Arc Two. Chapter Thirty-Six. Curiosity Killed The Cat
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The scrap of paper he had pulled out of the jar had "stop one mugging at night, receive kisses on your most favourite part from MJ" and he stared at it, reading it over and over. There was no need for the jar anymore, he spent most nights in bed with both women and while the paper had done its job it was now just a start to what was always an enjoyable evening.

Venom took a breath, tasting the odour of the night, a mix of car fumes and desperation. Here in Hell's Kitchen muggings happened all the time and with any luck, he'd get to one before that Spider Doofus did. All he read about in the Bugle was Spider-man this and Friendly neighbourhood Spider-man that. It made his skin crawl to think that once more he was pushed to the sidelines, he saved people, he stopped muggings so why was he labelled a menace? 

He scrunched the paper into a ball. Stopping a mugging was easy, he'd make sure he put the fear of the night into the mugger, fear of the Venom. He tapped his ear, allowing it to connect to the police scanner frequency and then he waited.

No one called the cops in Hell's kitchen, they were either unsympathetic or crooked but the headset provided him with a warning if anyone was looking for him. It didn’t take long before he heard the familiar screams of a fight. Another stupid sap wandered where they shouldn't have, in too much of in a hurry to get home. Whatever Venom thought to himself, he stretched out an arm and connected a web line to a water tower, swinging free he headed towards the sound, leaving web lines behind him to melt in the sunlight.

Making an entrance he spun and landed on his feet in front of a dishevelled woman, her attacker advancing with knuckle dusters dripping with blood.

"You know, those are illegal in the state of New York." Venom stretched up to his full height and leered down at the mugger. "So I don't need a duster." The mugger swung at him and Venom caught his hand, squeezing the metal with his claws "but you can have the sandwich" before ramming his fist into the mugger's face. "Get it? knuckle duster, knuckle sandwich, eh, everyone’s a critic." Turning to see if the victim was okay, they were gone and there stood Black Cat, sarcastically slow clapping at his joke.

"Yeah, make a joke while you break someone's hand, real classy, Venom" she stopped a few feet away from him. Venom headbutted the guy and dropped him

"Rematch?" he made his fingers into claws, hearing the popping noise as he flexed them.

"Oh no, no big guy, job, no fighting" she raised her hands in surrender.

"Job, for us? We work solo" He crossed his arms, this already becoming tiresome. The mugger stirred at his feet and he laid a heel into his jaw, bashing his head against the concrete and once more the nameless mugger lay still.

“Not here, somewhere more private” and she headed to the fire escape of a nearby building while Venom searched the mugger. He had another hundred on him and webbing him to a lampost on the street he sprayed "Beware the Venom'' in thick white letters over a shop wall. Satisfied he had completed his task and happy about his money problems being alleviated, he whipped out a line and pulled himself up to the rooftops.

“Job?” He asked the waiting Black Cat, she looked nervous and he could smell her panic, something was bad, he scrunched up his face though I know that smell he thought.

"No, not for you, I need Peter Parker, I can pay and" she took out a manila envelope "and uh, there's something you might want to do as well. Only after Parker finishes the first job though, then we can talk." She crouched down, not taking her eyes off Venom for a second, he was still a rogue element to her plan, disappearing for some time only to return back as brutal as ever. With her hands raised, she backed away and without a care, he threw a web line onto the envelope and pulled it towards him.

"You want Parker to plant bugs in Alexsi's Sytsevich's junkyard? Why?" Venom ripped open the envelope and was reading the contents, which was sparse, Black Cat had included several bugs and a basic sketch of the office, where she wanted them and when she wanted it on by, “and for us?"

"I can't tell you, just, five grand, okay, get him to plant the four bugs and I'll pay five grand."

Venom raised an eyebrow five grand was no small change, even for him and he knew he could get in and out of Alexsi's office before he knew it.

"We will do this for you, give us the payment and the Parker will plant your devices" He motioned with a hand.

"No, half now, half later," Black Cat threw a second envelope at him, which he caught, "do it by the end of the week and I'll leave it at Parker's warehouse, in his mailbox. I'll leave more files for you and if you agree then we can talk more, okay? Don't come after me." She turned and began to run from rooftop to rooftop, making the jump between each one look easy.

She will cause us trouble. Venom shook his head but the money was good. He even considered telling Alexsi about the deal and letting him take care of her. Doing so would mean exposing the link between Venom and Peter, and with a crook like Alexsi, the risk was too great to take. 

Musing over what to spend the money on, Venom shot out a line and watched as Black Cat ran across the rooftops, she does have a nice ass he thought and then shook his head, Gwen and MJ would kill him.

Nah, he thought as he considered following her it's bad enough the creepy stalker-man is following me without him spotting her as well. He ran to the edge of the building and swung off, shot out another web and swung out back the junkyard.

Black Cat was running across the roofs, she knew Venom wasn't following her but that didn't mean that no one else was. Crouching behind an air conditioning vent she didn't even hear the shot as it pierced into her gut and out through her back and into the vent, rattling inside before clanking it was way down into the building. Sucking in a sharp breath of air she crumpled onto the rough tar roof as the strength in her legs left her and she could only stare into the skyline, searching for the shooter. She heard a mic click "We got her boss, uh-huh, confirming now" and as she lay still the shooter flipped her onto her back.

Kicking his legs out she slipped around him and as her gut wound spiked pain she drove her clawed hands into his sides, avoiding the kevlar vest he was wearing. Trying her best to ignore it she yelled and drove her claws in deeper. Feeling his ribs snap he cried out in pain, matching her own but as she twisted her claws he fell silent after gurgling blood.

Pushing herself off the man, she stayed low. Unsure if he had more friends she was unwilling to present any body part for the sniper to put another bullet in. Crawling to the edge of the roof she groaned as each movement tore more of the wound and with one shaking hand she pressed down onto it, trying to stop as much blood from leaking out as possible.

She needed somewhere to hide, somewhere close. Parker! His warehouse was about 10 blocks from here and even if she made it there he was smart enough to help her. Groaning, she took several painkillers out from her belt, it didn't matter if she took them all, the amount of blood she was losing she'd be dead in an hour anyway, overdosing wouldn't make that happen any quicker. She ripped open several emergency bandages and stuffed cotton wadding into the wound before wrapping herself up as tightly as she could. She skulked to the edge of the building before easing herself over the parapet onto the fire escape, the pain was fading but so was her strength. screw it she took out an emergency vial she carried, one she hoped she would never need and breaking the cap off took a deep breath and drank the whole vial.

A liquid fire raged through her veins and she felt fucking great! Bleeding to death could wait, she needed to get to Parker and now. Ignoring the warm sensation dripping down her thighs she ran as fast as she could manage towards her only hope. The military-grade amphetamines coursed through her veins, making her feel superhuman, as long as they lasted, as long as she could get the help she would deal with the side effects later.

On the roof, a second similarly dressed man, covered with tactical gear, his face covered by a balaclava and night vision goggles, searched his fallen comrade. 

He clicked the side of his earpiece "Yes Sir. One is down, no sign of the target, blood trail ends at the wall. Orders Sir?" He crouched by the body, listening to his orders. The man had been his mentor, taking him from the academy into the agency. He was calm right now though, but that bitch would pay for killing him.

"Affirmative, one for clean up, Track and Trace in Progress." 

He flipped the fallen man onto his back and pulled out a vial from his vest. Carefully uncapping it he poured it over the man's face. It bubbled and hissed as a powerful caustic agent ate away at not just his skin but the bone and teeth underneath.

"Collection 27th Avenue. Rooftop". Finding the other agent's radio he pressed a switch on its side and a red light flashed twice and then lit up. With the tracker active he could leave the body and resume his mission. Capping the vial he returned it to his vest before setting out after the blood trail. The drizzle of rain would make it harder to track her but she was losing enough blood that she wouldn’t get far. As long as he could keep her in the industrial district and away from any major civilian centres his job would be a lot easier, and he could be as messy as he wanted.

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