Change in Perspective

Note: Answer to the second BSB songfic challenge on . I just had to pick Hey Mr. DJ, because it's always been screaming SweetBone to me.
Thanks: to bg, for suggestions and comments that made it all better. All mistakes left are totally mine.

AJ missed his best friends-- his brothers. Of course, they'd been keeping in touch, with phone calls, emails, and the occasional short visit. But it just wasn't the same, didn't feel the same.

Sarah's presence had made it all bearable -- until he messed it up. AJ was more than grateful that she had decided not to dump him altogether, but now he had someone else to miss. Until recently, his house had been a haven, a place where he felt loved and happy, and it was now terribly empty, a place without laughter and companionship.

AJ hated it. He knew he wasn't good at being on his own, and although the guys and Sarah all tried to make it easier for him, he still missed the way things used to be. He was not sure if he missed touring with the others or living with Sarah more, although he'd never admit this to anyone, least of all Sarah, who he didn't want to hurt any more than he already had. He just didn't want to be alone, that much was certain. In his chest, there was this spot that was empty and cold now, and all he wanted was to fill it again.

So when Howie called to let him know that he'd be at a party in town, AJ didn't hesitate one moment and before saying he'd meet him there, and that Howie was free to spend the night at his place afterwards.

Howie's soft laughter at his eagerness made AJ grin happily for the first time in what seemed like months.

He had missed his best friend, had missed the way Howie always knew what AJ needed, when he needed to be left alone, and when he needed to be held. They hadn't met each other like this, without any business obligations to take care of, for several months, and AJ looked forward to spending time with Howie that was not overshadowed by the lawsuit or endless discussions about their album.

In the end, he arrived at the party rather late, delayed first by a phone call from his mother, and then by Nick, with one of his "I'm so lonely on tour all by myself, so cheer me up" calls, that always ended with Nick being pulled away by one of his band members to go to a club or something.

AJ suspected that the loneliness Nick proclaimed was more for AJ's benefit than for Nick's. But for once there was no bitterness in that thought, as he entered the club and headed for the dance floor right away, knowing that Howie would be there.

AJ stopped at the edge of the floor filled with VIPs -- and people who'd like to be VIPs -- and looked around. He'd been right, of course -- Howie was there, in the middle of things, dancing to the pounding of the music. AJ cocked his head, trying to figure out why something seemed different. Not obviously different, like a new hair cut, but hidden different, something only AJ's subconscious recognized.

It was strange to stand there and watch one of this best friends as if he'd never seen him before -- but then, so was the feeling that had crept up on AJ as soon as he set eyes on Howie. He didn't know what it was, but seeing Howie dance like this, with unchoreographed abandon and without paying any heed to the people around him, loosened something inside of AJ, relaxed a tension he hadn't been aware of.

At the same time another part of AJ clenched, and with a shiver AJ recognized this clenching as anticipation.

Anticipation of what he couldn't tell, but there it was. All he could do was try to shake off this unfamiliar feeling and find at least some semblance of normalcy as he approached Howie. Somewhere in the jumble of emotions the old, trusted feelings had to be hidden, he only had to unearth them before Howie's perceptive eyes noticed anything.

Only this proved more difficult than expected, because right then, as the music took a sensual Latin turn, AJ saw Howie move his hands down his body casually -- and the feeling settling now in AJ's stomach was all too familiar, even while being terrifyingly new in this particular situation.


AJ shook his head and tried to convince his body that no, it was not suddenly attracted by Howie's admittedly well-shaped form or the grace with which he moved, still not having noticed AJ approach. As he did, his face broke into a warm smile, and with something akin to dread AJ felt his skin tingle as their eyes met.

"Aje! It's good to see you!" Howie exclaimed, oblivious to the turmoil in AJ's head, embracing him and holding him tightly in one of his patented Howie hugs that only a handful of select people had a right to.

To his surprise AJ found that despite it all, Howie's hugs could still relax him like nothing else, and with a sigh of relief he hugged him back tightly. Maybe the relief had made him hold on longer than usual, because when they finally broke apart, Howie was looking at him with slightly curious smile.

"Something the matter, Bone?"

AJ grinned at the moniker and shook his head. "Nah, I just missed my Sweet D -- it's been a while, hasn't it?"

Howie obviously knew that there was more, but decided not to pursue the matter further right then. Instead he motioned to the bar, asking "Should we get something to drink?"

AJ found that he didn't want to sit down somewhere -- he'd much rather see Howie dance some more. So he answered, keeping his voice light: "Why don't I get us something and we drink it here -- I know you love this music and want to dance while it lasts. We can always sit down later."

Howie assented, as AJ had known he would, and so AJ made his way through the crowd and to the bar. He chose a spot from where he could see Howie and enjoyed the view while he waited for their cokes. He was not quite sure when he had decided to just go with those new feelings and enjoy them -- probably sometime between Howie's first smile and the feel of his well-trained body in his arms.

Again he was riveted by the grace and carefree sensuality of Howie's movements, and he wondered how the hell he had not seen that his friend was dead sexy before. It seemed so obvious now, as if it had always been there, waiting to be discovered.

His eyes were following Howie on the dance floor, who was using some of the fancy salsa steps of earlier times but looked a lot more at ease with them in a way AJ had never noticed before. Swallowing at the sight of Howie throwing his head back in abandon, letting go and just going with the music, AJ realized that it was probably not Howie who had changed at all, but AJ's perspective, which had somehow shifted and revealed... something that was both exciting and terrifying at the same time.

What he should do about it, if anything at all, he was not sure, but the drinks were standing in front of him and should get back, or else Howie would start wondering. Howie was used to weird behavior from AJ, but he only took so much of it before trying to get to the bottom of things -- and AJ was pretty sure that the bottom of this was not something he wanted to get to right now.

Right now all he wanted was go back to Howie and soak up this new... whatever it was between them, that was making his skin tingle when he came close enough to Howie to feel the heat radiating from his sweaty body, and his stomach flutter when their fingers touched briefly as he delivered the coke.

Howie didn't stop moving, only toned it down enough so his drink didn't spill, and AJ, trying hard not to appear too fixed on his friend, started moving a bit as well. They talked a bit -- or shouted, as it was, about what had happened since their last phone call, what Nick was up to and how Baylee was getting on.

All the time they kept moving, more or less synchronized in order to be able to scream their remarks into each others' ears. Even when they were silent they stayed close. AJ couldn't quite figure out if he had initiated this, or if it was a mutual thing. But Howie was not moving away, so he relaxed and simply danced, trying not to let his thoughts linger too much on the fact that he could almost feel the inches between them, as if the air was crackling with their energy.

The dance floor got more and more crowded, forcing them closer and closer together, until they reached a point where AJ had to be careful to keep his crotch well away from Howie, or else things could get all kinds of awkward.

He also found it hard to focus his eyes on a neutral point, since they seemed to be fixed on Howie's, which were sparkling in an all too close proximity. The other place his eyes were drawn to was even worse -- Howie's lips were smiling dangerously tempting, and every now and then his tongue would dart out to moisten them. Either alternative gave AJ all kinds of thoughts that he was by no means sure Howie would appreciate. So he swallowed hard and tried to focus on a spot above Howie's left shoulder.

He could still feel Howie moving against him, not quite dancing with him, but close enough to it for AJ. Then there was a slight shift in the music as it slowed down a bit, their bodies following its lead automatically -- and there was no mistaking the bulge rubbing against AJ's thigh.

His breath hitching, AJ tore his gaze away from the fascinating sight of the far end wall, and looked at Howie, who looked back at him quite calmly. AJ knew that he was staring, trying to convey too many messages at once without saying a word. He couldn't, not when he wasn't sure what he would say if he opened his mouth.

Obviously Howie understood him nevertheless, or at least part of what he wanted, because he smiled -- a smile that curled up in AJ's stomach and left him breathless -- and moved just the tiniest bit, fitting their legs together.

To anyone else nothing had changed, but now, protected by the crowd around them, they were effectively dancing together, their arms and chests touching and rubbing as if by accident, while their lower bodies were trying to get close and closer.

Friction was a wonderful thing, AJ decided, his eyes still locked with Howie's. AJ laughed, a carefree sound that surprised him himself, and felt the cold emptiness in his chest being filled with the heat of Howie's body and the warmth of his smile.

AJ knew that they would have to talk about everything once they got back to his house, figure out what it all meant -- but for the moment their bodies did the talking, and speech was not necessary.

~Backstreet Boys - Hey Mr. DJ~
Aah, Backstreet
Yes yes y'all
One time, here we go (yes yes y'all)
Ooh, ooh (2X)
Yes yes y'all

I could tell when I stepped in the room
And I saw you standing there
And about by the way that you moved
I couldn't help the way I stared
There were some mysterious force
Leading me here to you
Lead me (leading me) to you (to you)
So I stood there watching
And I was hypnotised
By the rhythm of your body
And the music in your eyes
And I was lost inside you world with you
Ooh, ooh, ooh...

Hey Mr. DJ keep playin' that song for me
Out on the floor in my arms, she's gotta be
Let's get it on (let's get it on)
Jam all night long
Mr. DJ, Mr. DJ
Will you play it for me?

Ooh, ooh (2X) (yes yes y'all)
Now it feels like it could be romance
As we dance across the floor
Every move that your body makes
Only makes me want you more
And it seems like time's moving fast
How can we make it last?
Make it (make it) last (last, so long)
As we keep on dancing
I am hypnotised
By the rhythm of your body
And the music in your eyes
Ooh, ooh...


Close your eyes (close your eyes)
And just imagine this alone
Let the music put you in a zone
I am lost, lost inside a groove with you
When you do the things you do
Come on and work your body, work your body

Hey Mr. DJ, jam all night long
Hey Mr. DJ play that song for me

Chorus to fade

Keep it coming Mr. DJ... (repeat to fade)