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Futures

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“I hate this. It’s the worst. Roy, I need you to kill me. Use one of your mom’s swords and make it swift. This homework is pointless and I’ll never get it.”

“Aw, don’t say that! You just used ‘swift’ and that was on our vocabulary sheet last week! You can do this.”

Cammy raised her head from where it had been buried in her arms. She and Roy sat together in the school library. It was just the two of them, the other kids either studying at home or finished and gone home already. Roy and Cammy were, as usual, the last ones struggling with the homework. “You’re just upbeat because we’re doing a forging assignment and you can kinda pull it off. Not even an hour ago you were about to cry because of Mana’s cooking homework.”

Roy shrugged. “I only do okay with the forging homework cause my mom rubs off on me sometimes.”

Cammy groaned, glaring down at the offending worksheets spread out before her. “We need to face it, Roy. We’re useless and everyone knows it.”

“Hey, we’re not useless!”

“We need Mana and Barrett’s help more than anyone.”

“To be fair, they always seem happy to help. Well, as happy as Barrett can be, I guess.”

“We’re fifteen. Leonel, Orland, and Leann are all, like, eight, and they do way better than us at the same stuff.”

Roy was unusually silent for a moment. “Mana and Barrett always say it’s because we started so much later than the other kids. What was the weird thing they said? The other kids… learned how to learn! That’s what they said! I don’t think that really makes sense but they said it means you and me aren’t as good at learning stuff in school because we didn’t have to for a really long time. The other kids have been doing it their whole lives basically.”

“I know what they said. I was there,” Cammy grumbled. She knew Roy wouldn’t take her bad mood personally.

“What’s your deal? I didn’t know this bothered you that much.”

Cammy shrugged, lowering her head into her arms again. “I’m just tired, y’know? It doesn’t normally bother me. I just don’t like feeling stupid.”

Roy sighed. “Yeah. Me neither.”

They sat in silence for a few minutes. Cammy felt a little bad for the gloomy mood they now shared. She really wasn’t normally this crabby. She prided herself for being outgoing and fun-loving. “Mana said something earlier that bothered me,” she finally admitted.

“What was it?”

“Leann was the first to turn in that handout we did during Mana’s class. You remember it?” Cammy raised her head again to look at Roy, who nodded. “Well, when Mana was looking over it and saw that Leann got all the questions right, of course, she said that Leann is really smart and has a bright future.”

Roy tilted his head to the side, something he did when he was confused. “Why did that bother you?”

Cammy didn’t want to meet his eyes anymore. She was embarrassed for letting something so silly bother her so much. “Well, it made me think… Do we not have bright futures?”

She finally felt brave enough to look at Roy’s face. Realization dawned on his features. “Of course we have bright futures!” he assured. “You and me? We’re gonna be awesome. Always have been, always will be.”

Cammy smiled a little, but she still felt doubtful. “How do you know?”

Roy pondered for a moment. “Well, school’s not that important,” he insisted. “Most of the adults in town didn’t go to school! And Barrett said we have one of the most advanced cur-, uh, cur...”

“Curriculum?” Cammy offered.

“Yeah! He said we have one of the most advanced curriculums in all of Norad! So even if we only barely make it out of school, we’ll still be like, way smarter than a lot of other kids our age!”

Cammy smiled in full. “I guess you have a good point.”

“Of course I do! Besides, you’ve been helping Julia with the bathhouse and wanna take over one day, right? That seems like a pretty solid future to me,” Roy said with a wink.

Cammy didn’t know why, but her heart felt a little funny when he did that. At least now she felt better than she had all day. Talking to her best friend always helped with that.

“Thanks, Roy.”

“No problem! Now let’s finish this dumb homework. I wanna actually do fun stuff before bed tonight.”

“Yeah, let’s get this over with,” Cammy agreed. They went back to work in silence, only interrupting it to ask questions when they got confused. Cammy was content. With Roy at her side, everything would be just fine.