Five years was an eternity for Mr. George Feeny to be separated from the pupil he mentored for nearly all their lives. He didn't try to keep in contact with them after the day they left for New York; he was a stubborn old fool. He shouldn't have let them out of his life. Especially not in the name of professionalism. While he professed not to care about them more than any other students, he lied. Teaching students at Penn Brook College never filled the void he had inside. Cory, Topanga, Shawn, and Eric weren't just students. They were his children.
Once he finally admitted that to himself, he still refused to contact them. Instead, he inquired of Alan and Amy about the children's well being. Their response was always that they were doing well. Perhaps my task is completed with them after all, George often thought to himself. Perhaps he taught them everything that he could. If that was the case, why did his heart ache so?
The man gazed out at his empty class room as he sat at his desk, papers in front of him. He longed to at least see their faces again.
A knock on the door interrupted his thoughts. "Yes, come in," he said absently. Who would come to this room now though? It was past four; classes were done. Students knew to seek him in his office, not here. Maybe it was another faculty member.
The door opened and a young woman stepped in. Her blonde hair shone in the room's light, long and thick as it flowed over one of her shoulders. She was a bit short, but she had never been short on love in the past. This young woman he knew all too well; he recognized her even if he hadn't seen her in five years. "Topanga?" he said, dumbfounded for once as he pushed himself up from his seat.
Topanga Mathews stifled a laugh and waltzed into the room, her high heels clicking on the floor as she approached. She walked tall and confident, her outfit also reflecting that she was a confident and successful young lady. Even in casual dark jeans and a blouse, she looked vibrant. "Hi Mr. Feeny," she said, stepping up to the stunned teacher and embracing him like she had five years ago. If the educator wasn't mistaken, she was a little teary. But this time, surely it was because of happiness and not sorrow.
"Topanga…" he managed, setting his hand briefly on her upper back before they both withdrew from the embrace. "…What're you doing here?"
"What, I can't come see my favorite teacher?" Topanga asked with a small laugh, beaming as she gazed at her old teacher. "What have you been up to, Mr. Feeny? We've all tried calling, especially after we heard what happened to the Mrs. Is everything okay?"
Mrs. Feeny… "She's alright, thank goodness," George said with a small nod. "She had a small fall when she was on a morning run. She was only bruised up; nothing was broken." Of course, she wasn't in good shape for a while because of it. George took a small leave of absence to tend to her till she was ready to return to her job here. Now, she was as fiery as ever. Strong, even when he wasn't feeling the same.
"I'm glad to hear it," Topanga said with a softer smile. "How have you been? Still teaching, I see."
"Yes," he responded quickly, nodding again. "Yes, I remained here, as I promised I would."
"We realized that," she stated quietly, glancing to the ground in sadness. "We always did hope you'd sneak up on us in Central Park."
"I had the charge of staying here," Mr. Feeny said as he also looked towards the floor.
"I know," Topanga responded. "But Mr. Feeny?"
"You were wrong."
He blinked at that, looking back up at the student who never dared insult him in the past. "What?"
"You were wrong…to not answer our phone calls. To not speak to us for the past five years."
Of that I am already aware, George thought as he immediately looked back at the ground. He was much too stubborn to correct his errors by suddenly calling them, because he didn't want to disrupt their lives. He said that they were ready to face the world. He meant that with all of his heart. All of them were wise enough to face any problems that came into their lives. "I meant it said my work with you is done," he said quietly.
"But our friendship wasn't done. Isn't done. We all meant it when we said that you'd go with us wherever we go. Your work as our professor may be done, but you'll never stop teaching us, Mr. Feeny. We want to learn from you again. We want you in our lives."
Despite the sadness and regret swelling in his heart, George Feeny smiled faintly. "You've grown more bold over the years, Mrs. Mathews."
"I've learned that you never let go of what's important to you," she said quietly. "And I've learned to pay it forward. …I'm a teacher now, Mr. Feeny."
Really? No… But judging by her content but serious expression, Mr. Feeny had to take her seriously. "What changed your mind with your other goals?" he couldn't help but inquire. She had been set in a completely different direction, but now she was a teacher?
"You changed my mind, naturally," Topanga said with a small smile. "You've taught me more than one life lesson. I know now that I could never live my life fully content without passing on the wisdom that you gave to me. You've changed my life; not I want to do the same for others."
Mr. Feeny smiled more widely. "You always were one of my greatest students."
"And you always were one of my greatest teachers," she beamed.
"One of them?" he joked.
The laugh that left Topanga's lips was music to his ears. "Alright, the best," she said. "But you're human too, making a mistake like shutting us out. But it's okay. Tonight, we're going to make up for it. We're taking you out to dinner."
Is this a dream? "Who's we?" he asked, speaking that question instead of his other one.
"Me, Cory, Eric, and Shawn. We're all back in town to see you." He was flattered to hear those words. Extremely so. All of them were back to see him? To take him out to dinner and speak to him? If he knew them correctly, which he did, they wouldn't be scolding him tonight for his mistakes. They would spend their time wisely and make up for the last five years that they lost. "It's not an optional thing, so don't try to get out of it!" Topanga said with a smile. She leaned forward and gave Mr. Feeny a small kiss on his cheek before she turned and started to walk away from him. "Five thirty tonight, we'll pick you up and then take you out. We'll see you then!"
As soon as she exited the room and left George alone, he stood dumbly for a minute or two in shock before he looked back to his papers. Smiling at the work that still needed to be done, he walked back over to his desk and shoved them in his bag.
He had more important matters to attend to.
The night was priceless for the old educator.
To sit with his former students, to hear their laughter and see their bright eyes that were so full of life warmed his heart. All of them were so well off. Cory and Shawn were in a small journalism business, where Shawn was a reporter and photographer while Cory took care of the logistics. Topanga, as she already stated, was a teacher. She taught Middle School history classes because she believed it was important to remember the past. To learn from it, because it always provided lessons that couldn't be forgotten.
And Eric…What a surprise he was. As always. Eric currently had a girlfriend that he was serious with; a friend from work. He was a social worker now so that he could help foster children. He said that he got that passion after meeting Tommy and losing him. He was wise enough to know that was for the best, though. Right now, aside from his job, he was trying to track Tommy down to reunite with him and see how he was doing. He never forgot his friend, nor did he forget to pray for him. Tommy would always have a place in Eric's heart.
Just like you all have a place in mine, George thought, smiling at the laughing group of young people at the table with him. They grew up to be extraordinary human beings, even more extraordinary than Mr. Feeny hoped they would become. While they did have challenges in their lives, they all stood strong and faced them side by side. If any of them fell, they would all be there to help them rise from the ashes. But he wasn't just thinking of the four of them helping each other up, because tonight, they helped him rise from the ashes of his own sorrow. They helped him toss away the regret and focus on regaining what he missed out on the past five years. It was gone, but it was never lost.
Tonight, he learned an important life lesson from his students: It's never too late to call up old friends. Especially not when they were as incredible as Topanga, Cory, Eric, and Shawn.
This was one lesson that Mr. George Feeny would never forget.
Author's notes: Hey guys, thanks for reading through my first Boy Meets World story! I wrote it all in basically one sitting; I was bored and on a roll. :p I have wanted to write a BMW story for so long, but it's so hard because the series is so perfect in so many ways! I never want to dispute or change the events of the episodes because they're so terrific, so I did something set in the future and centered around Mr. Feeny. It was just something I felt compelled to do. (: So let me know if you liked the story; feel free to review and check out my other stories. And if you have ideas for me for future stories, you can share them. Who knows, I may just do it!