A/N: This story began as part of "When You're Older" and very quickly took on a life of its own. All reviews will be answered. Any questions may be put in reviews or private messages and will be answered. Anything you ever wanted to know about the entire Doctor Who series is supposed to be answered, so please feel free to ask.
Chapter 1: Meeting
The boy sitting in the hotel lobby was beautiful. His face was fair and looked like it had been sculpted by one of those really famous artists she had missed on her last exam. His hair was black and thick and shoulder length and even from across the crowd, you couldn't miss his eyes. They were some sort of brilliant blue. He was thin and almost hawk-like, and he was wearing a grin that absolutely lit up the room, watching everything going on with wild-eyed excitement. Just looking at him made Rose's pulse beat madly.
Up until this point, it had probably been the most boring holiday she had ever been taken on, but now she had something to look forward to if this boy was staying here, too. She didn't even try to stop her feet as they carried her over to his side. However, once she got there, her brain evaporated, and she stood there gaping at him like he had just fallen in from outer space.
"Hello," he said, in a strangely accented voice. "Are you from around here? I seem to be lost."
She summoned up the only two functioning brain cells she could find and answered him. "No, sorry, I'm on holiday. Are you staying here, too?"
"No, like I said, I'm lost." He stood up and leaned in close to her, conspiratorially. "Actually, I'm just pretending to be lost. I'm on a school trip and I ran away. They never let us see anything interesting. It's always just 'See this technology' and 'Ooh, isn't that primitive' and 'Hey, would you look at that, they haven't discovered this, this, or that.' I hate it. But it'll take them days to find me if I'm careful."
"Huh," Rose said, surprised to find how easy it suddenly felt to talk to him. "What school do you go to, then? I thought most of them were on holiday."
"We don't have proper holidays with the Academy," he said sadly.
The Academy sounded like some sort of prestigious institute, so he was probably very, very smart and possibly very rich, too. Maybe she could help him hide if he had the resources. "You could check into a room under someone else's name and they probably wouldn't think to look, as long as you don't use a credit card they know or something."
He grinned again. "Brilliant!" Then he paused. "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't even ask your name. That's very rude where I come from."
"S'okay, I shoulda introduced myself when I came over. My name's Rose Tyler," she said and held out her hand for him to shake.
He looked at the hand, seemingly baffled for an instant, then his eyes lit up, and he took it in his, lifted it to his lips, and kissed it like she was a right proper lady or something. "You can call me Thete," he said as he lowered her hand. "It's good to meet you, Lady Rose Tyler."
Rose giggled, she couldn't help herself. He was already picking up her accent a bit, and the way he treated her was just unbelievable. "I'm not a lady or anything like it, honest." She shook her head. "My friends just call me Rose, though."
He looked momentarily confused, then shook his head and the grin was back. "Well, you have the look of a great lady about you, Rose, and I should know, since we're swamped with them back home." His face fell and his eyes grew sad and frustrated. "Lords and Ladies, the lot of them."
"Oh, I'm sorry," she said, and put her hand on his shoulder to offer sympathy, "that must get very boring."
He took her hand in his and, just like that, it fit perfectly. "Truly," he agreed, his face suddenly an emotionless marble statue.
Rose now felt quite dismissed, but didn't know what to do about it, since her hand was held tightly in his. She wriggled her fingers awkwardly and his eyes snapped to her face. "Oh, I'm sorry. Is this polite here? I'm not allowed at home at all."
Rose studied his face and was unsurprised to see enormous pain there. Her heart, though, did surprise her, by developing a deep ache for the hurt in his eyes. To be forbidden to touch another person, it was unbelievable to her. She was forever hugging her mum and her friends and sometimes even kissing people, sometimes even strangers. "You can hold my hand whenever you want, Thete," she said.
He gave her a long, steady gaze. "I might just take you up on that," he said softly. Then he shook himself. "Is there a computer around here I can get to, do you think?"
"Sure, down the road, there's some kind of internet cafe. That work?"
"Great. Can you go with me, or will your chaperone miss you?"
She snorted. "My 'chaperone'" she said, caustically, "is me mum. An' she's already in the bar with her bloke and whatever he'll pay them to pour."
"Oh," he said, sounding marvelously disappointed. But the grin was back again, a few seconds later and he was heading for the door, with steps elegant and sure. "But that means you can help me, so we can't complain, right? Do you mind?"
"Not a bit," she said, and laughed aloud with sheer happiness.
"That's very pretty," he said. "Do it again."
It didn't matter that his voice came out an arrogant command instead of a request. It was so odd, she laughed again, anyway. Then he laughed along with her, a pleasant, bell-tone noise that suited him perfectly.
"My goodness," he said, "that was fun." He said the oddest things. It made him completely wonderful.
At the Cafe, he went to the computer and began doing such things to it that Rose hadn't even seen her friend Mickey Smith manage, nor any of his friends who had taught him. Whatever he did, though, he didn't tell her or try to explain it, although she distinctly heard him mutter "jiggery pokery".
"Are you going to do computers when you grow up, then?"
He looked at her, and she was surprised to see he looked completely astonished. "How old are you?" he asked.
Insulted, Rose said, "I'm sixteen, thank you. I'm old enough. Why, how old are you?"
He blushed. "A hundred and seventeen," he confessed.
She thumped him on the arm. "Right," she said. "So, seventeen then? Didn't think you were much older'n me, you certainly don't look it."
"Oh. Right." He shook his head. "Yes, seventeen. That hurt," he added, rubbing his shoulder.
"Aw. Want me to kiss it better?" She said this without thinking, then immediately blushed to the roots of her hair as she realized what she'd said.
"I guess. Is that standard procedure here?"
She recovered quickly, since he didn't know. "Nah, just an expression."
"Oh." He looked oddly disappointed, then the computer beeped at him and he turned back to it and threw his arms into the air. "Fantastic," he shouted. "Oooh, I do like the sound of that. Fantastic."
"Shh," she cautioned. "Everyone's looking."
"Oh," he said. "Sorry. Anyway. What name should I use? Thete stands out a bit, you know, and Theta Sigma's even worse."
"Are you Greek then?" she asked, since she knew those were Greek letters from somewhere, though she couldn't remember where.
"Is that like in Denmark or something?"
"Or something," he agreed, drily. "So, name?"
"Just use John Smith. It's a really, really common name, everyone's a Smith, I even have a mate Mickey who's a Smith. 'Sides, people sign in to hotels as John Smith all the time."
"You have a mate? Are you supposed to talk to other males, then?"
"What?" she demanded incredulously, then suddenly realized. "Not mate like husband, mate like friend. Not even like boyfriend or anything. Oh, God, you're not married are you, or betrothed or something? God, I'm so stupid."
He shook his head. "Rose, you're clever, you understand me? Completely brilliant and fantastic and all kinds of other things, so don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise, not even me. There's no betrothed or anything like that for me, so don't worry. Completely free agent." He turned back to the computer and typed in the name she gave him, clicked three buttons and grinned. "Now, we just need to go down to the bank up the road, pick up the traveler's cheques, which are a really great invention, by the way, head back to the hotel and we're set."
"Glad I could help." Then she sat there, and didn't know what to do.
"Let me just get this done," he said, "and then we'll go out to dinner to celebrate, is that a good idea?"
"Really? Like... I mean... you mean it? Me?"
"Sure," he said. "You've been a brilliant helper and I couldn't have done it without you. It'll take them the rest of the week at least to run me down, now, especially if you keep helping me hide. You can make sure I don't stand out. Will you do that? Will you help me?"
She looked deep into his stormy blue eyes and saw something there she knew she'd never understand, trust and light and wonder and some kind of golden star-fire corona of impossible glory. He took her hand and she felt the Earth spinning underneath her feet, spinning but not out of control at all. The world was tumbling through space and he could fly off it at any second, but she could anchor him to it for just a little longer.