(Because Rob and I bonded over being Kingdom Hearts fans when we first met, I figured that a KH-themed AU would be appropriate. Love you, Rob! <3)
The last thing M’gann M’orzz remembered was a swarm of monsters, writhing black shadows that swallowed the world: her world.
Her people had been helpless to stop them. The rudimentary minds and hearts of the creatures proved to be a complete achilles heel to their prey— a people centered entirely around the ability to communicate and interact with the world through thought. For all of the telepathic and telekinetic power of the Martian race… The shadow-monsters were simply too much. When they cornered her in the emergency exit of the labyrinthine cave system, she tried and tried her best to fly away; in the end, all she managed to accomplish was watching everything she ever knew vanish in a cloud of inky darkness.
Mars had been snuffed out.
When the blackness had overtaken her sight, too, M’gann was convinced that she was done for. She resigned herself to space. That’s why regaining consciousness had come as such a shock.
The Martian awoke with a start— bolting upright and almost knocking her head into something standing right next to her. It was yellow and furry and wait, was that a dog? A real live dog? M’gann had never seen one before… There had been a dog on her favorite program, “Hello, Megan!”, but it was like looking at a picture of Jupiter and knowing that it exists but in a distant, intangible sort of way. But this, right here, was a real, live dog. You could have shown her a unicorn and she would have been less excited than seeing this dog.
The dog was nonplussed, but chipper nonetheless. He wagged his tail and licked her face again, barking and yapping happily and running around in excited circles. M’gann laughed— this dog was looking at her in her natural form, and still he wasn’t scared? Really? He yipped and ran away, doubling back and yipping again as if he wanted her to follow him. It was only then that she realized that she had woken up in an alleyway.
“Where is this place? What happened to home? My planet?”
She pushed herself to her feet and dusted off her gangly white limbs. It wouldn’t be good to walk around some mystery place in her natural form, risking the same brand of prejudice that she had suffered back on Mars. It was time for a new shape, a new life, a new M’gann M’orzz— and she knew just the shape to pick.
M’gann followed the mystery dog out of the alleyway, getting used to walking on shorter legs and humanoid features. The end of the alley opened up into a large square, brightly-lit and full of people milling around and going about their work. It looked like it was nighttime, or at least nighttime in the way that it looked on Earth.
“Pluto, what are you doing over there, buddy?”
M’gann turned to the sound of the voice approaching her, and watched as her canine companion barked happily and pranced over to a boy, a human boy, with a shock of black hair and a pair of dark sunglasses perched across his upturned nose. He wore a smile and a green sweatshirt with equal ease, and knelt to scratch the dog (which she now knew was named ‘Pluto’) behind the ears and receive a few good licks to the face in return. He looked up, studying her for a moment and walking over.
“Are you new around here?” He asked with a smile, a friendly gesture.
“Well, uh, that depends. Where exactly is ‘here’?” M’gann played with her new red hair sheepishly, not quite sure what to do or how to act. He seemed unbothered by her awkwardness.
“Traverse Town. So you are new, then! Well, welcome!” He held out a hand, “I’m Robin. This is pluto,” He motioned to the dog, “and what’s your name?”
M’gann paused, taking the stranger’s— Robin’s— hand and shaking it like she had seen people do on Earth TV, “I’m M’gann, or, um, Megan. Call me Megan, Megan Morse. Uh, why am I here? The last thing I remember was—”
“—Your planet getting swallowed up by Heartless?” Robin finished for her, smile dropping into a slightly more bitter look of sympathy and understanding, “Yeah, I know. I mean, me too, and same with everyone here. All of these people you see here are the refugees from worlds that were swallowed by the darkness.”
Her eyes traced the crowd. All sorts of people, a kaleidoscope of dress and race and gender and species, were talking and shopping in the square around them, myriad cultures clashing right before her eyes. They were a ragtag bunch, which certainly helped to substantiate Robin’s explanation of why they (and she) were all here… It didn’t seem like he was lying.
“I know it sounds weird,” He picked up on her confusion quickly, the kid was observant, “But if you talk to anyone here you’ll get the same story— these people are all that are left of all of the places that were swallowed by the heartless. We’re the survivors, and here, Traverse Town, is where we all end up.”
This was a lot to take in. Heartless? Survivors? Traverse Town? It seemed more like a storybook than real life, yet here she was surrounded by it all. She couldn’t process it—
“So, your home was taken, too?” M’gann found herself asking him, almost unaware that the question was coming out of her mouth until after she said it. Robin’s gaze behind the glasses fell to the floor.
“Yeah,” He said, voice just a little quieter than before, “Two weeks ago. I’m from a place called Gotham City, and… Well, the Heartless attacked, and I woke up here same as you.”
“I’m so sorry.” M’gann’s brows knit with concern. He looked younger for a moment, and it was only then that she realized that he was probably just a boy, thirteen or fourteen at the oldest, “I didn’t mean to—”
“It’s fine.” The smile returned to his face, though with a bit more effort this time, “I’ve had time to deal. It was kind of a disaster, but things have gotten significantly more asterous over time. This place isn’t bad, you know?”
M’gann put a smile on her face, too, more to convince Robin (and herself) that there was something worth smiling about, “Yeah… So, I’m new here, and you’re the only person I know… Would you mind showing me around maybe? I’m a little overwhelmed!”
He smiled and laughed— and infectious laugh that made her smile turn genuine, “Sure! There’s lots to see, we’ll get you just whelmed in no time!”
Traverse Town wasn’t Mars, but for now, it would have to do. After all, M’gann’s adventures in this new world were just beginning.