Lightning and Thunder

Disclaimer: the singing cricket lied, my wish on a star didn't come true so the characters still don't belong to me.

A/N: you can thank the thunderstorm that woke me up at 2:30 AM for this story.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Sodapop Curtis awoke with a start as a loud boom sent tremors through the small house, rattling his nerves as well as the lumpy double mattress he shared with his kid brother Ponyboy. A flash of light quickly followed by another bed-shaking boom brought about the realization of why he had woken up. With the knowledge that it was merely a thunderstorm, the sixteen-year old was content with going back to sleep when he noticed the bed continued to shake even after the roar of thunder had subsided. The small room was illuminated for a brief second as another blinding bolt of lightning flashed, giving Soda enough light to make out the trembling from of his brother before the light was replaced by another earth-splitting crack of thunder

"Hey Ponyboy, you scared of a little noise?" He asked rolling over and slinging an arm across Pony's huddled body.

"I ain't scared." He replied unconvincingly as he melted against the protection his brother offered.

"Sure you ain't." Soda scoffed into the back of Pony's head, his hot breath gently stirring the younger one's soft hair.

"I just don't like the noise is all it is." He said with a hint of defiance that was betrayed by the slight shaking of his voice.

"Hush now and listen, I got a trick t let you know when the storm's close to you." Soda paused as another flash followed by a window-rattling crack of thunder had him pulling his brother closer.

"It don't matter if it's close or not if I can still hear it," Pony paused as the house shook with another clap, "or feel it."

"It'll take your mind off of it, besides knowing it's not near you anymore makes it a lot less scary." Soda reasoned.

"I told you already, I ain't scared." Ponyboy willed himself to stop shaking but abandoned the attempt as another sky-splitting crack rang through his ears.

"Anyways, whenever you see a flash of lightning, you start counting till you hear the thunder." A blinding flash illuminated the room. "One-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-" Soda counted until he was cut off by thunder. "It's a little more than two miles away right now. You run more than that in a week for track don't you?"

"Yeah, I s'pose I do." Pony muttered. "Is it really two miles away?"

"A little more than that, c'mon Pone, count with me next time." Soda said as a flash lit up the room.

"One-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-" the brothers counted in quiet unison until they were stopped by a roar of thunder.

"Now it's not so bad now is it?" Soda asked resting his forehead on the nape of Pony's neck. "You just gotta keep counting, when you can make it to ten three times in a row, you know it's gonna be alright."

A flash filled the room. "One-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one-" Pony counted until the boom cut him off. "Hey Soda, how come you don't ever get scared of anything?" He asked.

"Cause I'm the big brother."

"Yeah, right, come on man, that doesn't count." Pony turned to glance at him.

"Sure it does, it comes in the job description." Soda grinned at his brother. "I don't know, maybe Darry's right when says I use head for more than growing hair on." He playfully reached a hand up and rustled Pony's hair.

"Whatever you say." He laughed as he swatted Soda's hand away.

So the night went on, the two of them quietly counting the time between the flash and the thunder until they were able to count all the way to fifteen with only a small rumble as a reply.

"One-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand…" Soda trailed off when he noticed his was the only voice counting. Pony had stopped shaking and stilled against him a while ago and now Soda felt his slow, even breaths. Propping himself up on one elbow, he gently stroked Pony's hair before leaning close his sleeping brother's ear. "Losing you," he gently whispered, "I'm scared of losing you."

A/N: I have an alternate story that's somewhat similar, it was my original one that after rereading it, seemed slightly sappy so I wrote this version. If you'd like me to post the original story as well, just ask.