Every father's worst and best day of their life will meet at the same time.
The day they have to give their daughter away.
That explained Professor Birch's worried expression as he squeezed himself into the tight black suit he had bought especially for the occasion.
After smoothing out the creases from the jacket. He sighed and sank down into an old armchair, and picked up a framed photograph.
It was a photo of him and Sapphire. Sapphire was wearing a simple pale pink dress, and had an indignant look on her face. He was in the photo next to her, laughing along.
Those days were long over. After he had given his beloved daughter a pokedex, she had set off for a journey, and returned back with a full set of badges.
If that wasn't enough, she brought home a guy as well.
"Papa. Do I look ok?"
He turned to the source of the voice, the source of his joy and happiness. Sapphire stood before him in a simple strapless white dress, paired with pearl earrings and a elegant diamond necklace, courtesy of Platinum. He chuckled to see that Sapphire was wearing shoes for once, and silently admitted that the white kitten-heeled shoes looked good on her, despite her calloused feet.
Sapphire's hair was also washed and brushed neatly, and instead of the messy ponytails she wore, it was combed and straightened, flowing loosely over her bare shoulders. He was surprised to notice that it was a nice shade of caramel brown, as she seldom washed hair.
At the sight of his daughter, who was currently 23 that year, he felt tears springing to his eyes, and raised his hand to hide the careless tear that had rolled down. Through his glassy eyes, he noticed that identical eyes to his was misty as well.
"Papa, please don't cry, Blue lent me this mascara and strictly told me not to cry... Oh papa..."
He struggled to breathe. He was so choked up with emotion. He knew this day would come, but he didn't expect it to come so soon.
Soon, both father and daughter were in a tight embrace, struggling to prevent the threatening tears from spilling out from their sapphire eyes.
Yellow and Crystal arrived before he had a chance to recover, and took the bride away, touching up on her makeup and smoothing her dress. Crystal whisked Sapphire away, but the dear, sweet blonde remained behind to comfort him. She had married Red at nineteen, and her father nearly threw a brick at the poor Fighter for marrying the girl at such a young age. (He did wonder whether Red was still cowering from Yellow's father's hatred.)
Assuring Yellow that he was fine, he allowed himself to be led by the blonde to the church, chiding himself to be strong.
But when he entered the church, his knees felt weak.
Sapphire held her father's arm tightly as she stared at him cautiously, hoping he wouldn't make a scene like Yellow's father had. He smiled back at his worried daughter reassuringly, and gripped her arm tightly.
The piano's melody tuned out a familiar melody to many, and he led Sapphire down the aisle, towards the man who would take her away from him.
The aisle seemed to take forever, but they finally reached Ruby. The young man smiled up at him, and he nodded back.
Then the moment came. Every father's dreaded moment.
To give the bride away.
Quietly, he released Sapphire's death grip from his arm, and gently pushed her forward, allowing Ruby to "take" his daughter. Patting his soon-to-be son in law on the back, he stepped away from the aisle and returned to his seat, his face beaming with pride.
The intervention proceeded smoothly, and he felt himself gulp, the fake smile wavering when they exchanged rings.
"I now pronounce you, husband and wife."
Before the priest could complete his sentence, a loud cheer filled the church, much to several older guests' disapproval. The loudest outburst came from Gold, who had came charging down the aisle, before grabbing both their hands and yelling "You did it Prissy Boy and Wild Girl! C-o-n-g-r-a-t-u-l-a-t-i-o-n-s!"
His embarrassed fiancée had to hurry after him, whack him on the head, and drag him back to his seat, much to everyone's amusement.
Prof Birch chuckles at the scene, but his laughter turned flat as he watched his daughter kiss Ruby.
Sapphire's hands never left Ruby's, as they waltzed around the open balcony. They danced every dance, except for the father-and-daughter dance.
He guided his clumsy daughter around the marble floor, wincing each time she trod on his toes. He felt blissful (despite the stinging pain he feels from his toes), knowing that someone was out there, ready to take his place in Sapphire's heart.
His heart clenched. He had to be strong. He loved his daughter so much, but in the battle for his daughter's love, he had lost.
"Papa, are you all right?"
He lets a few tears roll down, as he plasters a sheepish smile. He hated crying. Norman was always trying to "toughen" him up, but only a miracle could turn Prof Birch into Norman's definiton of "strong".
Because although his daughter standing before him was already past her twenties, in his heart, she will always be that young, wild-hearted barbarian that he knew and loved.
He jolts back to reality as his daughter reaches out and clasps her hands with his, her bright eyes searching his face for an answer. He drags a sleeve across his eyes, trying to wipe the tears away.
"Got something in my eye," he says gruffly, trying not to appear soft-hearted in front of his daughter. His smile wavers as his daughter began to look misty eyed as well.
"Yeah, I know, Papa," she says weakly, allowing two tears to roll down her cheeks. "Me, too."
Not exactly the best ending... I think it could have been better, but I can't really see much from Prof Birch's view. Not exactly my best work though ;_; I wanted to try a happy fanfic, but I guess I made everyone cry too much. I didn't want to make Sapphire look to barbarian-ish during her wedding, but i made her cry loads ._. Hope you guys don't mind reading about a soft-hearted Sapphire... And I think its a little too rushed at the ending, cos I haven't really attended lots of weddings :( Also, I'm thinking of putting together a series of oneshots. Something like how some writers like Music Intuition, ibuberu and Shadow do. A muti-chaptered bunch of oneshots from different pairings, but I'm not really sure yet. Anyway, let me know what you think, and please review! :)