AN: Yeah yeah I know this isn't the next chapter of Runaways.

Basically my headcanon is that Mario and Sonic end up adopting the pink haired Villager as their daughter. This is the result of that headcanon festering for awhile. Rose is seven, Sonic is twenty-two, and Mario is twenty-seven.


~Haunted (by the ghosts of the past)~

She wasn't afraid.

Rose gripped the handle of her axe tighter, swallowing the thick lump in her throat as she gazed up at the two abominations above her. Her legs wobbled and her hands shook as the cat-like eye of Dharkon and the blank, souless one of Galeem stared down at her, the army of Master Hands and Crazy Hands suspended in the air waiting for their orders.

She wasn't afraid.

She could hear the Smashers - her brethren - behind her struggling as the swarm of Hands descended upon them, swallowing them whole and extinguishing their sparks of life.

Rose's vision blurred with tears and her grip on her axe loosened, her weapon falling to the ground as she fell to her knees, covering her face with her hands.

She wasn't...

And then she heard it, that awful sound that paralyzed her to the ground with fear, the one that stole her entire life away the first time and was about to again. A deeper sound joined in and she covered her ears, wanting it to just end.

"N-no..."

/~/

Sonic was in the middle of a really good dream about having a chili dog buffet with Mario (about time he accepted that they were the perfect food) when he heard a gentle knocking that was certainly out of place. His ears twitched as the dream began to fade and he opened his eyes, groggily trying to regain his barings. He noticed Mario beginning to wake up next to him meaning he'd heard the noise as well.

"Is someone at the door?" Mario yawned, disoriented. Sonic slowly nodded.

"Yeah... I think so."

The knocking continued and Sonic shuffled to the door, fumbling with the lock for a moment before swinging open the door and feeling his heart plummet at the crying little girl clutching her beloved teddy bear - Mr. Stuffy - on the other side.

"Rose... what's wrong? What happened?"

Upon hearing the name of the young Smasher Mario sat bolt upright, furrowing his brows in concern. Sonic led the girl into the room and closed the door, exchanging a worried glance with Mario. Hoisting her up onto the bed he sat next to her, motioning for Mario to join them.

"I... I had a nightmare." Rose mumbled out, squeezing Mr. Stuffy tighter. Mario and Sonic exchanged a look, they certainly knew a thing or two about nightmares.

"Would talking about your nightmare make you feel better?" Mario asked kindly. Rose pondered on the question before she gave a timid nod.

"Uh-huh. We... we were fighting those big meanies again, Dharkon and G-G-Ga...leem," she struggled over the name. "And all of our friends got taken away just like before."

"Oh Rose..." Sonic murmured, pulling the girl into a hug. Mario joined in, sandwiching Rose between them. "It's okay. We took care of Dharkon an' Galeem. An' they're never comin' back."

"That's right," Mario chimed in. "Don't worry Rose. You're safe with us. You never have to worry about dangers like that ever again because we'll always protect you. We promised you that when we took you in as our daughter, and we intend to keep that promise."

"That's right," Sonic added. "You're never alone. Always remember that."

The small family remained in their embrace for a few moments until Rose had stopped crying, only letting out a few quiet sniffles.

"Did you want to stay here tonight?" Mario asked.

Without hesitation, Rose nodded.

/~/

As soon as Rose was asleep between them Sonic sighed, eyeing Mario in concern. "Poor kid. She comes from a universe where world endin' threats don't exist. I hate the fact she had to be exposed to Galeem an' Dharkon. She didn't deserve to go through that."

"I hate to say it, but I almost wish Master Hand had never taken her away from her village. Of course that means we never would have met her and unfortunately it wouldn't have protected her from Galeem but at least she wouldn't have had to face it head on."

Sonic pressed his lips into a thin line. He hated to admit that Mario was right. "Do you think we're truly safe from their threats? 'Cause we thought we were safe last tourney an' we were wrong 'bout that."

"I don't know, but what I do know is that if something like this happens again we need to do everything in our power to protect our daughter while she's still learning how to fight."

Sonic gazed down at the sleeping little girl, cuddling her teddy bear. He hoped that both of them being at her side would ward off the nightmares for tonight. "Yeah, I agree."