Chapter Summary: It's hot. Ginny wants to learn how to swim. Fred and George teach her.
Disclaimer: I own nothing but the idea.
Author’s Notes: The second ‘The Red-Haired Trio’ story. Thank you to Ladybug, for being so nice to me ^^.
She was almost five when she got it into her head that she should learn how to swim.
It was a hot summer that year; the heat seemed to permeate every inch of The Burrow, making the whole place shimmer, more magical than usual. Cicadas chirped the day away, and Ginny was prone to fits of fainting, the heat too much for her to stand.
Her brothers spent nearly every waking moment down at Otter River, diving and swimming, their bodies slick in the water, twining around the rocks and weed that clung tenaciously to the riverbed, cool water prising them up to float to the surface in puffs of golden brown.
She, she had to sit on the shore, watch them play whilst desperately sucking on a melted ice lolly, trying to keep her temperature normal, wishing she could cavort with them in the icy water, instead of being uncomfortably sticky.
It was days until her birthday, days until Mummy said she would be old enough to make her first attempt at swimming, but even so young as she was, Ginny knew that meant she would be allowed to dip her toes in and that would be all.
She wanted more than that! She wanted to swim like Fred and George did, the dappled light playing across the first glimpses of muscle, freckling her skin even more, causing her curly hair to twine sinuously around her body.
And so, determined that she would have her way, she approached Fred and George that night after dinner. She should have been brushing her teeth, but Mummy was busy seeing to Ron, who was demanding a bedtime story, so she felt safe in delaying.
"Gwed, Fodge, I needs your help," she said, determined to say her piece.
The twins exchanged a look.
"Whatsa matter, Gin-kin?" George asked, ruffling the little girl's hair.
"I wants to learn to swim. Mummy says I can learn on my birfday, but that'll be not enough, you know." She pouted.
"Yeah, we know. Hmmm ... are you thinking what I'm thinking, Gred?" Fred asked.
"I think I am, Forge. It's teaching Gin-kin to swim time!" Nimble fingers tickled Ginny's sides, making her giggle.
"At midnight on your birthday we'll teach you to swim, ok, Ginny-winny? That way, you won't be learning until your birthday," Fred proposed.
"Ok," Ginny agreed.
"Fred! George! Get on with that washing up. Ginevra Molly Weasley, why are you not in bed? Finish cleaning your teeth and get into bed this instant," Mummy scolded.
Happily, Ginny went about her tasks. Fred and George were going to teach her to swim. Everything would be fine.
"Ok, now remember, Gin-kin, you have to keep this a secret. Mum won't be happy if she knows," Fred said as he carried the sleepy, tow-haired five-year-old down to Otter River at midnight on the eleventh of August.
"I know." Ginny nodded, trying to decide whether she should wriggle in excitement or nod off to sleep in her brother's warm arms.
"We've set up a barrier, so you don't have to worry about drifting away," George added encouragingly. "You just swim to your little heart's content."
"First she has to learn how to, stupid," Fred teased.
"I knows how! I watched you guys all summer," Ginny protested.
"But there's a big difference between watching and doing, Gin-kin. You just see how much you can do, ok?" In one smooth movement, Fred divested Ginny of her nightgown and dropped her, clad in only her undershirt and knickers, into the water.
Ginny shrieked at the cold, her pale skin glowing in the moonlight, hair plastered to her head. However, she was soon happy about the temperature. Even though the sun had been gone for hours, it was still stiflingly hot, and the air itself was sticky. She splashed about in the water while the twins watched, standing either side of her in case she should go under.
"Time for a little experiment, Gin-kin. Duck your head under and open your eyes. Blow bubbles out your nose. When you need to breathe, come to the surface," Fred coached, George sliding hands under the little girl's plump body.
Ginny obeyed, giggling while underwater at the tickling of the bubbles against her face. She popped her head up. "This is fun!"
"Very good, Gin. Now, I want you to kick with your legs and paddle with your arms, try to escape George's hold."
Ginny did so easily, kicking so strongly that she shot to the edge of the river like an arrow. "Fun!" She repeated happily.
"Good. That's it for now. You've learnt plenty," Fred encouraged.
"One more swim?" The little girl begged.
"One more." George allowed.
Grinning, the birthday witch ducked under the water, twisting her body so she could watch her hair float around her like a million copper-coloured sea serpents, silky as a mermaid's, before popping her head back up, panting.
"I'm gonna learn to be a good swimmer," she announced sleepily as the red-haired trio headed back to The Burrow and their beds, the sheets now cool.