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Gluttony Can Be Hazardous To Your Health

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Summary: The First Evil isn't the only thing that's come to Sunnydale looking for the Slayer.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Marvel Universe > GeneralGreywizardFR1814,3801122,9659 Aug 129 Aug 12Yes
Disclaimer: They all belong to Crack-Head Joss and ME and Marvel comics. Deal with it. I have.

Category: Marvel Comics crossover (Spiderman) and a response to what used to be TTH Challenge 2943: The Other Totems. Unfortunately, I can't find it on the site anymore, but I'll still post this story.

Time frame: Begins at the start of BtVS season seven episode ‘Dirty Girls,' but it's AU in that the Fang Gang have also come to town to help out with the problem concerning the First. Also goes significantly AU from standard Marvel continuity as regards the villain.

Spoilers: None intended, but if you don't know what happened up to this point, why are you reading this story?

Character Bashing: Personally, I don't think anyone is being bashed. But if you feel otherwise, please let me know, and why you think that.

Feedback: Of course!

Archiving: Talk to me first, please.

Author's Note 1: Many thanks to Bill Haden and Theo (Starway_Man) for beta-ing this story.

Author's Note 2: As usual, “word” indicates speech, :: word :: indicates mental communication and { word } indicates a character's thoughts.

Author's Note 3: This is story #9 for the 2012 August Fic-A-Day Challenge.

~~~

Sunnydale General Hospital
Sunnydale, CA

March, 2003


"I just don't understand it, Danny. This is the fifth body the police have brought in this week, and each one of them looked like an Egyptian mummy that's been dug up after a dozen centuries in a tomb – like they were completely desiccated, and their flesh felt like it had been tanned by a leather worker," the redheaded intern informed his companion as they stood by the ER entrance doors, staring out into the night.

"Autopsies don't show any injuries, anywhere, on any of the bodies, and all of the toxicology tests are coming up blank, so the coroner doesn't have any idea about what to put down for cause of death for any of them," the intern continued his description of the extremely puzzling and as-yet unsolved deaths.

"This is even worse than the typical barbeque fork attacks you see around here," he complained bitterly, "because no one has any idea about what could causing these deaths!

"It could be, quite literally, anyone or anything you run into on the streets."

A youthful-looking man, with shoulder-length black hair pulled back into a ponytail and dressed with a somewhat Victorian sense of style, smirked as he listened to the conversation from within the shadows of the trees some twenty yards away, before turning and walking of into the darkness of the night.

~/~/~

Summers residence

Late evening


"So, what is it exactly that you and your fearless little band plan on doing to help out around here, ya great brooding poof?" Spike sneered at Angel and his team as he dropped into one of the chairs in the living room of 1630 Revello Drive, propping his feet up and crossing his ankles on the edge of the coffee table as the British vampire took a sip from the mug of blood he was holding.

The way his grandchilde was making himself at home, as if Spike owned Buffy's house or something, was enough to immediately set Angel's teeth on edge. But fortunately, his Vision Girl decided to respond in a way that calmed him down a little.

"Well, we certainly can't do a whole lot less than what *you've* been doing lately, now can we, you impotent pretender?" Cordelia Chase replied scornfully from her position at one end of the couch, giving Spike one of her own, much more elegant sneers in response to his rather obvious attempt to denigrate the her ostensible boss, her coworkers and even herself.

"From everything I've heard, there's someone – or something – new in town who's got even the demons looking over their shoulders, what with the way so many shriveled-up corpses are showing up pretty much everywhere," Cordelia pointed out.

"Indeed. And what with Miss Summers and her friends being so busy trying to keep alive all of the Potentials that Rupert has been bringing here from all over the world, you're the one who's been tasked with determining who or what is responsible for the most recent string of deaths and disappearances in Sunnydale," an unshaven and ominous-looking Wesley pointed out from his position leaning against the far wall.

"And since it would appear that that you've been *spectacularly* unsuccessful in doing so," Wes added pointedly, "perhaps you should be rather more circumspect in tossing around insinuations of incompetence, hmm?"

"Hey now, people, you shouldn't be insulting Fangless like that," another voice broke in, before the recently de-chipped vampire could make any response to Wesley's question. "After all, that's *my* job – and one I enjoy performing on an hourly basis, whenever possible."

"Hi, Angel. It's good to see you, again," Buffy smiled as she led a small group of teenaged girls into the room, while completely ignoring Xander's jibe against her former lover. "I appreciate your coming down to help us. And your bringing your team along to help."

"We're always glad to help out whenever we can, Buffy," Angel smiled back at her, both he and the blonde Slayer ignoring the way several people present rolled their eyes at the pair's greetings.

"Well, since it appears time is of the essence, perhaps we should investigate this vineyard which you've identified as your opponent's headquarters?" Wesley suggested, all the while loathing the fact that Buffy automatically assumed that he was part of Angel's team. That bridge had been burned beyond repair last year, and the only reason he was here right now was that he wanted to forget about Lilah Morgan for a while.

"That's a good idea, Wes," Buffy agreed, nodding her head approvingly. "And since we have so many people here now, we can split up into several groups, so that the Potentials can all see what it is I have to deal with, here in Sunnydale."

Buffy either didn't see, or steadfastly ignored, the numerous annoyed, irritated and/or surprised expressions her rather self-absorbed statement produced. She just headed upstairs to her bedroom to change for the upcoming assault mission, already focusing on the battle ahead.

~/~/~

Shadow Valley Vineyard
Outskirts of Sunnydale

Later that evening


The five groups halted at the front door of the winery, in order to finalize the details of what each group would be doing during their attack on the former mission building.

Buffy's group consisted of herself, Spike, Willow and Chao-Ahn, while Angel chose to keep his group from L.A. (himself, Wes, Cordelia and his son Connor) intact. Xander's group consisted of himself, Anya, Amanda and Caridad. Giles' group was composed of himself, Dawn, Andrew and Molly, while Faith teamed up with the remaining three Potentials: Kennedy, Vi and Rona.

"Okay. You and your people watch our perimeter," Buffy ordered Giles' group. "Guard the door; I don't want anything hitting us from behind. My team goes in first, and we check the place out. Angel, you and your people follow us in, and Xander's and Faith's groups wait inside the main entrance hall.

"You guys are our safety-net," she addressed the last two groups. "If this is a trap, we give the signal; then you guys come in, guns blazing so to speak."

"So, what's the signal?" Xander asked as he hefted his axe to a more comfortable position.

"I'm thinking lots and lots of yelling," Buffy replied.

"Oh, how droll," a man's voice interrupted the blonde Slayer before she could say anything further. "You're attempting to build up your untested minions' spirits before entering into combat against an unknown number of foes, with an unknown number of weapons, in what you yourself more than half-suspect is a trap.

"Congratulations, Slayer. You must be so proud of yourself."

Everyone turned to find a dark-haired man standing in the now-opened winery doorway smirking at all of them. He was dressed in a curiously old-fashioned style, with a navy blue three-quarters length coat and pants, black knee-high boots and a ruffled violet shirt and white vest visible beneath the coat. He was also casually holding a short red-enameled axe of some kind in his left hand, and blood appeared to be dripping off the axe's blade onto the polished wooden floor beneath.

"Who're you?" Buffy immediately demanded, her eyes narrowing at the sight of the man's disdainful expression.

"A Hunter, Slayer," the man replied, a combination of arrogance and insolence in his voice as he answered her. That, plus his disdainful attitude, immediately angered Buffy to the point of wanting to smash the smirk off of his face.

"And your superior," he newcomer added, grinning as Buffy's hands reflexively clenched into fists over that way-too-obvious insult.

"Wait, th-tha-that's – MORLUN!!!!" Andrew abruptly announced, his voice high-pitched enough to be bordering on the ultrasonic range as he broke into the conversation.

The majority of people present turned their heads to look at him, and were surprised to see the blond computer enthusiast turned demon summoner staring at the newcomer with sheer horror; Andrew's face was suddenly so pale that he made both vampires appear as though they had been sunbathing, when contrasted against him.

"H-h-he's the g-guy wh-who k-k-killed S-S-Spiderman!" Andrew expanded on his previous identification in a quavering voice, his eyes wide with shock and terror as he pointed to the man tentatively identified as ‘Morlun'.

"He drained Spiderman's entire life force right out of him!" the FRP-obsessed nerd explained, Andrew's entire body shaking with fear as he stared in frightened fascination at the being who'd killed one of New York's most famous superheroes.

“Well, it's always nice to be recognized,” Morlun sent a quick grin towards Andrew, which almost made the geek wet himself in terror. "Oh, and if you came here looking for an annoying backwoods hick who called himself Caleb, unfortunately – he's no longer available to talk to you," Morlun added conversationally.

"Unless any of you can speak with the dead, that is?"

"He said he had something of mine, and I came here to get it," Buffy stated, her eyes narrowing slightly as she sized the man up, his apparent identity as the purported murderer of Spiderman apparently not impressing her in the least.

"Oh? Then you probably came looking for this," Morlun said in response to Buffy's comment as he nonchalantly tossed the axe-like weapon in his hand off to the side.

"It's an amusing little toy, but I'm afraid it won't help you much at all," Morlun said, smirking at Buffy as he spoke. "Nothing can help you now."

"Help me do what?" Buffy demanded, her whole body proclaiming her self-assurance.

"Isn't it obvious? Prevent me from killing you," Morlun said, before then darting forward and slamming his fist against her jaw, making Buffy fly backwards as though launched from a catapult.

Spiderman's assassin was among the others an instant later, punching and backhanding his way through the crowd of people gathered before him.

"It was actually quite thoughtful of you all to gather together for me like this," Morlun commented offhandedly as he kicked Faith in the stomach, sending her crashing into the three potentials assigned to her charge. The villain then backhanded Willow with his left hand, battering her to the ground, even as he drove his right fist into Spike's face, the sound of his jaw breaking audible even over the noise of the currently one-sided fight going on.

"I hadn't actually decided about whether or not to come collect the Slayer totem – not until I learned that some pretentious, overblown, but completely ineffectual, spirit was trying to ensnare the totem for its own use," Morlun noted as he viciously punched Angel in the face, his voice nonetheless calm and unruffled, and not sounding as though he were in a pitched battle against multiple supernaturally strong opponents at all.

Just as what had happened with the huge rocky demon known as the Beast in L.A. just a few days previously, anyone attacking Morlun seemed to be doing absolutely zero damage, since all of the punches or kicks hitting him seemed to be simply shrugged off like spitballs.

By this time, Buffy had regained her feet and came charging at Morlun, shoving her way past Xander and Giles, who were swinging their axes and rapier, respectively, but missing their fluidly dodging opponent.

Throwing a flurry of fists at her smoothly weaving enemy, Buffy saw that even her Slayer-enhanced blows seemed to have no effect on him, which infuriated her and made her redouble her efforts.

"While this could be considered an amusing little diversion, I find myself growing tired of such meaningless exercise; so I think I'll just do what I came to this benighted backwater to do," Buffy heard Morlun say, his voice still as unhurried and easygoing as it had been when he was standing in the winery doorway.

An instant later, what felt like a blow from Olaf's troll hammer smashed both of Buffy's arms aside, and she felt as though a vise had suddenly clamped around her throat and lifted her off her feet, to dangle helplessly in the air at the same time that she felt as though all of her energy were being drained out of her.

Buffy screamed in agony, as her very life force was sucked from her, and she feebly beat her fists against the hand holding her for the span of a few seconds, trying to free herself – before she found herself falling limply to the ground, as Buffy heard her captor unleash a muffled curse.

"Guess that hurt, huh, stud?" Buffy could faintly hear Faith's voice taunting someone, and she forced her eyes open to see the other Slayer swinging the red axe, which Morlun had been carrying earlier, at their foe.

Barely able to turn her head, Buffy saw Angel lying a few yards away, off to her left, trying to get back to his feet with help from Cordy and Connor; but it looked as though his left leg was unable to support him any longer – like it was broken in a couple places, maybe. Beyond him, Buffy could see that Giles and Wesley and were out cold, sprawled out on the floor like discarded rag dolls, while Willow's clearly unconscious body was lying off to the side of the men.

Looking around for her other ex-lover, Buffy finally located Spike dangling from a flagpole jutting from one of the second floor balconies, with several feet of the jaggedly-broken shaft protruding from his stomach. His face was badly bruised and his right arm was hanging limply and awkwardly, as though it were broken, dislocated, or both.

The Potentials (Chao-Ahn, Kennedy, Vi, Rona, Molly, Amanda and Caridad) were all clustered together in a group a short distance back from where the battle was taking place, with Dawn, Anya and Andrew all standing in protective stances between the girls and Morlun, their swords held up in front of them, although the expressions on the trio's faces clearly showed that none of them really believed that they were going to survive the rest of the evening.

Another low-voiced curse and a 'thud!' drew Buffy's barely conscious attention back to the battle taking place just a few feet away, in front of her, and she turned her head in time to see Faith hanging limply from Morlun's hand, probably the same way she had been doing just a few moments earlier. As the villain's hand began glowing with an iridescent orange light, the dark-haired Slayer screamed and her body began jerking convulsively in the same manner Buffy had, when she had been his victim.

Forcing herself to move, Buffy found she could barely even lift herself off the patio stones she was laying on; and inside her mind, the Summers woman cursed bitterly and furiously as she tried to summon sufficient strength to do more than just sit up.

"Gun!" the blonde Slayer heard Xander shout, and she shifted her eyes to the side in time to see Connor toss Wesley's pistol into the construction worker's hands. Xander then pointed it at Morlun's face and pull the trigger, multiple times.

The sound of the gunshots echoed through the patio area, but aside from making the villain's head snap back slightly from the bullets' impact, the attack appeared to do accomplish little apart from making him drop Faith to the ground. Morlun merely smiled at his attacker, displaying a set to pearly-whites that would have any Hollywood star or starlet green with envy. The bullet wounds then quickly healed without a trace.

“The hell with this,” the being who was purportedly Cordelia Chase suddenly abandoned Angel, and the Beastmaster finally showed its true colors. “You picked the wrong time to interfere with my plans, buddy –”

And yet, Morlun seemed to think otherwise as he almost blurred into action, grabbing the seer around her neck, lifting the Beastmaster up and starting to drain her dry. The villain seemed surprised for a moment, but then he threw his head back and laughed in sudden, unexpected, orgiastic pleasure – as the essence of the rogue PTB which had possessed Cordelia months ago in the higher realms was sucked out and consumed by the bad guy.

To Morlun, it was like feasting on the soul of a fallen angel – which was not all that far from the truth. But all too soon, the fallen Power's essence was gone, sucked out of every single cell of the human host's body. The real Cordelia then screamed in pain, as Morlun began to dine on the second course this particular woman had to offer.

"You bastard!"

The furious, barely audible curse came from Xander Harris, who had recovered the axe Faith had been so adroitly using against their superhumanly powerful opponent, although the demon-hunting carpenter wasn't wielding it anywhere near as expertly.

His rage-fueled attack had slashed Morlun's arm and had forced the monster to drop Cordelia, as well as now focusing their enemy's attention entirely on him.

"You know, you and your friends have managed to inflict almost as much damage to me as the much-vaunted Spiderman did," Morlun said, as he knocked what would eventually become known as the ‘Slayer scythe' from Xander's grip and grabbed the man by his shirtfront. "Which, I suppose, is somehow fitting – since you're all going to die, just as he did."

Smiling as he wrapped his hand around Xander's throat, Morlun sneered and predicted, "You won't even amount to an appetizer," as an instant later, his hand began glowing again.

This time, however, instead of the orange illumination produced when he had drained Buffy and Faith and even Cordelia/the Beastmaster, Morlun's hand now started to glow with a bright green radiance – and a look of horror appeared on the creature's face as he stared at his current victim.

"No!" Morlun shouted, as he frantically began shaking his arm, as though he were trying to release Xander, and yet was unable to do so.

"NO!" Morlun screamed again, the terror in his voice now unmistakable as he desperately swung his arm around in an effort to rid himself of the barely conscious man in his grasp, while the bottle green glow both grew brighter and began spreading across his body. "NO! LET ME GO! I WON'T FEED ON THEM AGAIN! I PROMISE! I SWEAR! I – NO, NO, NOOOOOO!!!"

In the span of just a few seconds, Morlun's screams had become completely unintelligible howls of agony and his entire body glowed a brilliant green – the exact same color as the energy blasts Xander Harris had absorbed approximately a year earlier when he'd stepped between an enraged and grief-stricken Willow Rosenberg, who had been drawing energy from Gaia and transferring it to the Temple of Proserpexa, in an attempt to destroy the world and end her own pain and suffering.

After a bare handful of seconds, Morlun's body was glowing so brightly that no one could even look at him, and an instant later, the life-draining monster's body seemed to explode in an arcane blast showering the courtyard with a plethora of ethereal icons – an apparently randomly selection from across the entire animal kingdom.

As the totems released from Morlun's body floated above the winery's courtyard, the vast majority began to either evaporate or disappear, while a handful seemed to hesitate for a moment, before they began to descend towards the various people gathered below.

Dawn and Anya watched with open-mouthed wonder as the totems floated down towards everyone present, their approach appearing almost reassuring, rather than ominous. And for some reason, it didn't occur to either of them – nor to anyone else in the group who was still conscious – to try to avoid contact.

Dawn broke into a brilliant smile as she saw a sleek young fox confidently approach her and hesitate for only the briefest of moments for her agreement, before merging with her. A raven subsequently swooped down an instant later, and followed its companion's actions by blending with the former Key without any effort whatsoever.

The younger Summers sister then watched as what appeared to be a faintly glowing rooster and a cougar both hovered above her barely conscious sister's head for a moment before then smoothly and effortlessly merging with her. At the same time, the image of grizzly bear did the same with Giles, likewise an ant with Wesley, and a large, beautifully colored moth seemed to fuse with Willow.

Dawn also noticed what looked like a small bobcat or lynx blending with Angel, while what was undoubtedly a white Persian cat casually floated towards Cordy and merged with her, without even the slightest indecision. Connor likewise received a crow totem, the miracle child's expression suddenly becoming one of wonder and delight as the animal spirit unhesitatingly chose to merge with him.

Spike, still skewered and unconscious, never even seemed to notice as a snake totem entered to blend with him. The Potentials – Chao-Ahn, Kennedy, Vi, Rona, Molly, Amanda and Caridad – all respectively bonded with a wolf, a jaguar, a leopard, a wasp, a hyena, a beetle, and a lizard totem, their eyes wide as the teenage girls merged with the various spirits.

Anya, meanwhile, had calmly watched as an ethereal scorpion seemed to scuttle across the air towards her. It paused for an instant in front of her, as though questioning her willingness to join with it, before then eagerly scrambling forward when she nodded her assent, fading from view as it blended with her. An equally confident mink followed the scorpion totem a moment later, and Anya smiled over how it didn't even pause as it smoothly joined with her.

Shifting her gaze towards her former fiancé, the ex-vengeance demon was somewhat surprised to see Xander's unconscious body surrounded by a group of totems – she quickly identified a coyote, a gorilla, a monkey, a hawk and an owl among them – who all seemed to be vying for acceptance by the founder of the Scooby Gang. Hearing Dawn chuckling quietly, Anya's gaze flickered away for the briefest of moments, to witness Andrew merging with both a monkey and a frog totem, and when she looked back, all of the totems around her ex had vanished, leaving her curious as to which one Xander had accepted and merged with.

{ Oh well, it's not like I really need to know which totems Xander merged with right now, } Anya reflected to herself. { I can always just ask him later, if it should turn out to be important. }

{ Besides, I really need to find out where the bathrooms are in this place. I'm lucky my bowels held out as long as they did with that Morlun being threatening everyone. I'm not waiting any longer. I need to find a restroom *now*! }

~/~/~

All across the courtyard, everyone was merging with one, or in some cases, two or possibly more, of the totems released by Morlun's death. Although in one particular case, one of the freed totems was hesitant about approaching the person in question.

As Faith lay on the still warm stones forming the patio's surface, trying to recover from Morlun's near-lethal attack, she could easily see the black- and white-painted face of a feral young woman apparently crouched in the air above her head and watching her with caution and suspicion in equal measure. A young woman who seemed to be even more forceful and more powerful than she'd appeared once before, years ago in the newly-called Slayer's dreams.

"What are you waiting for, bitch?" Faith murmured as she finally managed to summon enough energy to lift her head up off the patio stones. "You and me – we belong together.

"So, get your boney Primal ass over here," she commanded, only to let out a weak laugh at the narrow-eyed look the Slayer totem gave her in return, before she rose from her crouch and took an ethereal step forward. After another brief moment of hesitation, Sineya reached out towards Faith's heart, and vanished immediately the moment they touched.

"Glad to see you know better than to fuck with me, bitch," Faith smirked to herself as she felt a rush of energy begin coursing through her as a jackrabbit joined the first Slayer, invigorating her and making her feel stronger with each passing second.

Pushing herself to her feet and looking around, Faith the Vampire Slayer had a sudden, unexpected but completely certain, premonition that the problems the Sunnydale crowd had been experiencing these last few months had been resolved by the actions and reactions of Xander Harris against their unexpected antagonist, just a few short minutes ago.

The one and *only* Slayer in this world wasn't sure whether she was imagining things or not, but she thought that, just for the briefest of moments, she could hear screams of frustration echoing down some not-quite real hallways, followed by the equally uncertain sounds of what sounded like a Bronx cheer resonating down those same ethereal halls.

Anyway, regardless of whether she'd been imagining things or not, after everything that had gone down tonight, things were most definitely gonna be changing here in dear ol' Sunnydale.

And if the bad guys – the First or the Bringers or whatever the hell B had called them – didn't like that idea, she'd be more than happy to beat some sense into their heads.

FIN

~/~/~

For more information on Morlun, check here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morlun.

For more information on animal totems, check here: http://www.starstuffs.com/animal_totems/.

The End

You have reached the end of "Gluttony Can Be Hazardous To Your Health". This story is complete.

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