Author's Note: Shortie in answer to the Millennium songfic challenge on . I chose "It's Gotta Be you" and wrote a story in five drabbles (pieces of exactly 100 words), which in the end doesn't seem to have very much to do with the song. Also, my late celebration of Brian month, if you so will.

It had been a completely unexpected development. Nothing could have prepared Howie for the sheer power of emotions that seemed to take over his life from one day to the next. There had been no slow building up, no warning signs that told Howie to slow down or take the next exit off that road. Instead there was sudden realization, hitting him just when he had many more serious worries on his mind.

But falling in love with Brian was like walking into a brickwall while your head was turned the other way - just as shocking, painful, and utterly unavoidable.


It was not so much the part where he fell in love with one of his male bandmates. Howie had been in love with Kevin when they started out, in love with AJ when they became big, and in love with Nick when things started to fall apart.

There had never been the temptation to confess that he meant something quite different when they exchanged their ritual "I love you". Not when he came out to Kevin, not when he once drunkenly kissed AJ -- not even when Nick thought he might be in love with Howie for two exciting months.


But with Brian, Howie felt a weight on his chest whenever they saw each other or just talked on the phone, so heavy that it threatened to press those treacherous words out of him.

Howie had never had such a hard time not to let anything slip, to preserve an air of calm and brotherly love. He had assumed that he had the business of crushing on bandmates down to par -- but his previous feelings, seemingly so deep and real, seemed pale in comparison.

Seeing Brian with his son had started a fire in Howie's heart that he couldn't extinguish.


There had been a love in Brian's eyes as he presented little Baylee to Howie, like nothing Howie had ever seen. There had been pride, and joy, and a bit of relief, too -- but mostly there had been a love so bright and hot it left trails of fire tingling on Howie's skin when Brian looked up at him.

Howie had seen Brian happy and playful, he had seen him sad and broken. But never had he seen him radiate such a passion, such a single-minded purpose. And never before had his smile burned a path straight to Howie's heart.


Before falling in love with Brian Howie had always acted responsibly -- but there was a new kind of excitement in being at the mercy of his feelings. It was as if his emotions were waves crashing against him and only a thin line of reason stopped him from being swallowed up by them.

Seeing Brian with his son had set loose a whirlwind that Howie found hard to stop, yet seeing Brian with Baylee also effectively sealed his lips. Why risk everything for nothing?

Howie knew all this -- but he found he didn't care. He opened his mouth and spoke.