They'd got him out. His team had got him out.
Beck was both ecstatic and terrified. He had no idea how Veronica and Gunterman had managed to slip in, but the drones...he'd assumed it was use of the drones. Then, suddenly, he was being shoved into the back of a car and ordered to lie still. Covered with a blanket. Gone.
He shuddered. He was in bed, in an assured Safe House. Blinking, he saw the face of Janice. He smiled at her.
“Quentin...” her voice was soft, with a slight tremble in it, “I've brought you water.”
“Thank you.” His throat was raspy, and he inwardly cursed Fury and the decision to ram a feeding tube down his throat. The hologram of Peter had convinced him to eat for a couple of days, but then he stopped, his suspicions growing. When Peter had materialised again, only for his arm to flicker, Beck had refused to eat completely. His punishment had been for four orderlies to rush in, push him down, whilst a medic pushed the tube down his throat. He'd been left like that for two days, helpless and furious, feeling fuller and fuller. When they'd removed it, he'd vomited, and tearfully pleaded with them to never do that to him again.
Beck shuddered, and felt the tears start again. Janice leaned over and gently stroked his arm. He didn't resist. His tears were of anger. Anger that Mysterio was now simply a distant memory, angry that his weaknesses had been fully displayed and manipulated by Fury and his thugs, angry at the thick coating of fat that had settled on his body. Panicking, he grabbed at Janice.
“Is this real?!”
Janice blinked. “Quentin, it is. There are no drones, this is me.” She pinched his forearm and he gave a yelp. Yes, she was real.
So was the fat.
Beck took a deep breath and tried to breathe. He needed to do this. Needed to to get rid of the rubber ring that had settled, disgustingly, around his middle.
Leaning over the smooth porcelain, he gagged and felt the food leave his system. A swirl of bile coloured the white ceramic. Suddenly, there was a banging on the door.
Beck began to stand up, choking slightly. As he swilled his mouth out with water, he looked at his reflection in the mirror. He was still so...pudgy.
He opened the door, to find himself confronted by William. “Boss? Are you...?”
Beck blinked. “I'm fine, everything's good.” He smiled at the older man. “Just a small...stomach upset. We need to get back to planning.”
William nodded, unprepared to take the matter further. Beck walked past, trying to stand up straight.
The costume. Beck looked at it, and ran his fingers down it. He was not even going to try and humiliate himself further by pulling it on. The prospect of a seam splitting or the zip bursting was too much. He was too fat to fit into it, too heavy to be a hero. He cursed himself, the tears threatening to break free. Stark had had his revenge. Thanks to Fury, Ross, and Parker, he was destined to be a fat has-been.
Swallowing, Beck felt the anger take over. He had to regain control.
As he took a deep breath, Beck felt himself relax. He was going to run. Pulling a baseball cap down low, he zipped up the light blue jacket. He could easily cover a few miles.
As he ran, he felt the city open up. Staying in New York had been one of William's better ideas – there was no way Fury would suspect him existing on his doorstop.
He covered the ground quickly, trying to ignore what felt like his flesh jiggling. As his legs gained ground, he could feel himself breathing more heavily. Then his breath came in gasps.
Beck stopped, and bent over. Taking anotheer deep breath, he steeled his resolve and began to run again. But his breathing felt shallow. Then, he suddenly started to panic. His heart was hammering, and his felt as though his surroundings were beginning to tilt.
Beck staggered, crashing to the ground. He didn't see the group of teenagers, who were sitting on the bench observing the collapsing man in horror. He didn't see them running over.
He didn't see the face of the young man who gently and carefully turned him onto his side, and looked at the others who had crowded round in shock.
As Peter Parker gently placed him in the recovery position, Beck began to move. As he looked up, and their eyes met, he froze.
“Peter? Oh, God. Please – let me go.”