am I a bad person if I don't care?"

Venom grins, "I don't have to worry too much about that sort of thing anymore. I'm the one who's not harmless nowadays. Not to be arrogant, but…she's the one who's in for a nasty surprise if somehow things go bad," he says.

"Writing is good. You're good at it. Better than me," he admits. "Don't get me wrong, I'm not bad, but you've got more style."

"I'm not sure if I'm in a position to judge good or bad people anymore. You're doing what you have to do. You can't bleed for him forever."

Betty Brant smirks and nibbles on her slice, before ultimately folding it and eating it that way. Cheeks full, she swallows and washes it down with a slick of brew. "I love your style. It's so honest and I adored those stories you use to write for me." Suckling her fingers clean, she reaches for another slice.

"I only did anything because of mom." A glance his way, she stops and smiles. "Hey, you still need my help? With that story you were working on?"

Eddie sits back, drinking more of his beer. His hair is a bit tousled and he has some stubble on his cheeks, but he's not as tired looking, not as battered. He is doing better, it's not just words.

"Doing things because of your Mom is a good thing. Your mom deserves good things," he says. "But you have to live for you, first. I admit, I got a bit…distracted from the story. But I might be able to pick it up again. I probably shoud. Part of me wants to try to write…fiction. Reality's weird enough right now."

"Yeah…she's just gone now and I blame myself." She admits, pausing from her nomming to shift on the sofa. Turning to face him, she hugs her legs up and against her chest casually. "I…anyway. You, I want to talk about you, too. If you want to write some fiction, I'd love to read more. I can get you some connections into publishing if you'd like? Do you have a genre, or…?" There's a hint of nervousness there, hitching at her voice as she eyes Brock.

Blinking, she cants her head to the side. "The one with you, Venom, does he want to talk?"

Eddie shakes his head, "I haven't gotten that far yet. Ambitions. Inklings. More than I had six months ago, at least. Something like a life," he says.

At the question, he seems to go still for a moment, almost startled by it. While he has made his peace with Venom, he feels more protective of Betty than most others in his life. He doesn't entirely trust Venom around her.

"He might," Eddie says, opening a second beer. "I'm not sure you'd want to hear it. He's…a bit crude."

"Good!" She beams, the expression happy, genuine. "I'm so glad to hear that. I was so-so worried." Pause, "I've been worried since you first left…"

Nodding, she keeps her body still, eyeing the drinks and pie, but her attention is more for Brock. "Eddie, honey…we grew up together and I've been around you when you to the Bugle before me. I know crude. You, my dear, are very crude sometimes." Smirking, she winks and reaches for her drink, finally taking a sip. "I just, I want to know you better. This new part of yourself."

"There's crude and there's Venom," he says softly, but nods.

Darkness bleeds into his skin on the left side of his face. His teeth there grow sharper, the planes of his face more distinct. His pupils contract and there's a flicker in the depths of his mouth as his tongue…changes. As does his voice. What comes out is a rasp, Eddie's voice but not. He's still using Eddie's throat, after all.

"He's doesn't want to frighten you. I don't think you're afraid of me. I could make you afraid of me, but that would upset poor Eddie. And we both want to keep Eddie happy, don't we?"

Betty Brant had seen him once. Once. When she had it was such a startling thing. It was also, however, when the woman threatened the alien's life should he harm a hair on Eddie's head. It was something she might not ever get use to. There it is again, slicking over and taking the man over. Alarming, unsettling, she exhales a held breath in a shudder. "No, I'm not afraid of you." She agrees gently. "And yes, we both want to keep Eddie happy." Nibbling her lower lip, she twitches and then reaches a hand out. "May I touch you? Talk to you?"

The head cocks in a way very unlike Eddie. Sinuous. Serpentine. The smile is unnerving, too, ever-present and wide, perhaps a little too wide on the left side, like his very flesh was straining to reach beyond the limits of its elasticity.

"I'm not a zoo animal. You can do as you like. I don't intend to bite and, if I did, you couldn't stop me," the voice says. "Eddie is fond of you. He is fond of your friendship. He is fond of your flesh. Sharing a human's body, I can understand why. The yearnings within the human system are so very primitive. But I like primitive. Primitive is honest. And I am many things, but I am not a liar."

"Touch as you like. Speak as you like. Have a care only in that we are a dangerous thing and you should always be careful with dangerous things, no matter how much they may like you."

"It's usually nice to ask someone before doing something. Especially if it's someone you don't understand." Her fingers twitch before settling across the slick of black substance that is Venom. Then she scoffs, "Fond of my flesh, huh?" Shrugging, she looks toward that milky white drag of space that she assumes is the creature's eye. "Primitive, natural. It's just being human, I suppose. Sometimes, those yearnings change for different reasons. Like family or love. Loss, or hate…emotions play a big part for our feelings and reactions. That's less primative and more advanced."

"You like me? I told you I'd kill you if you hurt Eddie. You…like people that threaten your life?"

The tongue flicks over the teeth and Venom cocks its head at her, the slick black fully enveloping Eddie's head now, giving him the visage of the monster entirely, those needle-sharp teeth jagged and menacing in his oversized jaw.

"You humans are so very sensitive. We're fond of bloodsport. We would probably enjoy it if you tried. He's afraid we'd eat your pretty little head off your shoulders. We won't, though, because Eddie couldn't live with it and we want to keep Eddie. He's a very good partner. Forgiving. Imaginative. Durable."

Betty Brant jumps as he takes a full shape. Now it was the monster sitting with her. Her eyes go wide and she studies, watches, stares in awe. Snapping back into it, she smirks and cants her head. "I'm stronger, y'know? Stronger than I was when you first met me. Stronger than I've even been since Eddie's known me. You're not going to eat my head. If anything, I want to understand you. Become your friend. If you're with Eddie now, well…you're with me, too. Besides," she shrugs. "I was Eddie's partner first." Pausing, she shifts closer, reaching out to touch the substance once more. "Do you…shift bodies? Do you only need Eddie or…?"

"We're sure you're very, very strong and mighty," Venom practically purrs. "We would enjoy watching you hunt. Fearsome, no doubt," the monster says with a hint of a chuckle.

"We haven't really had…friends," Venom admits. "We bond with host bodies. We could take another, but that would require abandoning Eddie. He would not enjoy it. We are…connected now. To uproot would be…uncomfortable for us both," Venom admits. "In time, we might…spawn. Our kind do that, from time to time. But that would not be me. That would be another of my kind."

"Does he hear me when I talk with you? If I tell you anything, does he remember it? Visa-versa?" Another shift, she sits on her knees now, sitting all the closer. "I'm sorry. I don't want to hurt Eddie, I'm just curious what it feels like, I think. What all you can do? What you can do together now? You-you don't hurt him, do you?"

Venom shakes their head, "We are both present, always, although both of us may…rest within the other, if we desire. The longer we are together, the more we will become one. We will bleed into one another. Already, some of the boundaries between us have become to erode. I do not hurt him. He does not hurt me. It is a…symbiotic relationship. We feed one another, in our own ways. As for what we can do…many things. We are strong. We are…hungry. We can change how we look, climb most anything. Spit terror down the throat of men and watch them piss themselves at the sound of our voice. That, of course, is our most favorite."

"So, you're like poison to the scum out there. Is that why you call yourself Venom?" Smiling at an idea, she lifts her hand and gives a wave. "Hey, Eddie. You can come back when you'd like. I just, well…I'm getting to know your friend." Then to Venom himself. "I want to be your friend, too. You know how Eddie feels about me, if you could feel how I feel about him, well…"

There's a moment and then the hood of the beast splits open and dissolves, revealing Eddie's face again. He looks almost shy about it, but there's something else in his eyes, too. She can see that, whatever Venom is, whatever he's become…

Eddie likes it.

"Venom's just a…loose translation of its name. Their language is very odd. As for how I feel about you…I feel the way I've always felt. Same as I always will feel. I know that means it's complicated and I don't expect anything from you. Any more than I feel like I could promise you anything in return. But yeah…friends. Friends is the least of it."

"Eddie…" She smiles, giving a shake of her head and leaning forward, her arms wrapping around his shoulders protectively. "I'm just glad to have you back. Whatever that means."

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