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may bingo • begonia, black eyed susan, petunia
Waking up with time missing was something Gigi had gotten used to. Or, at least, started to. It wasn't as scary anymore as it had been the first time around, and that was really the best she could hope for. When it wasn't happening like she expected, that was when it got scary.

May 6, late morning
The way the sun was shining into her room told her it was way later than she usually slept, but the throbbing in her head told her it had been necessary. Gigi buried her face in her pillow with a groan, blocking out the brightness and trying to get the pounding to stop. She only had a few brief moments of peace before a wet dog nose pressed up against her bare leg, followed by a slobbery dog tongue, and while her absently patting at Nyx's head seemed to placate her dog for a bit it didn't last.

It took a couple tries to get up, the room spinning and feeling tilted as she did, hand reaching out to plant against the wall and use it as a guide to get to the door and down the hall. More than anything, it felt like she was trying to navigate through a funhouse but also while having a headache and a meandering dog as an added obstacle. Getting to the kitchen felt like an accomplishment so, after making sure Nyx was taken care of, Gigi gave herself the reward of sitting down, blinking slowly and trying to catalog what she remembered.

There was the concert, she remembered that. She remembered going to support Ris and Theo, dancing with Damian, dancing in general, having fun, and drinks — so many drinks, based on her headache, the gross feeling in her mouth, and her insane craving for bodega breakfast sandwiches and water. What she couldn't remember was getting home, for one. She was still wearing half of what she'd worn to the concert, all askew and slept in but there it was.

Except there was blood on it.

Was it hers? She slowly, gingerly touched her face, trying to find any possible injuries that might account for it. None. Nothing visible anywhere she could see, either. The crowds at shows could get wild but she hadn't ever wound up with blood on her like that. And her body ached, which she attributed to being hungover but now she wasn't sure. A hangover didn't usually make her hands, her knuckles hurt, a dull throb beneath her left eye where it was tender to her touch.

We took care of it.

She drew in a sharp breath, closing her eyes and trying to focus on what she knew was real. The countertop she was touching, the stool she was sitting on, Nyx crunching on her kibble. Those were all real, she knew it. That voice in her head, the one that crept in every so often and made her feel like her grasp on reality was slipping away? Well, it was real too. She didn't like to admit that but it was. Not as real as those other things, what she could see, touch, prove.

The voice in her head scared her, because she knew it wasn't just a voice. She knew she could feel whatever it was creeping into more of here every so often, except it was happening more frequently these days. It worked its way into her chest, down along her arms, like a slow, cold chill. That wasn't what scared her the most. That someday it might take over and not let her have control back again — that was the terrifying thought.

May 23, morning
It took her halfway through her first cup of coffee to realize what the calendar on her phone said, that another one of Those Weeks had come and gone. There wasn't anything off physically, at least as far as she could tell. Sometimes there was something easy to pick out and know it had been a week for Gwen, but thankfully that didn't seem to be the case. Gigi still struggled with the idea of someone else running around in her body, especially when she'd been through so much with it on her own already, before any of this super powers stuff started happening. Was Gwen careful? Did she know not to do too much or what to look for if she was feeling sick for any reason? Leaving notes for her was all well and good but what if she didn't read them? Or didn't understand them?

Speaking of, Gigi abandoned her coffee to go back to her room, look for anything Gwen might have left for her. She'd been better about communication recently, especially with the whole symbiote thing — she'd given Gigi as much information as she could. It had helped a little, though not as much as she would have liked. Well, more like… it was helpful information but hadn't given any sort of peace of mind or comfort.

Sure enough, a note scrawled in that now familiar handwriting, on her nightstand and being held in place by a potted plant.

Gigi —
Nothing to report, quiet week, no baddies hanging around. Did my best watering the plants but could you maybe make a guide? There are so many and I don't want to kill any. You asked about Venom, and it's hard to explain. Music helps keep it all calm, get you in sync, but you need to find your own balance. Music helps, though. Good music. I'm working on a playlist for you but it's taking longer than I thought because everyone is different here. Just try not to get mad about anything, ok?
Mad is bad. You can do it. — Gwen

Mad is bad. If only it was that easy. It wasn't even that Gigi felt herself getting angry more often than usual, it was that any emotion felt like a tidal wave crashing into her. Mildly annoyed or irritated would spiral, snowball into irrationally upset, pissed off. Good ones too, less scary to deal with but still overwhelming.

It made her feel like a toddler. All big emotions and no way to regulate them. Meltdowns were imminent, but probably with less throwing of toys and food. Probably.

Honestly, Gigi didn't care about having this symbiote, Venom, living in her. With everything else, it kind of seemed like just one more thing, might as well pile it on. All she wanted was to be able to be in control of herself, which shouldn't have been a big ask but it definitely was when she already lost a week here and there to someone else entirely. That was why it felt so important to have a grasp on the time she was herself, live the life she'd fought so hard to get to have.

So, music. Finding a balance. Easier said than done, but she was sure as hell going to try.

May 26
It had barely been days since the week Gwen took over. Barely days. If the in between times were going to be chaotic, Gigi wasn't sure what she would do.

This was the first time she'd experienced anything like that, though. She had no idea how to put into words what she'd experienced, but chaotic seemed like a good start. She didn't even have a good explanation for why she'd been there. Earthquake, unknown madness breaking out, and she'd felt drawn toward it instead of running the opposite way. Maybe Gwen was having an influence on how she reacted to situations. If that was the case, she needed to get more prepared because it had not gone great.

At least she remembered it all. That was a small solace, because she remembered but remembering wasn't always good.

There had been goblins?!? Real, actual goblins. She knew she'd gotten some of them with her webs — Were they her webs? Gwen's webs? Unclear. — but that may have been more on instinct than actual skill. Happy accidents.

We are better than accidents.

She could practically hear the scoff, the offense taken to the idea that it had been anything other than intentional, well executed web shooting that took some goblins out of commission. There had been a few bystanders caught in the line of fire, but she wasn't about to bring that up.

Not accidents, she amended, wanting to smooth that over. Because she also remembered several moments of sheer panic, overwhelming fear, and then being enveloped by that cold chill she recognized so well. That cold chill that usually scared her but in those moments had been a comfort, a reassurance that she would be okay because — We took care of it. And every time, once the threat was gone, she'd be back in control of herself again.

That was, until she got turned into a fucking bear.

Living in New York had always been interesting, but that was just how the city was, a chance to see anything on any given day. That had all been… humanity, though. Such a large melting pot of backgrounds, ways of life, all jammed together too close in a subway car. It hadn't been super powers, goblins, a giant spider Kaiju rampaging through the midst of it all. As much as being a New Yorker makes her unfazed by so much that might happen at any given moment, it never could have prepared her for the completely different world San Francisco seemed to be.

At least she wasn't still a bear, which was a thought she'd never expected to have in her entire life but there it was. That lack of control had been worse than with Venom. She'd had time to get used to the symbiote, as much as she was able to, and at least had some familiarity with it. Being a bear — and not even a normal bear, she'd been some kind of mutant one — on a rampage through the streets of San Francisco, that had been terrifying. She remembered it all but that didn't stop parts of it from being a blur, and all she could hope was she hadn't hurt anyone. Well, non-gobins, anyway.

It hit her suddenly, the ridiculousness of such a thought. Hopefully if she'd hurt anyone when she'd been a bear, it had been goblins. And sometimes, when things were so ridiculous, all there was to do was laugh, which is exactly what she did — a shiver running down her spine when a chuckle echoed in her head.