Disclaimer: Western Mode isn’t mine, alas.
Pairing: ♣/♥ - Wanizuka/Avery (Washio Noboru/Hashimoto Taito), with mentions of Cress/Harry (Ooyama Masashi/Sano Daiki)
Warnings: BL, drabbly
Author’s Note: I couldn’t resist writing fic for this even though the run of the play’s not even done yet! @___@; I’ve seen it four times now, and I was inspired. I hope it’s enjoyable anyway? And, if not... that after the DVD comes out sometime in January, that it will be? XD;
Avery can still remember the day that Harry found him. It was four days after he had been tossed away by his own father, moving out of town to avoid debts with his pretty new (pregnant) wife only a year after Avery’s own mother had died. Avery had never been close to his father—after all, his father drank more than he did much of anything else, but it had always been fine when Avery’s mother had been around to shield him from the brunt of the shouting and violence that came along with it. But after his mother had died, after the new woman had come around, life had been a living hell for Avery, and it was honestly hard to say whether his four days on the street were worse or better than the year prior.
Avery watched them pull away in the buggy they’d bought with some of the money they’d gotten from selling their little apartment over the town bar, neither his father nor his stepmother looking back at the child they were sentencing to starvation. He can remember the feeling of absolute loss, because what was there for him to do? He was ten years old at the time, a mere child, with no money, no possessions, with nothing in the world besides the clothing on his back. His father had sold or taken anything that had previously belonged to him that he could have exchanged for a meal or someplace to stay, and he was left to wander the streets, hoping to handouts. He must have looked awfully pathetic, he can imagine now, but even that wasn’t enough to get him much pity, or at least, not enough to get him fed. Somehow, he managed to pull through for four days, eating scraps and sleeping in back alleyways, curled up on himself against the cold of the night. It was a disgusting existence, and he hadn’t been sure how much longer he was going to be able to make it when, on the fourth morning, he awoke to a man shaking his shoulder and asking if he was all right.
He honestly can’t remember how he responded, but he does remember that the man had seemed infinitely relieved to discover that he wasn’t dead before introducing himself as Harry and asking Avery if he had any interest in traveling.
But, of course, that was only the beginning—even before Avery had made himself of much use, even before he knew the ropes of being a member of a traveling theatre troupe, Harry fed him and clothed him and took care of him, gave him a place to sleep at night and promised him, no matter what, that they would never leave him behind. Even when Avery awoke in the middle of the night over and over again for almost a year after that, Harry would patiently wipe his tears and assume him that it was all right and he wasn’t alone anymore, and without that, without Harry, Avery is absolutely positive he wouldn’t be alive today.
To Avery, Harry is a man to whom no one can live up, to whom no one can compare. He tells people he’s like an older brother to him, and in most ways, it’s fitting, but it’s more than that, even, in ways that Avery can’t really put into words to explain. Harry is the person who saved him, Harry is the reason behind anything and everything Avery does because if it hadn’t been for Harry, Avery wouldn’t even be around anymore. It’s not that he worships the ground Harry walks on or anything creepy like that; he understands that Harry is a man and not any sort of god, but he’s a good man, the best sort of man that there is, and Avery will follow him to the ends of the earth if Harry will have him.
Avery is fairly certain that Cress is the kindest person he’s ever met in his life. He wouldn’t say it in public, because he knows Cress would tell him off and deny it, but Avery has never met another person who cares so much about his friends. As much as he puts up a fuss about it, and as much as he worries over finances, Avery knows just how far Cress would go out of his way to help those close to him, and so even when he’s his most petulant, Avery can’t bring himself to do much more than roll his eyes.
After all, Cress is the one who taught Avery to play the guitar; Cress is the one who really allowed Avery to fill a purpose in the show. When Harry first took him in, of course, there was no real purpose for him; Harry had been the main act, Cress had been the musical accompaniment, and Wanizuka had been the props and special effects guy. For the time being, Avery had done everything he could help, carrying boxes and moving things and occasionally playing a villain when they were short on local volunteers, but it didn’t feel, really, like he served a purpose, especially when he clearly was not filling any hole, especially when the group had clearly been getting on fine without him.
It was Cress, though, who had first suggested that Avery learn the guitar. When Avery had responded with confusion, Cress had simply shrugged and said he’d like to play a part in the show, too. Harry had been more than enthusiastic, and so, during their down time between shows and when they were on the road between cities, Avery had sat for hours with Cress’s guitar on his lap, Cress supervising him as he struggled to finger chords with his small hands and master various melodies. Avery had never had musical training before, and it was hard at first, it was a struggle, but even when Cress was clearly frustrated with his mistakes, he never got impatient with Avery, never scolded him or degraded him, and he rewarded Avery’s successes with a ruffle of hair or a pat on the back that meant more to Avery than anything he could have given him might have.
Cress really is like an older brother to Avery in every way—he might find him annoying when he complains about money or how long it takes to get from place to place, but it’s only because they’re together so much of the time, and, truly, Avery looks up to him and cares for him from the bottom of his heart. He knows that Cress is Harry’s lover, and though he has, on occasion, found himself perhaps yearning just a little bit for that sort of attention from the man who saved him, he’s never felt jealous of Cress, not when they so obviously fit together like they were made to be, not when their bond is obviously something Avery could never understand, not when they make one another so happy. And Avery knows Cress cares quite a great deal about his happiness, so he can’t really help but care right back about Cress’s happiness, now can he?
If there is anything to get about Wanizuka, Avery is fairly certain he doesn’t get it. The guy doesn’t make much sense at all, doesn’t seem to have any sense of responsibility or tact or pretty much anything that any normal person would have. Avery doesn’t like to seem narrow-minded, but he’s fairly certain that at least some of the stories Wanizuka goes on about Japan have to be made up, and regardless of their truth, after hearing them ten and twenty times, Avery finds them annoying either way. Wanizuka’s much more childish than he is, too, even though he’s fairly certain Wanizuka’s at least thirty when Avery himself is not yet sixteen and is definitely more mature than he is. And it’s just so frustrating when Wanizuka starts talking in Japanese and no one can understand him; Avery simply doesn’t get him in the slightest.
But yet, there’s something stupidly endearing about him all the same that makes Avery laugh when he does something idiotic and join in when he does something fun. He doesn’t really understand it, because logically, Wanizuka really should just be annoying, but somehow, regardless of that, Avery can’t help but giggle when he tries to be funny, can’t help but hang around to hear the better of his stories even when he’s heard them before. And when they’ve had a successful show and splurge some of their hard-earned cash on a few rounds of drinks at the local bar, something stupid in Avery makes him hang around even after Cress and Harry have given up on Wanizuka, makes him make sure Wanizuka stays out of trouble and take away his drinks when he’s had too much. Something contrary to common sense makes him trudge back to their hotel with Wanizuka hanging over his shoulders, and something absolutely ridiculous in him makes him help Wanizuka out of his shoes and guide him into bed and crawl in next to him, despite the fact that he stinks of liquor and neither of them have had a shower after a long day’s work.
And something incredibly, completely incomprehensible in Avery makes him move in a little closer and press a kiss to Wanizuka’s cheek and whisper goodnight, even though Wanizuka is far too inebriated to care or remember tomorrow morning, and maybe, Avery thinks as he drifts off to sleep next to this unlikely but welcome companion, just maybe Wanizuka’s complete incomprehensibility is what makes Avery like him in a way that’s so completely different from how he feels towards Harry and Cress and in a way that somehow feels just right.