Title: I'm Saying You Can't Have It
Warnings: It seems that I'm a freaking moron who can't do anything right. But since when has that ever surprised anyone?
Pairing: Mace/Cassie (More Het? What the hell is wrong with me?)
Summary: After the vote, Mace confronts Cassie, demanding to know how she can weigh the life of one person against the survival of mankind. He did, after all, require a unanimous vote.
Notes: I'm not a Mace/Cassie shipper; in fact, I usually swing more in the Mace/Capa direction. However, I love the voting scene with the quote, which the title comes from; "You're saying you need my vote. I'm saying you can't have it." This isn't exactly cannon complaint – this would take place between the end of the vote and when Mace goes to the medical bay. I also assumed that the ship would have some windows, considering that the oxygen garden is shown having a large, clear pane on one side. Lastly, the flashbacks are in no particular order.
She stared at the hand he offered to her. Could she really do this? Could she pretend for three years that they had never met face to face before this point? "Stephen Mace." He said in a stern voice which, to his credit, was no different than when he had introduced himself to Corazon, Captain Kaneda, or Robert Capa and it wouldn't change when he met their navigator, comms officer, or physiologist. As far as anyone around them could tell, he was just meeting one of the other extremely qualified people who he would be going on this mission with.
Forcing a smile, she reached out and grasped his hand gently. "Call me Cassie."
Mace found her standing in the middle of one of the hallways, staring out into the pure black of space through the small windows. "I wish we could see the stars." She whispered. "They'd be beautiful, don't you think?"
"It's beautiful, Stephen." Cassie lifted her arm, smiling as the sunlight filtering through the trees shown on the thin band of silver around her wrist. She turned, beaming at him. "Thank you."
He shrugged. "It's your birthday. Did you think I'd forget?"
"Of course not. After all, you are the best boyfriend ever. You wouldn't let something as silly as forgetting a birthday tarnish your reputation." She giggled and leaned back, lying down in the snow beside him. "Stephen…" The tone of her voice as she said his name and the way she bit her lip when he looked at her told him she wanted something. She grabbed his arm as she rose to her feet, pulling him up with her. "Make snow angels with me."
He groaned. "No, Cass. I always get snow in my pants."
"Please? Come on; as you said, it's my birthday." He sighed and rolled his eyes, letting himself be pulled to his feet.
Suddenly, he pulled her to him, wrapping his arms around her waist and kissing her. "Fine. But if my ass gets frozen, you have to bring me at least three batches of homemade chocolate chip cookies while I'm in the hospital." Her laugh was infectious as she pulled him down the hill, toward a small group of their friends and he couldn't help but smile.
"Cass, talk to me. I told you, the vote on this has to be unanimous, or I can't go through with it." He paused and let his eyes fall, letting his professional aura falter for the first time since the mission had started. "Especially if I don't have your vote."
"Come on, Cass; talk to me."
"Give me one good reason to. You knew you were leaving, Stephen! For a whole month, you didn't say anything! So, what, you thought that the best time to give me a heads up would be a week before you disappear out of my life forever?" She didn't stop walking, wouldn't look back at him and let him see the tears streaming down her face.
"Cass. Cass!" He reached out and grabbed her wrist, spinning her around to look at him. He hesitated when he saw the tears on her face and he said the first thing that came to mind when his eyes met hers. "I love you."
He wished she had heard everything he had tried to say in that statement. But she couldn't, or maybe she didn't want to. Either way, his message hadn't gotten though; something he clearly understood when a stinging slap met his cheek, which Cassie quickly followed with a hard shove to the chest that made him stumble and hit the pole behind him in the middle of the parking garage. Sobbing slightly and ignoring the gathering crowd of onlookers as the dance ended, she violently ripped the corsage from her wrist and threw it, hitting him in the chest.
"Fuck you, Stephen Mace." She muttered darkly.
"I can't, Mace." She whispered. "I can't tell you that it's okay to kill Trey, even if it's for the good of the mission."
"Stephen, we can't." She whispered, even as he cut off her protests with strong, lingering kisses.
"Sure we can. It's been, what, ten years?" He grinned wickedly and she felt something in the pit of her stomach turn to warm goo and she knew in that moment that, if they had more than one night, she could fall in love with him all over again. "What are high school reunions for if not to brag about your current job and rekindle old flames?" He pressed his lips to her throat and her eyes fluttered closed. "I've already accomplished the bragging part; what's one night of rekindling really going to hurt, Cass?"
"You're still a bastard." She gasped out as his hands slid under her shirt. She should feel like an idiot – what were the two of them thinking, going at it like a couple of horny teenagers in the backseat of his car? Then again, they were in the high school parking lot.
One month and three days later, she found out that one night of rekindling could hurt plenty.
"Jesus, Cass. Get off your moral high horse. We all have to make sacrifices, and we all learn to live with them." Her eyes widened and she tensed, feeling a burning hatred that was stronger than she had ever felt towards any other human being course through her. He had no right to say these things to her, and to call forth the painful memories that she had worked to suppress deep within her mind every day of the sixteen months they had been forced to be in such inescapably close quarters with each other. For a split second, she wanted to solve their oxygen problem by ripping the man in front of her to pieces.
Stephen cleared his throat as he sat down beside her at the lunch table."So, have any plans for Saturday?"
She giggled and playfully scowled at him. "Is this your way of asking me to prom?"
He grinned and leaned forward, so close that their noses were almost touching. "Maybe. Is this your way of saying yes?"
She pulled back, shaking her head. "Nope. I have to work Saturday. Everybody else already took time off, so I'm stuck. Besides, it's only junior prom. We'll go to senior prom together, okay?"
He couldn't tell her that he wouldn't be there for senior prom – that he was a military brat and he only stayed in one place as long as his parents were stationed there, and that they were being transferred. "Skip it." He begged, taking her hand in his and squeezing. Then, he was grinning again as he dug in his pocket. "Besides, I already bought tickets."
She frowned, pouting. "I'll get fired."
"Well, we all have to make sacrifices."
Immediately, sorrow, loss, and a horrible pain pierced through the rage and it was gone in an instant. "Mace," She said slowly, visibly deflating as the renewed pressure of grief in her mind brought on a feeling of total exhaustion. "Do you remember what you told me, when I was considering asking to be taken off the mission – when I was going to tell one of our superiors that we had a previous relationship?"
"I told you that you couldn't – because if it was you in the med bay instead of Trey, I couldn't make the same decisions, and if I had been out there with Kaneda, you would have never let Icarus take control and would've sacrificed the whole ship rather than turn the shield back."
"Do you remember what you told me, that night after prom?" She asked quietly as she pulled on her shirt and looked under the seat for her pants.
"I told you that I loved you."
She laughed bitterly. "You were such a liar."
There were a few moments of silence, other than the sound of shuffling as they both pulled on the last of their clothing. Finally, as she opened the door to leave, she heard his voice, so soft she could barely hear him. "No, I wasn't."
"Yes, but do you remember what you told me when I asked why someone else couldn't pilot Icarus?"
"Someone decided that you would be the best for the job. If you didn't go on the mission – if Icarus didn't have the best pilot – that would compromise the mission."
"And you can never compromise the mission." She whispered, still staring out the window. "Mace, do you have any idea where I'm supposed to be right now?"
"Do you have any idea where I'm supposed to be right now?" Cassie squealed as he pulled herself out of the car.
"History class." Stephen guessed as he opened the trunk. "But you're not." He handed her a pair of ice skates, slammed the trunk, and made his way over to the benches beside the lake. "So put on those skates, and have fun with me."
One month. His mother had told him before he left for school. One month, and they would be transferred to a new station, somewhere halfway across the world. He could tell Cassie, and have her spend the entire month dreading the end. He looked up as he heard Cassie giggle and saw her waiting for him on the ice, waving for him to come and join her.
No, he decided as he caught up to her and pulled her close, he wouldn't tell her. He'd just have to make the one month he had left the best month of either of their lives.
He gently tilted her face up and kissed her like the world was ending around them. And he vowed that would be the only way he kissed her from then on.
"Cassie, I'm sorry." He muttered quietly. "I know that if it wasn't for me, you wouldn't be here. You'd be safe on earth, and not dying." He looked up at her, begging with his eyes and wishing for all the world that she could still read his mind like she could when they were in high school and understand that the words he voiced were only half of what he was trying to say. "You can't believe that I don't regret that."
"I should be buying baby formula." Once she started the confession, the rest spilled out of her uncontrollably, forceful enough that each word fell from her lips like a heavy stone. "I should be changing diapers. I should be waiting for my baby to say their first word. I should be teaching my son or daughter how to walk." She turned and looked at him for the first time. "Mace, I wanted off the mission because I was pregnant." As he watched her, Mace wanted more than anything to wrap her up in his arms and make everything alright again. He wished he still had the ability to make everything alright again. Then, Cassie's next words froze his world. "It was yours."
"I believe congratulations are in order, Miss Cassie."
"Congratulations?" She asked her doctor in confusion.
"Hopefully, yes." He said. "You aren't sick. You're pregnant."
"Pregnant?" She squeaked. It was impossible. She hadn't been with anyone for months. Except for Mace, she realized as her blood ran cold, in the back of his car, at their high school reunion. Of course the bastard wouldn't think to use a condom.
"About a month along." The man explained, oblivious to his patient's panicking. "Of course, you'll have to be taken off the Icarus mission, but I'm sure that they can find someone else equally qualified. The things you should worry about now are rest and eating properly. I recommend picking up some prenatal vitamins at your local drug store; they'll help make sure your baby will be healthy and getting the nutrition it needs." He hesitated and looked at her. "Cassie, fame and fortune and the point of the Icarus mission are nothing to be sneezed at, to say the least. However, neither is parenthood. Just think about what would be best for you before you make any decisions."
Three days later, she talked to Mace.
It took her two weeks to come to a resolution. It seemed awful, that she could make such a choice in two weeks time. But she did, and her baby was six weeks into development when she said goodbye to it as they called her name and she left the waiting room of the clinic.
"Cassie…" He said softly, feeling like he wasn't able to breathe. No, it wasn't possible. That night had happened, but he thought they had a silent mutual agreement to never mention it again, especially not on board Icarus. There wasn't any way that Cassie had gotten pregnant. It simply couldn't happen.
Slowly, she lifted her head to look at him and when their eyes met, he didn't see the pure, sparkling eyes that he remembered. Somewhere along the line, Cassie's eyes had grown haunted.
"I've already committed one murder for the 'greater good'. Don't ask me to commit another." Her voice sounded broken. "Please, Mace." She begged. "Don't put that kind of weight on my shoulders."
He hesitated for a moment. "Okay." He finally said as he turned and headed back the way he came, which also happened to be in the direction of the medical bay. Cassie's lip trembled and she rose a hand to cover her mouth as she swayed and fell back against the wall behind her. She slowly slid down the wall until she reached the floor where she finally broke down and let the tears come at full strength.
His pace didn't falter, despite the fact that her ragged sobs shook him to his core.
His mother had insisted that he go to public school and she went out of her way to sign him up. She guaranteed him that they would be stationed here for at least a year, if not two, and suggested that he try and make some friends.
He walked into his first period math class and surveyed the room. Math was one of his best subjects, so he had no need to sit in the back, but he wasn't a teacher's pet, meaning that the front row should be avoided. Other than that, all that mattered was what people would be around him. Near the middle of the rows, on the edge of the class room was a beautiful brunette staring out the window. Grinning, he crossed the classroom to take the seat next to her. She paid him no attention as he got close, so he purposely "accidentally" dropped the notebooks he was carrying on her desk, making her jump. He apologized without meaning it as he gathered them and sat next to her, pleased to see that her gaze stayed on him instead of returning to the window.
"Hi," He said holding out his hand. "I'm Stephen Mace."
She smiled shyly and blushed before taking his hand in an adorably delicate grasp. "Hi. I'm Cassie."
After Notes: So, this was a very new style for me. I usually don't like writing flashbacks at all. The initial idea I had for this was just the part that played out in "real time", not the flashbacks. Also, Cassie and Mace were, as it seems to happen in a lot of fics like this (though it's usually Capa, not Mace), supposed to just randomly meet in a bar and have a one night stand. But as I was writing it, I thought they had too much of an emotional investment for them to have just met randomly, so I had instead changed it to where they dated in high school. Writing it, I thought that telling the story one paragraph at a time in between flashbacks worked, but I want to know what you think. Was it confusing, or were you able to follow the story in between the flashbacks?
Just to let people know, I don't agree with the choice Cassie made. I more agree with her doctor; they could have found someone else to pilot the mission, but, obviously, Cassie disagreed. In between the events of the movie and the information included in each character's back story, I tried to make this as canon-compliant as possible, other than the time frame in which the story would take place. Speaking of, I know I found the site before but, unfortunately, I was unable to find it again when I started writing this. All links I click seem to take me to the main Fox website. If anyone is able to find it, it would be a great help. The most helpful information would be Cassie's full name, if it's included, and her hometown.