[Sarah Jane Adventures] Light and Sound
Tuesday 30th December 2014
Summary: Sky's first thunderstorm
Sarah Jane opened her eyes slowly, wondering what had woken her. Some weeks it seemed like she was destined not to get a full night's sleep and this was one of them. Yesterday it had been an alien spaceship trying to land in the middle of the road, and the day before a helicopter had been hovering overhead for a half an hour, looking for a burglar, according to Mr Smith.
A flash of light made her blink and she was about to look outside when it was followed by a crash of thunder. She sighed, relieved it was something mundane and nothing to worry about. Yawning, she turned over to check the time on her alarm clock, which said 3:12 in big, red digits.
Out the corner of her eye she saw her bedroom door was ajar, although she'd definitely shut it before she went to bed. Once upon a time she'd slept with it open, but while she got used to there being someone else in the house, it blocked out the noise of Luke getting up in the night. It had been a few months before he'd stopped wanting to ask Mr Smith about something he'd thought of at 4am.
It could be that the thunderstorm wasn't so mundane after all. Maybe it was aliens whose spaceships sounded like thunder. Or aliens using a thunderstorm to cover their invasion. They did seem to like Ealing, for some reason.
The quiet voice calling her name told her she should stop automatically thinking everything was aliens. Or at least that everything was aliens attacking.
It was followed by a flash of lightning, which showed Sky shivering in the doorway. She usually remembered to put her slippers and dressing gown on, but must have had other things on her mind tonight.
"Come here before you freeze." Sarah Jane moved across the bed and held the duvet open.
Sky took the invitation and climbed into bed, snuggling up to Sarah Jane, which came as a surprise. Sky was happy enough with hugs, but they tended to be brief and then she was off doing her own thing. The storm must have scared her. Sarah Jane remembered being scared of thunder once herself, before Aunt Lavinia had explained it to her. Sky hadn't experienced one before, so wouldn't understand what it was.
"It's just a thunderstorm," Sarah Jane said to Sky, putting an arm round her and hugging the girl to her.
"Is that why I feel all tingly?"
Now she was closer Sarah Jane could hear Sky was confused, not scared. With the things she'd faced, perhaps it wasn't a surprise that Sky wasn't afraid of the weather.
"The lightning is electricity," Sarah Jane said, only just now thinking how it might affect Sky. "You must be able to feel it."
She felt Sky nod and snuggle closer. "How long will it last?"
"Not long," Sarah Jane said confidently, not wanting to worry Sky. "Would you like to stay here until it's over?"
"Yes, please." Sky shivered with another flash of lightning.
Sarah Jane waited for the thunder before she spoke again. "The thunder actually happens at the same time as the lightning, but since light travels faster than sound, we see the lightning before we hear the thunder. We can tell how far away it is by counting the seconds between the lightning and the thunder."
They waited until the next flash then counted together: "One, two, three, four, five." There was a crack of thunder.
"It's a mile away," Sarah Jane concluded.
"Is that close?"
"Quite close." She wondered how far Sky would be able to feel it, and hoped it was travelling away from them, rather than towards. After a few more flashes of lightning, rumbles of thunder and counting, she had her answer, and Sky shivered a little less.
After five minutes Sarah Jane was counting on her own and Sky drifted off to sleep as the world quietened once more. Sarah Jane knew she should take Sky back to bed, but couldn't quite bring herself to let go of her daughter. Maybe for once, Sky could stay. Sarah Jane leaned down to kiss her on the forehead, then fell asleep herself, not dreaming of aliens for the rest of the night.
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