Author: oncethrown PM
Cory/Shawn. Shawn Angst. Cory and Shawn have one last night before Cory and Topanga leave for New York.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Romance - Cory M. & Shawn H. - Words: 1,947 - Reviews: 17 - Favs: 19 - Follows: 2 - Published: 08-29-05 - Status: Complete - id: 2558145
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: My Shadow is the Only One that Walks Beside Me
Disclaimer: I own neither Boy Meets World, nor the line from Boulevard of Broken Dreams that I stole from Green Day and used for the title
Author's Note: This is a different take on the reaction to Topanga's completely left field interest in law / sudden acceptance into a law program and an exploration of Shawn Hunter. I apologize that it's been a couple years since I saw the last few episodes and I'm a little fuzzy on some of the details. But I'm good on most of the middle.
Shawn sat in his darkening room, listening to music and contemplating the shadows of his past and future. That was what his life comprised. Shadows. His father had hidden the truth about so many things in elaborate stories in shades of rose. Elaborate lies. His mother had spent nearly the entirety of his life hiding from him and his father in the shadows of other cities. Often other states. The old Pink Flamingo trailer park itself lay in the shadow of the elegant high-rises and luxury hotels across the interstate. Even the people in his life were shadows. Look at Feeny. The man had shadowed him, all of them from sixth grade to college. The thought made Shawn grin mutely at his knees. But the grin faded as his thoughts turned back to his most important shadow.
Was Cory his shadow or was he Cory's? They had been inseparable since before either could remember. Before the llama pen at the zoo, before he'd taught Cory to pick the lock on his play pen. Way before they had "received their telegrams". Before first dates, before first kisses, before girlfriends and engagements and weddings. Before Topanga.
Even though Cory and Topanga had known each other for their whole lives and even though no one quite remembered how Cory had met Shawn or Topanga.
Shawn was sure that he had met Cory before Cory met Topanga.
The song he was listening ended and something more bluesy came on and Shawn didn't quite manage to laugh at himself for being emo enough to sit in his dark room, listening to sad music and musing on his life.
There was a soft knock at the door. Shawn quickly flipped on a light and grabbed his Poli-Sci book off the night stand before yelling "Come in!".
A shaking hand glided into the room on the door knob connected to the sleeve of an unfashionable shirt, a face like a friendly potato and hair like a burnt Brillo-pad. His spudy face looked strange and his expression was unreadable.
Shawn put down his book (which he hadn't realized he had been looking at upside down) "Cory? What's wrong?" Shawn asked, standing but staying where he was. Cory carefully shut the door and walked into the room.
Cory breathed deeply " Topanga... got an internship... in New York City. She's moving," Cory said in a tone that was completely ambiguous. Shawn didn't know whether he should be excited or upset. His eyes strayed to the closed door.
"Topanga's leaving?" Shawn managed. Cory nodded and gulped. "Cor, what's wrong?" Cory took Shawn in his arms and wrapped one hand around the back of his head, pulling him close. A sense of relief flooded through Shawn, like he'd taken a deep breath after being underwater until his lungs burned.
"I'm going with her." Cory's breath burned against Shawn's neck but his news felt like ice dripping down Shawn's spine. He held Cory tighter, winding his fingers in Cory's curls. "For how long?" he asked though he was sure he already knew the answer.
"For good Shawny. Internships turn into jobs. And Topanga's the kind of girl who'll be on a fast track to partnership," Cory gave a mirthless, throaty kind of laugh that sounded more like a sob and Shawn felt his own tears start as he turned his head to kiss Cory's cheek.
"Well," Shawn gasped trying to inject some brilliant sun into his voice and only managing a feeble, cloud weakened ray, "We've still got this summer right? Summer and the weekend and three days of finals right?"
Cory let go of him and Shawn reluctantly loosened his own hold. Cory brushed a hand across Shawn's forehead echoing the gesture he'd made so many times when Shawn's hair was still long enough to push away and kissed him. Cory's tears were cold on Shawn's face.
"3 days of finals. Her internship starts first day of summer vacation, and we're both transferring to NYU next term," He glanced at Shawn but quickly looked away and Shawn tried to make his expression look less, less betrayed, less hurt, less utterly forsaken.
"You're leaving in 3 days? Just picking up and leaving?" he rasped.
Cory just nodded. Shawn tried to swallow the piece of hell caught in his throat, "So Topanga is what? Back at your apartment packing?"
"No, she's in Pittsburg staying at her mom's place until Sunday," Cory said wiping his cheek with the back of his hand.
"I can't believe you're just going pick up and move to New York" Shawn choked, moving to hold Cory again. Cory kissed him again.
"Come on Shawny, It's not like we'll never see each other again. New York is only 4 hours away."
"And what, you're going to take the train every weekend? You won't have the money for that kind of thing. And between her internship and studying for a law degree weekends'll be the only time you get to see Topanga," Shawn had long ago learned to mute the rancor he wanted to put into sentences like that.
"I know," Cory had long ago ceased to hear the rancor (there or not) in sentences like that, "But there's still holidays and breaks and Topanga won't always be with."
He kissed Cory and Cory kissed him until Cory turned off the light and Shawn could no longer see him, just taste the mix of sweet spit and salty tears that he sometimes felt like he lived for.
There were a lot of reasons Shawn thought of his life in terms of shadows. His strictly after-sundown relationship with Cory was the most important reason. Cory and Shawn's relationship had started as secret and hidden kisses and caresses in the dark, like these things always have but they had never gotten out of the shadows. They had never kissed in the sunshine. They had never touched each other in a way unbecoming two best friends with the doors or curtains open. Even the one time they had gotten drunk off of their asses and lost enough inhibition to pee on a police car they had done nothing to make anyone suspect. They had periodically sworn to stop it because they knew it wasn't right, but their "never agains" became "not for a whiles" and "maybe laters" and "just a seconds".
Their fear of how people would react and then later on Cory's relationship with Topanga had forced Cory and Shawn to conduct their affair carefully in dark corners where no one would ever know. And no one did know.
No one knew that Cory hadn't gotten his first kiss from Topanga, no one knew that beanie weenie casserole wasn't the only worry that Cory had before playing 7 minutes in heaven. No one knew that if Cory had been the one in the wedding dress it would by no means have been whiter than the white hot light of a thousand burning suns.
No one knew Shawn had invented the two week rule not because he was afraid of stumbling into a life tied to one person, but because he'd already found his one person and was filling the time he couldn't have him with meaningless relationships. No one knew that Shawn had abandoned the few relationships that had meant something to him and the few girls he had loved to go back to Cory in the few "Topanga- Free" interludes in their adolescence. No one knew that Cory's wedding day had been the worst day of Shawn's entire life.
As Shawn's eyes adjusted enough to make out Cory's face in the darkness above him he reflected that the color of shame wasn't red like a blush, but black. Black like the night.
One brave ray of sunshine filtered into Shawn's room the next morning. It breached the curtains through the small space where they didn't quite meet and illuminated the empty space next to Shawn's naked body. Cory had gone back to his own apartment after Shawn had fallen asleep. Not being together during the day made it easier to lie. Shawn laid a hand over the empty space and was surprised at how cold it felt. He rolled out of bed, grabbed his boxers off the floor and flung the curtains open so hard he tore them from the wall.
This was his life in the light.
The blaze that stripped away comfortable secrecy and nourished inhibition was what had led him to go from girl to girl looking for one that could make him feel the way Cory made him feel.
This was the harsh glare that had made Shawn seek out Topanga and set her up with Cory so that maybe Cory would forget about him and have a normal life. Shawn regretted that decision everyday of his life. Because Cory did love Topanga and he could love her during the day.
This was the searchlight that made Cory swear that he and Shawn would only be friends after Cory took his vows to Topanga and the conflagration that Shawn had found himself in on the mornings after Cory's wedding before Cory admitted his "never-again" was actually a "just a second". The slew of mornings when Shawn woke up next to men and women whose names he didn't remember, who he could fuck in the light but never love.
This was the naked bulb that made him try to get Cory and Topanga back together, that made him pretend that Day 53 of the train wreck filled him with sadness instead of joy, that made him take down the bag full of jelly beans and weigh Loren and Topanga and not ever mention that the scale was one pan short.
Shawn got dressed, made himself a cup of coffee, sat down on the cold space on his bed and cried. There was light and dark in both Philadelphia and New York and he cried because he knew that neither he nor anyone else could stop him from going to New York, and living in the shadows there.
Light creates shadows.
Endnote: I wrote this story after watching season 3 of Boy Meets World on DVD, reading Sherman Alexies "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven", watching the trailer for Brokeback Mountain and listening to "Hot Fuss" by the Killers.