Cafe Harmony

by River Shy


A change in circumstance

Strawberry Dusk trotted back and forth in the waiting room in extreme agitation. “Oh Celestia, it’s my fault, it’s all my fault. I hope she is ok, I really hope she is ok,” This was the constant circle of thoughts that repeated in her mind. The mare felt awful, she was just trying to be kind and helpful, all it did was get this little creature hurt. Harmony is supposed to heal, it isn’t supposed to hurt! she stomped a hoof in frustration.

The time seemed to drag on with no word, Strawberry would periodically hear the unmistakable popping sound that indicated powerful unicorns were teleporting in and out of the clinic. Suddenly Doctor Kindly Heart appeared in the waiting area, he was a unicorn of average height, sporting a white coat, stethoscope, and a dark blue mane. He had a face which telegraphed his kindness. The ponies of Hay River adored him, and many young mares crushed on him frequently. Strawberry Dusk and Kindly Heart had a history together, both worked in the field of helping other ponies. Professionally they interacted often, personally they went on a couple of dates, but they did not take off and in the end they settled for a quite friendship. He cleared his throat to get Strawberry’s attention.

Strawberry looked up and hurried to the Doctor, “Is Katie ok? No pony has told me anything at all.”

“Relax Strawberry,” the Doctor replied in a soothing tone, “She will be ok, right now she is still unconscious.” Strawberry let out a huge sigh of relief. “But,” added the medical stallion, “there are some things we do need to talk about.” He motioned for the light pink mare to follow.

“I could hear lots of teleporting Kindly, was it serious?” Strawberry asked as they walked into his consulting room.

Doctor Kindly went to his desk and sat down letting out an exhausted sigh and removing his stethoscope. “I had to call Canterlot High Medical for advice and guidance. The princesses do know about our guest and they do need to be informed of any changes. Normally such paperwork and oversight is burdensome, but in this situation I have been glad to have it.” Kindly Heart reached for a file folder on his desk and placed it in front of him.

“What happened?” Strawberry asked with impatience.

“To get to the point of it, we don’t really know. But I do want to show you something.” Kindly lifted a slide out of the folder with magic and hovered it to a device mounted to the wall. “This,” he said as he turned on the device, “is a magical scan of Katie when she first arrived here. As you can see she tends to lack any innate magic, I don’t know a whole lot about her kind but she did say it was normal for humans.” Kindly lifted another slide from the folder and placed it next to the first one, “This scan was taken after she collapsed in the cafe.”

Strawberry got up and walked around the desk to get a closer look at the scan. She was seeing an unmistakable glow which stretched from Katie’s spindly hooves up to the narrow flank where it seemed to concentrate. The Mare tilted her head in thought and spoke softly, “Kindly this looks almost like the magic signature of a foal who has yet to get her cutie mark. But that can’t be, only ponies get cutie marks right?” She turned and looked to the white stallion.

“It would appear that might not be the case.” Kindly replied in a half chuckle.

“Wait! are you telling me Katie is going to get a cutie mark! How is that even possible?” Strawberry exclaimed.

“As I said Strawberry we don’t really know, her kind are still a bit of a mystery and what is happening here is unique. I can’t say for sure but the scan does tend to suggest that our little alien guest is going to get a cutie mark.” Kindly Heart grabbed the scans with his magic and put two new ones up that showed Katie’s brain. “As you can see the magic is starting to reach for the brain in a similar way it does with young foals, except I am not sure what it is going to do when it gets there. Her brain is pretty different than ours when it comes to magic.”

“Can you stop it?” Strawberry asked quietly

“No, stopping cutie mark development is not something I would recommend doing. It tends to twist magic development and it could cause significant problems in the fillies future. Bigger problems than if we leave it alone, I know that much, or a least that was what the pile of experts flooding my clinic told me.” Kindly Heart replied with a saddened sigh.

“Ok so what did the princesses have to say about all this?” Strawberry asked beginning to grow suspicious at the level of information she was getting.

Kindly Heart full body laughed this time, “Exactly what you would expect, basically if she is going to grow up, give her a family and let her. There is no point in trying to stop harmony. We don't know for sure, but Katie will most likely manifest all the behaviours you would expect from a foal at this stage. Impulses to try new things, excitability, mood swings, and intensive emotional attachment to parental figures. She is going to need a lot of support”. The doctor added with emphasis.

“Whoa, whoa, say what you mean Kindly. Don’t hint at it.” The mare trotted back around to the front of the desk. “Why are you telling me all this?” she added with irritation and suspicion.

“Well Strawberry, you know this little human better than anyone and have lots of experience helping ponies. She trusts you and she is going to need a big sister to help her. Strawberry I’m asking, can you take this girl in and be her guardian?” Kindly Heart looked very uneasy, it was not something he wanted to ask; but the princesses had told him to find this creature support and Strawberry was the only pony he thought of. Here was a mare who had experience helping other ponies with harmony problems and she already had a connection, If she said no he really had no back up plan.

“I.. I.. don’t know if that’s a good idea.” Strawberry took a couple of hesitant steps back from the desk. ”You do know she is not a foal Kindly, she has told me that humans her age are considered adults. I don't think she would accept being given a guardian, and I am as sure as apples not going to force it.” She added with emphasis.

“Well it doesn’t have to happen this moment..”

CRASH!

Both ponies looked at the wall were there could be heard shouting and muffled noises. Kindly Heart took off from the desk and galloped toward the noise with Strawberry hot on his heels.


Katie awoke with a massive headache, her whole world seemed fuzzy and not in focus. She could vaguely remember the vestigial parts of a song, impressions of a cozy cafe. The air, remembering the air and the pressure caused her to shiver, she could almost smell it and taste it again. Why was that so present? Her eyes opened to see a large light blue unicorn nurse she had never met near her bed with horn glowing.

The girls heart leapt into her throat, the impressions of being controlled, of being a puppet, of having her consciousness thrust into spectator again filled her with unimaginable fear. Leaping out of bed away from the unicorn, and her magic, she hit a side table knocking over a vase with a small lily flower, it shattered loudly.

“GET AWAY!” she hollered at the unicorn while backing towards the wall.

“Are you ok? Did you hurt yourself?” The blue mare asked concerned as her horn ceased to glow the mare took a step closer to see if the little alien girl cut herself.

“Don’t come any closer!” In panic Katie grabbed a reflex hammer and brandished it like a club, “Just stay there please?” it was a request, a demand, and plea all in one tone. The nurse pony stood stock still knowing the situation to be very unstable. The girl was breathing heavily and looking all over the room for a way out. The smell had faded and she was beginning to clam down a bit.

The door bust open, Strawberry Dusk and Doctor Kindly Heart rushed into the room.

Strawberry took in the scene in front of her, the human against a wall looking like a caged animal naked and wielding a tiny hammer, the nurse looking startled, the broken vase, and the tipped table. Katie looked away from the unicorn nurse towards her, and for the smallest of moments Strawberry saw a predator underneath the girl. But it disappeared quickly and her look softened to one of both confusion and recognition.

“Strawberry?” She dropped the hammer, “What happened? Why am I at the clinic? I couldn’t stop myself, I wasn’t in control, why wasn’t I in control? I saw stuff,” the tiny human slunk down the wall holding her head shivering a little.

Strawberry’s heart soared at seeing her little friend unhurt. “Oh thank Celestia you are ok! I was so worried.” The mare ignored every pony else in the room walked up to the human and stretched her head towards her looking to nuzzle. The girl unthinking reached out wrapped her arms around Strawberry’s neck. Clinging to the mare Katie spoke into her fur. “I just want to go to my house.”

“I think we can make that happen.” Strawberry responded while lifting her head and looking back “Kindly, Nurse….”

“Star Chart,” The Blue mare added.

“Star Chart, can you give me and Katie a moment alone?”

“Yep not a problem,” Kindly Heart replied, the nurse seemed resistant but the stallion guided her out of the room with the authority of it being his clinic. Strawberry had learned over time by observation that clothes were extremely important to the little human in front of her, both physically in terms of warmth but also emotionally in terms of safety. “Lets find you your clothes first yes?” The mare turned and shook her head sadly at the clinic bed, there she saw the remnants of the girls only clothing torn up with no regard. She walked towards a cupboard in the room, doctor Kindly always kept something here, ‘just in case’ he’d say, she was never sure what case that would be till this moment, but today she loved that stallions preparedness.

The jacket fit very oddly on the little human but it did give her some warmth and right away Strawberry could see the girls stress drop a bit.

Katie stood up and steadied herself. She was feeling very sheepish and somewhat embarrassed for having clung to the mare so childishly, she inched a bit away from her, but not to far. This world was scary, the ponies in it so big as to be scary, but to Katie, Strawberry was different, it’s hard to be scared of someone so kind, or someone that you are beginning to know and trust.

Strawberry walked towards the door and stood near it as she watched the human struggle deciding what to do. “You ready to go?” The mare eventually asked holding out a hoof. Katie nodded her head and walked towards her. Strawberry opened the door with her mouth and using her hoof she ushered the small girl out of the room protectively when she passed.