Always and Forever
The creature (no, the girl!) looked like she was about to turn and flee, but faced him and hung her head.
"Yes" she said telepathically, sounding as though the weight of the world was on her shoulders. "It's me."
"What happened to you?" asked Conner.
"This... this is what I am" said M'gann, preparing for the rejection she knew was coming. "This is my true form."
Conner leaped forward and wrapped his arms around her slender body with all his might.
"Not that! The crash! The fighting! I was so worried about you!"
"Conner... I..." M'gann was at a loss for words.
"When the ship went down... I couldn't bear the thought of losing you" said the Kryptonian.
The Martian started to pull away. "Aren't you repulsed? How can you stand to see me like this?"
Conner wrapped his hands around hers. "M'gann, I was born in a laboratory. I got most of my education from psychic monkeys with horns. I'm not even a year old yet. If you think something like this could possibly change how I feel about you, you've got another thing coming."
"It's just that... on Mars, being a White living among the Green is the worst thing you can be. I've been shamed and rejected so many times... I couldn't take the chance here."
"I still love you" said Conner. "And I'm sure the rest of the Team will too."
"No!" shouted M'gann suddenly. "We can't tell them!"
"Don't they deserve to know?"
"I... I don't want to risk it. What if... what if they don't want me on the Team anymore?"
Conner stared into her eyes. "M'gann. They will. Trust me."
"We can talk about this later. Right now we need to help the others."
"What happened to them?" asked M'gann, almost afraid to ask.
"I'm not sure about the rest, but Aqualad was attacked and disappeared and Robin and Kid Flash have been captured by Sportsmaster. I heard Artemis was with you. What happened?"
"I... I don't know" said M'gann. "I blacked out after we lost the ship and woke up like this. I don't know why, but something's keeping me from shapeshifting. My telekinesis is gone and my telepathy is barely strong enough to talk to you right now. But I knew you were in danger. I'm not sure how."
"Allow me to fill in the details."
The two young heroes spun around to see a regretfully familiar figure standing on a thick tree branch, toying with a flail, what looked like a large grin behind his blue hockey mask.
"Sportsmaster" said Conner, anger welling up inside of him.
"We've known your secret for a while, little missy. And as it turns out, there are some wonderful cancer drugs developed by a group called Farano Enterprises that stabilize cellular structures. Including those of shapeshifters. It'll take at least half a day until the dose I gave you wears off. Combine that with some basic sedatives to keep your psychic powers under control and suddenly a scary little Martian is harmless and ready to be released into the wild."
"Why?" demanded Superboy. "If you had her captive, why did you need to let her go?"
Sportsmaster gave his flail a spin. "Why, to find you, of course. A simple hypnotic suggestion that you were in danger – thanks to a friend of mine – and we knew she'd track you down soon enough. I mean, you're dating, right? A freak of nature and a monster from another planet. How romantic!"
Sportsmaster laughed. He laughed. Superboy balled his fists. If his powers were at full strength, he would have leaped at Sportsmaster and pounded his face into the ground. As it was, he wasn't even sure if he could make it off the ground.
The mercenary continued. "A real sob story. Too bad I have to break it up. You escaped me once, clone. Not again. And this time, I brought a friend. Doctor, if you would be so kind as to introduce yourself? Oh, wait. You've already met."
Another figure emerged from behind the tree. It was seven feet tall with a dome at the head, making it look like a cheesy villain from an old spaceman film. The figure had glowing blue tubes snaking around its body and was carrying what looked like a bazooka.
"As I understand it, the two of you are the reason for our failure at Belle Reve" said Mr. Freeze, his voice cold and mechanical. "So this could be considered... payback!"