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The thing is, Riley is right.

(Of course she is — she’s Topanga’s clear-eyed perception that cuts through bullshit like a hot knife, and Cory’s thoughtless, guileless knack for blurting out those realizations at the exact moment they’re needed most and wanted least — and she scares the hell out of Shawn.)

Shawn loves her so much, loved her even before she was born, even as she was nothing more than a terrifying, electrifying concept they didn’t have the shape of yet. Even as her presence tipped Shawn’s entire world on its end. He loved her when he spent half his time baby-proofing Cory and Topanga’s apartment like it was the greatest responsibility ever laid on his shoulders, and the other half of his time solidifying his exit plan and hoping it would go as gracefully as he needed it to, that he wouldn’t just tie himself to Cory and Topanga and beg them not to let him leave.

Shawn was the third person in the world to hold Riley, and he loved her when he saw her tiny, scrunched-up face, and he never stopped loving her when he fled New York with a folded up picture of Cory and Topanga cradling her in his wallet, a beautiful little family he refused to screw up.

Riley asked Shawn if every time he sees her it reminds him of what he doesn’t have, and she doesn’t even know the half of it, and yet with the unerring accuracy borne of the best and most terrifying parts of both her parents, she’s landed square on the truth.

*

The first time it happens, they are all young, bright-eyed and drunk on their own independence, clinging to each other as the only way they’ll admit they’re scared of what the future will bring.

Shawn’s over at Cory and Topanga’s apartment more often than not, has only just recently stopped lying to himself about the things buried deep within him, is learning as he goes how to hide it. He has to laugh at himself sometimes, since laughing is better than losing it entirely — he can’t even do unrequited love the normal way. If it were just Cory, that would at least make sense. Cory’s been all tied up in Shawn’s heart since before he was even old enough to know what he was getting himself into, and trying to get him out now would be nothing less than impossible. But in true Shawn Hunter fuck-up fashion, he’s also fallen for the one person more unattainable than his best friend — his best friend’s wife.

Shawn’s known Topanga for so long that she’s got her fingerprints all over the person he is today, just like Cory does; he starts out loving her for Cory’s sake, because he has to love someone who loves Cory as obviously and ferociously as she does, because there’s no one else he’d trust with Cory’s heart. But Topanga’s been in his life for long enough that the sight of her’s as familiar to him as the sun, and her heart’s big enough to welcome her husband’s best friend who shows no signs of leaving, and she’s never once in their lives made Shawn feel like he isn’t good enough. She’s brilliant and driven and pushy, doesn’t back down for anything; she drapes a blanket over Shawn when he falls asleep on their couch with the kindest hands he’s ever felt, and when she’s tipsy she leans on Cory and Shawn with equivalent ease, and Shawn is in so much trouble that it’s funny, it has to be funny because the alternative is dropping everything and running so far away that not even a memory could find him where he goes.

So the first time it happens, they’ve all had a little too much wine, spent the evening sitting a little too close to each other on the lumpy, brown couch that Shawn helped move around this room, that he knows the shape of intimately from countless nights stretched out on it when it felt more like home than his empty apartment. Cory has his arm around Topanga and she’s all snuggled up on his chest, both of their gazes on the TV. Cory’s other arm is draped loosely across the back of the couch, and Shawn knows that if he let himself lean slowly into the inviting open curve of the other half of Cory’s body, Cory and Topanga wouldn’t even blink. They’re as giving with their touches and their embraces as they are everything else; Shawn only has to ask.

Instead, Shawn gets up and makes noise about all the wine he’s had, flees to the bathroom. He washes his hands when he’s done and stares at his reflection in the mirror like he’s looking for the answers to something. He looks tired. He looks like an idiot.

“Get it together, Hunter,” he says aloud, and leaves.

Cory and Topanga aren’t on the couch anymore. They’re in the kitchen, and Topanga’s up on her tiptoes with Cory backed up against the refrigerator, kissing the life out of him. Cory’s eyes are shut, one large hand spread across Topanga’s back, the other cradling her hip. Topanga’s jaw is working slightly, like she’s licking into Cory’s mouth, and Shawn realizes he’s been watching them with his mouth open and his hands clenched at his sides, a roaring like the sound of the ocean in his ears.

“Shit — sorry!” Shawn says, laughs, and as strange as it sounds to his ears, he’s hoping he carries it off. They break apart to look at him, and Shawn makes himself smirk, runs a hand through his hair. “You could’ve kicked me out sooner, you know. I’ll leave you two kids to it, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.” He’s going to leave. He means to.

Topanga steps toward him, one hand still resting fingertips on Cory’s chest, and with the other hand she grabs Shawn’s wrist. Cory’s eyes are steady and unfazed, and Shawn can’t look away from the smile on his face as Topanga tugs him closer by the wrist, one glacial inch at a time.

Her mouth is warm and sweet, and Shawn can smell her floral shampoo when he drags in a dizzy breath against her lips. There’s a warm, broad hand Shawn knows too well resting on his lower back, under the hem of his shirt, and Shawn can’t stop shivering, caught between the two of them.

Topanga releases him, thumbs the curve of his lower lip.

“Don’t go,” Cory says.

“Don’t sleep on the couch tonight,” Topanga says.

He’d follow them anywhere; following them into bed is the easiest thing he’s ever done.

That’s the first time. They do it again, and again, enough times that Shawn stops keeping count; he won’t allow himself any illusions, though. They’re all young and attractive, and this is the time in their lives that’s meant for fun and jumping into things head first, for doing the things that’ll give them crazy stories to reminisce over when they’re old enough that they don’t seem like good ideas anymore. Shawn knows Cory and Topanga love him, but not in the way he loves them. They don’t need him like he does them, and he won’t let himself forget it, not the first time he falls asleep in their bed while listening to the sound of them breathe, nor all the times that follow it.

On a Sunday afternoon, they huddle together on tangled sheets with the sound of the rain drumming furiously outside. Shawn holds Topanga from behind, presses himself up against the smooth, silky curve of her back and strokes her breasts with careful hands while Cory kisses her and then kisses Shawn, one after the other, again and again until they’re all gasping for breath. Shawn doesn’t know at the time that it’s anything different than the times before. He doesn’t know that he’ll tell himself later that it has to be the last time, and he’ll mean it for years.

Two days later, Topanga sits him and Cory down, white-lipped and anticipatory, and says, “I’m pregnant.”

*

Thirteen years go by.

Shawn travels the world, spends years running to anywhere that’s as far away from New York as he can get. He comes back once in a while, drops in with gifts and a shiny, impenetrable smile, holds Riley in his lap and lets her babble at him in a way that’s already so familiar, so Cory. He grabs a pillow and a blanket for the couch when he stays the night before Cory and Topanga can say anything. He thinks about how they never protested when he told them he was leaving New York.

(He doesn’t think about how white Topanga’s face was, how sad Cory’s eyes, how they looked like maybe they thought they weren’t allowed to protest, to say anything at all.)

Twice, Shawn slips up, exhausted, lets them tug him into their room after Riley’s gone to bed, lets them give him what he needs.

He stays away even longer after each time, and doesn’t find the invitation in their faces anymore when he comes back, and he tells himself that he’s satisfied.

Thirteen years go by, and Shawn keeps running, and he doesn’t stop until one Christmas when Cory and Topanga’s daughter makes him look her in the eye, pierces right into the heart of him and renders every wall he’s put up around himself utterly useless.

*

After that Christmas that made him realize he wasn’t just affecting himself by running away for months and years at a time, Shawn isn’t really surprised when they all end up back in bed together months later. He wasn’t expecting it, wouldn’t let himself hope for it, but it feels as easy as it’s ever been to follow Cory and Topanga where they lead, wherever they’ll have him.

It’s been years since they last did this, and even that time had been years after he’d told himself it was the last time, the natural end to things, and found that it was easier to make that resolution than it was to follow it.

Riley and Auggie have summer break, and they’re staying with Amy and Alan to get spoiled for a couple of weeks (“Also, I’d like to remember what it’s like to have a sex life,” Topanga confesses, cheeks a little flushed; when she’s not looking, Shawn steals the rest of the bottle of wine and puts it back in the fridge).

Shawn’s been there for four days already and has no real plans to be anywhere else for a while. Things between him and Cory and Topanga are a little strange, but not necessarily in a bad way. It feels like they’re being more careful with each other, trying to stay away from tender spots they didn’t even know they each had. Shawn still feels a little raw around them, because he’s spent thirteen years building layer upon layer of walls around himself, letting them see only as much of himself as he wanted to show them, not all of it even real, at times. Thirteen years, and now he’s made the conscious decision to open himself up again, and it’s honestly kind of terrifying.

They eat dinner at the table like grown-ups, even though Shawn’s pretty sure they’d all like nothing more than to collapse on the couch in front of the TV. This is nice too, though, making conversation that flows as easily as it ever has, knocking legs under the table and making fun of Cory when he doesn’t realize there’s pasta sauce on his nose for nearly a half-hour.

“Want any more pasta, Shawn?” Cory asks, getting up from the table and heading over to the pan on the stove.

“I’m sorry I made Riley think I didn’t like her,” Shawn says abruptly, and then drops his fork with a clang.

Cory and Topanga still, and Shawn winces at the damper he’s put on the atmosphere.

It’s been six months, but they never really talked about it. It’s something that still kind of makes Shawn sick to think about, though — that Riley, who is as open and sweetly cheerful as anyone Shawn’s ever known, would go quiet and small around Shawn. That she thought her own dad’s best friend didn’t like her, that Shawn made her feel that way.

“It’s not your fault, Shawn,” Cory says seriously. “I should have talked to her before now, I could have told her the truth.”

“I mean, it’s kind of my fault,” Shawn points out. “But you — you guys know I do — ”

Topanga puts her hand on Shawn’s thigh. He stops breathing. She reaches into his pocket and drags out his wallet, opens it up and peers inside, and then she pulls out a creased, faded photograph and holds it out with two fingers.

Shawn has enough pictures on his phone these days, but he’s never been able to get rid of that photo, worn as it is from how often he’s taken it out to look at it.

“We know,” Topanga says.

Shawn just looks at her, feels his ears and his cheeks go warm, doesn’t know what kind of look is on his face. He can’t look away from her until he hears the soft click of Cory setting his dishes down by the sink, the sound of him settling into the chair next to Shawn, and then there’s a hand on the side of his face tugging him around and Cory’s mouth on his, beer-bitter and the taste of pasta sauce on his tongue. He kisses the same as he always has, careful and thorough and steady, and Topanga’s hand is on Shawn’s thigh once again, and god, Shawn is only human. There’s only so much he can take.

He pushes himself away from the table with a screeching sound as his chair scrapes against the floor, and gets into Cory’s lap, clutching Topanga’s hand as he goes and pulling her with him. Shawn kisses Cory this time, more tongue and teeth and ferocity than is probably good for either of them, trying to breathe and kiss all the sense out of Cory at the same time, and then at the end of it all there’s steady, wonderful Cory to gentle the pace of it and kiss Shawn calm again. Topanga’s hand is still gripping Shawn’s tightly, and she’s pressed herself against Shawn’s back, bending down to kiss the back of his neck, the curve of his shoulder under the collar of his shirt, her mouth wet and hot like fire.

“I think we’re too old to have sex in the kitchen,” Cory says, even as he’s putting his hand under Shawn’s shirt and stroking upward, rubbing his palm in circles over Shawn’s nipple.

“Bite your tongue,” Shawn says, and at the same moment Topanga says, “Speak for yourself, baby.” At that, Shawn has to turn his head to grin at her, and with her so close and so gorgeous, he has to kiss her as well, and by the time he finally manages to pull himself away from her, his head’s spinning in the best way.

“There is more room in our bed, though,” Topanga says, lifting an eyebrow.

“Good idea,” Shawn says.

My idea,” Cory says indignantly, and Shawn bites his lip to keep it from curling into a smile, wriggles a little in Cory’s lap until Cory groans under his breath and grabs Shawn’s ass two-handed and squeezes.

“Got any good ideas about that?” Shawn asks, and get up, legs a little shakier than he’d like to admit. Topanga laughs quietly and starts walking over to the bedroom, tugging her shirt over her head as she goes. Shawn stumbles a little at the sight, and Cory catches him around the waist, kisses him high-up on the cheek.

“I have a lot of good ideas,” he says, and taps Shawn’s ass to get him to move. In the bedroom, Topanga’s clothes are on the floor and she’s sitting on the bed in her bra and panties, hands folded in her lap.

“Hey, maybe I wanted to do that,” Shawn says, nodding at the puddle of her clothes, and he’s not entirely joking — he’s been stealing glances at the curves of Topanga’s body for four days now, hasn’t been able to stop himself from dreaming of undressing her and kissing every inch of her as he goes.

“Should’ve been faster, then,” Topanga says, but she’s smiling at him sweet and a little flattered, and even as the taste of want rises thick at the back of Shawn’s throat, there’s a corresponding clenching deep in his chest. He’s not going to come out of this whole, he knows; but it’s nothing he isn’t asking for, nothing he hasn’t been living with all this time.

Cory comes up behind Shawn and tugs Shawn’s shirt over his head. He flattens himself against Shawn’s back and hooks his chin over Shawn’s shoulder, works Shawn’s belt open and pops the button on his jeans. Shawn ducks his head, knows that all three of them are watching Cory unzip Shawn’s jeans with one of his huge hands, push his jeans down at the hips, cup Shawn’s dick through his underwear. Shawn flushes all over, feverish. When he looks up, he sees Topanga watching them with hot eyes, breathing hard, stroking herself through her panties.

“Jesus,” Shawn says, and stumbles toward her as he steps out of his jeans, then stops, turning back toward Cory who’s still got all his clothes on, for god’s sake. “I want — ” he says, and breaks off because he doesn’t know what he wants; or rather, he wants everything and he wants it now, and doesn’t even know where to begin.

Cory, as always, solves his dilemma. “Go keep her company,” he says, and bends down to pick up Shawn’s jeans. “I’ll be there in a minute.”

Shawn takes him at his word. Topanga wriggles up the bed and lays down, spreads out so Shawn can blanket himself over her, indulging in the feel of her skin and the smell of her hair as he kisses his way down her neck. “He still goes nuts if you leave the clothes on the floor?” Shawn whispers in the space between them.

“Yeah, I know, I haven’t been able to break him of that,” Topanga whispers back, and tucks her thumbs under the waistband of Shawn’s underwear to start drawing them down.

“I can hear you guys, you know,” Cory says. Shawn rolls over onto his back next to Topanga and sees Cory giving them a wry look, a neatly folded stack of clothes on the dresser.

“Whoops,” Shawn says and grins, and he and Topanga watch as Cory finally gets undressed, the back of his neck flushed pink even as he pretends he isn’t affected at all by their regard.

Cory’s built solidly, strong arms and flushed skin, and Shawn’s always loved looking at him, couldn’t hide it now for the world. He looks Cory over from head to toe, mouth watering at the sight of Cory’s half-hard cock, and then he’s scrambling to get his underwear off with the sudden need to get his cock free. Cory gets on the bed and helps pull them off, and then strokes both his hands up Shawn’s legs, his touch searingly hot on Shawn’s thighs as they splay open almost without Shawn’s control.

Topanga leans over Shawn and kisses the underside of his jaw, lets her tongue slide out to rasp against his stubble. Shawn manages to get the clasp of her bra undone one-handed, which is the kind of coordination he feels he ought to be commended for, considering the circumstances. Topanga relaxes her shoulders and lets the straps fall down her arms, and Shawns tugs her bra off the rest of the way and throws it somewhere far away without looking. He can’t look at anything except the heavy swing of Topanga’s breasts, mouthwatering and gorgeous, and he says, “Come here, come here,” pulling her down with frantic hands until she does. She leans over him enough that he can kiss the tops of her breasts and around them, lick under them where there’s a faint trace of sweat and her bra’s left a red mark, and Topanga makes a little gasping sound when Shawn sucks on one of her nipples, teasing the other with his fingers.

Cory grabs Shawn’s free hand and drags it down to touch Topanga through her panties, and together they feel how wet she is, how hot, and there’s only enough air in Shawn’s lungs for him to groan, low and helpless.

“About those good ideas I have,” Cory says quietly. Shawn turns his head to look at him, but he’s looking at Topanga, who doesn’t look confused at all. They’re silently communicating about something, and Shawn might feel closed out if not for the way Cory’s still holding Shawn’s hand and stroking his thumb over Shawn’s palm, the way Topanga’s touching her own breast like she’s still feeling Shawn’s mouth on it.

Topanga smiles, like they’ve come to a decision. “Hang on to him for me,” she tells Cory, before she kisses Shawn’s mouth and then Cory’s and gets off the bed, heading over to the closet.

“What — ” Shawn says, confused, half-turning to watch what she’s doing. Cory pulls him back until he’s on his side facing away from Topanga, and says, “Shhh, just hold on,” and kisses Shawn until he can’t possibly focus on anything else. Shawn clings to Cory and tries to get some friction for his cock against Cory’s thigh, but Cory’s holding himself just far enough away that he can’t.

Eventually Cory lets Shawn go, and Shawn immediately rolls over onto his other side to see Topanga standing by the bed, with — christ, with a harness strapped around her hips and a dildo fitted into it. She’s standing with her legs a little apart, like she’s used to the weight of it. Shawn realizes his mouth’s open, and he swallows, feels his throat scrape dryly.

“That’s — um, that’s new,” he says hoarsely, can’t look away.

“Not that new,” Topanga says a little wryly, and she’s looking over Shawn’s head at Cory, who’s started blushing pink across his cheeks.

“You guys, you’ve been holding out on me,” Shawn says, and then shuts his mouth so fast he almost bites his tongue, curses himself for the stupidity of that comment when it’s him who’s been running so far and for so long. He won’t let himself think about why he’s been running right now, won’t let himself ruin this night.

Topanga doesn’t say anything, though, just looks at Shawn steadily. It’s Cory who drops a kiss behind Shawn’s ear, who says, “Do you want her to fuck you? She’s really good at it.”

Shawn says “Yes,” so fast he almost spits it out, like there’s any other way he could possibly answer that question.

Topanga wets her lips, and then furrows her brow like she’s thinking about logistics, and it’s such a familiarly Topanga look that Shawn has to smile even with how wound up he is.

“I’ll open him up,” Cory says and starts rummaging around in the bedside table’s drawer. Shawn’s gut clenches sharply, and he wants to bury his face in the pillow to hide the sudden realization that maybe he likes them talking about him over his head after all. Topanga’s eyes are knowing, but she just kneels on the bed next to him and strokes her hand up his chest, rubbing her thumb firmly over one of his nipples.

“Has it been a while?” Topanga says, and she’s asking about the last time he got fucked, but Shawn’s answering a different question when he responds, “Yeah, it’s — a while.” He hasn’t slept with anyone in a while, long enough that it’s kind of pathetic when you know the reason why, long enough that doesn’t intend to tell them how long.

“Cory’ll go slow,” Topanga says, and tugs at Shawn’s hair, and Cory’s at Shawn’s back in the next moment, one slick finger tracing a path from his tailbone down his crease.

Shawn turns onto his stomach, pillows his face on Topanga’s thigh. From here, he can smell her arousal, and it makes his mouth water from how badly he wants to touch her. Cory’s fingers are sure and steady as he works Shawn open carefully, crooking his fingers and pressing against Shawn’s prostate.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” Shawn says into Topanga’s thigh, and rubs himself against the bed before he cants his hips upward for a better angle. Topanga strokes her fingers through Shawn’s hair and says quietly, “Sweetheart,” like he isn’t meant to hear it, and that’s — oh, that’s got to be for him, because Cory is baby and always has been. Shawn is so, so glad that neither of them can see his face, because his eyes prickle suddenly with how badly he wants them; Cory’s got three fingers in him now, opening him up with a purpose, and Topanga’s hand is cupping the back of his neck, and Shawn’s voice breaks when he says, “Please.”

Cory’s hand retreats. Topanga gently eases Shawn’s head off her thigh and knee-walks across the bed until she’s where Cory is. “Can you get up on your knees?” she says, and Shawn does, feeling a little mortified at his all-around eagerness, until Cory’s at Shawn’s side, turning his head to kiss his half-open mouth.

“Hey,” Cory says, voice intent. “Whatever you want, okay?” Topanga chooses that moment to kiss a line down Shawn’s spine, lingering at the spot right above his tailbone, and Shawn’s words desert him, so he just nods in response.

There’s a blunt pressure at his entrance, and then Topanga’s pressing into him slowly, hands gripping Shawn’s hips and tilting them up. She doesn’t stop, though she goes slow enough to give Shawn time to voice a protest at any point; he doesn’t, just takes the relentless pressure splitting him open like he was born for it, lets the weight of it steal his voice and his breath and his mind. Topanga nudges the last little bit into him, bringing their hips flush together. Shawn’s fingers curl in the sheets, and there are starbursts in his vision from how tightly he’s squeezed his eyes shut.

God, it’s good, so good; he hasn’t let himself have this in so long, and never like this, Topanga’s breasts crushed against his back as she runs her hand over his chest, the sight of Cory watching him take it when he opens his eyes, Cory’s eyes gone near-black and a flush down past his collarbones.

Shawn remembers to breathe, and when he gasps in “Ah,” it’s like the world comes roaring back to him, the thundering of his pulse in his ears receding until he can hear the ragged panting of Topanga’s breath behind him, the slick sounds as Cory grips his cock and strokes himself slowly.

“You can move, can you move?” Shawn says, sounding frantic even to his own ears. To his comfort, Topanga doesn’t sound much better when she says, “Yeah, I — yes,” and shifts back to draw out of him slowly.

This time, she pushes into him with more force, and it drives a groan from his throat, and it’s like Topanga’s taken that as a challenge — she fucks him relentlessly after that, with the kind of power Shawn didn’t even know she had in her body, driving into him with short thrusts until she finds the angle that makes him cry out and drop his head down loose-necked. Topanga keeps that angle and fucks him good and deep, her hands slipping on his hips from the sweat they’ve worked up, and Shawn laughs breathlessly and a little hysterically, says, “God, Cor’, she might be better at this than you, even.”

Topanga says primly, “Thank you, Shawn,” and Cory grins, says in a voice deeply warm and fond, “I know, isn’t it great?”

“The best,” Shawn agrees, and then tries to shift his weight to one hand so he can get himself off with the other. Cory moves at that, grabs his wrist.

“Hey,” Cory says, “can you — can you wait a while longer?” Shawn tips his head up to catch his gaze, blinks the sweat out of his eyes.

“More good ideas?” Shawn says, lets his smile be his acquiescence. He’d really like to come, but he isn’t twenty-five anymore. He can wait if they want him to. (He could do almost anything if they wanted him to.)

“Well, you seem to like my last one,” Cory points out, and then hesitates a little, eyes flicking between Shawn and Topanga. “No, I’d — are you too sore?” When Shawn shakes his head slowly, Cory adds, “Can I fuck you too? When Topanga’s done?”

Shawn’s vision goes white at the thought, a surge of arousal washing all the way from his clenching gut down to his curling toes. He lets out a heartfelt, “Fuck,” and nods his head vigorously before Cory can take it as a refusal.

Topanga exhales sharply against Shawn’s shoulder, and reaches under him to circle her hand around his cock.

“No, it’s — too much,” Shawn tells her quickly; he’s fine with waiting, but he’d rather not overestimate his own control.

“Got it,” Topanga says, and kisses his neck. “I’ll let Cory have his turn soon,” she says, and Shawn can feel the smile she presses against his skin when he can’t hold back a choked sound at her words.

God, they’re going to kill him, and Shawn will die a happy man.

True to her words, Topanga pats his hip after a while and then eases out of him carefully, and Shawn clenches down on nothing and tries not to flush at how empty he feels. His cock is hard against his stomach, and he swallows convulsively as he watches Topanga unbuckle herself out of the whole contraption, her thighs shiny-slick with how wet she is. Once she’s clear of it all, Shawn just lets himself tip forward until he’s got his face in her lap, and he rubs his cheek up her thigh until Topanga says “Shawn,” and falls back on her elbows, legs parting open so he can get to work between them. Topanga tastes so good on his tongue, and Shawn’s so hungry for it he almost doesn’t notice Cory rolling on a condom and slicking up next to him. Almost.

Shawn’s licking through Topanga’s folds in long stripes, pushing his fingers into her at the same time, when he feels Cory grab his hips and starts pushing into him; Shawn gives up and just rests his forehead on Topanga’s stomach for a moment, shaking apart as Cory gets all the way inside him. Cory just slicked up and went for it, and even after Topanga fucked the sense out of Shawn, it’s such a good stretch that his heart’s pounding and he can only breathe out of his mouth, a hard and stuttering rhythm.

“Good?” Cory asks, and Shawn says, “I’m good, now just — ” and Cory’s moving before Shawn can even finish his sentence, fucking him with a hard, fierce rhythm that’s a testament to how long Cory’s been waiting patiently, and Shawn nuzzles blindly downward until he’s got his face buried in Topanga’s cunt again. He doesn’t know how good he is, considering that Cory’s wrecking him so thoroughly that all he can manage is to lick and suck wherever he’s got his mouth, but Topanga doesn’t seem to have many complaints if the way she pets his hair and then tightens her hand in it is any indication.

“There, there,” Topanga says, voice rising high, and Shawn rubs his tongue against her until he feels her break against his mouth; he works her through it, and then drops his head against her thigh and gives himself over to being thoroughly fucked for the second time that night.

Shawn’s pulse is galloping, and his thighs are burning with the strain, and he loves it, the kind of pain he wants to take with him for days. Cory gets the right angle to stroke over his prostate, and Shawn chokes out a, “Cory, Cor’, please — ” and is rewarded by Cory’s hand closing tight and firm around his cock.

Shawn’s so far gone that even that small touch sends him hurtling toward the edge, but he’s clenched so tight that he can’t seem to make himself let go; Cory strokes him slowly and relentlessly, says in his ear in a voice low and heartfelt, “Shawnie — ”, and Topanga cards her hand through his hair and says, “Sweetheart — ”, and at that Shawn shuts his eyes and grits his teeth and comes.

Cory lets him come down from it, gasping and shaking, and then starts to pull out. “No, just — ” Shawn says, slurring the words a little, “it’s fine, just hurry it up.”

“Don’t worry, this won’t take long,” Cory says, half-laughing, and then he fucks Shawn so achingly gentle that it makes Shawn’s throat burn, and even that is so much to Shawn’s oversensitive body that he shivers and can’t stop shivering, doesn’t realize that he’s been making constant, broken ah, ah, ah sounds at the back of his throat until Cory comes and stops moving, and Shawn finally hears the noise stop.

He thinks he should probably move when Cory pulls out of him carefully, but he doesn’t think he could manage it even if there were a fire in the building.

“Here,” Topanga says from somewhere above him, and then there are gentle hands rolling him until his head’s resting on a pillow. He blinks and there’s another pair of hands wiping him down carefully with a warm, damp cloth, his belly and his cock, and between his legs where he’s tender and aching.

They pull the blankets up over him and curl up around him until he’s warm and comfortable between them, and it’s both too much and not enough all at once.

Shawn shifts in place and feels the ache twinge all throughout him. He’ll feel it for days, and there’s a burn of satisfaction within him at the thought. He laughs softly, and says, “Jesus, are you guys trying to make sure I never leave this bed?”

“Well, you can’t leave New York if you don’t leave this bed,” Topanga says, and — there’s something in her voice, something wavering, something Shawn can’t pass off as a joke. His eyes snap open.

Topanga’s lips are pressed together in a tight, white line, and her eyes are wide like she never meant to let that slip. Shawn stares at her and then rolls onto his front, shifts up on his elbows so he can turn to look at Cory. Cory’s looking back at him with resignation and apprehension in his eyes, but he’s looking at Shawn steadily nonetheless, chin tipped up like he’s waiting for the axe to fall.

Shawn looks between the two of them, a distant ringing sound in his ears. Ten years ago, even five years ago, he’d have told himself he was imagining it, that he’d misunderstood. That there’s no way they’d want —

But he’s tired. He isn’t getting any younger, and he’s tired of running away, and if he can’t have what he wants, he’s at least going to know to his bones that he tried.

Shawn takes in a shaking breath, and for once in his goddamned life, he lets himself hope.

These aren’t two people bringing someone into their relationship for fun. They aren’t two people trying to ease their best friend’s feelings by taking him to bed. They’re two people with the same look in their eyes Shawn’s recognized in the mirror for more than a decade now, a look of fearful, unfulfilled want, the painful certainty of rejection.

Miraculously, Shawn’s voice doesn’t shake when he reaches out to grab Cory’s hand in one of his, Topanga’s in the other, and says quietly, “You only had to ask. You only ever had to ask.”

Cory sucks in a breath. His eyes are painful in their hope. “I mean,” Shawn continues, something raw opening up in his voice, “you have to know that I’m — that I’m in love with you guys, right?”

Topanga scoots over and presses herself against Shawn’s side, throws an arm over his waist and hides her face in the curve of his neck. “We didn’t know,” she says, voice muffled.

“You could have said something,” Cory points out, but his face is lighting up slowly, incandescent, his hand still clutching Shawn’s tightly, and Shawn laughs aloud just to release some of the burbling emotion in his gut and says, “Well, I guess I’m saying something now.”

“And I guess we’re asking,” Cory returns, bringing Shawn’s hand up to his mouth and dropping a kiss on the knuckles; Topanga bites Shawn’s neck softly, then kisses her way up to his ear and whispers, “We love you too.”

Shawn has to kiss them after that, one after the other, drinks in Cory’s eagerness and the way Topanga melts against him, soft and warm.

“And what was all that find someone, Shawn, settle down business anyway?” Shawn breaks away to say semi-indignantly.

Cory looks flustered. “I was trying to be unselfish!” he says.

“Yeah, that’s dumb, don’t do that again,” Shawn says, and kisses Cory to swallow whatever retort he’d been about to make. Cory mmphs against his mouth, and Topanga says “Boys,” with her hand in Shawn’s hair and laughter rich in her voice; and Shawn shuts his eyes and does his level best to memorize this moment, because he may not need to hoard the scant memories of his time with them anymore, but this is something he wants to keep with him until the day he dies.