“Daddy,” Nadira said, “I've explained this three times already! You just can't wear a cloak at my wedding, and that's final.” Most of the other patrons of the bridal shop had long since lost the combination of awe and residual horror that came from running into Ransik and Nadira – Time Force might say they've reformed, but much of the public was still wary – and now just wanted them to take their argument elsewhere.
“Don't sweetheart me, father.”
“I will try to explain this one more time, and that's it, daddy. My wedding dress has a train,” Nadira said slowly, over-exaggeratedly pointing to the train on the dress she was having fitted.
“I know, Nadira,” Ransik said over his daughter's repeated explanation, but Nadira continued on.
“And Lucas is going to be in the Time Force dress uniform, which has a cape.”
“I know Nadira,” Ransik said, trying (and failing) to stop Nadira from repeating all the arguments she had already made.
“If you wear your cloak, how is-”
“-anyone going to see the wedding party through all the fabric?” Ransik chorused with his daughter.
“Oh, daddy, you do get it!”
“No,” Ransik nearly roared, “I've just heard your so-called reasoning so many times I could recite it in my sleep.” The seamstress stopped working momentarily, stunned by the force of Ransik's voice. “It's just my cloak, Nadira, why does it bother you so much?”
“It's just my wedding, daddy, why won't you do what makes me happy?” Nadira did her best to turn her back to Ransik without interrupting the seamstress, who she only then noticed was paused. “And you, get back to work! The sooner you finish my fitting, the sooner I can visit Lucas and then I can talk to him about uninviting my father from my wedding.”
“Uninvite-! Oh, Nadira, you don't have to worry about uninviting me. I'll be happy not to show up.” With a purposefully showy sweep of his cloak, Ransik turned and stormed out of the shop.
Ransik paced in the living room of the small apartment Lucas and Nadira had found for him when he was released on probation (early – officially, for good behavior; unofficially, because the former rangers had incredible pull with the government and within a reformed Time Force and understood that his reformation was independent from his imprisonment). It had a magnificent view of the city, the rent was criminally low, and most of the rangers lived in the same building, but none of that was of any comfort to him as he replayed the argument in his head one more time, trying to understand how in the world he'd reached a point where skipping his daughter's wedding had seemed like a good idea.
It was his daughter's wedding. He'd never dreamed she would ever find happiness like that, until she and Lucas began seeing each other. That was a large part of why he'd raised her to value money over people. And now he had offended the most daddy's girl of daddy's girls so horribly that she'd uninvited her daddy from her wedding. And for such a stupid reason! How could he expect Nadira to understand the sentimental value his cloak had? He'd never told her, after all. He'd never wanted her to miss her mother, so he'd never told her that she and his cloak were the only things her mother had given him that he had left. She probably assumed he just wore it to look threatening, or out of habit, or for some other silly reason.
If he really wanted to know, he could just stop tuning out the muffled shouting coming from the apartment above. Lucas was living one floor up until he and Nadira moved into a little house a couple neighborhoods away, after the wedding. Clearly, Nadira had gone to complain to him about her father, and Ransik really didn't care to eavesdrop. Thankfully, the shouting was dying down, though whether that meant Nadira had convinced Lucas to agree about how awful he'd been or that Lucas had just calmed her down was unclear.
So when he heard the door upstairs open and shut a few minutes after the voices had gotten too quiet to hear at all, Ransik began to prepare for the worst. Nadira was going to arrive still mad at him, and she was probably going to be mad enough that he wouldn't be able to interrupt to apologize until she ran out of breath. The only tactic was pre-emption. After a false scare when a neighbor walked by, Ransik heard Nadira walk up and stop outside his door. Before she had the chance to knock, he opened the door, head already bent, and began apologizing at full speed.
“I'm sorry, sweetheart, I got upset because your mother gave me this cloak and didn't stop to think about your feelings. And then I started to but tried to ignore it because I get stubborn, you know that. I would never be happy to miss your wedding, darling, and I hope you can change your mind about uninviting me.”
“...Um,” said Lucas, making awkward mixed gestures of surprise and condolence.
“So do you think Nadira will understand, then?” Ransik asked from his chair, having had a chance to explain himself to Lucas.
“She should.” Lucas said, from across the table. “I mean, once I calmed her down she did start wondering why you were so stuck on the cloak. I'm pretty sure she gets that there's something she doesn't understand, but she's also definitely upset that you never explained what that is. Trust me, she made that clear.”
Ransik chuckled. “I'm in the same boat, I think. I know she explained about not wanting us all hidden in a sea of fabric, but I don't get why she's so stuck on our outfits being perfect. I know how exactingly all the other details of the wedding have been planned, I thought she'd be able to loosen up on one thing for her father.”
Lucas cleared his throat. “Yeah, about that.” Ransik gave him a curious look. “I'd been letting you assume that Nadira was doing most of the wedding planning, because I didn't think it would make a difference, but she's really taken the whole 'considering others' thing to heart. After she proposed, she told me that she wanted to make sure we all looked perfect, but I could do whatever I wanted with the rest of the wedding. She said that as much as she's into shopping and fashion and making her life as much like her perfect fantasy world as she can, she'd never had a wedding fantasy growing up. If I'm remembering right, her exact words were 'Even if you never fantasized about having a wedding, you've at least thought about it. The most perfect wedding will be the one you want.' She didn't even say anything about dressing everyone until I asked if there were any parts of the wedding that it would upset her to not plan.”
“So when I refused to give up my cloak...”
“You were interfering with the one part of the wedding that Nadira was set on planning.”
“Well, if I didn't feel bad enough already.” Ransik sighed. “I really didn't mean to upset her this much.”
“And she didn't mean to upset you. It's a nice evening. I'm going to go take that short walk I told Nadira I was taking when I came downstairs. I think,” Lucas said, standing and setting his keys on the table, “that I might have dropped my keys somewhere. If you find them you should drop them off upstairs.”
“I'll have to give you a call after I do.” Ransik said, “I wouldn't want you worrying for too long.”
Ransik stood outside Lucas' door, wondering if knocking meant Nadira would lock him out. Sure, he had Lucas' keys, but that would go against the spirit of the gesture. Eventually, he just felt silly standing in the hallway doing nothing, and he checked to see if the door was even currently locked.
It wasn't, so he opened the door partway and leaned in the lights were out, but he thought he maybe heard something rustling. “Nadira? Sweetheart, are you here?”
“Daddy?” Nadira was trying to still sound angry, but Ransik knew her moods well and entered the apartment far enough to shut the door behind him. “What are you doing here?”
“I'm apologizing, darling. Why else would I be here?” Nadira's head popped up over the top of the couch she'd been lying on, her expression one of mild confusion.
“Why are you apologizing?” Any attempt at pretending to be angry gone.
“Because I let my attachment to this ratty old cloak get in the way of your happiness.”
“But daddy,” Nadira said, her guilt outweighing her attempt to save face, “I'm sure you have a reason for being attached and I was so wrapped up in my wedding to think about your feelings!”
“I have a reason that I hope you understand was reason enough to get upset for a little while, but it's not reason enough to cut myself out of your wedding.”
“Oh daddy, that's wonderful! I'm so sorry I ever even thought about uninviting you; I could never do that for real. You're my daddy.”
“And you're my daughter.” Ransik said, sitting next to Nadira on the couch. “I want your wedding to be everything you want it to be. Everything. That's more important to me than this cloak.”
“You know, if you'd ever told me what's so important about that cloak, this might not have gone so far.”
“And you could have told me that our outfits were the only part of the wedding you were planning.” Ransik countered. “I suggest we just pretend this fight never happened.”
“How did you know about-”
“Lucas braved an angry me, just to make you happy. He's a very brave man, your fiance. I would think twice about having children.” Ransik joked, “They'd probably be running the world from elementary school, and where would that leave your old man?”
“Oh, ha ha, daddy. You know it would be preschool.” Nadira snuggled up against her father. “So, before we pretend this never happened, could you at least explain why that cloak means so much to you? Why haven't you ever told me, anyway?”
“Well,” Ransik said, steeling himself, “when you were little, I didn't want you to miss your mother, and then by the time you were older I guess I figured I would wait until you asked. I didn't think it would matter before you asked.”
“But what does that cloak have to do with my mother?”
“You and this cloak are all I have left from the time I spent with her. We never had much to begin with, of course, but even that got taken away.”
“Oh, daddy,” Nadira said, hugging Ransik as tightly as she could, “then of course you can wear the cloak to my wedding. How could I ask you not to?”
“No, Nadira, it's fine. I want your wedding to be what you imagined, and I don't think your mother would be too pleased if she knew I was getting in the way of your happiness, even for her sake. I'll be happy to wear whatever ridiculous outfit you want to put me in for your wedding. Even if it were a rabbit suit.”
“Are you sure, daddy?”
“Positive, sweetheart. What do you say we go shopping for it tomorrow?”
“Oh, daddy, you always know exactly how to cheer me up!”