Gravity. It keeps you rooted to the ground.

"You bastard! I hate you!"

"Wha- Wait, Lovino!"

"You kissed Feliciano! You kissed my brother!"

"Wait! Lovi stop running away and let me explain!"

"Explain what? Did you just happen to trip onto his face?"

I don't want to listen to him. How could I have been so much of an idiot to trust him?

"Lovino, stop running!"

"No, get away from me, asshole!"

But I wanted to listen to him. I wanted to believe someone actually cared about me.

"Could you just wait a- Lovino look out!"

"No I- AHH!"

In space there's not any gravity. You just kind of leave your feet and go floating around.

"Lovino! Lovino! Don't move I'm coming right down!"

Where am I going to go? I think. Its not like I can move. I want to, want to get away from him, but my vision's going a bit hazy and my limbs won't listen.

I let out a moan as he lifts me off the ground. His hands are covered in dirt from when he crawled down the cliff side. It wasn't that far, really. Probably only six feet. But I guess that makes me an idiot twice. Once for listening to Antonio when he said he loved me. Twice for letting emotion blind me so much I didn't look where I was running. Running from something obvious and predictable. Something I should have seen coming.

"Its okay, Lovi. I've got you. I'm going to take you to the hospital incase you've got a concussion. Just don't fall asleep on me."

Don't fall asleep, don't fall asleep. I won't because I'm stronger then that. Because he deserves all of the three words I'm about to say to him.

I crack open an eye, then the other. He looks at me worriedly. Most likely with good reason because I can't even focus on his face. What I'm about to say… I've said it so many times, but I've never meant it. Not really. Not when I was young and screamed them at him, not when I grew up and hissed it into his ear as his body lied and told me he loved me. Not even five minutes ago when I walked into his house and found his arms looped around Feliciano's waist. I've never meant them more then I do now.

Is that what falling in love feels like?

"I hate you."

XXXXXXX

We all carry around so much pain in our hearts. Love and pain and beauty.

I look at Antonio. He doesn't look at me. That's never a good sign.

I did end up with a concussion. It's all his fault.

They all seem to go together like one tidy confusing package.

I wonder if he knows I love him. Maybe he's too thick to realize that he wasn't going to step in gum on the street, I just liked holding his hand.

I wonder if he knows I stayed up for hours wondering how he could love someone like me back.

It's a messy business, life. It's hard to figure- full of surprises.

But I guess he never did. I was a surrogate. A fill-in.

"How long have we been together, Antonio?" I ask, venom dripping from every syllable.

"One year," he answers. He still won't look at me.

Some good.

"I loved you."

Antonio looks up, shock, pain, 'what the hell am I doing?' written across his face. I don't give him time to respond.

"How long have you been seeing Feliciano?"

Some bad.

"… Two months."

It probably never once crossed his mind that I loved him. That bastard.

XXXXXXX

Yesterday he was a beauty.

I sit down in my house and look around. The doors are locked, curtains shut. As far as I'm concerned the world doesn't need me, so why should I bother looking at it?

Standing I stretch and walk into the kitchen. I guess I'm not really surprised. Deep down past all of those walls of self-doubt and self-loathing, past one paper-thin layer of something poets have decided to call love, I always knew I was never important. That I was as useless as Feliciano.

Well, even more so now.

Opening the fridge I reach in for a tomato. Pulling it out I stare at its red skin, its perfect green leaves, the way it shines in the light. And the next thing I know its juice is running down the side of my arm, and the pulp is splattered against the wood floor. I gaze at it in surprise. When did I do that?

Today he's a dead animal in the back of a truck.

Shaking the fruit from my hand, I reach back into the fridge. I'll have an apple instead, go sit on the couch again and keep telling myself that Antonio doesn't matter to me.

XXXXXX

"Feliciano? I'm worried about Lovino."

"Ve-Don't worry. He'll be okay."

"But…" I sigh and stir the tomato sauce Feliciano's been cooking. It gives my hands something to do, "Have you heard from him at all? I don't think anyone has and it's been a month."

Feliciano shrugs and bounces to the dining table with silverware. There's always a spring in his step, "He's always been moody. You know that; you raised him."

"Yeah, I guess," Walking to the fridge I take out a tomato and bite into its flesh, "You want a tomato?"

People notice things about their significant other they don't like all the time- the way they chew their food or the way they clip their toenails.

"No thanks. I don't really like to just bite into one plain. They're much better if they're with something like a salad or pasta…"

It's a necessary part of a real relationship.

"Oh… okay then."

Placing the tomato down on the counter I pad over to him and wrap my arms around his chest. He giggles. I raise an eyebrow. Honestly, before Feliciano, I'd never heard a grown man giggle. Even Feliks doesn't really giggle; it's more like a snicker.

Personally I'm not into that, but a lot of folks seem to get over the hump and keep fueling the domestic fires. On the other hand…

He wiggles around in my grip until we're face to face. Giggling again he pulls himself up and plants a small kiss on my lips. Small, being the operative word.

When I begin to see flaws, chinks in the romantic armor, its foreshadowing-

It seems like I'm the one always leading him. But sometimes I'm the one who'd like to be overpowered. Lovino, he could really kiss. It was strong and full of passion, as if he put everything he felt into one physical movement.

I feel so horrible, hurting him like that. I know him well enough to know that he is hurt; that he could stay holed up in his house indefinitely. I never meant it… I feel so guilty.

Trying to put it out of my mind I deepen the kiss, Feliciano's lips parting to allow me more access. He crumbles easily, and here I am leading again.

A sure sign that love's about to skip out the back door.

He breaks away, "Ve, I'll be right back! I have to make sure the pasta's not burning."

"Can't you wait for a sec-"

"I'll be right back I promise!"

Adios. Finito, benito.

XXXXXX

In the morning I wake up, and hear rain dancing across my roof. It patters through the leaves, glides down my window. I'm happy its here. For the past month and a half it's been sun, sun, sun. Finally the weather matches how I feel.

Rain usually makes me feel mellow: curl up in a corner time, slow down, smell the furniture. Today... it just makes me feel wet.

Rising I pull on some clothes and head down stairs. On my way to the kitchen I stop and stare at the front door. Maybe I should get some fresh air. I haven't been outside since I came back from the hospital. And I like the rain.

So I sigh, run a hand through my messy hair and walk into the foyer. Flipping the lock open I pull on the handle and let it swing inward on its hinges.

Antonio is standing there.

He's sopping wet and shivering, his arms wrapped tightly around his chest. He looks up and I gape at him, some part of my mind screaming and another part noticing how good he looked with his hair-

I slam the door in his face.

XXXXXX

What is it about owning things? Why do we feel the need to own what we love, and why do we become such jerks when we do?

The second Lovino sees me the door slams closed. I'm sad but… Honestly how can I blame him? I was such a horrible person… I don't even deserve to be standing here, much less trying to talk to him. But I want to try anyway.

Shaking the moisture from my hair I rap my knuckles against the wood, "Lovi- Lovino… could I talk to you? For just a minute?"

We've all been there, you know: we want something; we own it; and by owning it we change it.

Something thumps against the door. Probably a boot, "You can talk, but that doesn't mean I'll listen. Bastard."

I wince when he annunciates the 'bastard'. True he's always called me that, but we both knew he never entirely meant it; it was just his way of saying that he cared. I can tell he really means it now.

When you finally win that girl of your dreams, the first thing you do is try to change her.

"I'm sorry."

Why is it that to most powerful feelings can be described with only a few words? 'I'm sorry', 'I hate you'. 'I love you'.

"Here's a thought: I don't forgive you."

"Lovino… When we were together, I felt like there was something missing I-"

"Oh, that's exactly what I want to hear right now!"

"I'm sorry! It was as if you weren't all the way committed to it-"

"Are you trying to pin this on me?"

"Lovino, if you'd just let me finish."

I could almost feel Lovino's glare through the wood, almost see his mouth moving to find some retort, "Fine."

The little thing she does with her hair, the way she wears her clothes, the way she chews her gum.

"But… when I was with Feliciano, and not you, it felt even worse," I can hear Lovino mumble 'cheating bastard' on the other side of the door but I continue anyway, "And I realized that it wasn't you who had to change, it was me. Because in the past I've always thought of you as a brother or my child. Even the first time you asked me out, with your face bright red and stuttering, it was like I couldn't look at you as a person instead."

Something thuds against the door, probably Lovino's fist this time, and I shake the water out of my hair again, "But yesterday… It's like Feliciano is my brother: And the one I love is you!"

"Should have thought of that earlier, you lying, cheating, son of a bitch!" It sounds like he's crying, "Because I loved you! How did you not see that?"

"Lovino I-"

"Just go back to Feliciano. Its what you've always wanted so who am I to stop you?"

"But Lovino…" I walk to the door, slipping a bit on the wet stone steps, "I love you."

"How the hell do you expect me to believe you?"

Until eventually, what you like, what you don't like and what you change all merges into one.

"Because I left Feliciano."

Silence. If there was a ever a chance…

"I think that you still love me," I say, low, even, "And I'm sorry it took me so long to discover that I love you too. But I'll do anything, even if I have to wait one thousand, two thousand, ten thousand years for you to even look at me again."

Like a water color in the rain

XXXXXX

I stand there, breathing heavily. I know Antonio is on the other side of that door. Getting drenched by the rain.

Goddamn it…

Excuse me?

XXXXXX

Amazingly, the door opens just a little. My heart leaps into my throat.

"You can come in and dry off. I don't forgive you so don't even think it for a second! But you can have a towel."

Yeah?

XXXXXX

I can't believe I did that. There must be something wrong with me.

Antonio's what's wrong with me. Stupid jerk.

Where's that stick I used to lean on I liked to call me pride?

Where am I?

XXXXXX

I hurry in before Lovino can change his mind. I can't believe he let me in. I'm freezing, I'm soaked, I'm not even thinking about anything. But for the first time I can really look at him. Look at his face. At those cheeks I kissed without meaning, that I would give anything for a chance to try again.

You know, I've been asking myself that since I got here.

XXXXXX

I lead Antonio into the kitchen, fully aware that he's staring at me. I hate him. I hate him.

I should really hate him.

Without a word I go to get him a towel, leaving him dripping water onto my floor. I keep telling myself I hate him… why don't I feel angry? I need to feel angry. Or else… I don't know what will happen anymore.

So I set a scowl on my face and walk back in there, throwing the towel over his face.

"Keep it like that. I don't want to see your ugly mug."

I watch out of the corner of my eye as he rubs the fabric over his hair, making it frizzy and stand out at odd angles.

"I love you, Lovino," he mumbles.

"Yeah right."

I've finally figured out the we are somewhere between the end of the line…

XXXXXX

"Don't touch me, bastard! Let go of my hand!"

"I don't want to ever let you go."

"To bad! You had one fraction of a chance. You had it for a year and decided it wasn't enough! Now get off of me!"

He leans forward. He kisses me. If this is how he really kisses then he's been screwing me over for the past year. Hell, he was screwing me over for the last two months of that year.

I think he loves me.

I know I love him.

I shouldn't-

I can't-

Shit, why is he such a good kisser when he really means it?

"I hate you."

"I know."

"I hate you."

"I know."

"I can't love you."

"I know."

"I shouldn't love you."

"I know."

"I hate you."

"I'm sorry."

"Screw you."

"I know."

"Shut the hell up!"

He shuts the hell up.

…and the middle of nowhere.

XXXXXX

"Shit… GODDAMMIT!"

"What?"

"I love you, you piece of shit bastard!"

XXXXXX

Gravity. It keeps you rooted to the ground.

The rain is still falling against Lovino's house; a sound like beads falling across a stone floor. A clap of thunder shakes the paintings on the walls and its brother lightening follows close behind. Lovino's bare chest is warm under my equally naked arm; why have I never noticed how beautiful his skin is? Its smooth, tanned from the Italian sun and perfect. Absolutely perfect.

"I still don't forgive you."

I lean my forehead in the place between where his shoulder ends and where the curve of his neck begins, "I'm not asking you to."

In space, there's not any gravity.

"Then what the hell are you asking?" He shifts below my embrace and I reach out towards his hand, simultaneously overlapping our ankles.

"I'm asking for a second chance."

I honestly don't know if I'll get it. I don't deserve it. I'm just greedy, and Lovino's stubborn.

"I'm asking if I can come back into your heart."

You just kind of leave your feet and go floating around.

Our bodies create warmth beneath the sheets, the kind that feels extra good when it's raining outside. The kind of warmth one tends to feel when they've realized they've fallen in love.

"I don't know."

I kiss his neck. There are no marks there; I don't know if I can or ever will be able to call him mine. I never understood that I had him. I understood when I lost him, and when I wanted him back.

Is that what falling in love feels like?

"I'm asking you to marry me," I say.

He remains silent. Even the rain lightens its pounding; waiting with bated breath for what the Italian lying next to me will reply.

"Three meals a day and a nap."

I blink. That wasn't a 'no'. That definitely wasn't a 'no'. I want to scream, to hug him tight and dance for joy that I, Antonio Fernandez Carriedo, definitely did not get a 'no'.

But I hold back, content too keep my mouth shut. At least for the next twenty seconds.

"Lovino?" I whisper into the nothing and the everything.

"What?"

"This is what falling in love feels like."