The Chase

Bucky Bitters struggles to escape the airborne affections of Derpy Hooves after a chance encounter caused them to bump noses together. His real mistake was trying to comfort the mare after the snoot-bump. Little does the poor stallion realise that their meeting was only the prologue to a journey that will change not only his life, but the lives around him forever.

This story is a sequel to The Catch

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10. 10

Dearest Bucky

 

Titles are completely unnecessary between friends.

Eagerly awaiting your reports.

Your friend, Celestia.

 

The brightly wrapped box was large, heavy, and ungainly. It hovered in the air effortlessly, carried along in a dazzling blue-green glow emanating from a tan unicorn that trotted through the streets of Ponyville, his head held high and a broad smile on his face. Bucky was concerned, but it did not diminish his smile. The gift was a last minute purchase, but it would have to do. It was a token gesture, at least Bucky believed so,

Perspectives were fragile and made to be broken.

As Bucky trotted through town, several pegasi watched him curiously, their observance unnoticed. They peered out of windows, watched from half opened eyes as they napped on clouds, and at least two sets of eyes watched him with a great deal of interest. Those eyes belonged to a pegasus the colour of a sunny blue sky day and one lavender coloured alicorn, both on a cloud, peering down together, exchanging glances and a bit of a giggle with one another.

It was always fun to go pony watching.

Upon reaching Derpy’s house, Bucky peered down the walkway that existed between the two houses that were close together, leading to the backyard. He heard the sounds of ponies back there. Taking a deep breath, he screwed his courage to the sticking place and began to walk down the breezeway.

 

 

“Oof!”

Bucky was completely unprepared for the grey mare’s tackle. In seconds, she had snatched him, and he found himself airborne, being squeezed until he saw white spots in his eyes. He felt her muzzle pressing into his neck, down below his ear, rubbing back and forth enthusiastically.

“You came!” cried Derpy.

A fierce blast of heat boiled forth from Bucky as he thought about Derpy’s words. He was still prisoner in her grasp, hovering several feet above the ground. He allowed himself to be held.

That smell...

Inhaling deeply, Bucky felt a rush that made him feel lightheaded. Was she wearing perfume? Bucky didn’t know and couldn’t tell. It was taking all of his effort to keep his package aloft. Not knowing what else to do, he pressed his snoot against Derpy and brushed against her cheek.

She pulled away with an embarrassed grin and a blush, pulling her head back and smiling broadly, her eyes twinkling with merry delight. Heaving a sigh, Derpy gently placed Bucky down upon the ground. “You feel awfully warm,” observed Derpy with a saucy wink.

And then Bucky found himself face to face with Dinky.

“Hi,” said Dinky, looking a little bashful.

“Hello,” replied Bucky, sitting down upon his haunches and studying the little unicorn foal, he couldn’t help but notice that Dinky was remarkably like her mother. Dinky’s mane fell into her eyes and Dinky brushed it away with a casual swipe of her hoof.

“You’ll have to forgive Sparkler, she’s indoors panicking. She found that her colt friend is coming over, and she wasn’t expecting him. She’s locked herself into her room to panic,” said Derpy, giggling and covering her mouth with her hoof as she hovered.

“That’s an awfully big box,” commented Dinky, her eyes wide, staring at the brightly wrapped package.

“It sure is Dinky,” Derpy agreed, now carefully trying to look at the box.

“Where do I put this?” asked Bucky,

“On the table,” replied Derpy, looking very very surprised. “Bucky, what did you do?”

“What do you mean?” Bucky inquired, settling the box gently upon the brightly decorated table, now noticing for the first time how small the other boxes were. He felt the first stab of panic this day. It was sharp and piercing. He winced, his nostrils flaring, and began to curse himself for this obvious social blunder. And this whole time, he had worried he hadn’t done enough.

The differences of social class reared its ugly head and made itself known.

Bucky’s gift, a token gesture by his own standards, completely dwarfed the other gifts on the table. And there were precious few gifts on the table. Nothing at all like the birthdays he had attended on occasion within his own social peerage. He began to intently study his surroundings.

At least he hadn’t dressed up.

“Oh my Bucky, what did you do?” Derpy repeated.

“Just a little something nice,” replied Bucky sheepishly.

“I’ll say!”

Bucky regarded the earth pony addressing him.

“Oops, Bucky, this is Berry Punch. My best friend. And that is Piña Colada, her younger sister.” Derpy said, looking embarrassed. She hovered in the air, rubbing her forehooves together.

“Charmed,” said Berry, grinning rakishly. “Always a pleasure to meet a stallion with such a large… package.”

Bucky gulped.

“Berry!” Derpy giggled nervously. Derpy began to titter, turning redder, her ears taking on a pink tinge. “Berry Punch, I don’t know what to do with you sometimes,” Derpy admitted with a nervous chortle.

“You’re handsome,” said Piña Colada, looking Bucky in the eye.

“It runs in the family,” said Berry, looking down at her sister and winking.

“Piña!” cried Dinky, running forward and tackling her friend. After a brief struggle, Dinky had Piña Colada in a headlock and was giving her a hoof noogie.

The social interaction was fascinating for Bucky. In all of his life, nopony had ever acted this way in a social gathering that he had attended. Bucky had only heard stories of pegasi and earth ponies acting like uncouth barbarians during social events, and now he was witnessing it firsthoof. And it was strangely appealing. He felt like a social ponyologist studying remote tribes that lived just outside the university walls.

“Beg for mercy sassy plot!” Dinky cried, applying pressure and making Piña Colada’s eyes bulge as Dinky’s foreleg tightened around her neck.

“Never!” Piña Colada replied, her voice strained, kicking her hindhooves and trying to wiggle free.

Derpy grinned in embarrassment and Berry Punch grinned for the sake of grinning.

Neither one of the mothers seemed overly concerned about the two foals locked in mortal combat Bucky noticed. Piña Colada had managed to get on her hooves, and was now running around in circles, trying to buck Dinky off, and Dinky had doubled down on her grip.

The two foals were ruthless in their combat.

And having fun Bucky noted mentally.

“That’s enough you two,” Berry said, observing Bucky observing the foals. The two foals let go of one another immediately, looked at one another with a smile, hugged one another briefly, and then sat down in the grass to watch the adults.

“More guests will be arriving soon,” Derpy announced. She landed, fidgeting nervously, and began to preen a wing while casting a nervous glance at Bucky, who did not notice.

Berry Punch noticed though, first looking at her friend Derpy, and then turning to study Bucky, who had settled himself into the grass and was clearly using his best manners. He was sitting, rigid, unmoving, still as a statue, the epitome of upper class social grace.

Berry Punch felt a twinge of agitation as she noticed the disappointed look on Derpy’s face when Derpy realised her preening had gone unnoticed. Berry shook her head gently, feeling bad for her friend, but also feeling bad for Bucky.

Bucky was a spring too tightly wound.

Sparkler emerged from the back door, freezing halfway down the steps, pausing to look at Bucky, her mother, and Berry Punch.

“Oh hi,” she said sheepishly as she resumed her movement, walking through the backyard to go and sit with Dinky and Piña Colada.

“Hello,” greeted Bucky, still unmoving.

Derpy unfurled her wings and began to work on them in earnest, ruffling them loudly, shaking them, and making very pronounced gestures as she drug her primaries through her lips, leaving behind an oily sheen on her feathers that made them glisten and have a faint rainbow reflection in direct sunlight.

Pegasi had special salivary glands that set them apart from the other tribes. These glands produced a waxy oily saliva that made their wings shed water, and kept the feathers well oiled, smooth, and clean. It also made their saliva have an odd but pleasant flavour, with most ponies agreeing that excited drooling pegasi were great kissers.

Much to Berry Punch’s dismay, Bucky remained oblivious, now watching Sparkler playing with the foals. Berry heaved a sigh of mild frustration. Poor Derpy deserved better.

Derpy was now tugging on her feathers with an almost frantic frustration, flicking her tail, and standing in such a way that one of her shapely legs was being extended briefly, her features pronounced. She shifted and extended out another leg in an exaggerated display of balance as she worked on a wing.

Derpy’s display succeeded in arousing at least one pony.

Berry Punch blinked, now seeing her friend in an entirely new way. The stout stocky muscular pegasus was certainly attractive. Berry Punch had never been attracted to a mare before. She felt a hot tingle along her spine and began to squirm. Derpy was no earth pony, but she was broad shouldered and had the sort of wide hips well suited for heavy loads… And plowing. No no no, pulling a plow, Berry Punch mentally corrected.

Bucky remained oblivious, still on his best behaviour, now watching a butterfly that fluttered around Piña Colada’s nose. Pigeons could roost on Bucky, Berry Punch noted. Berry Punch allowed her eyes to go back to watching Derpy’s awkward display.

 

 

A small herd of foals frolicked and gamboled in the grass, playing tag. Several more gifts had been brought and were piled in the table. Rising Star and Sparkler sat near the table, with Rising Star occasionally glancing at Sparkler, who sat ignoring him, except for when he was looking away, she would sneak a glance and smile.

Poor Derpy had given up in frustration and was now sitting in the shade, Berry Punch sitting beside her, and Bucky sitting nearby.

“I’m gonna talk, and both of you are gonna listen,” Berry Punch announced in a low quiet voice, turning her gaze first to Derpy, and then to Bucky. “Both of you were putting on quite a display a while ago, and neither one of you saw what the other was doing.”

Derpy peered at Berry Punch through narrowed eyes and Bucky’s face took on a startled appearance as he too, turned to look at Berry Punch.

“Sit next to me,” Berry commanded, patting the ground with her hoof and gesturing Bucky over with a head tilt.

Bucky scooted over, cautiously, looking a little nervous, licking his lips and flaring his nostrils, his ears twitching with high strung nervousness.

Berry wrapped one foreleg around Bucky, and then placed the other around Derpy, pulling them both in close, rubbing both of their shoulders, bring the three of them almost muzzle to muzzle. It made Bucky more than a little panicky.

“Both of you put on an impressive display. Derpy, your little plumage display may have just made me bi-sexual. I have never, ever been attracted to a mare until now,” said Berry in a hushed whisper. “And you, Bucky, you sat stone still, never noticing that Derpy was trying to display for you, you were the very model of social grace and good manners, for a snob. I am almost certain that if I was a unicorn, I would have been impressed with your total lack of reaction to anything and would have been turned on in some vast unexplainable sort of way, while never once showing outward expression,” said Berry, now smiling, pulling them both even closer, their muzzles almost brushing together now. “What you both need is a translator… And you both have something I think I might want a part of as well,” teased Berry.

There was a loud gulp from Bucky and Derpy gave a nervous titter.

“I made you bi-sexual?” Derpy said in a hushed giggle.

“Derpy... that display was hot,” whispered Berry into her friend’s ear, causing it to flicker wildly. “So how about we all get to know one another and be friends… Really friendly friends.”

Bucky gulped again. He could feel Berry Punch’s body pressing up against him. Her coat felt different than Derpy’s. One ear flickered up against his, causing his whole body to jerk with panic and alarm.

“I dunno about this Berry, Bucky looks awfully distressed right now,” Derpy said in a low voice full of concern.

“I know,” replied Berry. “But just think, I could pin him down while you tickle him,” Berry said in vaguely threatening tones, causing Derpy to fiendishly giggle.

Bucky squirmed, Berry Punch’s foreleg felt impossibly strong around his shoulders. She was strong, every bit as strong as Derpy almost.

Certainly stronger than Bucky was.

“Bucky, can you say something?” begged Derpy, who was now peering at Bucky with her one good eye, the other now closed, her ears folded back against her head.

“Something,” mumbled Bucky.

“Bucky?” said Derpy, her voice now a bit more concerned.

“Celestia told me to make friends…” Bucky said slowly, his nostrils flaring, his brain being slowly overwhelmed with pheromones.

“Mmm, friends,” agreed Berry, pressing her snoot against Derpy’s for a moment, her face looking hopeful.

“I, uh, oh…” Derpy said as Berry snoot-bumped her, “I have to confess, I’ve checked you out a few times Berry. We’ve been so close. And nopony has touched me in so long. I think I might be bi-desperate.”

Berry Punch giggled and relaxed her grasp on the two ponies she was holding. As Bucky pulled away, Berry Punch tilted her head and drove her muzzle into Bucky’s neck, nuzzling him briefly.

Three very flustered ponies sat together, catching their breath, all of them smiling.

“Time to open some presents!” Derpy said, her body shivering and wings shaking as she made her announcement, causing the foals in the yard to squeal.

 

 

“Oh my gosh, look at them,” Sparkler said in a hushed whisper, grabbing Rising Star and turning his head towards the three adults in the shade, forcibly grabbing him with two hooves.

Rising Star looked and saw three ponies practically sitting muzzle to muzzle, the pony in the middle squeezing them all together.

“My mother’s best friend is hitting on my mother,” gasped Sparkler.

“I dunno… maybe?” Rising Star replied in doubtful tones. He watched them for a few more moments, his jaw slowly falling open. “Oh, wait, I was wrong, oh my gosh what am I seeing?” he asked, leaning towards Sparkler.

“Ooh eew, unf, yuck, aw, that’s kinda sweet,” Sparkler said in a confused whisper.

“Your mother looks stupidly happy right now, having her best friend and that unicorn both being sweet on her,” Rising Star agreed, leaning even closer to Sparkler.

“I had no idea that Berry Punch was such a brazen hussy… go Berry!” Sparkler said in a hushed cheer.

“Wait, you are okay with this?” asked Rising Star.

“Don’t you get no ideas Rising Star, I have no interest in Apple Cobbler,” Sparkler snarked, paying too much attention to her mother’s current situation to notice her own. Rising Star was edging ever closer, slowly and timidly. “Besides, my mother’s been so miserable that she deserves whatever happiness comes her way.”

Rising Star paused in his advances, watching the three adults pull even closer, their lips moving, things were clearly being said. Ears flickered and bodies squirmed. When Berry Punch nuzzled Bucky, Rising Star used Sparkler’s distraction to lean in and plant a kiss on her cheek.

And everything went horribly wrong.

Sparkler turned her head to say something to Rising Star, her mouth slightly opened, just as he made his final approach to sneak a peck on her cheek.

He planted his kiss on her lower lip instead, and Sparkler sat there in surprise, allowing him to kiss her for a moment, Rising Star even going as far to bravely nibble on her lip briefly since her mouth had been opened, until Sparkler’s brain finally began to work again. She shoved him away roughly, causing him to fall over and sprawl in the grass.

Sparkler stared down at Rising Star in complete confusion, her mouth opening and closing, her ears waggling around wildly. She glared at him fiercely, feeling shock and surprise. Rising Star looked a little afraid. And maybe just a little pleased with himself as he grinned back up at Sparkler.

“Time to open some presents!” Derpy said, snapping Sparkler out of her confusion.

 

 

Dinky tore through her presents rapidly, saving the big one for last. There were pens, markers, two boxes of crayons; which had caused Bucky to privately cringe, because he had considered a box of crayons briefly when he had browsed the stores of Ponyville, some watercolour paints, and a few paint brushes.

Dinky was especially pleased with the paints. She liked painting. Derpy and Sparkler usually joined her for a quiet time of painting and they all painted together. Dinky took a great deal of satisfaction in knowing she was a better painter than her sister Sparkler. Dinky never had to be reminded that ponies only had four legs.

One of the larger boxes was a massive puzzle, far too big to go on the kitchen table. It would have to be put together on the floor. It was a picture of Ponyville’s historic clock and bell tower.

As Dinky unwrapped her presents, Bucky began to realise there was an unusual number of clouds overhead. The skies were clear over most of Ponyville, but overhead it had become quite a cloudy day. On the clouds were pegasi, he could see them peering down, peeking over the edge of their clouds, watching Dinky with great interest.

And Bucky supposed they were keeping an eye on him as well. Thunderlane’s words had been quite clear. Pegasi see all.

Bucky realised that had he not been paying attention, had he not looked up, he would have missed something very important. The flock truly looked after their own. While Dinky might have been a little shy and didn’t like crowds, it didn’t mean that the flock wasn’t there, celebrating another year of Dinky’s life. They were above, watching patiently, taking in as much of the celebration below as they could.

And Dinky was a unicorn. Not a pegasi. And yet right up above Derpy’s yard, a troop of pegasi stood watch over one of their own.

Derpy was quite aware of this as well, occasionally looking upward, gratitude visible on her happy face, beaming at her watchful feathered brethren.

Dinky squealed as she opened a box that contained a book, Dinky loved books. This was a fresh copy of “A Filly’s Guide to Growing Up,” a booklet that many fillies received, a little primer on good manners and good graces common to all of the tribes, as well as practical life advice. Sparkler had once received a copy as well, and it was now dog eared and tattered, but still a treasured possession.

It had taught Sparkler how to talk to colts and take confidence in herself, quite possibly the most important lessons in her life. The little social primer had convinced her that she was beautiful just the way she was. It was Sparkler’s saviour when Derpy just couldn’t seem to reach her no matter what Derpy had said, and a something Sparkler constantly turned to for advice about embarrassing subjects.

The book was a gift from Berry Punch, just as Sparkler’s had been.

Berry Punch sat back, looking very pleased with herself as Dinky came to the realisation that this was a book for growing fillies, and that Dinky was in fact, growing up. A few tears began to roll down Dinky’s cheeks, and she ran to Berry Punch and squeezed her tightly, as tight as her little forelegs would allow. Berry Punch squeezed back, also crying just a little bit, just as she had cried a little bit when Sparkler had hugged her, just like this, not all that long ago.

And when Piña Colada’s birthday rolled around, Derpy already had a copy of the same book for her, tucked away in a high shelf inside the closet.

Derpy squeezed the stuffing out of Berry Punch and Dinky, and, after letting them go, wiped away a few tears from both of them with her wingtips. It was a small quiet private family moment.

And it was entirely unlike anything Bucky had ever witnessed. So far, this whole day had been completely beyond his ability to ken. He was very confused. His own family events had never been like this. There had never been this much warmth or affection. There had been gifts, sure, Bucky had once received a train set for Hearth’s Warming that he had never really had a chance to play with because he was never home. But it had been an impressive display of generousity on his parents part, and they had assembled it and had it running around the tree, and had made sure to show it off to all of their friends along with all of the other conspicuous consumption to be found in their home during the holidays.

They had also sent him a photo of it so he could enjoy it too, as he was spending his holiday at school. He had not been invited home that year.

Bucky shooed away his distractions and focused on the moment, watching the family bonding and realised that he was very, very lonely. He closed his eyes and tried to forcibly squash down these annoying and distracting emotions, determined to not let them bother him, not today. Today was too nice to focus upon the past.

Bucky opened his eyes as he felt a large warm body pressing up against his side, realising that Derpy was settling in close to him. A second later, Berry Punch was pressing in on the other side, and both mares were leaning on him.

“Stop looking sad,” whispered Derpy. “Or I will squeeze the sadness right out of you.”

“Whatever is bothering you, think about something else,” Berry Punch said helpfully. “Like being a sandwich right now.”

“Dinky is about to open your gift,” Derpy said excitedly.

The box was nearly as large as Dinky was and covered in bright shiny paper. The foal ignored the paper, tearing it to shreds, using her teeth to savage the ribbon and tear free all of the paper, revealing the box inside. She had to tear tape off from the box, and then opened up the two flaps, standing up on her hind legs, resting her forelegs on the edge of the box, and peeked inside.

Dinky nearly fainted, falling face first into the box, her hind legs sticking up into the air. Sparkler gently fished her out, her mouth falling open when she looked into the box.

“Is that…” Sparkler began.

“How many…” Dinky said, her voice trailing off.

Piña Colada carefully stood up and peered into the box, her face going slack with surprise. “That’s the entire Daring Do series I think,” she whispered.

Dinky fell over backward onto the lawn, never once even noticing that there was a doll in the box as well. She lay there, staring upward, her eyes blinking rapidly, unable to process what she had just seen, her little barrel heaving.

“What did you do?” questioned Derpy.

“Well you can’t read just one,” explained Bucky in embarrassed tones.

“Dinky Doo, say something,” begged Sparkler, now worried.

“Bucky, what did you do?” repeated Derpy.

“I bought a few books,” Bucky said, now worrying that perhaps he had done something wrong, feeling a painful twinge of panic stab into his heart. “And a doll too,” he added sheepishly.

Berry Punch walked over to peer into the box and whistled loudly as she took a gander at the box’s contents. “You are going to need a new bookshelf,” Berry announced matter of factly. “And every single one of Dinky’s friends are going to want to come over and read.”

Dinky’s friends were now peering into the box themselves, all of them looking very surprised, little faces full of wonder.

Dinky rolled over onto her hooves and ran to Bucky, leaping up into the air, grabbing his neck and squeezing tight enough to nearly cut off his air supply. After a moment of stunned surprise, Bucky wrapped a foreleg around Dinky and squeezed back as hard as he dared, feeling the foal wiggling against him and crying “thank you” over and over.

“I am confused,” Bucky admitted, his voice wavering. “Even the salesfilly said this was a modest gift. I feel very awkward. I started to suspect something was wrong earlier.”

“Bucky,” Berry replied, “this was a very generous gift by any reasonable standard.”

A second later, all of the air in Bucky’s body was gone as Derpy squeezed him hard enough to make his bones bend in unnatural ways, pressing her face into his neck, her wings also wrapped around him, Dinky still hanging from his neck. He struggled to draw breath, unable to expand his barrel to draw any air in.

He suffocated for several pained seconds before Derpy finally eased off her grasp.

 

 

Far above them, two friends sat on a cloud, watching the events below, smiling at one another, sharing the same cloud, pressed together in a familiar way.

“Oh my gosh that’s unbelievably sappy,” said Rainbow Dash.

“Yeah it is,” Twilight Sparkle agreed, wiping her eyes with a wing tip. “And there is too much pollen or something in the air.”

“I cannot believe he did that!” exclaimed Rainbow Dash. “He doesn’t even know how generous that was…”

“Just like Rarity when she goes off on one of her generousity sprees. She doesn’t even know she’s doing it,” Twilight Sparkle mumbled, still wiping her eyes and sniffling.

“Celestia is going to want to know about this,” Rainbow Dash stated, peering downward.

“I think this qualifies as the necessary generousity.  Now we’ll have to wait and see how he does with kindness, loyalty, honesty, and laughter,” said Twilight.

“What do you think he’ll pull off next?” Rainbow asked, her voice extra raspy from the excessive pollen that seemed to be in the air.

“I have no idea,” replied Twilight, shrugging, and then leaning over to hug her friend, pulling her close and squeezing the stuffing out of her, speaking a language that Rainbow Dash understood.

“I feel like a spy,” Rainbow Dash mumbled.

“We’re not spying,” reasoned Twilight. “I am working in my capacity as a Princess and you… you… right now you are my loyal pegasus guard,” explained Twilight Sparkle. “Totally not spying.”

“Okay,” Rainbow Dash agreed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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