note: set during the first cory/topanga breakup, in season three.

Shawn used to hate poetry.

It was useless. All books were useless to him, but plotless, brainless, mushy, overemotional poetry?

He was never a stoic, but he couldn't imagine living up to such drooling, fluttering fits of feeling that seemed to be described in every poem he'd ever read. Poetry assignments were jokes to him.

It was all her fault. He fell more madly than he ever could have expected for both poetry and her.

Her, his best friend's girl.

Topanga was poetry in motion: fluid, bright, packed full of emotions. She was dazzling. He was blinded.

Even when they were broken up, Shawn knew that Topanga would always-always-always be Cory's girl, the one for him, his future wife. It was unavoidable, and yet, after his heart skipped a frenzied beat for the thousandth time, he couldn't help but rush to a pen and paper and scribble down his frantic, impossible emotions.

He always used a pen. He liked pens. They were permanent. Like his feelings; unlike anything else in his life.

This poetry thing was staining his brain.

He'd write like he'd never written before. The words would seem unfamiliar; yet at the same time a part of his own flesh. It scared him; it exhilarated him.

Permanent, like her smile. Descriptions filled up pages of a notebook he'd rather bleed for than share.

Permanent, like her goodness. Maybe, he reflected in his sleepless bed, he loved her so much because of his mother's own transient love contrasted so well with her steadfastness.

Permanent, like his friendship with Cory and the fact that if anything happened it would entirely kill him.

Shawn stopped breathing for a second.

Topanga was beautiful, wonderful, incredible...but she wasn't worth that. He'd never make a move, he couldn't. Cory was the one person he would always put before himself.

So he stopped looking at her, started looking past her. Dated, lots and lots of nameless, non-Topanga girls with quick smiles and bitter furies of anger when they found out he had another date lined up. Really, what did it matter?

He pulled out the notebook, snapped his pen. The ink bled over his fingers and the pages filled with long blonde hair and long legs and longer nights of despair.

There was poetry in that, too, in some strange way. The empty room cried with ink-stained, heart-broken, wild-dog Shawn.