Uncursed

by Chicago

Disclaimers- DC Comics owns the characters, but this is pure AU.

The crashing ship left a long scar across the face of the moon that was visible from the planet below. It had come out of nowhere - literally; the transcripts from the moon attested to that. The Flash had been on monitor duty at the time, and even his swiftness could not raise a single colleague before the ship skidded down in a shower of stone and dust. Had there been an atmosphere, the Flash suspected there would also have been a spectacular fire.

In hindsight, he almost wished there had been.

He had succeeded in reaching both Superman and Green Lantern by the time the ship stopped plowing over the lunar surface, so those were the heroes who went to investigate. Both of them had enough interstellar experience to be unsurprised when the door of the ship opened as they approached. However, they were both faintly unnerved by the creature who stepped out to greet them.

It was a girl.

Or rather, it looked like a girl. No human could have survived on the surface of the moon clad only in a unisex jumpsuit. That truth prevented them both from dashing forward chivalrously to her aid. Instead they proceeded cautiously, but they assumed she needed their aid.

She appeared to be unharmed, and she did not resist when the two large men flanked her and walked with her to the Watchtower. Her eyes widened a little when Lantern crafted an ear piece for her, although she seemed to understand his gestures and let the construct settle over her head.

Lantern reported that when he spoke to her through the communicator, it left his words in English.

A teenager from the future, perhaps? Or some speculated upon other Earth? Could some fluke of evolution on some far distant star produced a language that looked and sounded enough like English to make communication possible without translation.

It was Batman who posed the more likely - and ultimately correct - answer.

"She could be a telepath."

She did not object when they brought her in under quarantine, settling her into a sealed room. She seemed indifferent to atmospheric conditions, so they left the Earth based settings intact and began to talk to her. She answered their questions in English, her accent somewhere between Clark's Midwestern vowels and John Stewart's rounded consonants.

Who was she?

Her name wouldn't translate. Perhaps they should call her Kim?

Where was she from?

Again, the name would not translate. The computers transcribed it as Mallekandra.

What was she doing?

Looking for her father.

Did she think he was on Earth?

She thought it was possible, but she had looked many places and been disappointed. She had been looking for years.

Her story played on their heartstrings, and her demeanor was entirely unthreatening. She did not object to her isolation; she knew about pathogens (more than they realized, as it turned out) and the risk of contamination.

Diana was for escorting her around, helping her on her quest. Superman proposed a series of tests to allow her out of quarantine earlier. Stewart checked her voice patterns and her description against the ring's database of known villains; she appeared to be clean. Steel beamed up to determine how best to repair her ship.

She had been on the Watchtower for almost two days before J'onn was able to free himself to investigate.

Despite her apparent tractability, Batman had been adamant. They would keep her detained and confined until J'onn could corroborate her story. The general consensus that Batman was paranoid altered quickly when J'onn entered the hangar bay where they had set up the isolation unit.

Her eyes widened hugely when he strode in, tall and green and understandably frightening to someone who did not know his gentleness. "It's okay, Kim," Superman had reassured, misinterpreting the way she backed herself away from the tempered glass standing between them. "This is J'onn. He's a friend, a telepath. Once he does a quick telepathic scan, we can get you out of there."

She shook her head and pressed back against the wall. "No," she said. "Please, dont-"

"It won't hurt," Superman continued to reassure her, but the others had shifted their stances to ones of readiness. "He'll just use a mindscan to verify-"

"I told you the truth. Please don't make him do this."

She was begging with her eyes, and it wasn't until they replayed the tape that any of them heard the pronoun confusion. Then it was too late.

J'onn stepped forward, his gentlest smile on his face. He put his hand to the glass. "I will be quick," he promised, and his expression grew more focused.

"NOOOOOO!!!!" she screamed, and they were so distracted by the way she balled her body and writhed down into a corner that they didn't watch J'onn. They only noticed how wrong it all was when the Martian collapsed in a heap.

"No!" Kim cried again, and this time she flew forward, phasing through the glass of the quarantine unit as if it were nothing. "No, please. Why did you make him do it?" she implored, wrapping her arms around J'onn's shoulders before anyone could stop her. Superman reached for her, then pulled back as her body began to change.

Her human like features shimmered away as she rocked J'onn to her chest. The tapes still play back her anguished murmurings. "Daddy, I'm so sorry. Please, Daddy. I've come so far."

J'onn stirred in her arms, regained his senses. The tapes caught his final word as well, an incredulous, "K'hym?"

She nodded as he reached his hand to her features. Diana had the angle to see his face, and she reported later that the smile he wore was more incandescent than his body when he suddenly burst into flames.

It took a long time to sort everything out. Kim - or K'hym, as the Leaguers learned the more subtle pronunciation - was what she claimed to be: the daughter of J'onn J'onzz. Neither she nor J'onn (as it turned out) had come from the Mars familiar to the denizens of Earth. The device that had transported J'onn to Earth had reached across universes during the time when there had been many universes. It had pulled J'onn away from his family during a time of plague that had decimated the Martian population.

But how did she account for J'onn's memory of her death?

She had been near death, it was true. Her mother had died already, infected because she had opened her mind to her daughter. J'onn had maintained telepathic silence much as he remembered, but when M'yri'ah had died, he had collected K'hym into his arms and fled the city. He had hoped to nurse his daughter back to health, but before he knew her fate he was taken away.

K'hym had recovered after a time, along with 10% of the Martian population. She maintained her belief that her father had not perished of H'ronmeer's Curse. When she finally saw teleportation technology in action, she knew what had happened and began her quest.

"And in the end, I killed him," she mourned as she completed her story.

She had planned for almost every contingency, but there was one she could not work around. Although she had survived, she still carried H'ronmeer's Curse. J'onn J'onzz had watched his world burn down around him and kept his mind closed to it all, only to fall victim to it during a routine mindscan decades later.

K'hym eventually took her father's place in the League. She wasn't sure how to get back to her Mars, or even if it still existed. She claimed she didn't care. She had lived her life for one goal: finding her father. Now he was found and lost forever. She could do no less than take up his burden.

The League would endure. -end-

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