AN: Written for the fan_flashworks "stages" challenge; doubles as a fill for prompt #6, "rain", in my 50x500 Swallows and Amazons challenge. Un-beta'd, any corrections welcome :)Takes place after "Pigeon Post", some spoilers for that book.


Roger sat on one of Rio's landing stages, keeping guard on Amazon. He was waiting for Susan and Peggy to come back from buying camp supplies, and wishing they'd hurry up a bit. The others were using the roomier Swallow to take the camping gear from Beckfoot to Wild Cat Island. Even after loading Amazon with as much as they could while leaving room for the crew and everything they'd get in Rio, they'd found they needed two trips in Swallow to take the rest. Screwing up his eyes against the sunlight glinting on the water, Roger looked across the Lake. Was that… yes, there was Swallow's brown sail, heading towards Beckfoot. He knew that meant Titty and Dick were already on Wild Cat with the first load, and John was returning to get Nancy, Dorothea, and the rest of their gear.

The sail vanished from his sight, and he looked around. There was still no sign of the mates, but Sammy, the local policeman, was stepping off another landing stage into his rowing boat. Noticing Roger, he called out to him.

"Morning! Are you all off camping?"

"Yes, we are," Roger answered.

"Keep an eye out for the weather, then. Mother's afraid there's a big storm coming soon. Can't see any sign of it myself, though we could do with a bit of rain – especially now you folk aren't up on High Topps to stop any fires!"

Roger felt himself go red. He had no idea what to answer to that. His silence didn't seem to bother Sammy, who with a final cheery wave cast off and rowed away.

Roger looked at the cloudless sky. It didn't look like raining soon... he hoped it wouldn't. It would have been useful before, when they were stuck in Mrs Tyson's orchard because the beck was dry. Though if it had rained then, they'd never have tried dowsing and made their own well.

'A big storm,' Sammy had said. Maybe one like there'd been when they'd first camped on Wild Cat? That had been exciting. He wondered whether their new tents would stand up to the wind better than the old ones. They couldn't all eight of them crowd into the Amazons' tent; it had been a squash then, and now the D's were with them too.

At last, he saw Susan and Peggy coming down the landing stage, loaded with parcels.

"I saw Swallow heading for Beckfoot, but she hasn't been past again. Sammy the policeman just rowed away; he said there's going to be a big storm," Roger told them.

"Oh, I hope not." Peggy pulled a face. "Anyway, there won't be one right this minute. Hurry up, let's stow everything and see if we can beat the others to Wild Cat."

Roger didn't argue because he wanted to beat the others, too, but he hoped there would be a storm. Thunder and lightning, trees shaking in the wind... If it had to rain, a big storm would be best.