Tomas was depressed. He had spent the majority of the past five months planning and writing a research proposal and applying for every single academic grant he could find in the hopes of finally being able to work towards his own PhD rather than spending another year as a research assistant. The final rejection had arrived this morning.

The outside funding rejections had come quickly, and Tomas had expected they would - it was difficult enough getting funding for science research at all, and nearly impossible for physics – so all of his remaining hopes had been pinned on a grant from the university at which he had studied and now worked. Since graduating from his master's degree with first class honours two years ago, he had been working in the physics department taking undergraduate tutorials and assisting with the department's research, but apparently that meant nothing. He really only needed the money to travel to another university which, unlike his own, had the necessary equipment he required and to support himself while he was there.

'Please, Phil,' he had pleaded with the head of the department in a last ditch attempt to save himself from another meaningless year of someone else's research. 'If I can't get the grant can't the department buy the equipment I need? It's only one telescope and I'm sure it won't go unused once I'm done with it.'

'I'm sorry Tomas,' his kindly boss had sighed. 'You know I want to help you, but there have been a lot of budget cuts and we just can't afford it this year.'

Tomas sighed, furrowing his brows at the memory as he poured a sixth packet of sugar into the steaming black coffee before him, casually tossing the white paper into the pile slowly forming beside his cup.

'Hey Tom! What are you doing here?' a chirpy female voice broke through his wallowing.

'Tomas.' Tomas corrected without looking up. 'This is the cheapest place to get coffee,' he mumbled glumly, adding another packet's worth of sugar to his drink.

'You don't pay for coffee here,' she smirked, taking the seat opposite him.

'Exactly.' Tomas sighed again. As if babysitting first year physics students and charting graphs that meant nothing to him for most of his week wasn't soul-destroying enough, putting his degree to good use as a part-time barista helped him make rent a little more comfortably each month. 'I didn't know you were working today,' he commented, eyeing his co-worker-slash-close-friend's purple apron.

'Yes you did, you were rubbing it in my face last night,' Sophie raised a perfectly-shaped eyebrow as Tomas reached for another sugar packet. 'Jesus Tom have some coffee with your sugar! What's wrong?' she asked, sweeping the pile of discarded paper packets into the grey plastic bus box on her lap.

'Tomas.' He corrected again wearily. He really didn't know why she insisted on calling him "Tom". 'Nothing's wrong, I'm just condemned to this monotonous existence doing shit I don't care about for people I don't care about for the rest of my life.' He sighed, finally taking a sip of his coffee and allowing a small appreciative hum escape his throat. Tomas liked sugar when he was upset.

'Aw shit, you didn't get the funding?' Sophie grimaced. Tomas shook his head.

'Sophie?! Are you working today or what?!' A stern voice called from somewhere behind Tomas; Sophie immediately jumped to a standing position.

'Shit, sorry babe, stay until my break okay?' She smiled, squeezing his shoulder. Tomas nodded and she ruffled the mop of black curls he called hair before quickly clearing the table beside his own and scurrying back to the counter.

'Okay, so I have good news and bad news, but you're totally gonna love me forever,' an excited Sophie gushed as soon as she had come in to work a few days later.

'I'm intrigued, go on.' Tomas replied, busying himself with making a new pot of filter coffee.

'Well, the good news is that I'm a genius and I know where you can do your research,' she told him smugly as she pulled her apron over her head.

'What?!' Tomas forgot about the coffee and gave her his full attention.

'Yep. I know this guy who's totally into stars and stuff and he has absolutely loads of telescopes and he said he wouldn't mind helping you out.'

'Like proper, professional scientific telescopes?' Tomas asked.

'Yes, Tom, I'm not an idiot.' Sophie countered sarcastically.

'Tomas.' Correcting her had almost become a force of habit. 'Okay, so what's the bad news?'

'I really don't think you'll like him…'

'Why not…?' he asked, narrowing his eyes.

'Well he's quite… quirky…' She began warily. Tomas raised an eyebrow. 'And um, I think he's like a trust fund brat or something, but he definitely has money to burn at a young age anyway…' She continued. Tomas sighed; having had to work for every penny he'd owned in his life, spoilt rich kids infuriated him.

'…And, um…' Sophie picked up her bus box, slowly backing out from behind the counter. 'He works as an astrologer, bye!' she said quickly before jogging away.

Tomas groaned. If there was one thing he hated more than money for nothing, it was astrology. His astrophysics degree felt offended at the very notion, but he knew he didn't really have a choice. He sighed and turned back to his previous task of refilling the filter coffee, waiting for Sophie's return.

'Are you gonna hurt me?' her voice came timidly from behind him a few minutes later.

'No,' Tomas smirked. 'It'll have to do. Tell me more, I'll grin and bear it.'

'Awesome!' Sophie grinned. 'He lives just outside town, a little way up the mountain. His place is so cool, it's like an old converted lookout tower for forest fires or something – amazing views, and he said it's high enough up that the lights don't really obscure the stars at night so it's perfect for you!'

'That does sound kinda cool…' Tomas admitted.

'It is! I have the directions in my bag,' Sophie grinned again.

'What's this guy's name?' Tomas asked a few moments later, only just realising he hadn't asked.

'Reuben,' she winked.

And so, the following evening, Tomas found himself following Sophie's directions and knocking on a strange door and face-to-face with "Reuben".

He was slightly taller than Tomas and couldn't have been much older, with shaggy, sandy blonde hair which hung over piercing green eyes. Under different circumstances, Tomas may have found him attractive, but he was still a "quirky" astrologer with a trust fund and a ridiculous frilly white shirt. Even if his collar was open enough to reveal just as much chest as Tomas happened to find cripplingly sexy. And even if his lips had curled into a gorgeous lop-sided smile as his eyes had roamed over Tomas's own more professional shirt and trousers before coming to rest on his face.

'You must be Tomas,' he purred with a voice that sounded like warm honey poured over gravel and even though he'd never admit it, Tomas secretly wanted to hear it say something a lot more inappropriate than: 'She didn't tell me you were Spanish.'

'Um, Chilean…' Tomas corrected him awkwardly.

'No accent, shame,' Reuben pouted. 'My mistake, come in then.' He pushed himself away from the doorframe which he had been leaning on in what Tomas knew he had (successfully) hoped was a sexy way and Tomas followed him up a spiralling wrought-iron staircase.

They emerged from the floor of a circular room bathed in the glaring orange light from the setting sun; tall windows spanned the entire circumference, and set up in front of them were more telescopes than Tomas had encountered in one place before. Some were small, antique looking, standing on tables or desks or chests, and some were large enough to stand freely on the floor.

'Wow…' Tomas let slip as he took the room in.

'Cool, huh?' Reuben grinned, throwing himself on to a beanbag next to a low table. 'Telescopes have always been a fascination of mine. Sophie told you I'm an astrologer, right?'

'Yeah, she mentioned,' Tomas muttered more darkly than he had intended, pulling up a small round ottoman for himself.

'Uh oh, not a fan?' Reuben smirked.

'It just isn't my thing,' Tomas shrugged. That was the understatement of the century. 'I'm more into the science of the universe.'

'What's your sign?' the blonde asked, apparently amused.

'I have absolutely no idea.'

'Well when's your birthday?' Reuben laughed.

'January 4th…'

'Ah, Capricorn,' Reuben narrowed his eyes. 'Typical. Anyway, let's save all that for another time. Any of my darlings take your fancy, Star Boy?'

'Um, yeah, those few over there should be suitable, I think…' Tomas gestured towards some of the larger telescopes, caught off-guard by his new nickname. 'Are you sure it's okay if I…?'

'Of course!' Reuben grinned. 'I mean, if you wanted to thank me by buying or cooking food once in a while or something I wouldn't say no, but honestly I think it'll be fun,' he smiled, eyes twinkling. 'So you'll be here mostly at night, yeah?'

Tomas nodded. 'Mostly likely from around this time until late, but I'll be quiet…'

'I don't sleep much anyway,' the other man brushed off his statement with a wave of his hand. 'My bedroom's up there by the way,' he pointed to the hole in the ceiling through which the staircase continued. 'If you need to crash at some point there's a sofa up there, or you can take the bed if I'm not in it. Bathroom and kitchen are one level down, you can't miss them. And I'll get you a spare key cut tomorrow,' he finished with a smile.

'Oh, no, you don't have to…' Tomas protested.

'If I'm not around or I'm up here with a client when you come over it'll be a lot easier for me if you have one, it's no big deal,' he shrugged.

'Well, thanks…' Tomas mumbled.

'So will you be starting right away?'

'Uh, well, if I could just take a look at some of your equipment for now and that'll help me figure out exactly how I'll do the research, then I might need to edit some of my proposal and also discuss the situation with my various employers, so it might take a few days to a week, I'm not totally sure…' Tomas rambled.

'Well that's cool, I'll give you my number and you can let me know when you know. But go ahead and do what you need to do now, I have some charts I need to finish for tomorrow,' Reuben smiled at him once more before getting up and disappearing up the staircase.

A/N: Hi! Welcome to my new story :) I've had the idea for this story for a few years, but nothing has ever really come of it until now. Hopefully it works out. I'd love to hear what you think so far, reviews tend to make me update faster!