Chapter 7 : Sink or Swim
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Harry rolled over in his sleep and felt his godson next to him. The little boy wouldn’t sleep in the tent if he couldn’t sleep with Harry. Smiling Harry kissed the little boy on top of his head and reached for his glasses. The sun was streaming through the tent door; it looked like everyone was sleeping in today. It had been a long day yesterday and today Harry needed to spend time with Teddy. He hadn’t really known what to do with Teddy at first; he didn’t know how to be a godfather, but having the child in his life had been wonderful. Harry loved the little boy like he was his own and was so grateful that he could be there for Teddy. Harry would make sure Teddy had a good childhood, a good life; the little boy would never doubt he was loved.
Harry’s musings were interrupted by Teddy. The little boy woke up and climbed onto Harry’s stomach and looked down at his godfather expectantly. Harry tickled the child’s sides, and scooped him up to take him outside. Teddy squirmed down and ran over to the edge of the water. Harry caught up to him just before he got in the water. He scooped up his squealing godson and carried him back towards the tent. He saw Mrs. Weasley come out of her tent. “Morning Mrs. Weasley, we didn’t wake you did we?” Mrs. Weasley smiled at Harry, “No dear, I was just getting ready to start breakfast.” Harry sat Teddy on his shoulders, “do you want a hand?” “That would be lovely dear; maybe you and Teddy can get the fire started while I mix up the oatmeal.”
Molly smiled as she watched Harry move around the fire. He really was a good cook, her smile faltered for a moment when she remembered how he had learned to cook. But that was in the past, and now Harry enjoyed cooking and Molly always enjoyed the help. Teddy was building a cave for his stuffed wolf out of stones. He was babbling to Moony and stacking rocks while Harry was cooking. Molly couldn’t help but notice that Harry was keeping one eye on the boy the whole time he was cooking. Harry would be a good father someday.
Molly smiled at Hermione as she walked out rubbing sleep from her eyes. She walked over to Harry and tried to help him. Hermione was not quite as skilled in the kitchen. She and Harry lived in the same building, they both rented muggle flats. Molly knew that Harry often helped Hermione with her cooking. She had improved rapidly; Hermione really was a quick study.
Molly watched Hermione bend down next to Teddy; she showed the little boy how to build a roof on Moony’s cave. As the smell of breakfast wafted through the tents the rest of Molly’s family slowly stumbled out of bed and out to the campfire. While they were eating everyone decided that after yesterday’s excitement and today’s late start, it would be the perfect day to spend on the lake.
Ginny was sitting on her bunk in her bathing suit while Hermione tried to figure out a way to hide her scars. Both women wore the scars they had earned in the war with pride, but they did sometimes make certain clothing choices uncomfortable. Ginny like her bathing suit because it was a two piece and showed just a strip of her stomach while still covering the worst of her scars. Hermione had a more conservative one piece, but her scars were all still clearly visible. Audrey had already left the tent and had gone to lie out and get some sun.
Ginny didn’t really understand Audrey; she didn’t really want to play sports or anything fun. She was very dull, but then again she was dating Percy. Ginny was fairly certain any girl who would date Percy had to have a very low tolerance for adventure. Ginny was brought back to reality by Hermione’s exclamation. “I give up! Let the bloody scars show I don’t care!” Ginny made sure her suit was coving the marks engraved on her back and followed Hermione out of the tent.
Ginny noticed the boys were still in their tent as she and Hermione headed down to the water. Ginny couldn’t help but notice how perfect Fleur looked as she sat on the water’s edge with her mum and little Vic. She shook any self-doubt from her mind and hurried to catch up with Hermione who was swimming towards a dock in the middle of the lake.
Arthur had gone into the boys’ tent to see what was taking so long. Bill had disappeared into the tent twenty minutes ago muttering about modesty. Arthur took in the sight of his still fully clothed sons, and realized what the problem might be, “Boys are you all embarrassed?” Bill was the first to speak, “well yeah dad it’s one thing to know you’ve got scars, and another thing to be comfortable with them and proud of the fights you fought to get them. But going out in public in swim trunks is just putting them on display.” Arthur looked around at his sons, “alright everybody take your shirts off.” Arthur pulled his own shirt over his head and looked expectantly at his sons.
One by one Arthur watched his boys pull their shirts off. Harry and Bill were by far the worst. Bill had been ravaged by Greyback, and Harry had been hurt on a field assignment for the aurors. Both men had chests cover in scars. It made Arthur sad to see the torn bodies of his boys, but it also made him grateful. They may be scared but they were alive, Fred had been relatively unmarked but he was gone. Teddy made all the difference, he pulled on Harry’s swim trunks, “Awwee, I wanna go swum, come wif me.” Bill looked at Harry, “I’ll go if you will.” Harry looked at Ron who nodded and grabbed George’s arm, “come on your holiness.” Charlie grabbed Bill and Teddy dragged Harry, with Percy bringing up the rear. Arthur watched his sons tear across the beach and jump into the water. Harry and Teddy stopped close to the edge where Teddy could still touch the bottom.
Arthur went to sit with Molly trying not to feel self-conscious in his swim suit while he watched his children carry on in the water.
Harry had Teddy in the shallow part of the lake, but was taking no chances he had floaties on the little boy’s arms to ensure he didn’t sink. Teddy floated down to where little Vic was splashing in her mother’s arms and Harry followed. Teddy seemed to be very curious about Vic. Harry sat next to Mr. Weasley and watched while Teddy splashed Vic toes with water. She would giggle and he would splash her again. Mrs. Weasley turned to Harry, “If you want to go join the others Harry I think I can manage to watch Teddy.” Harry shook his head, “No thanks Mrs. Weasley, I don’t really know how to swim.” At this Fleur looked up, “What do you mean? I ave seen you swim, you jumped into ze black lake with ze rest of us in ze tournament.” Harry grinned sheepishly, “that was actually my first time swimming.” Fleur stared at him in shock, “you jumped into ze lake, and swam to ze bottem, and zen you save my gabrielle, but you do not know ow to swim?” harry nodded, “Yeah, I figured out the clue too late, so figuring out a way to breath underwater was a bigger concern then learning how to swim.” Fleur handed Vic to Mr. Weasley and stood up, “Well zen, give teddie to Molly, you must learn to swim today.”
Harry felt more than a little self-conscious, but it didn’t take long for Fleur to show Harry the basics and soon he was mostly swimming right alongside Fleur. Once Fleur had declared that now Harry would not sink to the bottom of the lake they returned to the shallows to reclaim their charges. Eventually Ron, Hermione, and Ginny disentangled themselves from George’s bizarre version of Marco Polo and made their way over to Harry and Teddy. They settled themselves in the water and soon Teddy was happily floating between the four of them.
Ron looked at Harry, “What were you and Fleur doing earlier?” Harry felt himself blush, “she was teaching me how to swim.” Harry looked at his two best friends and the love of his life, they were staring at him as though he had grown an extra head, “what not everyone learns to swim when they’re young.” Ginny spoke up, “maybe everyone doesn’t learn to swim, but we’ve all seen you swim.” Hermione was staring at Harry disapprovingly, “please tell me you didn’t jump into the lake without knowing how to swim.” Harry smiled sheepishly at her, “they had Ron, my weazy, Dobby called him, and since I took the egg seriously I thought Ron could die. Besides the gills and fins really make swimming easy.”
Eventually Teddy fell asleep in Harry’s arms. He carried the little boy into the tent and changed him into night clothes. When Harry returned he saw that everyone had scattered. Bill and Fleur had gone into their tent with Victoire. Ron and Hermione had decided to go for a walk, as had Percy and Audrey, George and Charlie were out on the dock in the middle of the lake trying to see who could push the other off the most times. Their muffled cries drifted back to Harry as he sat down next to Ginny.
When he sat Ginny turned to face him, she shifted so his knees were just touching hers and smiled over at him. “Is Teddy asleep?” “Yeah He’s out like a light the swimming really wore him out.” Ginny stared at Harry’s chest for a while Harry was starting to blush when he heard Ginny giggle. “What’s funny Gin?” She tried to stop giggling long enough to answer, “Well apparently your face isn’t the only thing that goes red when you’re embarrassed.” Harry looked at his chest and saw that he did indeed have a red blush covering his chest, “Why were you staring, that’s why I was blushing.” Ginny paused to think, “Well I don’t get to see you without your shirt on very often and I haven’t seen you bare chested at all since right after you got hurt and you were covered in bandages then. Sorry if I made you uncomfortable, I was just taking an inventory of your injuries. You’ve managed to amass quite a few.”
Harry looked at Ginny, “well yeah, I’m trying to avoid looking like Mad Eye, but I’m not having much luck. I seem to accumulate scars rather rapidly. Do they bother you?” Harry peeked at Ginny out of the corner of his eye he was afraid to see her reaction. What if she didn’t like the way he looked? Ginny just shook her head at Harry, “No love, they could never bother me, and you most certainly do not look like Mad Eye. Besides they aren’t scars, they’re beauty marks.” Harry looked at her in confusion, Ginny giggled again, “I never thought this day would come, but I am going to paraphrase Fleur, ‘all these marks mean is that my boyfriend is brave’ you earned those marks fighting to keep other people safe. They show how brave you are and that makes me so proud of you. Not that I want you to keep getting hurt, because I love you and don’t want anything to happen to you, an oh Merlin I’m rambling.” Harry leaned over and kissed her.
They broke apart when Harry heard someone clear their throat above them. Charlie and George were standing over them with evil grins on their faces. George grabbed Harry and Charlie looked at Ginny, “say good night to lover boy Ginny.” Ginny glared at her brothers, “you two behave yourselves.” They shot Ginny what they believed to be innocent expressions and pulled Harry towards their tent. Ginny shook her head at their backs and headed to her own tent to wait for Hermione.
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