Title:: When You Cry
Summary:: Title First, Story After. In honor of Marriage Protection Week.
Radu/Goddard. Eat your heart out, right-wing bastards.
Disclaimer:: Space Cases and all related belong to not-me. The song title
belongs to Vertical Horizon-gods of music.
(A/N):: I swear, I'll get back on Just and The Rules. Blurbs like this and
A Dream Is A Wish help me think. No, really. I promise.
Seth Goddard was sitting at his desk.
Seth Goddard heard TJ Davenport enter the room.
Seth Goddard was not a happy man.
"Something I can help you with, Ms. Davenport?"
The woman stood in front of his desk with her arms crossed, a sour
look on her face. "You know perfectly well what I want to talk to you
Seth kept his expression blank. "All right." Setting down his notes
on the desk before him, Seth leaned back in his chair. "Go ahead."
Instead of beginning her rant, TJ's stern expression grew. "The
least you could do is look ashamed."
Seth fought to keep the anger from his voice. "I have nothing to be
"He. Is. A. Student," she spat, face turning red.
"Yes, he is. I'm glad you've noticed that." Despite the off-hand
tone of his voice, Seth found it hard not to feel the guilt TJ wanted him
It was one of those stories where "It all started out innocently
enough" was a default. Or at least, it was supposed to be. But Seth knew
it hadn't started innocently.
Not that he could be totally blamed for it. He hadn't been involved
with anyone since almost starting a war with Reaver. Stains that big
stayed on your reputation for a while. The longest relationship he'd been
in had been a record-breaking twelve hours. And now he was stuck on a ship
for seven years with a very small group of people.
It was only natural that he would be attracted to at least one of his
Cards on the table, Radu 386 was attractive. There wasn't a soul on
the Christa who didn't think so. Some were just more obvious than others.
Seth had never planned to be one of the obvious.
"All right, now just hold this while I try to get at that wire," Seth
instructed his student.
Radu held the thick cable carefully in his hands. Crouched beside
the commander, he peered into the space under the helm. "Why didn't Thelma
do this?" he wondered aloud.
Seth craned his neck to look at the boy skeptically. "Would you
really want Thelma mucking around with the helm?"
Radu smiled. "Good point." They were silent as Seth grappled for
the wire before him. Leaning forward just a bit more, he managed to grab
hold. "Ha! Gotcha," he muttered under his breath.
He heard Radu cough over what might have been a chuckle.
Putting on a stern face, Seth craned his neck again. "Something
funny, Mr. Radu?"
Still smiling, Radu shook his head. "No, sir."
Seth shook his head, turning back to his work. Joking with Radu was
something of an art. It was hard to get the boy to open up, but once you
did, it was worth it.
Seth actually felt his foot slip before he began to fall. He
specifically remembered thinking, Huh. I guess I'll be falling now before
it actually happened.
Radu caught him just before his head smashed into an under-panel
console, hauling him back up from the space under the helm. Crouching
beside the boy, Seth stared into the hole. "Well," he said, trying to hide
the relief in his voice. "I'll have to be more careful from now on." He
turned his head to thank Radu and stopped.
The Andromedan was not more than an inch away, almost painfully
close. Despite their differences in height, his blue eyes were level with
Seth's hazel, and the human was able to feel Radu's breath on his face with
There wasn't a doubt in Seth's mind that he had initiated it. Not
because he remembered, but because it was a very uncharacteristic thing for
Radu to do. So Seth reasoned that he had leaned forward and kissed the
It all happened very quickly, within about three seconds. Seth joked
about falling, noticed how close he and Radu were, and kissed the boy.
The fourth second was spent thinking, What the HELL are you doing????
Seth broke away abruptly, staring into shocked blue eyes. He
couldn't force himself to look away, but he could at least look and be
apologetic. "I. I apologi--"
He was cut off when Radu closed the gap between their lips.
The kiss lasted only a moment longer than the last before Seth pulled
away again, shocked and ashamed. "R-Radu," he began, shaking his head.
Somehow he found it amusing that he was the one stammering. "I, uh. I'm
sorry about that. It won't happen again."
"It won't?" Was that disappointment? Seth couldn't bring himself to
meet the boy's eyes again to find out.
"No, it won't. I apologize."
"You apologize?" Radu repeated, almost quizzically. "W-why?"
Seth became suddenly aware of how close he and Radu still were and
stood, taking a few steps away from the helm. "Because I. I shouldn't have
done that. I apologize."
"You don't have to apologize," Radu said quietly, sounding uncertain.
"And I. I meant why won't it happen again?"
Before he could stop himself, Seth had glanced up sharply in
surprise. "Why won't it." He trailed off, confused. Radu was still
crouching beside the helm, looking Seth in the eyes with a curious
expression on his face. Seth shook his head and tried to process the
Andromedan's question. "Radu, think. think of what Ms. Davenport would
say. She'd talk about the age difference, the, ah, the rank difference,
species difference." Goddard sighed. "Hell, she'd probably spend a day
each on every topic, not to mention what she'd think of the cultural
"But. what do you think?" Radu asked. His tone was tentative,
careful, maybe even a little frightened.
With a tone like that, Seth basically owed the Andromedan the benefit
of at least looking him in the eyes. Meeting them, he found that Radu
looked apprehensive. Seth chose his next words very carefully. "I think.
I think I can't take advantage of you just because of our situation," he
Radu's eyes bore into his own. Slowly, a blush spread across his
face and he looked down at his knees. "Even if. if I want to be taken
advantage of?" he asked quietly.
Seth's eyes could have fallen from his head. He gaped at the young
man before him and tried to speak. After failing three times, he cleared
his throat and tried again. "Radu. you-you're a student."
Radu's face set almost angrily. "I never wanted to be a student," he
said bitterly. "That's no reason at all."
Seth, unable to process what Radu had been saying for the past ten
minutes very quickly, was at a loss for words.
Radu continued, features hardening with every word. "I didn't want
to leave. I didn't get a choice. .No, I did get a choice. Go to the
Starcademy and bring honor to my people or join one of the next trading
ships." His hands tightened into fists at his sides. "I only asked
questions. I didn't know I was doing anything wrong until they told me, and
no one told me until they gave me the choice. I didn't want to leave my
home. I didn't want to go to the Rigelian military school. I didn't want
to be around people who hated me because of what I was, any more than I
wanted to be around Andromedans who hated me because of who I was. I
didn't know I was doing anything wrong-if I had I would have fixed it and I
wouldn't be. wouldn't be."
"Wouldn't be here?" Seth finished quietly.
Radu raised his head and Seth noted the unfallen tears in his eyes.
The Andromedan stood slowly and turned away. "I wouldn't be here. I
wouldn't have. have met Elmira or Suzee or Harlan. or any one of these
people who made life so much more difficult for me."
"Well, granted, they don't make life easy but they don't make it very
"Elmira kissed me," Radu said abruptly. Seth could see his shoulders
shaking, though the boy faced away from him. "She. I don't think she knew
what she was doing. I. I'd never been kissed. Andromedans don't have
relationships like that. It. it's not supposed to happen. But then she
did it, and I liked it and I. I wanted it. And then Suzee kissed me, and I
liked that too, and now you and I liked that more and now. now I don't know
what's going on." He turned his head slightly to look at Seth. "I. I
understand if you don't want to. But. please don't say its because I'm a
student. That. it wasn't my fault." Seth could hear the tears in his
voice now as the boy looked away. "I never wanted to be a student.."
Without giving it a second thought, Seth moved across the room to
comfort the Andromedan. He circled around to stand in front of him,
stepped close, and held Radu's chin. Waiting until Radu had met his eyes,
"If I regret this later," he said quietly, wiping away tears with his
thumb, "remind me that I didn't regret it now."
Tilting his head, Seth allowed his lips to meet Radu's for the third
"At least," TJ continued angrily. "At the very least, tell me you
haven't been intimate with him."
Seth frowned. "That, quite frankly, is none of your damn business,
TJ's face grew red.
This was the way the end of every day should be spent, Seth decided.
In your own room, with dimmed lights, comfortable music, and a gorgeous
young man attached to your lips.
He and Radu sat curled up together on the edge of his bed. Seth had
one hand tangled in the soft curls of the Andromedan's hair, another
running along his calf. Radu had hold of Seth's neck and the front of his
Every day, Seth thought, should end like this.
He shifted, applying enough pressure to hint to Radu to move his leg.
As he did, Seth ran his hand down the Andromedan's chest.
Seth glanced down, breaking the kiss, to investigate the noise. The
sleeve of his uniform had caught on the zipper of Radu's jacket, pulling it
down halfway. "Sorry," Seth murmured, knowing Radu's sensitivity to
exposure, and began moving to pull the zipper back up.
A gloved hand covered his, heeding its progress. Seth met Radu's
eyes curiously, and found the Andromedan looking at him with a very
Lust. Fear. Trust.
The gloved hand guided Seth's down to Radu's waist, allowing the
jacket to be thrown off to the side.
Seth met Radu's eyes again, worried. "You're sure?" he asked
Radu's answer was a kiss.
"Jesus, Seth, he's a child!" TJ raged.
"He is not a child," Seth countered, angry at sounding so defensive,
but angrier at TJ for being offensive. "He is a legal, consenting adult!"
"He is a student," TJ repeated. She glared at him with disgust.
"You are supposed to protect these children."
"What the hell do you think I've been doing for three years?" Seth
demanded angrily. "I've been teaching them just as you have, TJ--"
"I'm beginning to think," TJ began with contempt in her tone, "that
you and I use far different teaching methods."
Seth had to fight from actually growling at her. "If you are
insinuating that I--"
"I insinuate nothing," TJ interrupted. "I am blatantly telling you
that having sex with a student is wrong!"
"And with Radu!" she continued, ignoring him. "An insecure boy!
Bringing him into your sick games!"
Seth's anger turned to bemusement. "Games?"
TJ eyed him with distaste. "Honestly, Seth. If you just wanted to
sleep with someone, you should have picked a much better target."
"If I.." Anger was back as Seth's fists clenched. "Theresa, are you
saying that the only reason for this relationship is sex?"
"If the shoe marked 'pedophile' and 'nymphomaniac' fits." TJ replied.
There was music. Not the same as last time, but soft and comforting
like then. There were candles, too, bringing a nice glow to the room. On
one of the bedside tables was a tray with two glasses of wine.
The last made Seth nervous if only because he hadn't been able to
look up how alcohol affected Andromedans. He hoped Radu would know, and if
not, the wine could be chucked for water.
Their first time had been unceremonious. Seth was determined to make
sure their second was perfect.
So when Radu knocked on the door and stepped inside with an armload
of compupad disks, Seth was a little taken aback.
"What's all this?" he asked, taking a few disks from the Andromedan.
Radu frowned. "Ms. Davenport told us we have a test tomorrow and I
have no idea what she's been talking about for the past month." He met
Seth's eyes, worried. "Would you mind if I studied here tonight?"
"No, of course not," Seth assured him. He set the disks in the
middle of his desk, pulling out the chair for Radu. The Andromedan
followed suit and took the chair with a smile of thanks.
After a moment of looking through his disks, Radu looked up, glancing
around the room. "Seth."
"What are the wine and candles for?"
Seth scrambled to pick up the items. "Er. nothing."
"You are treading on dangerous ground, TJ," Seth said as evenly as he
could. "Don't talk about things you don't understand."
"Oh, so it's not for sex then?" TJ demanded. "I suppose you simply
enjoy each other's company? I suppose you spend some days doing nothing
but talking? Is that right?"
"Are you sure?"
Seth frowned. "Radu, I'm a STARDOG Commander. Of course I'm sure."
"It's common knowledge," Seth said, pointing to the diagram he had
drawn on his compupad. "Look, see here? This is where Spung brought in
half of their fleet, and this is where the other half flew in. Now, right
in the middle was where Commander Ryast of the Orions was stationed. And
sneaking up behind both Spung fleets were the Orion back-ups."
Radu looked at Seth with uncertainty. He glanced at the blank spot
on his compupad where he was to fill in an answer, and back at Seth.
Compupad, Seth. He raised an eyebrow. "I don't think that's right."
Seth sighed and threw up his hands, turning away from the desk. "Oh,
"Yeah, well, you're wrong," Radu told him, unconcerned.
Seth turned in surprise and stared at the back of the young man. His
sudden laughter surprised Radu enough to turn around. "What's so funny?"
"Radu," Seth began, grinning. "That was funny!"
"You're so sure of yourself!"
Radu frowned, looking away. "Oh. I'm sorry."
"No!" Seth sat beside Radu again, taking his hands in his own. "No,
don't apologize for that. What if I am wrong, and you put my answer down
and Ms. Davenport yells at you for it? Prove me wrong! Look it up!"
Radu smiled and turned back to his compupad. Seth, still chuckling,
tinkered around the room for a few minutes. A sudden tap on his shoulder
had him jumping a foot in the air, and turning he found Radu smiling.
Gotta get used to having someone so quiet around he thought as he
Without saying another word, Radu rose up on his toes and kissed
Seth. It was short and sweet and had both men smiling. "What was that
for?" Seth asked after they had seperated.
"You're wonderful," Radu said simply. "You give me confidence in
myself. You make me happier than I remember being. You're amazing. But,"
and now the Andromedan was grinning, "you're a horrible historian." He
held up his compupad for Seth to read.
Seth studied the text for a moment, frowning. After a moment, he
sighed, handing it back to Radu. "Fine. I'm wrong. But you're still
Radu grinned and hugged Seth around his waist. "You're still
"Don't talk about things you don't understand, TJ," Seth warned.
"What don't I understand?" the woman demanded. "If you only thought
before you acted, you could have saved both you and Radu a lot of trouble!
Did you even think of him when you decided to announce this to the crew?
Did you even think of him when you started this little relationship of
"Oh!" Rosie exclaimed, surprised. "That explains it!"
Seth cocked his head towards her. "Explains what?"
The Mercurian smiled brightly. "Why Radu's been so happy lately!
Suzee and I thought Elmira had contacted him or something, but now I
A slow smile crossed Seth's face. That's why Radu's been so happy
lately. It certainly was an ego-booster.
"I don't get what the big deal is," Bova was saying. "Everyone knew
about it anyway."
Seth glanced at him sharply. "What do you mean everyone knew?"
The Uranusian shrugged. "It was pretty obvious how you felt about
each other. Right, Rosie?" He glanced at the Mercurian, who merely shook
her head and looked surprised. "No? Well, what about Suzee?" Shake of
head. "No? Er, Harlan?" Shake of head. "Oh. Well, I knew."
"How did you--" Seth was unable to finish his sentence. Looking
over Bova and Rosie's shoulders, he saw Radu and Suzee standing further
down the hallway. Suzee was speaking and Radu looked angrier by the
minute. He threw his hands in the air, saying something, and Suzee only
shrugged before walking away. Radu stared after her, a look of shock and
hurt on his face, before turning down the opposite hallway.
"Excuse me," Seth muttered to Rosie and Bova, setting after the
"Radu," he said quietly. He didn't dare yell down the corridor.
Deafening Radu wouldn't help the situation. Radu responded to his call by
stopping, but he didn't turn.
Seth walked up behind him, putting a hand on his thin shoulder.
"What did she say?" he asked gently.
Radu sighed. "She repeated something Harlan said."
Radu hesitated, then turned to face Seth. "He couldn't believe you
would betray your people like this."
Seth scoffed. "Really? I thought he could have done better than
that. Usually Harlan's much more apt at insulting me."
Radu remained unconvinced. "He also said we didn't belong together.
That you were too old for me, and that we should stick to our own people."
Seth studied the younger man's face. Hiding his own emotions, he
said quietly, "Do you think they're right? He and Suzee? We can-we can
Radu's expression became incredulous and he glared at Seth. "No,
they're not right! I just don't understand what's wrong! Their people do
the things you and I have done-why is this any different? Why is this
wrong?" His voice grew as he became more upset. "'We can always stop'?
Can you? Because I can't-I can't just stop! I can't--"
Seth stopped his outburst by stepping into the young man, wrapping
his arms around him in an embrace. Radu clung to him trembling and Seth
could feel tears down the front of his jacket. "I can't just stop," Seth
said quietly. He tucked a hand under Radu's chin, motioning for the
younger man to lift his head. Gazing into his blue eyes, he said quietly,
"But I would if you asked me to. If this is ever too much for you--"
Radu's grip tightened on his jacket, blue eyes boring into Seth's.
"I don't think it will ever be enough for me," he whispered hoarsely.
Radu's answer was a kiss.
"Every decision we've made has been ours, TJ," Seth told her. "I've
discussed everything with him-not one thing was done without the other's
knowledge. You can't make me out to be the Big Bad Wolf here. I have done
TJ glared at him, enraged. "He is a stu--"
"So you've said," Seth interrupted, knowing it would drive her crazy.
"But the fact remains-he's a consenting adult. And, if you'd be so kind
as to remember, I no longer have to worry about rank. At this point, Radu
is higher on the military chain than I am."
"That doesn't mean people will understand," TJ replied, crossing her
arms. "People will still attack you both."
Seth stood, picking up his notes. "Ms. Davenport, I am becoming
painfully aware of that fact." Without letting her say another word, Seth
turned and left the room.
It took five calming breaths before the urge to kill was contained,
during which he kept his eyes closed. When he opened them again, he saw
Radu down the hallway. The Andromedan was smiling, watching him curiously.
Seth smiled. "Do you always spy on me?" he asked quietly.
"Only when I know you're looking," Radu replied, coming closer. He
had an unusually content look on his face, the like of which Seth hadn't
seen since they had broken their news to the crew.
"Something good happen to day?" he asked as they embraced.
Radu's smile grew. "Harlan invited me to watch Earther movies on the
Seth grinned as well, his joy mirroring the Andromedan's. "So you
two are all right now?"
Radu shook his head slightly, smile still present. "Not really. He
wasn't really thinking when he offered. He was trying to make it a party,
but everyone else had an excuse. I was the only one who said yes, and I
guess because of that, he was too happy to remember he was angry."
Seth laughed. "Classic Harlan."
Radu grinned, gazing into Seth's eyes. "What were you talking to Ms.
Davenport about?" he asked.
Glancing to the side, Seth caught sight of Ms. Davenport still
standing in the doorway. He focused his attention on the young man in
front of him and smiled.
"Everything important, Radu. Everything important to me."
It only hurts when you cry
I'm only sad when there's tears in your eyes.