He barely knows where in the city they are, aside from in a park. They’d caught a bus early in the morning, had breakfast with Dalish’s family, but he hadn’t paid much attention to their surroundings, too nervous too focus on anything much besides himself. Even when they’d reached the parade route, even when they’d been engulfed by the crowd, he still had trouble believing this could actually be happening.
Sera had grown up with this, had always known about Pride– the event, the concept, the emotion– and Dorian feels he might understand her a little better now that he finally stands in the center of it.
Pride– now that he’s there, there with other people like him, people who are proud to be like him– is overwhelming in the best ways. He knows he’s being quiet, uncharacteristically so, because Bull and Sera and even Krem keep asking him if he wants water or if he wants to go find somewhere to sit down.
But he doesn’t. He wants to be in the middle of everything, he wants to be engulfed by the noise and the movement, to be surrounded by all these people. He’s never felt so much a part of something. He holds onto Bull’s hand tightly, like he might float away if he doesn’t, caught up in the current of people and his own buoyant heart.
Bull smiles at him, and Dorian smiles back. He holds Bull’s hand in the middle of the day, surrounded by people, and he isn’t afraid. He feels like he belongs.
He feels like– like he knows the people across the street, who are moving through the crowd slowly, like they’re looking for someone.
Livia sees him first. She grabs Gereon’s arm and they all stare at each other between the waving flags and shouting people. It’s like a pocket of silence has opened around Dorian, and he takes a step forward. Livia has her cane, he sees, but it doesn’t look like her cane, because it’s wrapped in rainbow colors and has streamers dangling from the end.
Dorian stops in front of them, his heart in his throat. How they got here, he asks. When did they get here, how did they know he’d be here?
His words stumble over each other. He keeps noticing new things. Gereon is wearing a shirt that declares him the Proud Dad of a Gay Son– he must have bought it today– Livia is hugging him, and the feeling is so familiar it aches– he never let go of Bull’s hand– Felix looks healthy, and very smug– they’re here.
He looks at Bull, whose expression is studiously innocent, and Sera, who’s grinning manically, and then at Felix, who just smiles and wraps an arm around his shoulders, like he’s done a thousand times before.