Strawberry left Rocky White at her place with little to no concern, she trusted that stallion completely. So much so her mind went right to the problem on hoof, finding that little human some clothes.
Her first plan was to see if Doctor Kindly still had the old garments Katie had been discovered in. This sadly was thwarted as the Doctor, who swore by an infinite cleanliness had thrown them out thinking they were unimportant. Strawberry knew the girl needed proper tailored clothing, and she would address that in due time. For the moment it was getting something passable for the filly’s well being.
The mare left the clinic disappointed but not discouraged. She had another idea, though admittedly not her best. Stopping in front of the shop she looked at the sign. Sunshine’s Foals Clothing, and Toys. As she entered the building a small bell tinkled softly. “I’ll be with you in just a minute,” a soft high pitched voice called out from the back of the shop. A yellow Pegasus mare appeared from among the shelves. “Oh! Hi Strawberry!” The mare trotted over and gave the pink pony a quick hug.
“Hi Sunshine,” Strawberry replied smiling. Strawberry liked Sunshine Dancer very much, the mare always seemed cheerful; not a fake cheerful, but a genuine one that lit up any room.
“Looking for something for your new little filly?” Sunshine asked.
Strawberry Dusk tilted her head in confusion. She didn’t have a new filly, if she gave birth she’d know. A few seconds passed and then it dawned on the mare. “Are you talking about Katie?”
“Yes, the whole town is talking about it. I’m so happy for you, that little creature is going to be so happy having you as a mom.” Sunshine noticed Strawberry looking very annoyed and embarrassed. “You ok, did I say something wrong?”
“Sorry Sunshine but Katie is not my foal. I don’t know who started that rumour, she is her own pony.”
Sunshine’s face fell and her ears dropped. “Oh I thought.... since I saw you carrying her... I’m sorry Strawberry,” the soft yellow mare stuttered and apologized.
Strawberry was more angry at the town in abstract than Sunshine herself. She walked up to the mare and nuzzled her. “Don’t be upset Sunshine, you didn’t know, and I guess I can see why the town would talk about it. If you don’t mind me asking what exactly did you hear?”
“Well Sunflower Swirl said you adopted Katie,” the Pegasus seemed to roll the girls name slightly. “And that the little filly needed a mom and couldn’t take care of herself very well. Everyone seemed so happy for you I just assumed it was true.” The two began walking towards the back of the store near the register.
“It’s a bit more complicated than that,” Strawberry replied stopping in front of the desk.
“These things always are,” Sunshine Dancer giggled a little, it was a natural response to break the tension. “So if that’s not why you’re here what can I help you with?”
“Well actually your first guess was not that far off. I need to find some serviceable clothes for Katie,” Strawberry coughed into her hoof feeling a bit silly after all that fuss.
Sunshine Dancer tilted her head and smiled slightly, “Complicated?”
“Complicated,” the pink mare replied with an unspoken understanding.
The yellow Pegasus nodded her head and motioned for Strawberry to follow her. “So where is the little human going?”
“Nowhere, humans always wear clothes. It is really important to them. Her only pair got destroyed, and now the filly is afraid to go outside. I need to find something she can use until I can commission something for her.”
“Really all the time, that’s an interesting quirk humm.... do you have her size?”
“Well no, her physique is quite a bit different than ours, she is really tiny, foal sized really,” Strawberry held out a hoof indicating the height of the girl.
Strawberry began looking at the clothing, anything that would be close to fitting was meant for very young foals, infants really. They had adorable designs, handles sewn into the back so mothers could easily carry them around. Sunshine was pulling out all manner of clothing to show Strawberry. The pink mare didn’t really know the little human’s state of mind. She held up an adorable one piece pj, it had strawberries patterned on it and a handle on the back and the fabric covered the hooves, it would be good for her delicate hooves, would she wear it?
The human got so upset at the oddest things. Strawberry usually knew what to do. She was a pony who always knew how to help, but at this moment she was paralyzed with indecision. She looked to Sunshine Dancer as if she had an answer.
“What do you think?” She held up the garment.
“Very cute,” Sunshine responded.
“I don’t know if she’ll wear it, it is very foalish.”
Sunshine watched the pink earth pony struggle with indecision. “Well you could buy it and if the girl won’t wear it she can learn to be without clothing. It’s really not that big of a deal is it?”
“Well it kind of is for her, but I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to try, I guess I will take these ones,” Strawberry grabbed three outfits of various sizes. She deftly picked them up with her mouth and trotted toward the register. Sunshine took flight behind her and followed slowly, the yellow mare landed behind the register with grace. Sunshine ran though the items. “That’ll be 23 bits,” she said with warmth in her soft voice.
Strawberry handed over the bits and placed the clothing into one of her saddle bags. After she stored the items she thanked Sunshine for her help.
“Good luck Strawberry, I hope the little filly likes them,” Sunshine waved goodbye to Strawberry as she left the shop.
Strawberry Dusk sighed audibly, with that task done there was only one thing left to do. She needed to pick up the ingredients to make a nice dinner for herself, and possibly her human guest if she could be convinced to stay. It was about this point where ponies started to come to her. Pretty much every pony who had been in the Cafe Harmony when Katie sang showed up at one point or another to talk about what they saw. Some ponies felt and saw horrible things, others confusing images, some even saw what was clearly a disjointed fragment of Katie’s memory. Some ponies were from out of town and had heard she was the mare to talk to, other were familiar town folk that needed reassurance after what they saw. Strawberry’s fatigue began to show after the fifth pony, the stallion was talking about machines with wheels and barrels that spat fire. After buying what she needed the pink pony went straight towards home.
“Hello?” Strawberry called out as she walked into the house. She was looking for a break maybe a quite dinner and evening by the hearth.
“Katie? Rocky? I’m home,” the mare declared taking her saddle bags off in the kitchen. Rocky appeared in the doorway smiling. Strawberry’s fatigue lightened a bit seeing the stallion.
“Hey Straws, how did your errands go?” Rocky asked. “You look upset, what’s happened?” he added noticing the mare’s drooping mane and tail. The signals were subtle but visible to the stallion.
“I’ll tell you in a minute, I need a glass of cider and to sit down. Where is Katie? Did she sleep though.” Strawberry began putting groceries away while talking.
“Nope, she woke up pretty much right away. Hasn’t moved from that couch, skittish little thing she is, won’t say what she likes, won’t talk about much. Fairly good artist though.”
“I gave her some drawing supplies out of your desk to help her pass the time. It took some convincing, but I did manage to get the little bit focused on that instead of staring at me with suspicion.”
“I didn’t know she could draw.” Strawberry replied. “When do you have to be at the cafe Rocky?”
“Pretty soon, but I do have some time if you need to talk.”
Strawberry poured herself a glass of cider, she offered some to Rocky but the stallion turned down the offer. “Rocky can you carry this into the other room for me?” Strawberry gestured at her saddle bags which had been emptied of all but the foals clothing. “My hoof is busy holding a much needed cider,” She added with a smirk.
“Sure, anything for my majesty.” Rocky lower his head in a comic bow and went to grab the bags. With both object carried together they trotted towards the sitting room giggling like foals.