-x-

The downtown subway accident had been purely coincidental— not some grand scheme of a fiendish supervillain, not circumstantial strings pulled by a mob boss to launch a riot or to fulfill an act of revenge on a passenger; rather, it had been a brief miscommunication from the station to the conductor about new construction.

When the authorities gave up searching the wreckage of the subway cars, it was their turn to double-check everything. After nearly an hour and growing more wary by the minute of any survivors coming out the smoking remains, Superboy picked up a faint heartbeat to a crushed, overturned row of seats where a bleeding little girl huddled underneath a woman's body. She clung desperately with all of her strength in her chubby, bruise-laced arms, screeching "Momma! Momma!" high-pitched when Superboy carried her out, the little girl's fingers tangling into long, blood-damp locks of silky brown hair.

M'gann joined her teammate, gently freeing the little fingers, and looked over her shoulder momentarily with outward sympathy—at the blank, glassy green eyes of the body, the dirtied lavender blouse.

Despite her injuries—torn muscles in her right leg, an assortment of lacerations on the uncovered skin on her face and neck and hands—the little girl kept screeching until the paramedics guided her away from everyone to sedate her. The noises quieted to shuddery, ugly hiccupping and weeping. Roy glanced over at the little girl seated on a wool blanket getting her pulse checked, to the floor of the underground station, as she began pleading in louder whispers, "Momma-… Momma-…" and his eyebrows pulled together in a sort of dark frustration.

"Can someone just—?" he growled aloud, and Artemis took in a sharp breath loudly through her lips, jerking his attention to the eerily solemn Martian girl—the red X across her uniformed chest fading away, skin paling to a human olive-tone. That same expression of fixed solemnness didn't twitch in agitation or embarrassment, and neither did hesitation shine in a pair of living, older, green eyes clumped with mascara. M'gann's teammates observed in mixed amounts of confusion and guarded expectation as her new form walked towards the paramedics.

A hush fell over the station. M'gann opened her arms, going to her knees as human warmth pressed insistent into her lavender blouse, the little girl's fingers tangling into clean, silky brown hair.

-x-

Wally's shoulder and the side of his head collided painfully into one of the lockers.

"Geek."

The side of his tongue bled a bit where Wally bit down upon impact, healing quickly inside his mouth.

"Piece of shit."

The senior bully clutching Wally's now stretched, maroon-colored shirt collar gave an uncomfortably hard push, snarling.

"Loser."

His buddies high-fived each other and laughed uproariously, pitching in their own insults. Wally dabbed at the small cut on his forehead with his fingertips, smirking wordlessly and gravely at his assaulter.

"Pussy."

Sticks and stones, right…?

"Freak."

The bully's meaty fist aiming smack for Wally's mouth wavered from its course— as another hand, popping with blue veins and weathered skin, tapped studiously on the bully's knuckles. Everyone froze in the emptied boy's locker room as Mr. Zeiss¹ cleared his throat mildly. "My office," he informed them with an arranged facial expression, his voice smooth like satin. "Now." Wally stared, eyes bugging as the older boys shuffled out without another word, grumbling once they reached the hallways, and the locker room door swung empty.

He started forward until his teacher held out a hand in front of him.

"I trust you didn't start this."

Wally shook his head, rubbing at his stinging shoulder. "No. I didn't, sir," he murmured. When Mr. Zeiss went for the door, lips pursed together into a thin line, Wally spoke up to stop him, "Sir…?" A spontaneous grin. "We still gonna cook that giant cookie cake recipe before everyone gets back into the Cave tonight?"

The man abruptly smacked his forehead with an exasperated look. "Heeello Megann~! I still need to grab eggs—" The look dropped immediately and faded to timidity. "Oh…u-um, how did you…?"

"A short history lesson about Mr. Zeiss for ya, Megs," Wally clapped the imposter on the back, rattling his coke-bottle glasses. "He would have encouraged them to beat me where the bruises wouldn't show in public." Wally's grin began to resemble a grimace as he added offhandedly, "The charms of trying to go to public school and keeping a secret identity at the same time."

"Did they…?"

Wally rubbed at his shoulder again, glancing away from her as M'gann asked the question with obvious concern.

"I don't bruise easily. Not on a good day," he said. "So, you plan on giving them a stern talking-to or are you just going to have them sweat it out for a few hours?"

"It's a nice day today. Not a cloud in the sky." The mean, beady eyes behind the thick glasses flared with a white-hot glow. "Maybe they could be convinced to run forty laps on the track…"

Wally glanced back up at her, grin returning slowly.

"That works too."

-x-

An indoor waterfall trickled serenely against one of the rock walls.

"Is there something you would like to say to me, Superboy?"

Superboy glowered somewhat at the grown man with a bold, red S-shield folding his hands patiently in front of him.

"No."

"Absolutely nothing you want to talk about?" The Superman look-alike blinked at a low grunt of irritation. "About how I may treat you sometimes with animosity? About how you may feel about that?"

Superboy's hands once lax now fisted into the stuffing on his armchair, breaking apart fabric stitching. He stood up quickly to walk out of the glass doors, scowling, "This is stupid—"

"I'm sorry."

The sudden announcement in the room halted him in his tracks. Superboy circled around, narrowing his eyes cautiously as the image of Superman shrugging a little, his deep red cape slipping down his broad shoulders, "If you believed that… would you be willing to talk to me?" Calming blue eyes leveled Superboy's. "You want to talk to me, don't you?"

"If you were really Superman," the teenager said, frowning. "An exercise doesn't count."

"Are you sure?" The corners of Superman's lips lifted slightly. "Or would you have walked out sooner?" Superboy's face burned.

"You are avoiding rejection, Conner. You don't want to be hurt especially when the person hurting you is the person you want approval from the most." He took a step back unconsciously as the Superman imitation placed his hands on his knees, standing up tall and straight. "You should try reaching out before giving up completely." A large, muscular hand presented itself between them.

"Not right now if you aren't comfortable," he told Superboy. "But… someday you need to."

Superboy eyed the hand, and then smirked widely, and it was mirrored by the grown man.

"You should try imitating Black Canary someday. You do a good job of it."

-x-

The monthly sessions eventually became something akin to habit. Kaldur would seek her out, like seeking comfort, and she… grew tired trying to rationalize this situation.

M'gann arranged herself into his lap, draping her arms round his shoulders, as the rhythm of their lovemaking tempered to a fluid and more gentle ease from its earlier desperation. Her dark emerald green belly brushed his flat, umber-colored stomach at the next controlled and rolling thrust, pressing up the sensitive walls of her vagina. A wash of pleasure traveled to the ends of her toes when Kaldur's lips traced the splatter of freckles just under her chin and she swiped her tongue experimentally from the joint of his shoulder to his collarbone. The motions were… automatic.

He quivered against her, fingers playing down her slim, clenching thighs, and moaned under his breath a name that was not hers—and M'gann took the hint. He moaned Tula and maht ² continuously, reaching up benevolently to stroke the transformed light brown hair, and quickened the pace of thrusting until she leaned out of grasp, riding her legs to his waist, planting her hands to the mattress underneath. Perhaps it should bother her more—what they do, what he selfishly asks from her, what she deliberately agrees to—and M'gann can't rationalize it. Not anymore.

-x-

When she fought capture in the decrepit shack, one of the Bialyan soldiers who had ducked receiving a kick to the throat from her grinned nastily and spat into the knotted rag tied against her mouth. Somewhere down the gloomy shadows of the hallway, from the open door, M'gann caught the corrosive scent of gasoline. A new seed of fear planted in her chest but her heart pounded in anticipation.

{I'm in. Where are you?}

The male voice resounding through their mental link told her firmly, {Coming your way. Just hang on. Superboy is with me.} She made a subtle tug on her ropes binding her to the thick, wood post to test them. They were loose enough to get out of if she could apply the strength, or use her telekinesis. At least five separate ways using her abilities alone could get her out of here.

But… getting -out- was the final stage of her mission.

Gleaming red from a deep cut already healed shone under the weak light of the shack as M'gann craned her neck towards the door, groaning muffled.

{Kid Flash and Artemis were taken, Robin. I can't see them from where I am.}

One of the soldiers passing yanked her up by the collar of the Robin cape she manifested and cracked her across the masked face with the butt of his gun.

{Don't panic. I'll take care of it, I promise. Do you see the scarab?} ³

She hung limply against the bindings, examining her surroundings dizzily before pretending to pass out. With eyes closed, M'gann felt the same soldier yankagain this time on the crown of her sweaty mop of black hair to examine her. She slowed down her heart rate and breathing until they must have deemed their work satisfactory and shoved back her unkindly. {Pretty sure they have it,} she answered evenly. {I saw a case on the table. The symbols engraved on it… aren't human. Only a handful of people have been allowed inside this room and near it.}

"We've apprehended Batman's sidekick," the leader of the group of Bialyan soldiers acknowledged over a handheld radio.

Through the radio connection, another man asked him, brusquely, "What about the ones with us?"

Robin's voice jarred into the space of her head with the command, {We NEED you to be one hundred percent sure it's in the room with you.}

{…I'm sure.}

A crackle of radio static. The leader ordered into the radio, chuckling, "Kill them. The boy and the magical artifact are enough." His features dropped as a series of alarmed screams and banging noises echoed in clarity from right down the hallway. The remaining soldiers flooded towards the commotion. More screams.

The domino mask on M'gann's face morphed away to her usual chestnut brown eyes. She nodded up at him horrorstruck, smiling enigmatically as the rest of her team burst in, grim-faced.

"You -so- shouldn't have said that."

-x-

The soft, green curves of M'gann's body shift into naked, white angles.

Two blood-red and bulbous eyes gazed lidless at the blonde girl cross-legged on the bedroom floor in her outsized, teddy bear-print pajamas.

{This is my true self.}

M'gann's voice—soft and irresistibly girlish despite the ghoulish appearance of her White Martian exterior—trembles.

{Is this the answer you were looking for? How I really look? I'm a monster.}

Artemis's dark gray eyes carefully surveyed the creature above her, jagged teeth glistening, double claws curling inwards, before she uncurled herself to stand—not to bolt out of the room in terror, but to smooth her hands over her pajama pants and sigh to herself as if tired, "You know where I live, right? Yeah, I've seen weirder things in Gotham in the middle of the night when I sneak out." Artemis confirmed, gesturing with open hands, "You're an alien, Megann. It's not like this is brand new information to me."

At the following words, the creature shifted into a more humanoid form with the Martian uniform, a single ponytail of waist-length red hair flowing down her back. Human-shaped red eyes filled immediately with tears, rolling down chalk-white cheeks. "…How can you stand looking at me like that?" she whispered doubtfully. "Even if I haven't killed anyone on this planet... how can you be sure I won't one day?"

"Because you're not a monster," Artemis said, touching her human-warm palms to the cold skin of M'gann's shoulders reassuringly. "You're fighting on the side of the good guys… you chose to. You shouldn't have to hide who you are to protect yourself." She laughed humorlessly. "Did it for years. I'm glad everyone knows about my family now. It doesn't mean I'll make the same mistakes."

"I mean, it probably wouldn't be the smartest move to walk through Happy Harbor in full-out Martian mode but… you don't have to hide this look from me, alright?" Artemis pointed out, tugging the end of M'gann's ponytail with devilish intent and grinning thoughtfully, "The hair is kinda cute, actually. I don't think I could pull it off."

The other girl let out a noise between a weak giggle and a choked sob, "Artemis…"

Artemis moved in to hug her tightly, having the feel returned as long, white arms folded snug to her neck. M'gann pushed her wet face into the fabric of Artemis's shirt, both laughing and crying breathless.

-x-


"Five times M'gann morphed into someone else to fulfill a teammate's desires (sexual or otherwise), and one time someone wanted her exactly as she is.

("Exactly as she is" is up to anon - if she prefers her default Earth shape, or if we actually see her as a Martian for once.)"

¹ = Zeiss is a DC comic canon villian. Haha, definitely not a teacher but he is trained assassin and studies people.

² = Atlantean for "love".

³ = Reference to Blue Beetle #8 where the Blue Beetle scarab had been discovered in Bialya (by the original Blue Beetle Dan Garrett).