The food having arrived, both Katie and Strawberry stopped talking and began eating. Near the end of the meal loud high pitch shouting could heard coming from the end of the street.
“HEY GIRLS! IT’S STRAWBERRY! HEY STRAWBERRY!” Three young fillies were charging up the street. One was an orange coloured unicorn with a long wild blonde mane. The other two were pegasus ponies and looked almost identical, light blue coats and soft pink manes, one had a short cut, the other longer and braided. None of them had cutie marks yet.
The three fillies were quite familiar to Katie, they were the ones that chased her often when she tried to go out in the past.
“Look Katie is with her, HI KATIE!” The long haired blue Pegasus called out while leaving the ground and flying a few feet in the air.
Reaching the lunch table they circled Strawberry excitedly. “Hello girls.” She ruffled the orange unicorn fillies hair. “What are you three up to today? Not getting into too much mischief I hope?” The fillies seemed to ignore the mare and focused in on the tiny human. The orange unicorn reared up and put her front hooves on the table.
“Awwww she looks cute.” The unicorn said, Katie shifted away only to discover the two Pegasus fillies were hovering behind her. She shifted again towards the middle of the table.
“Is Katie your foal now Strawberry?” asked the Pegasus with the shorter mane. Her voice was soft and gentle.
Katie spoke up immediately with a bit of irritation, “I’m not a foal.”
All three looked at her suddenly, they had never heard the girl speak before. Katie’s voice tended to surprise ponies, it was much deeper and louder than they expected. To hear such a voice arise from such a foal like thing was a bit shocking.
“Now girls, give her some space she’s looking really crowded.” Strawberry spoke up with a quiet authority. “Let’s do proper introductions.” The mare added looking right at Katie. The little human took the opportunity to slide over to Strawberry. Grabbing Katie gently she lifted her up and put her on the ground.
All three fillies filed up in front of the girl, Strawberry stood behind the girl like a pink wall.
“Katie,” Strawberry spoke with a humorous officiating tone, “I’d like you to meet, Chinook Wind,” she pointed to the short maned blue Pegasus. Chinook put a hoof out in Katie’s direction, Katie looked at the hoof and back to Strawberry with a confused expression. “Just touch the hoof love.” Strawberry replied answering her confusion. Katie reached out tentatively and touched the hoof with two fingers. Chinook smiled gently and dropped her hoof.
Strawberry pointed at the long maned blue Pegasus. “This is Cloud Arch,” the hoof tap was repeated, “And finally,” Strawberry shifted toward the orange unicorn, “Fading Stars.”
“Everypony just calls me Fad,” the little orange filly piped up putting out a hoof.
Katie was shaking as her hand reached out to touch the hoof, eyes glued to her unlit horn. These ponies were closer to her size than Strawberry therefore not too intimidating. But magic was the penultimate fear, the force that controlled things, that could can change the laws of nature all located in that small horn. This fear did not go unnoticed by Strawberry.
Cloud Arch spoke up, “Can you play Katie?”
“Pardon?” Katie replied confused.
“We haven’t seen you in like forever, we want to play ponies versus aliens,” Fad answered shifting her long blonde mane out of her enormous blue eyes.
Katie grew even more confused and looked up to Strawberry for help, the mare shrugged being just as much in the dark as the human.
Chinook Wind being a very astute filly spoke up and cleared the confusion, “we like chasing you, we thought you were playing to.”
“Playing?” Katie had flash backs of her fear and manic attempts to avoid them. While trying to understand where she was. It suddenly struck the girl that the whole thing seemed silly and stupid. She laughed loudly to herself as certain memories solidified into different forms.
A harmony wave hit her suddenly Katie began to view the pressures in the air as such. She looked up at Strawberry, the idea of running around with these fillies again seemed fun. “Strawberry I want to.” The girl stated, it was a rudimentary attempt to explain the waves pressure. Oddly enough simply expressing the want lightened the weight significantly.
“Sorry love, we have a schedule to keep and you’re hardly dressed for galloping around,” Strawberry replied, sounding genuinely disappointed.
“Awwww,” all three fillies called out in unison.
“I’ll tell you what girls? Katie is staying with me at the moment, if you want to play with her later that is where she’ll be ok? It was great seeing you three, but we have an appointment with doctor Kindly to keep.” Strawberry without warning grabbed Katie and lifted, the girl let out a noise as it caught her by surprise. Stretching her neck Strawberry placed the human on her back, Katie shifted up to the head between her ears where it was most comfortable.
Just as quickly as they arrived the three departed. “BYE STRAWBERRY! BYE KATIE!” Came the call further down the street. Strawberry waved a hoof, Katie shyly waved atop the pink pony.
“They seem really nice,” Katie said quietly.
“They are wonderful little fillies, you should get to know them.” Strawberry replied, she began trotting towards the clinic.
“I didn’t know they were playing with me.”
“Understandable, they didn’t tell you.”
“I feel stupid.”
“Nothing to beat yourself up over love.”
The visit with Doctor Kindly was not ideal, Katie had lots of trouble with his use of magic. She shied away, refused, and grew obstinate. Both ponies began to notice the unspoken reason, Doctor Kindly began to intentionally do things without magic. After this the check up improved for all participants.
While Katie waited Doctor Kindly talked to Strawberry in another room. The cutie magic was still there, having become unmistakable as such. There was discussion about possible outcomes, the pro’s and con’s of telling the girl soon. According to the stallion she had couple of years before it became something to worry about. Katie’s physical health was fine, her mental well being on the other hoof was tenuous.
They talked possible solutions from school enrolment, to exposure therapy to deal with the girls terror of magic. Overall it was a productive meeting that ended amicably.
Katie sat in a waiting chair, lollipop in her mouth as she examined the pony magazines, trying to practice her reading. A few words stood out but a lot was still incomprehensible. Her stress was still very high, she hated magic and doctors. Having them combined gave the girl a headache. At this point in time she wanted nothing more than to go back to the house curl up and shut this incomprehensible world out for a few days. She fully intended to ask Strawberry to drop her off at the house if she was going to continue to wonder around the town.
Strawberry and Doctor Kindly Heart both came out from the back of the clinic, seeing Katie sitting in the chair kicking her little spindly hooves back and forth made the mare smile. The girl looked up from the chair popped the lolipop out of her mouth.
"Everything all good?" she asked in a tired somewhat bored tone.
"Yes love everything is ok." Strawberry replied. Walking up to she lowered her head to allow the girl to climb from the chair onto her neck.
Doctor Kindly leaned in towards the girl who was making herself comfortable in-between Strawberry's ears. "I'm proud of you for putting up with my poking and prodding. I know this stuff is scary and difficult and I am glad you let me make sure you are ok."
Katie was at a complete loss, the words were so unexpected and compassionate she nodded her head and mumbled, thanks, then buried her face into the soft tangle of Strawberry's mane. She planned to stay there until they got to the house. Strawberry knowing full well how spent the little human was decided to take a half day, she skipped to the last task on her agenda grocery shopping. It was quick and painless, Katie didn't move at all the whole time. She tired to ask the girl what she wanted to eat, and the only answer she could get was a halfhearted, "Whatever you want." Strawberry put the last of the items into her saddle bags and trotted towards home feeling pleasantly tired, today was a success, she was going to make her little friend something rewarding.