Young Frodo has an important task: teaching his little cousin Merry to swim...(Written for the 2012 LOTR GenFic Fixed-Length-Ficlet challenge "Lazy Summer".) One-shot; Book-verse.

Rating: G
Theme: lazy summer
Elements: fixed-length ficlet: 299 words
Author's Notes: This is more or less an expansion of a drabble "First Lesson" that I wrote a few years ago for the 20_rings community.
Word Count: 299

In the Cove

Saradoc had his arm around Esme's shoulders as they looked out the window at their lads, Frodo with little Merry riding his shoulders. Sara grinned as he could see them laughing as they went on their way, but Esmeralda had worried furrow in her brow. He leaned over and kissed it away. "They will be safe, love. And every Brandybuck must learn."

Merry's giggle was infectious as Frodo bounced him along on his shoulders. "I'm going to swim, Frodo!"

"Yes you are, sprout!" Frodo felt his own heart lifted by Merry's cheer.

Soon they came to their destination: a little cove that thrust out from the Brandywine, quiet and shallow, it was within a grove of alders that leant dappled shade to the edges of the water. Yet there was enough sun to keep the water pleasant on a hot and lazy summer day. There was no current here, and at its deepest the water came no higher than Frodo's chest.

The lads shed their clothes, and Frodo waded out a few feet and knelt upon the soft sandy bottom. Arms wide, he coaxed: "Come on, sprout!"

"Is it cold?"

"Not so very, dear."

Merry stepped in. "Oh! It feels nice!"

He waded to his cousin's outstretched arms, and Frodo took the little hands firmly in his.

"Kick Merry!"

It took a few attempts before the little feet were able to swing out behind and Merry kicked wildly, splashing them both. Sputtering, they laughed.

"I'm swimming, Frodo!"

"Almost, Merry, almost!" Frodo drew him around and pulled him by both hands as his feet kept kicking. "It will take a few more lessons than one!"

It was the first lesson, but not the last in that lazy summer. By the end, Merry was swimming as though born to it.