“A—are you sure that I’m ready, Mister Kasem? I don’t—I don’t want to—”
“I know you don’t, Peter,” Kasem’s voice was gentle, trying to soothe the panicked eyes of the child. Kneeling down to rake his hands through Peter’s blond hair, he gave a small smile, pushing his glasses up onto his forehead. The man then grabbed Peter by the armpis and hoisted him up, before attaching the boy to his hip.
“Right, we’re going swimming.”
He then paused, before gently rubbing Peter’s back.
“You got your floaters, right?”
Peter nodded again, biting down on his fingers.
“So why are you scared, then?” Kasem smiled as he walked into the water, feeling guilt nip at the pit of his stomach as the other began to shake and shudder. In all honesty, he was curious as to why Peter refused the water, but hydrophobia didn’t always make sense. But still, as a nation, Kasem wanted to help the child.
“…promise not to tell?”
There was a way that Peter spoke, the infliction of the voice, that made Kasem stop. He looked down at the boy, whose eyes were low and fidgeting.
“I promise not to tell. What’s wrong, Peter?” he asked softly.
“…I drowned once. In the ocean. My soldiers were trying to teach me to swim, so they threw me right in. And—and I drowned. But since we’re personifications, I came back. But—but if you’re holding me, I won’t drown, right?”
Kasem’s heart dropped. But he forced a small, gentle smile.
“Of course, Peter.”