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[Johnny Ray McKay continued from World's End Girlfriend]

That pale, birdy face was the last one that Johnny had expected to see here.

It wasn't that he shouldn't've expected it. Johnny had known that Aiden was on the field trip after all, he'd even spoken to him on the bus. It was just that Aiden didn't seem to fit, somehow. There was something about his bubbling speech and his ridiculous manner that was just totally inappropriate for their setting: it was like seeing Adam Sandler in a horror movie. Even standing there, looking at the boy, Johnny still couldn't quite wrap his head around it. It just didn't seem right.

His thoughts had grown dark, as they'd trecked through the hospital. They'd turned to fear and violence, and perhaps that was why seeing Aiden had shocked him so, since Johnny's friend was nothing if not the complete and utter opposite of that. Aiden was constantly, ludicrously happy, whereas hospitals for Johnny were places of sadness and dread.

He’d been bitten by a dog, when he was kid. It was bad as far as dog bites went, but hardly life threatening, though that hadn’t stopped child-Johnny from being utterly, frightfully convinced he was going to die. It had just hurt so much, there was simply no way, he’d decided, that anyone could possibly survive that sort of pain, and no amount of explaining or cajoling or eventually outright yelling had been able to convince him otherwise.

Johnny had lain in his hospital bed, terrified, and come to despise the hospital. It had been loud and scary and smelled of sick people. This one smelled of dust and damp, but it was no less frightening. He’d been lost in thoughts of danger and panic, and as shitty as it was for the other boy, Johnny was happy to see Aiden nonetheless.

He grabbed him, pulling the shorter boy against his chest in a tight hug.

“Beaks you… you motherfucker.”

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