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Chris takes Luca swimming on his own

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It's an easy drive to the community centre, traffic so much lighter here than in Los Angeles. Chris and Luca sing all the way there, taking breaks only to identify the cows and the horses and the sheeps, Luca making his best animal noises for Chris, Chris's attempts clearly judged as wanting. "No, neigh neigh!" he repeats, looking decidedly exasperated.

Chris tries again with his very best whinny but nope.

"No, Daddy Kis, neigh neigh," Luca insists.

If you can't beat them, join them. "Neigh neigh?" Chris says, glancing in the rearview mirror.

"Yes!" Luca claps, pleased Chris finally got it.

///

Judging by the parking lot, it seems like the rec swim session might not be too busy. Chris parks fairly close to the doors and helps Luca out of his carseat, settling him on his hip before grabbing their bags from the trunk. Inside the building, he puts Luca down but keeps a hold of his hand, heading for the front desk.

"Hi. We're here for the morning rec swim," he announces. "One adult and one child under three."

"That'll be three dollars," the cashier responds, eyes widening as she looks up from the magazine she's reading. She blinks again as she takes in the two of them. "Hi Luca. Where's your daddy today?"

"Home," Luca says, tugging on Chris's hand. "This is Kis."

"I see that," she says with a smile, taking Chris's money. "Are you who I think you are?" she asks, unable to help herself.

Chris grins. "Yeah. I'm visiting Matt and Kate and I offered to take Luca swimming." He'll be glad when he can just be honest about who he is and what he's doing here but for now, they've decided to keep things on the down low.

"That's great," she says. "Did you bring a swim diaper for him and do you have a lock with you?"

Chris nods. "Yep. Matt made sure I have everything."

"Okay, then you both have fun swimming," she says, waving at Luca. "Tell your daddy Lori said hi."

Luca leads the way down the hall to the locker rooms and they change into their swimwear and flip-flops, Chris draping their towels over his arm before he secures the locker with the lock Matt gave him, the combination memorized. A quick shower, Chris standing over Luca to keep the full force of the water from hitting him, and they head out to the pool, or pools rather. There's an Olympic size adult pool and a surprisingly large kiddie one.

Chris sets their towels over the nearby railing and they slip off their flip-flops. He sits down on the side of the kiddie pool, ignoring the stares they're already getting, slips into the water, which only comes to mid-thigh on him and picks up Luca, holding him close as he slowly sinks down into the water. "It's nice and warm, isn't it?"

"Yes," Luca nods, arms wrapped around Chris's neck. "Warm."

"Do you want to try floating?" Chris asks.

Luca shakes his head, tightening his hold on Chris's neck.

"That's okay," Chris reassures him. "We'll just take our time."

///

The slow and easy approach works and when they decide they've had enough, roughly an hour later, Luca's jumped into the water from the side while holding Chris's hands, blown bubbles in the water, his face mostly in, and tried floating with Chris holding onto him. It's a great start and Chris is thrilled by the trust Luca's shown him.

They've also managed to keep to themselves for the most part, Chris politely cutting short the few conversations struck up, the questions generally along the same line as Lori's from the front desk. 'Where's Matt? Are you really Chris Hemsworth? What are you doing with Luca?' Thankfully Luca doesn't out him, only patting his face and announcing that his dad is at home and this is Kis.

Done with swimming, they shower again, Chris standing over Luca once more, making sure the chlorine's washed off them both before they change back into their clothes. Chris convinces Luca to stand under the dryer and at least makes a valiant effort to get his hair dried while the toddler dances non-stop. "You're just a bundle of energy, aren't you?" Chris teases, tickling Luca who squeals with delight.

///

In contrast to the community centre, the McDonald's is loud and busy and Luca looks worried, clinging to Chris's leg as they wait in line. "Do you want this, or do you want to go get some pizza?" Chris asks.

"Pizza!" wins and they go back outside, Chris scooping Luca up and crossing the street to the small family-run Italian restaurant he'd spied earlier.

And sure enough, the owners are incredibly friendly, plying Luca with a colouring book and crayons, their order of garlic bread, a medium pizza with pepperoni and cheese and a large Caesar salad coming in no time at all.

"This is better, isn't it, buddy?" Chris asks, tucking a napkin into the neck of Luca's t-shirt, the little boy nodding, his mouth full, in return. Clearly getting sleepy. But not so sleepy he can't polish off the small bowl of Spumoni ice cream brought as a treat on the house at the end.

The bill settled, with a promise to come back again, Chris carries Luca to the car, placing him back in his carseat and making a beeline for home. With the way Luca's nodding off in the rearview mirror, he knows he's only got a small window of time before naptime gets totally messed up.