(I don't own Boy Meets World, except that I'm now the proud owner of all 7 Seasons on DVD. I apologize to all my readers I promise I'll be off this kick soon and back to our regularly scheduled program of…other stuff…lol! This is dedicated to my friend Mel who never fails to answer my need of ass. calls.)
Shawn Hunter was nervous that much was clear to everyone around him, a year ago things were easy. He had been student teaching. At least then he had some back up if needed. Now he was on his own. He and Cory wee teaching at different schools, so he really was on his own. He went in the day before to set up his room, making sure all the chemicals he needed were properly locked up in the closet that would double as a dark room when he got there with his students. He didn't meet any of the other teachers yet as they were also busy setting up their rooms.
At his previous school the kids actually listened to him, he was worried that in this larger school they wouldn't. He decided if he was going to have to teach he needed coffee. He would go shopping for a cheap coffee maker after work. But in the meantime the coffee in the teachers' lounge would have to do. He remembered where it was from the tour the principal gave him. There was a small line of people who apparently all had the same idea. He kept telling himself he needed to calm down and relax anything these kids did he, Cory, and Eric did worse. They even had the photos to prove it. He could handle this as soon as he got coffee. Shawn knew someone had stepped up behind him.
"What did you do fall down a blowhole?" Said the person behind him. It took Shawn a minute before he turned around. There were only 3 people that knew that bit and he doubted the cop that got him 10 years before would A.) remember him, and B.)actually bring it up in a crowded teachers' lounge. That only left one other person, but it was impossible, this couldn't be happening.
"Of all the schools in the country. What are you doing here?" Said Shawn turning around and seeing his former guardian Jonathan Turner standing behind him.
"Hunter, of all the schools in the country what are you doing here?"
"I'm a teacher." Said Shawn smiling knowing what Jon's reaction is going to be.
"No really, what are you doing here?" Asked Jon with a laugh.
"I'm not kidding, I'm the new photography teacher."
"Are you kidding me? Shawn do they know you got voted class slacker 4 years in a row and those votes also came from the faculty including Eli and I?"
"I was co-class slacker, and yeah I put that on my resume under 'special skills'."
"Speaking of your co-conspirator what's Matthews up to?" Asked Jon with a laugh.
"You won't believe me." Said Shawn taking a sip of his coffee and wincing at the bitter taste.
"He's a teacher over at PS 220."
"Wow, you guys have come a long way. What's everybody else up to?"
"Topanga is in law school, her and Cory got married a couple years ago."
"What about Eric?"
"He's a meteorologist over at Channel 4."
"I hate to say this but I was never worried about where Topanga was going to go, but I was always worried about you 3. You have rendered me shocked. I'm proud of you."
"Thanks. It's taken a lot of searching to find something I'm really good at, I want to pass it on."
"You will. Well I guess we better get to our rooms." Said Jon.
"Yup. Wow this coffee is horrible. Was it this bad at John Adams and I've just blocked it out?" Asked Shawn.
"This is worse."
"Well I guess I'll see you later. Time to go torture myself."
"Now you know how I felt every morning." Said Jon walking away.
Shawn arrived back into his room and made sure he had everything organized. He got more and more nervous as his class filtered in. The bell rang again and Shawn wrote his name on the board as 'Mr. Hunter' he grabbed his attendance book that he and Topanga sat up organizing the night before. The class came in and sat at the tables he had set up.
"Hey Guys." Said Shawn at his normal voice level. When no one responded he decided he had to get creative, so he blew a loud piercing whistle. "Yo! Guys chill out!" That got their attention. "Hey, I'm Mr. Hunter and this is Intro to Photography now bear with me while I do attendance and then we'll get to know each other." Shawn got through attendance with relative ease and then took a seat on his desk. "So what do you want to know?" The class looked at him in shock the only other teacher that acted like this was Turner, what was his angle they all wondered.
"Really? We get to ask you questions?" Asked a girl with extremely long hair that reminded him of Topanga's before she cut it.
"Where are you from?" Asked one of the guys.
"Philadelphia. I moved here about 4 years ago with my friends.
"Are you married?" Asked a blond haired girl.
"Nope, I'm single and happily so."
"Where did you go to college?" Asked a boy from the back row.
"Pennbrook and NYU. Now let me ask you a few questions. How many of you think this will be an easy A?" Several kids raised their hands.
"You are wrong. This isn't going to be a 'easy' course. You'll have to know the history of photography and we'll be developing our own photos."
"But Mr. Hunter?"
"I know most of you probably have digital cameras or cameras on your cell phones, but let me tell you, it's so much fun to see a picture sort of come out of the mist so to speak. Yes?" He said pointing to a girl in the back row.
"Are we going to be taking a lot of notes?"
"When we discuss the history on it yes. But I know when I was your age I hated taking notes and tests." Said Shawn remembering his and Cory's protest when they read Grapes of Wrath with Jon. "But we have to do this. You guys are so lucky, I mean I'm only a few years older than you but the internet has changed so much. The availability of photos is amazing. I used to have to go to the library for the stuff you guys have at your fingertips. And eventually we are going to explore that."
Shawn went through all of this with 3 more classes until it was his lunch time and then he had prep right after. He wasn't quite sure what he was going to do with all that time but he figured that once he got further into the school year, he'd use that time to correct papers and stuff. He made his way to the cafeteria and then the teachers' lounge. It had been Eric's night to cook or else he would have brought left overs. When he got to the lounge he felt awkward especially not knowing anybody really.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you."
"No problem. You looked scared for minute there so I thought I would take pity on ya." Said Jon. "How's your first day going?"
"I think I'll be able to weed out a few kids, some of them though it was going to be an easy course."
"You're going to torture them, huh?"
"Torture is such a dirty word, I prefer enlighten."
"I'm proud of you Shawn, I really am. You've come a long way."
"I had a lot of support and help along the way."
"So what made you get into teaching?" Asked Jon.
"You mean besides the steady paycheck and benefits? I don't know photography is changing every day. I think I wanted to pass on the skill of it. You know watching a picture come through, hoping it will come out right, manipulating the chemicals to change it. Pretty soon everything is going to be instant."
"Can't you make more money doing photo shoots and stuff like that?" Asked Jon taking a bite of his food.
"Yeah, but you're only as good as your previous shoot. This place is expensive to live. I mean I lucked out living with Cory, Topanga, and Eric but we still have bills to pay, and I need to pull my weight."
"How did you pay for school?"
Shawn took a deep breath, "Jack's stepfather."
"And Jack is?"
"My half-brother. His mom was Dad's first wife. Virna was #3. My mom was #2."
"Wait you just said your mom was #3."
"No I said Virna was #3. Virna wasn't my real mom." Jon looked at him in shock. "That was my reaction when I read the letter. Dad was able to get a divorce on grounds of abandonment and then married Ming-Wa, I never met her."
"She told you in a letter?"
"Yup, the Christmas after Dad died. I got a letter from Honduras."
"She's a piece of work, I mean I've known that for a while but wow. Have you talked to her since?"
"Nope. So what about you what's going on?" Said Shawn.
"Not much, just working. I go to my parents' house for dinner once a week and that's about it."
"Not right now, you?"
"Nope, a few attempts but nothing steady since Sophomore year."
"How long were you with her?"
"We started dating Senior year."
"Why did you break up?
"She moved to Europe with her dad."
"So jump a bus and go get her."
"How long have you been saving that?" Asked Shawn with a smile.
"Nah, it was mutual her dad is military and he got stationed over there, so we decided to stop it before we hated each other."
"So do you still talk?"
"Yeah, I mean we're still friends. Plus she's Topanga's best friend."
"So you're really stuck between a rock and a hard place."
"Yup. Gladly though I wouldn't trade it. We were with each other at the hardest times."
Jon and Shawn spent the rest of their lunch time catching up. Shawn learned what Jon had been up to since his accident and Shawn caught him up on everyone back in Philadelphia. Soon it was time for them to finish out the first day of school. By the end of the first day both men were exhausted.
"Hey Kid you want to grab a drink after work, I'll call Eli and you get ahold of your crew?"
"Yeah, uh give me like a half hour."
"Great. How about Bleeker Street Bar? Say at 4."
"Well I'll be there and I'll see who I can round up, don't be disappointed if it's just Cory and I."
"Never I'll see you there."
The men parted ways and Shawn pulled out his cell phone dialing Topanga's number first.
"Hey Babe you done with classes yet?"
"Hi Shawn, uh yeah why?"
"Wanna go with me to Bleeker Street Bar?"
"Shawn?" Asked Topanga worried.
"Relax I haven't had a drink since Josh's first Christmas. I ran into Jon at work today and we decided to get you guys and he's going to call Mr. Williams and go out for a bit. So are you going to meet me at home or the bar?"
"What time?" Asked Topanga smiling at the prospect of seeing Jon and Eli again.
"4. So home or bar?"
"I'll meet you at home, because I assume you want to drop your stuff off and get into a pair of jeans. Am I right?"
"Yup. So are you going to call Cory or am I?"
"I'll call him, you get a hold of Eric I can't remember if he has the 5 or 11 news cast."
"Sounds good. Later."
Shawn hit the end button and dialed Eric's cell number not knowing where he was going to catch his friend.
"You doing the 5 or 11?"
"Well how are you Shawn? How was your first day of school?"
"Hi Eric, I'm good. School was good. Now are you doing the 5 or 11?"
"11. Mark has the 5. Why what's up?"
"Ran into someone today and they invited all of us for drinks on Bleeker Street so you in?"
"Who did you run into?"
"Jon. So he's calling Mr. Williams and I already called Topanga she's in and she's going to call Cory. So you in?"
"I can't stay long but yeah I'm in where are we meeting?"
"I'm meeting Topanga at home, I want to drop off my stuff and change. So I'll see you there?"
"I'm already here, I'll see you when you guys get home." Said Eric.
By the time Shawn got home everyone else had as well as he went into his room Cory followed him, they hadn't talked since before they went to bed the night before and Cory wanted to touch base with him.
"So Shawnie, Topanga told me you ran into Turner today?" Said Cory sitting on Shawn's bed as he pulled out a pair of clean jeans.
"Yeah, in the teachers' lounge before class. And then we had lunch together which was good since I didn't have to sit alone."
"So what brought on going out for drinks?"
"I'm not going to drink if that's what you're asking."
"I know you aren't, I was just making conversation."
"While I'm changing? Core, we've been friends for how long?"
"I was just worried, that's all."
"I understand but it's just Jon and Mr. Williams plus you three are going to be there. I'm the happiest I've ever been, I'm in a good place, I have no relationship problems except I'm not in one, I've been at peace about Chet, Virna, and Elaine for a while now. I'm good. I'm not going to throw that away for a couple drinks."
The 4 friends left the house a short time later and headed down to the bar, where Jon and Eli were waiting for them at a table.
"Everywhere I go I'm out numbered. I need to get some female friends." Said Topanga.
"Should have thought about that when you handcuffed me to the locker." Said Cory. "You knew it was a package deal where I go Eric and Shawn come with."
"Yes and I realized that even more on our wedding day." Said Topanga with a smile.
Jon and Eli smiled at the conversation.
"So Topanga how's school going?" Asked Jon.
"Good I can't wait for it to be done though."
"How much longer do you have?" Asked Eli.
"This is my last year and then I take the Bar in June. It would have been another year but I took extra courses in the summer and am finishing early."
"Hi Guys what can I get you?" Asked a waitress walking up to them.
"I'll have a Coke." Said Shawn.
"Vodka Cranberry." Said Topanga.
"What about you guys?" Asked the waitress looking at Jon, Eli, Cory, and Eric.
"I'll have a beer." Said Eli. The waitress then looked at Jon for his order.
"I'll have the same." He was looking at Shawn and had a pretty good idea as to why the younger man wasn't drinking but chose to ask him when they weren't in a bar surrounded by their friends. Jon and Shawn had talked in depth over the course of the year they lived together about Shawn's childhood with Chet.
"What about you?" Asked the waitress to Eric.
"I'll have a coke." Said Eric as Jon and Eli looked at him curiously. "I have to work later."
"I'll have a beer." Said Cory.
"I need to see your IDs." The waitress said to Cory and Topanga.
"All of ours?" Asked Jon.
"Nope, just theirs." Said the waitress with a smile.
Cory and Topanga smiled and handed over their licenses.
"I'm feeling old right now, what about you Eli?"
"Yup. It's just so weird sitting in a bar with former students."
"Well it's weird sitting in a bar with you guys too." Said Shawn with a smile.
"So how are your parents doing?" Asked Jon.
"Good, a little sad because Josh started preschool this year." Said Cory.
"Yeah and Dad almost had another midlife crisis last week." Said Eric.
"Why?" Asked Eli with a smile.
"He got mistaken for Josh's grandfather." Said Shawn with a smile.
"By who?" Asked Jon.
"One of Eric's exes. Rebecca I believe." Said Shawn.
"Isn't she the one I caught you with in Mom and Dad's room?" Asked Cory.
"Yeah." Said Eric.
"When was this?" Asked Eli.
"I was 16, I'm just glad it was Cory and not Morgan. Him I could shut up. Morgan would have ran straight to Mom."
"You still got busted, because she left her earring behind." Said Cory.
"So she thought Josh was yours?" Asked Eli.
"Yeah, which wasn't the first time it happened not long after he was born."
"He actually led this poor girl on for a couple days with that didn't you?" Asked Topanga.
"I ended up coming clean."
"Well you kind of had no choice there Eric, Rachel made us play the honesty game and the girl found out." Said Shawn with a laugh as the waitress arrived with their drinks and started handing them out. The evening progressed and soon they were all sharing stories from their time apart. The kids told Jon and Eli about their time in college and Jon and Eli added to the conversation about their own time in college.
Everybody was enjoying their time together and started discussing lesson plans which brought out a whole new host of memories.
"So what books are you using for your class?" Asked Jon.
"The classics. I might even throw in 'Grapes of Wrath' for fun. But I'm also doing 'Gone With the Wind'." Said Cory with a smile.
"You're going to teach 'Grapes of Wrath'?" Asked Jon looking between his 3 former students.
"Yeah, why shouldn't I?" Asked Cory.
"Uh, besides the fact that you don't have a great history with that book for one?" Said Jon with humor.
"I don't have a great history with 'Black Like Me' either but that's not going to stop me from teaching it." Said Cory.
"Wait, I know about what happened when you guys read 'Black Like Me' but what happened with 'Grapes of Wrath'?" Asked Eli.
"We went on strike. Protesting having to take tests for it." Said Cory.
"You two went on strike, I was out that day." Said Topanga.
"How did that work out for you?" Asked Eli.
"I told them if they read the book and participated in class that they wouldn't have to take the exam."
"I believe your words were 'open your yap.' And then Mr. Feeny got involved and we ended up with a test in front of us." Said Shawn.
"It wasn't a test it was a survey." Said Jon.
"Yeah, it didn't work then, it's not going to work now." Said Cory.
"So what happened?" Asked Eli.
"We handed the tests back and then when Feeny walked in and we walked out with the class." Said Cory.
"Yeah these two walked to the cafeteria, held a rally and then walked out of school."
"Feeny called my mom on both of us." Said Cory
"Well he had to he was never going to reach Virna she was out working or arguing with Chet somewhere." Said Shawn. "Besides I got more discipline and attention from your parents than I ever did at the trailer park."
"You know when you lived with me I usually went to Alan for advice."
"When you caught me with Chris when I was supposed to be at wedding."
"My date with Veronica Watson."
"Wasn't Veronica your drag name?" Asked Eric.
"Shut up Chantel." Said Shawn with a laugh.
"Wait, wait Eric you dressed in drag too?" Asked Jon.
"Yeah, not one of my prouder moments but yeah, and Shawn's brother Jack was with me too."
"I love my brother but he made an ugly woman." Said Shawn taking a sip of his soda.
"Cory wasn't much better." Said Topanga.
"No, once we figured out that he couldn't be a teenage girl it got better. 40 year old Cora was better fit for him." Said Shawn.
The group continued on with catching up and started to make plans to have brunch later that weekend, before parting for the night so Eric could go to work and the others could prepare for work in the morning.
The next day at work Shawn was a little more at ease with his classes, and soon it was time for lunch, which he brought with him just in case.
"Hey." Said Shawn.
"Hey, how are your classes so far?" Asked Jon.
"Good, they're a little disappointed that they have homework tonight." Said Shawn taking his sandwich out.
"Yeah, I think that's the universal feeling around here today. So you going to tell me why you don't drink?"
"Can we just blame Chet and be done?"
"I turn into an asshole when I drink, so I don't. Jack got his gambling, I got the mean drunk gene."
"Fair enough. So do you read for fun?"
"Yeah, I'm reading 'Pirates of Pensance' right now. Jack usually suggests a book, but I haven't talked to him in a couple weeks."
"Is that normal for you guys?" Asked Jon.
"Yeah, he's in the Peace Corps and is in an orphanage in Russian right now, I'll probably get an email in the next few days from him. Right now he's got to travel two towns over to get into a coffee shop that has a computer. He enjoys it I know that much."
"Well good for him, sounds like you guys have come a long way despite where you both started. I'm proud of you."
"Well I had 2 great fathers and a mentor who never gave up on me."
The next few months of the school year went by and Shawn and Cory had settled into their roles as teachers. Shawn woke up every morning thankful that he had taken this path inside of the many bad ones he could have. What he told Jon during that first week about having 2 fathers and a mentor rang true every day of his life. Chet may have been his father biologically but Alan, Jon, and even Mr. Feeny were more of fathers to him than Chet could have ever tried to be. Because of them he was a teacher of something he loved, and that was nothing to kid about.