The Right Combination

When they were young, it had just been Cory and Shawn. They were together so much so that it was like they were one entity: Cory-and-Shawn. Then Topanga had come along, and for a while, they were Cory-and-Shawn-and-Topanga.

Then puberty had happened, junior high and the other kids pairing off and starting to date, and everyone – including Cory and Shawn and Topanga – had known that Cory and Topanga belonged together. So Cory and Shawn were once again Cory-and-Shawn, because Cory and Topanga were Cory-and-Topanga, only in a different way.

Only…not. Because Cory-and-Topanga did everything together that Cory-and-Shawn did, only with kissing and occasional groping. But they were young, and stupid, and none of them questioned why all three of still hung out together so much, even though Cory and Topanga were dating. Or questioned why Shawn couldn't keep a girlfriend for longer than three months. Or questioned why, even when Shawn and Angela were Shawn-and-Angela, Topanga spent more time with Shawn than she did with Angela, even though everyone thought that that Topanga and Angela were best friends, like Cory and Shawn.

Only, Topanga and Angela never became Topanga-and-Angela like Cory and Shawn become Cory-and-Shawn, not even at first. And if anyone noticed that Shawn and Topanga had become Shawn-and-Topanga…well, no one ever said.

The reasons for all these were the same. But they were young, and stupid, and none of them realized there was even a problem, let alone the solution.

Junior Prom rolled around, and Shawn and Angela were still Shawn-and-Angela, and Cory and Topanga were still Cory-and-Topanga, but with Cory-and-Shawn on the side. So it was no surprise to anyone that the two couples went to prom together. And if Angela was the only one to dance with anyone outside the quartet, no one remarked on it.

But then Shawn-and-Angela broke up and became Shawn and Angela once more. Shawn hung out with Cory more, and it was never more apparent that they were Cory-and-Shawn, but despite Angela spending more time with Topanga, they never became Topanga-and-Angela. Topanga spending time with not only Cory, but also Shawn didn't help.

But they were all still friends, Cory and Shawn and Topanga and Angela, even if they weren't quite Cory-and-Shawn-and-Topanga-and-Angela.

Then Senior Prom rolled around, and Angela was dating someone else. Shawn wasn't, though; and it never occurred to either Cory or Topanga to try to find him someone else, so they could go by themselves. But while the Lawrences didn't say anything about the arrangement because they didn't know, and Mr. Hunter just smirked and wished them well, they'd need it, the Matthews' view of all three of them attending prom together was…slightly different.

And Cory and Shawn and Topanga then knew that they needed to talk. Only there wasn't really much talking going on. Topanga told them to kiss, and while initially startled, Cory and Shawn were both used to her being in charge, so they did.

They kissed. And kissed. And kissed some more, until finally Topanga's indignant, "Hey!" caused them to break apart.

And suddenly Cory and Shawn were Cory-and-Shawn in a whole new way. But Cory and Topanga were still Cory-and-Topanga, so what did that mean?

And then Cory was blushing and stammering, and Shawn was looking guilty and as if he was about to cry, and Topanga's annoyance and mild anger just fizzled out and she said, "It doesn't have to be that complicated." Then she kissed Cory for a little while, and then she kissed Shawn for a longer while, long enough that Cory had to break them apart. And then they all laughed, and hugged each other together, before kissing some more.

So they stopped being Cory-and-Shawn and Cory-and-Topanga, and became Cory-and-Shawn-and-Topanga, only in a whole new way. And they all went to prom together, only they all finally knew what it meant. And maybe the Matthews still didn't understand, but they did, and that was all that mattered.

It had taken ten years, but they'd finally found the right combination.