Title:: When You Cry Author:: Lokaia Summary:: Title First, Story After. In honor of Marriage Protection Week. Radu/Goddard. Eat your heart out, right-wing bastards. Rating:: PG-13 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 about, Commander."

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 ashamed about."

"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 to feel.

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 students.

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.

"Commander!"

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 every exhale.

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 Andromedan.

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 difference--"

"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 said finally.

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 difficult either--"

"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, Seth smiled.

"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 time.

---

"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, Ms. Davenport."

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 jacket.

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.

Ziiiiiip.

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 surprising expression.

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 quietly.

Radu's answer was a kiss.

Ziiiiiip.

---

"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!"

"TJ--"

"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."

"Yes?"

"What are the wine and candles for?"

Seth scrambled to pick up the items. "Er. nothing."

"Oh."

---

"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."

"Well."

"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, you're impossible."

"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!"

"It was?"

"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 smiled back.

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 impossible."

Radu grinned and hugged Seth around his waist. "You're still amazing."

---

"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 yours?"

---

"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 understand!"

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 Andromedan.

"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."

"Which was?"

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 always stop."

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.

"You're sure?"

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 nothing wrong."

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 Infocore tonight."

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.