After his dad loses his job, Shawn tries brown-bagging it for a while. But the sandwiches his mom packs aren't enough to fill him during his growth spurt, so half the time he ends up begging Cory to loan him a few bucks for snacks, an extra hamburger, whatever. After two weeks of this Cory starts taking extra lunch money to school.

"Your mom must think you've got a hollow leg," Shawn says as he tosses his sandwich wrapper into the trash and digs into the disgusting school mac and cheese. "God, this stuff's nasty."

"You sure it's just a growth spurt and not a tapeworm?" Cory teases, but he understands. They never talk about the Hunter family's bad money situation; Shawn doesn't like to and Cory learned his lesson after the Christmas present fiasco. Shawn doesn't like being pitied. Which is why this isn't the first time Cory's made the tapeworm joke.

"I wish! If it was a tapeworm I could eat twice as much," Shawn laughs, stuffing half a cookie into his mouth. Cory just shakes his head.

"You're lucky you burn it off so fast, otherwise you'd look like Mrs. Crampton down the street," he says. He's no slouch in the eating department, they're eleven and they can still eat like this and the only consequences are cavities or stomachaches. "So, everything's set for the weekend?"

"Yep. Got all my stuff and my other toothbrush is at your place." Shawn smiles. "Thanks for that again, man." Of course, Shawn's got more than just a toothbrush at Cory's place. A towel, an extra pair of pajamas, his history book. And Cory's got a few of his own things at Shawn's place.

Cory doesn't realize it right now, but a friendship like his and Shawn's is what adults would call a rare gem. They don't agree on everything, they fight sometimes and Cory's always a bit jealous of Shawn for being taller and cooler and having better hair. But they'll risk their necks for each other, spare a little lunch money, let them keep a spare everything at each other's houses. Cory's family treats Shawn like one of their own, and Shawn's family always puts out more effort to clean their place and not fight when Cory's around.

Shawn shovels down more mac and cheese, pausing for a cookie or a gulp of soda now and then, and Cory finishes the rest of his chips. It's raining today so they're stuck going to either the gym or the library.

"We really should finish that geography homework. It's three days overdue," Cory says. "But going to the library means greater chance of running into Minkus."

"And we've got a lot of energy to burn," Shawn agrees. "But if we don't do the homework, Feeny will never leave us alone."

"Decisions, decisions," Cory sighs. "It's not easy being eleven."

"Oh, really." Oh, great, Feeny alert ,Cory thinks with a groan. "Try being past middle age and having to contend with lazy, selfish sixth-graders who think it's acceptable to turn in their homework three days late." He sighed. "But, I suppose I should count myself lucky it's only three days late instead of the usual week."

"Yeah, see? We know how to be nice," Shawn says.

"Right! If we don't have it in by the end of the day, feel free to call our parents," Cory adds, realizing this means they're pretty much stuck going to the library. Feeny looks skeptical, but shrugs and leaves them alone, muttering something about pigs flying.

So it's to the library with them, but at least they're stuck going together. Neither of them's ever been any good at getting their work done on time, and they'll probably get half the answers wrong even with Cory's brief history as a would-be geography champ. And Feeny will lecture them on their poor study habits and they'll nod and pretend to listen while they're really thinking about the Phillies game or the monster movie they watched last weekend.

Shawn finally finishes eating, they toss their trash and take their books to the library. At least it's Friday and they've got the whole weekend ahead of them to do whatever they want. Maybe they'll eat and sleep in the treehouse tonight.

"I'll ask my folks if you can spend next weekend with us," Shawn says, and Cory smiles.

"That'd be awesome."

Shawn's a friend you only find once in a lifetime, and Cory counts himself lucky he grabbed him up before anyone else did.