Today’s Friday Flash Fics is a Pride Month scene, and given it’s Pride Month, I couldn’t think of a better character to revisit than Kieran (and Sebastien). It’s been a year since the end of Light in this flash fiction piece, and it’s time for Pride again, in more ways than one…
This is a Job For…
“Relax.” Sebastien squeezed Kieran’s shoulder. It didn’t help.
“You’re not trying. You’re here as you. You’re not needed as him. No one is going to…”
“Start tossing floats at me?”
Sebastien exhaled, a loud breezy sigh. Had he not been wearing a leather harness it might have been less distracting to watch what that did his chest.
Oui. Focus on that.
His telepathy was still very weak. Kieran could hear Sebastien’s thoughts, and it was easier to do so when Sebastien was trying to let Kieran hear his thoughts, but everything about Sebastien’s awoken telepathic and psychokinetic ability had a really short range. Perhaps a foot past his skin, or two feet at best.
“As much as I love focusing on that,” Kieran said, “I can’t help it. I’m nervous. Last year…”
“Was last year.”
Kieran nodded. “Okay. Okay.” He let Sebastien pull him in for a hug, and then they continued walking, hand in hand. An arch of balloon rainbows designated the start of the community area. A whole stretch of Bank Street had been cordoned off. Stalls, small stages, and even a beer tent awaited.
The parade had made it all the way. He should relax.
Instead, he opened his mind and skimmed the thoughts of all the minds in the area. Just a light touch, enough to get a sense of the mood and any worry or danger…
“You’re doing it again,” Sebastien said, though the frown on his face made it clear he wasn’t sure exactly what Kieran was doing. Also he looked hot when he frowned. It really was annoying how pretty much every mood suited the big guy.
“Just checking,” Kieran said, suppressing a flash of guilt. It didn’t take a lot of effort to quickly run through the surface of all the minds around him. Nothing felt worrisome. Everything was fine.
They stopped at a stand and got hot-dogs, and then some of Sebastien’s friends came up to say hello. Dating a former Mr. Leather Ottawa meant interruptions at most queer-related events.
Sometimes, that bothered Kieran. Right now? It gave him the opportunity to “check in” on the whole area again.
This time, he snagged on a thought.
I shouldn’t even be here.
Kieran kept smiling at the three men who were talking with Sebastien—and did the blond really have to keep stroking Sebastien’s arm like that?—while he let his mind focus. In front of him, to the right…
There was a lone man, eighteen or nineteen or maybe in his early twenties, standing by himself. Unlike most of the people present, he didn’t wear a riot of colour or carry any other symbol or sign. Instead, he looked into the street fair and gnawed on his lower lip.
I should just go.
“I’ll be right back,” Kieran said, and Sebastien nodded and smiled.
It only took a few seconds to approach.
“Happy Pride,” Kieran said.
The young man blinked at him, surprised. “Oh. Happy Pride.” A slow flush crept up his neck.
Can he tell? There was a spike in anxiety from the man’s mind. How can he tell?
“First Pride?” Kieran asked.
The man just nodded.
“That’s awesome,” Kieran said. “Here.” He undid the rainbow bracelet he’d picked up before the parade and held it out. “A little bling for your first Pride.”
It took the anxious guy a second, but he took the bracelet. He bit his bottom lip again, then put it on his wrist.
“Thanks.” I can take it off before I go home.
“So what do you think?” Kieran said, trying to ignore the pulses of worry the guy was pumping out.
“Of the parade, or the party… Did you go to any of the other events? There’s a big dance tonight.”
“Oh,” the guy swallowed. “No, this is… This is the first… anything, I guess. I just…” He shrugged, and blushed again. “After last year…”
Kieran winced. “Yeah. Last year.” When a lunatic had hurt dozens of people and nearly killed both him and Sebastien, specifically.
“It’s just…” He paused. Don’t be stupid.
“Go on,” Kieran said.
“It’s just… I wondered if maybe… he’d be here.”
See? He thinks you’re an idiot.
“No, I don’t,” Kieran said, then thinking quickly, “I mean, I don’t know.”
“They call him Pride,” the guy said. “I mean. That’s what they say he calls himself.”
“I’ve heard that.”
“I just thought. Like… Maybe, if I came here… If I saw him..?” He trailed off.
“If you saw him?”
It would be a sign. That it’s okay. That I’m okay. “Nothing,” the guy said, shaking his head.
Kieran took a deep breath. “So, the important thing…” he started, and waited for the guy to look at him.
Then Kieran formed lenses in the bright sunlight above the whole community fair, interrupting himself, and doing his best to look as shocked and surprised as anyone else when the light around them shattered into dozens of shifting rainbows.
“Pride!” Someone yelled. Within moments, it was a chant. “Pride! Pride! Pride!”
Beside Kieran, the guy stared up into the twisting, ever-shifting colours of light above them, and grinned.
“Oh my god!” the guy said. “Holy shit!”
Kieran did his part to look up at the shifting light. He kept it going for a little while, and then narrowed a few beams of coloured light on six people at random: one red, one orange, one yellow, one green, one blue, and one purple.
Well, almost at random.
Bathed in the red light, the guy beside him laughed out loud.
“Happy Pride!” Kieran had to yell to be heard over the chanting and the laughter all around him. People were coming over as the last of the columns of light faded. Strangers introduced themselves to him, and Kieran took the opportunity to step back and watch as the guy laughed and pointed up and shook his head.
Back in the fair, he found Sebastien, who raised an eyebrow.
“What was that for?”
Kieran shrugged. “Turned out I was needed after all.”