Disclaimer: I do not own Young Justice.
Author's note: Little Mermaid is one of my favorite Disney adaptations and after reading Megan's background, particularly her having twelve sisters, I was inspired to write a Young Justice version of the Little Mermaid. I would like to thank my three year-old godsister for making me watch Little Mermaid. If it weren't for her obsession toward the love struck mermaid, I would never have come up with this story.
So I hope you enjoy reading the first chapter.
The telescope was her most prized possession. Her uncle gave it to her on her thirteenth birthday, and she would never leave the house without it. Under the close watch of stars and neighboring planets, in the park, or from her bedroom, M'gann focused on one thing only: Planet Earth. Her sisters and classmates called her an Earth lover, a hippie, a homo alien. Instead of feeling dejected, however, she felt uplifted. Earth lover. Hippie. Homo alien. Those were terms widely used in the history of mankind. M'gann felt she was a lost soul in her home planet.
From her room's balcony, M'gann looked at the red expanse of her backyard. Mars was a desert, filled with sand, sporadic rock formations, and limited plant life. Their supply of water was sparse and yet it was sweet, as if sprinkled with sugar. Even though the air was dusty, the weather was warm at mornings and cool at nights. The only weather trouble was sandstorms that could cover an entire town like a comforter.
M'gann loved Mars. But she loved Earth even more. Something about it was a mystery to her, something worth exploring. Of all the textbooks and novels she read about Earth, she always found her desire deepening. She wanted to swim in the salty seas, trudge through muddy swamps, get bitten by mosquitoes in the Amazon rainforest, roast under the hot sun in the Sahara desert, and freeze in the cold climate of Alaska.
She wanted to drown in such daring conditions that can only be experienced on Mother Earth. But despite her big, atrocious dreams, she was forbidden to cross the universe. Her father was the King of Mars and sadly for her she was born to a family of royalty. Therefore, she was prohibited to even think of going to Earth.
She was young and inexperienced to walk among the humans. But such reasoning never stopped M'gann from opposing her father. Her uncle, J'onn J'onzz, was the head general of the Martian army and he often traveled to Earth and back.
M'gann would never forget the day when the large man with the letter 'S' inscribed on his chest paved the way for the history of humans and Martians alike. The man was called Superman and he saved Mars from near destruction. When asked of his background, he said that he was from Earth, a civilization so underdeveloped and yet mysterious that a small number of Martians began taking interest in the planet. One of them was her uncle.
J'onn J'onzz saw the potential in mankind during his first visit. Their kindness, courage, and curiosity intrigued him. When it was revealed that Martians were in fact real (it was hilarious to think that humans once thought Martians ate their brains for breakfast), the humans initially responded with fear. But that soon changed when he helped the Justice League, and they welcomed him with open arms.
Mars and Earth had since then formed a treaty of helping each other. M'gann dreamed that one day she would join her uncle in the military ranks, to fight alongside humans.
"At your telescope again, youngest sister?" Her oldest sister M'rjorie asked.
All thirteen sisters lived in two adjoining bedrooms. The first six occupied one room, and the other half shared the adjacent room. It was chaotic sometimes, especially with the lack of privacy. Especially when no one shared the same interest as her. But M'gann was closest to M'rjorie because she still looked out for M'gann, still encouraged M'gann to follow her dreams even though M'rjorie was worried where such dreams would eventually lead her.
After their mother died when M'gann was only five, M'rjorie took on the role as both mother and sister. She gave up so much free time to care for her sisters that she nearly didn't marry. After her husband's death in the fire tragedy that almost destroyed Mars a year ago, M'rjorie returned to her sisters' bedsides, grief-stricken by her loss but she rarely showed it.
"Earth is brightest during this time of night, oldest sister. Want to see?" M'gann asked eagerly, her cheeks bright and pink.
"Sure," M'rjorie said, peeking through the lens. "It's beautiful," she complied after awhile.
"Isn't it?" M'gann said, beaming. M'gann bent over once again for another long look.
"But it's time for bed, youngest sister. We have a long day ahead of us tomorrow."
M'gann groaned, standing up to face her sister. "But Uncle J'onn is coming home tomorrow! I don't want to miss his arrival."
"But you shall see him at the party, youngest sister. Remember, you only turn sixteen once." M'rjorie pushed her sister to the door. "Time for bed," she whispered in her sister's ear.
"I'm not tired yet," M'gann said, trying hard not to whine.
"Are you really my sister? How can you not be excited for your own birthday party? You get presents, new dresses, jewelry. You're such a hippie, youngest sister," M'lanie, number five, said.
"Not everything is about materialistic things, sister. Besides, what's so great about turning another year older?" M'gann said, giving in. She changed into her nightgown.
"Why, boys of course, silly!" M'ndy said, giggling to herself. She was number twelve, and she was now dating her seventh boyfriend.
"You and boys," M'riam rolled her eyes at M'ndy. M'riam was number seven.
"Everyone, time for bed. Come on, M'riam, M'lissa, M'lody, M'rcedes, M'chelle, M'ndy, and M'gann. Bed." M'rjorie called her sisters to bed. "To the other room, M'ldred, M'rilyn, M'randa, M'lanie, M'nica."
"What about story time, eldest sister?" M'chelle asked. Her favorite book was about a star-crossed love between a Martian peasant boy and Martian rich girl.
M'rjorie smiled. "Alright. One story and then bed. We have a long day ahead of us, sisters. There's no room to be tired tomorrow."
"Yes," they exclaimed in unison. They loved it when M'rjorie read to them every night. As they huddled together in one big circle around M'rjorie, M'gann could only wish for happiness and love to befall their sister.
Before she knew it, she began drifting off to sleep. She dreamed that she was like that rich girl who found her one true love, only that their love was never going to last. It was doomed from the beginning, and the rest of their lives were to be filled with pain and tragedy.
M'gann cried softly in her sleep. The only time M'gann cried in her bed was when J'cobb, M'rjorie's late husband, died in the accident. She wept for her sister during those long months of grief. M'rjorie only mourned when she thought she was alone, but M'gann saw through her sister. J'cobb was a dear partner, friend, and officer. He saved a number of people when a building was on fire, the smoke suffocating him before he could phase through the walls. He was able to save all Martian victims, excluding his own. J'cobb had always looked out for others before himself, like M'rjorie.
M'gann wondered if she was destined to love someone who would truly love her. Or was she doomed to be alone and rejected for the rest of her life? She felt alone and suffocated in these stonewalls, teased for wishing to be human. She had everything a Martian would want: wealth, princes, stability. Sometimes she envied M'rjorie's beauty and kindness, but she could never harbor such feelings so long. She loved her sister immensely—there was no room for other feelings toward the only sister who tried to understand her for who she was.
She couldn't go back to sleep at this rate. Wide-awake, M'gann rose from her bed, careful not to make the slightest sound. She tiptoed past a row of beds, like an orphanage, and slipped out the door.
M'gann glided down the hallway, close to the walls. She was quiet, making sure that no one else, especially the guards, was in the vicinity. From the East Wing, M'gann made her way to the Far West Wing, to her uncle's room.
Uncle J'onn's room was cluttered with Earth's souvenirs. Instead of the Martian minimalist, Uncle's room was gaudy and strange. M'gann loved to be in his room. The plush carpet, old bookcases, obsolete human technology, winding staircase that led to a loft, and loveseat—these things seemed out of place but it suited her uncle's personality. He looked stern on the outside but he was playful and curious on the inside. M'rjorie sometimes called M'gann her uncle's daughter, which M'gann took as a compliment.
She climbed up the staircase and crawled into her uncle's bed. It was quite hard, firmer than hers. Uncle said it was called therapeutic, another human invention. M'gann still didn't understand how something hard could make one fall asleep but before she could debate the advantages of a bed so soft that it could swallow you whole, she dozed off.
Swimming in darkness, she forgot where she was. But she felt warm and content. She dug her head deeper into the pillow, and she smelled lavender and a hint of cloves. Then she remembered. She was curled in her uncle's bed, his essential oils filling the room.
Martians initially found foreign perfumes strange, but Uncle slowly brought the trend to fruition. Nowadays, M'gann's sisters would never leave the castle without showering themselves with a plethora of scents like citrus fruits and earthy herbs.
The hint of clover grew stronger and M'gann breathed in deeper. She wondered how her uncle was doing at the moment. She wondered if he was on his way home right now, steering his spaceship, remembering that her birthday party was a few hours away.
"Nice place. Cozy," a foreign voice said.
M'gann's eyes popped open instantly. She sat up, inching her way slowly to the edge of the loft. She heard her uncle talking to the stranger.
"Most of the furniture was from an antiques shop. Except for the computers and television," J'onn said, handing Superman a glass of brandy. Martians usually didn't drink, but J'onn kept a wine cabinet in case human visitors came for a look around.
"Yeah, Samsung. Looks like you have the latest model," Superman observed.
"Actually, it's a year old. But in Martian's eyes, this technology is obsolete," J'onn pointed out.
Superman only nodded. "Yeah. We have flat screens, you have holographic transmission. The human race is obsolete."
"You are a very interesting race, however," J'onn said, patting his friend's back.
"But what I don't understand about your furniture is this," Superman pointed at the loveseat. "Seriously?"
J'onn shrugged his shoulders. "It's more comfortable than the Lazy Boy."
Superman let out a hearty laugh. "Or you're a romantic at heart. You have to smile more often, J'onn. Your room alone says it all."
"Humans care too much about their outward appearance. I feel happy, I'm happy. Why must I voluntarily pull the corners of my mouth to convey such feelings?" J'onn said, sitting down.
"It's an involuntary emotion. You're just new at it," Clark said, standing awkwardly. If he sat on the loveseat with J'onn, his personal space would be shattered completely. He shifted to his right foot, gulping down his drink.
"It's strange, and sometimes unnecessary," J'onn said, oblivious to his friend's slight discomfort.
"Don't tell me that Martians are emotionless by nature?" Superman said.
"Not emotionless. We're more composed."
"Oh, like the British," Superman said, leaning against the wine cabinet.
As M'gann watched the two men converse, she could feel her heart beating very fast and hard against her chest. She was actually looking at Superman. She was mere inches from his presence. If only she could say his name and he would know her, she would be the happiest Martian in Mars. She glanced at his broad shoulders, his tall stature, square jaw and cleft chin, and a curl stuck to his forehead. He looked handsome and strong, the same height as her uncle.
She was about to make her presence known when she heard her name.
"So it's your niece's birthday today?" Superman asked.
M'gann realized that it was six in the morning. She was sixteen, crossing another milestone, a rite of passage into adulthood. She would be regarded more as a princess, fit for marriage and entitled to a number of royal duties.
But was that what she wanted? To carry on her duty to her people and to be married and have children? Was this her destiny?
"Yes, her name's M'gann. You'd love her," J'onn smiled, and Clark noticed that it was involuntary.
"Well, you mention her every time." Superman said. "I can't wait to meet her."
M'gann blushed. She wanted to scream his name, call out to him, let him know that she was here. She leaned forward, but as she moved closer to the edge, she nearly lost her balance and gasped.
Both J'onn and Superman looked up and stared at her, surprised that she was eavesdropping on them.
"M'gann? What are you doing here?" J'onn asked, flying to her.
"Uncle J'onn! I'm so happy you're here," M'gann shot up and embraced her uncle. "I couldn't sleep in my bed, and I missed you immensely. I couldn't wait to see you. I'm sorry if I startled you and… you friend Superman." M'gann looked at Superman hesitantly, her cheeks burning up.
J'onn laughed. "I'm happy to see you, too. Come down, I'm sure you'd love to meet your hero."
She brushed her sweat-filmed hands on her dress, flicked a flock of hair out of her eyes. She held out a hand to Superman.
"My name is M'gann M'orzz. I'm so happy to meet you," M'gann said.
Superman took her hand, made a slight nod to her. "It's a pleasure to finally meet you, Princess. I've heard so many good things about you. I hear your dream is to join the military with your uncle?"
M'gann nodded. "More than that, I want to fight alongside you and Uncle."
Superman smiled. "We'll be waiting for you then."
Just then the door opened and a young man came in. He looked slightly annoyed, his dark, tousled hair sticking out in all directions. His sapphire-blue eyes were serious and full eyebrows were deeply furrowed, but when he realized that the opposite sex was in the room, he instantly lightened up and apologized for his rudeness.
"Sorry, I didn't know there was another person in the room."
"Lost your way from the bathroom again?" Superman said with a smirk.
The young man glared at him. "I've only been here twice. Can you blame me for the immense layout of the castle?"
"I've taught you better than to let your sense of direction take the fall. You know better than to blame your so-called lack of direction," Superman said.
"Well, what do you want me to say? That I'm sorry for not paying closer attention when I was forced to come here at one in the morning only to celebrate a bratty princess' birthday?" The young man said through gritted teeth. He tried to remain calm but his temper was harder to contain. He clenched his fists to stop himself from lunging at his mentor.
"Superboy, apologize now." Superman demanded, looked crossly at his protégé.
"Why should I?" Superboy nearly yelled.
M'gann stepped forward, interrupted Superman, and held out her hand to Superboy. She smiled at him. "My name is M'gann M'orzz. I'm sorry if Superman had to bring you here for my birthday. I didn't even know Uncle J'onn was bringing company."
Superboy gawked at her and his face was bright red. "You're Princess M'gann?"
M'gann nodded. "You can call me M'gann. No need for formalities here." She looked into his deep-set eyes, his square jaw line, his no-nonsense lips, his massive chest.
She was in love.
Superboy gingerly took her hand. "I didn't mean to call you bratty. I was tired and I wasn't thinking and I'm sorry—"
"What is your name?" M'gann touched his lips, feeling courageous all of sudden.
"Connor. Name's Connor Kent," Superboy said. Her fiery-red hair and green skin felt smooth and soft, she smelled slightly of lavender, and her freckles added charm to her adorable smile.
He felt something flutter in his gut.
They stared at each other for what seemed like minutes and J'onn had to clear his throat to interrupt their staring contest.
Conner turned around to hide his blush and he strolled toward the wine cabinet for support, his back facing M'gann.
M'gann nervously pinned her hair behind her ear, unwilling to look at the looming shadows of her uncle and Superman. But Superman finally broke the ice. Thankfully.
"So when's breakfast? I'm starving," Superman asked J'onn.
"Let's go to the dining room. I made sure they served your favorite—blueberry waffles and scrambled eggs," J'onn said, leading the way.
"I don't mind having a taste of Martian cuisine," Superman said.
"Ah, chopped cacti and fried salamander?" J'onn said, his appetite growing.
"Actually, I'll stick to pancakes and eggs for now," Superman's voice had a hint of disgust after listening to his friend.
M'gann inwardly laughed. She glanced at Connor, and felt regret for coming at him so candidly.
"Hey, Superboy?" She said, softer now. When he turned to look at her, she asked, "Care to join me for breakfast?"
Superboy nodded, a slow smile playing across his face. "Connor will do. No need for formalities."
M'gann blushed and as she walked ahead of him, he suddenly stopped her, called her name. The way his voice uttered her name sent butterflies soaring inside her.
She faced him, looked at him expectantly.
He dug something out from his pocket, a gold chain roped around his hand. Dangling from the chain was a butterfly. It was a charm necklace.
"Happy Birthday, Princess," Connor said, untangling her gift in front of her. He hardly knew her but he still gave her a present. M'gann turned around so he could hook the necklace around her neck.
With their bodies so close to each other, with his arms over her as if they were locked in an embrace, M'gann could hear his heart throbbing quickly, his strong arms wrapping around her like he were protecting her.
When he was finished, she slowly turned to face him once again, a blush coloring her cheeks.
"It's from Superman and me. It was from Macy's." As soon as he said the store's name, he regretted his mistake. He remembered Artemis' sage advice about gift-giving with women: thou shall not reveal the store from where the gift was bought, and the word 'sale' was forbidden.
"Thank you, Connor. I love it!" She touched the butterfly and grinned at him.
"Your uncle mentioned you love butterflies," Connor said, relieved that she loved his gift and that she didn't question its origin.
"I do love them. They're beautiful and colorful and free. They're amazing creatures," M'gann said, feeling suddenly shy.
Suddenly, a low growl broke the silence.
Connor grabbed his stomach, flushed with embarrassment over his body's protest for food.
"Let's go eat," M'gann grabbed his hand, nearly berating herself for her brash move. She expected him to flinch or pull away, but he leaned in closer, following her.
"I'm so hungry that fried salamander doesn't so bad," Conner said.
"I'm sure the chef made plenty. It's one of my favorites," M'gann said, giggling.
"Who knew," Connor said, rethinking his choice of words. But as he studied this strange Martian girl, he felt something good about her. He felt so much at ease with her, protective even, that he was willing to open up to another girl again.
To be continued…
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