Peace is a State of Balance
Disclaimer: I do not own Sunshine or any of the characters.
Summary: Chronic headaches and insomnia have taken their toll on Mace, leading him to seek an escape with the only person he's ever felt comfortable with. Massie.
Author's Note: This fic is my first Sunshine attempt and takes place sometime between the team's departure from Earth and the events of the movie. This was inspired by some character profiles I read from the movie that say Mace dreams of Cassie and also takes bits and pieces from my own uphill battle with chronic headaches.
Heavy breathing and a light snorting sound broke the silence that had settled on the flight deck of Icarus II and Cassie briefly looked up from her book to see that Mace had fallen asleep on the other side of the console that separated them. Paper rustled as she finished her page and started on another, quickly settling into the rhythm of Mace's snoring, already quite accustomed to her companion abandoning her for sleep during their shift.
In truth, though, she didn't mind. She'd found out during their training that Mace was a bit of an insomniac and it had only gotten worse after their departure from Earth - not to mention that, when he was awake, he hovered over her, full of nervous energy and the compelling need to do something, anything. Cassie knew he cherished what sleep he could get and so was content to let him sleep until something interesting happened or their shift ended, whichever came first.
Cassie groaned and stretched as the alarm on her watch went off - the shift was finally over. She could hear a series of pops and cracks as she raised her hands above her head and leaned back in her chair. The thought that sitting in the same position for several hours couldn't be good for one's spine briefly crossed her mind as she turned to Mace who was, miraculously, still asleep. A small smile graced her features even as she rubbed at her stiff neck and stood in preparation to awaken him.
"Mace," Cassie tried again, her voice growing a little more insistent. She sighed when his only response was to groan lightly and shift in his chair and she lightly kicked the leg of said chair, prompting it to roll to the side, hoping that the sudden movement would wake him from his seemingly deep slumber - he'd never slept so deeply and she was almost reluctant to wake him. "Mace, shift's over." Almost.
The handsome engineer shifted once again but showed no signs of waking and Cassie quickly grew frustrated with his resistance to come back to the real world. Did he take sleeping pills or what? She'd really have to talk to Searle about prescribing certain medications without the permission of one's mission partner.
"Really, Mace?" she grumbled, finally taking hold of his broad shoulders and shaking them as roughly as she could, which wasn't very hard considering her size in relation to his.
After another minute of waiting, Cassie huffed and turned from him. She was ready to leave him in front of the flight console for someone else to find but before he could fully become someone else's problem, a strong, firm grip stopped her in her tracks and tugged her backwards.
Mace could hear his name being called but he just couldn't find it in him to answer. He was so tired and there was a sickening ache behind his eyes, he'd throw up if he opened them, he was sure of it.
That sweet voice once again came out of the darkness, calling his name in such a way that made his body heat up. The voice was strange and familiar all at the same time and had he tried to remember his dreams, he'd be surprised to find that he heard the voice every night in the depths of his mind. But his consciousness would never admit to it and so his sub-consciousness was content to hide it.
He desperately wanted to open his eyes so that he could finally put a face to this angelic voice but the ache behind his eyes wouldn't allow it. His temples were sore and his eyes were throbbing, it would surely do more harm than good.
Small, cool hands took hold of his shoulders and shook him. What was this urgency? Who needed him awake so badly? Then a thought entered his mind...
What if the owner of the angelic voice was in trouble? Was that why she was so insistent on waking him?
Fear slowly crept into his system and he bolted upright, grabbing the first thing near him. He instantly regretted the sudden movement as it sent waves of nausea through his body and Mace suddenly found himself falling back into his chair, pulling whatever he'd gotten a hold of with him.
It took a minute or so but the nauseous feeling finally passed and, when it did, he found himself gripping a startled Cassie by the shoulders.
"What's wrong?" His voice was husky from sleep but tinged with worry and his eyes were wide and confused as they took in, not only the room around them but her as well, checking for signs of injury or panic.
A light laugh escaped her and she shifted nervously from her newfound position in his lap. "Nothing's wrong - the shift is over."
He looked at her for a moment before nodding slowly and running a hand over his face, letting the other drop to rest on the curve of her waist. She stiffened at the contact but made no move to pull away and Mace finally realized the position he'd put them in at her tense posture. Any other man would have immediately let her go either apologizing profusely or acting as though nothing had happened but not Mace - he simply wrapped his arms around her and leaned forward until his forehead rested just below her collar bone.
Almost as if they had a mind of their own, her hands found the back of his neck and she rested her head atop his. What was he doing? And more importantly, what was she doing?
"Mace?" she questioned in a small voice, a voice so unlike the strong, commanding one she used when addressing Icarus.
His head was killing him and he knew from experience that there was nothing hiding in the expanse of the ship that could help him, no form of medication could take the pain away. "Cassie, make it stop," he begged, pulling back just enough to make eye contact, his eyes straining to focus on her face. "I'm so tired..."
Eyes so blue they were almost clear stared up at her and she found herself falling into them even as she questioned him on the meaning of his words.
"It hurts, just make it stop," he pleaded again in response, drawing one hand back so that he could clutch his head as an intense shock of pain attacked him.
In that moment, she immediately grasped what he was trying to say and her hands moved from the back of his neck to rest on either side of his head. His hand dropped back to her waist as she began to gently massage his temples in hopes that it would ease the pounding headache he was experiencing, one of the many he'd been experiencing for quite some time.
A sigh escaped him as the magic her hands worked began to take effect and he found himself shamelessly moaning her name. Crimson stained Cassie's cheeks at his vocal appreciation to her ministrations but she didn't pause in what she was doing, focusing all her attention on easing his pain.
In this time, it never occurred to her how this particular scene would look should someone walk in on them, or how truly intimate what they were sharing was. There was nothing physical about what they were doing despite how they were positioned; it was all emotional and psychological with a deeply romantic undertone. It was a mood so strong that, before now, she never could have imagined sharing an experience of such intensity with someone she wasn't eternally tied to through matrimony or some other sacred union and now, she was too caught up to realize she was even experiencing it at all. It was a shame, really, most girls dreamed about such sentiment and here she was experiencing it without even noticing.
"Mmm, Cassie..." Mace sounded completely content and Cassie smiled at the thought, he had never been completely content, not in the time she'd known him anyway.
Eventually, though, it seemed that she was doing nothing but lulling him back to sleep but, after seeing him this vulnerable, in this much pain, she didn't really mind. Cassie giggled a little as his head dropped back and his breathing evened out - he looked as innocent as a child.
"Get some rest, Mace," she whispered, leaning forward and kissing his forehead lightly before steadying herself on the armrest and carefully backing off the chair.
She gasped as her escape was halted by his arms tightening around her and pulling her back into his lap. "Stay," he mumbled sleepily and Cassie faintly wondered if he even knew what he was saying, what he was asking of her, this was so out of character for him.
His eyes opened briefly and when he looked up at her, he looked so worn out it made her heart ache. "Please."
Cassie said nothing in response, merely shifted so that she was leaning against him with her head in the crook of his neck. His arms instantly settled about her as he sighed and settled back for sleep, seemingly uncaring if anyone found them together. It didn't matter what anyone thought because, now, he was at peace.
Well that concludes my first Sunshine attempt, please review.