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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16. 16

Hearing a knock upon the door, Derpy opened it up and saw Bucky. He looked a little bleary and his eyes were still bloodshot, but he looked much better than he had the night before. She leaned forward and shyly kissed him on the cheek, causing him to blush.

“Hello handsome,” Derpy said, causing Bucky to sputter. “Berry is going to be here all day with Piña, she is keeping her out of school for a day or two. So you will have some help with Dinky today. I think we are all still a little worn out from yesterday. Let Berry help you or else I’ll hear about it when I come home. And I will be coming home as soon as I am done with my deliveries,” she added, smiling, enjoying that she could make Bucky so flustered so easily. “And I want you to take regular breaks too. Or else. Don’t make Berry and I gang up on you.”

Bucky nodded and stumbled inside.

Once indoors, he was shoved into a chair and Berry Punch gave him a comically oversized cup that was full of coffee, cream, and sugar, which he gratefully accepted as he settled into the chair. He took a sip and sighed, settling into the chair and getting comfortable.

Piña Colada climbed up into Bucky’s chair and settled in beside him. “It is awfully nice of you to help my friend Dinky,” she said bashfully, leaning into Bucky and smiling sweetly up at him, and then pressing her head into his side.

Dinky, being tiny, and determined to get in on valuable snuggle time, also climbed up into the chair, squeezing and stuffing herself in between Bucky and the arm of the chair, sitting opposite of Piña.

Bucky was somewhat squished in the chair, and found that he did not mind. He continued to sip his coffee, which was strong and quite good.

“I have a geology exam today. I didn’t study last night,” said Sparkler, panicking as she came down the stairs. “Oh hi Bucky,” she said, seeing him in the chair. “Somepony needs to take a picture of that.”

“Already on it Sparkler,” replied Derpy, stepping out the kitchen and snapping a photo of the three ponies stuffed into a chair. “Aw, that’s adorable.” She disappeared back into the kitchen to put the camera away.

“Sparkler, geology is your talent honey, just don’t panic, listen to your gut instincts, and you will be just fine,” Berry said dismissively, settling down upon the couch.

“Still scared,” Sparkler said. “Talent or no, this test is going to be tough. And I am so distracted because of everything that happened.”

“Geology?” asked Bucky.

“Yeah, my diamonds showed up when I cracked open my secondary school geology textbook and read the introduction,” explained Sparkler.

“A study of pressure,” commented Bucky.

“Oh my gosh, I’ve never thought of it that way,” replied Sparkler, looking surprised. “Which explains why I feel metamorphic.”

“What an igneous line of thinking,” Bucky agreed.

“Geologists do it to get stoned,” Sparkler said, smiling, causing Berry and Derpy to cringe.

“You monster!” exclaimed Derpy. “Stop!”

Sparkler trotted into the kitchen, disappearing through the doorway. After a few moments, there was grunting and stomping.

“Pegasi and their need to put peanut butter jar lids on so darn tight!” cursed Sparkler from inside the kitchen, causing Derpy to blush.

“You know, you could call the test for type two unicorns the peanut butter test,” Berry said, thinking out loud. “They have to turn the jar one direction and the lid in a different direction. I don’t think a type one unicorn could do that.”

“Nope,” replied Bucky, sipping coffee and resigning himself to being squeezed by Piña and Dinky, who were both squeezing him tightly now. “My horn hasn’t hurt this bad since I affixed Celestia’s desk in the headmistress’ office to the ceiling along with everything else in the room, turning everything upside down. Even the big decorative water clock was dripping upwards and keeping perfect time.”

“What happened?” asked Berry, giggling.

“I was called into Celestia’s office, and she was sitting at her desk. On the ceiling. She told me to take a seat in the chair, which I could not do, because it was upside down. I was in the throes of my mischievous stage,” Bucky explained with a chuckle.

“Bad pony!” Piña scolded, pulling away from Bucky and waving a hoof.

“You have no idea,” Bucky said, smiling down at her.

“I bet she looked funny sitting upside down,” Derpy said, smiling broadly.

“She was furious with me for rearranging her office. And popping a well-protected magical lock. And forever causing her water clock to drip upwards, no matter what anypony did with it. It’s broke,” Bucky replied, wrapping a foreleg around Piña absentmindedly and squeezing her close, not really thinking about what it was he was doing.

“If you can do that, why work as an accountant?” Berry asked.

“I like keeping order,” Bucky answered. “I don’t know. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and my cutie mark didn’t show up until only recently. I was directionless.”

“Can you show me how to stick things to the ceiling?” asked Dinky Doo, looking up at Bucky with big innocent eyes.

Bucky looked down at Dinky and then at Derpy, and the look on Derpy’s face was one that promised pain. As in a detailed explanation as to the reasons and specifics that pegasi are brutes kind of pain. “Probably not,” replied Bucky, looking down at Dinky and then back at Derpy, who was still glaring at him, as if just daring him to do it while she was away from home.

“I don’t think I need to translate that,” Berry said, yawning.

“I gotta go!” Sparkler shouted, tearing through the living room, snatching up her schoolbag, kissing her mother, and then flying out the door. She came back in a moment later, skittering through the living room, kissed Dinky, kissed Piña, poked Bucky playfully with her hoof, and then blew a raspberry on Berry Punch’s neck, causing Berry Punch to collapse with laughter on the couch.

And then, she was gone, leaving Derpy to close the door that had been left open.

“Teenage fillies,” Derpy muttered, shaking her head.

“So, uh, about our date tonight…” asked Berry. “How is that going to work if Bucky needs to keep an eye on Dinky?”

“I have no idea,” Bucky admitted, finishing off his coffee.

“I suppose leaving her with Sparkler is no longer a good option,” Derpy said.

“It might be okay if Dinky is kept calm and quiet. Once the magic manifests and starts, it tends to come out in spurts. Happens in early foal hood too,” Bucky said.

“Dinky put me through some trying times when she was very little,” Derpy admitted. “She once sprouted wings.”

“Oh my…” Bucky gasped, his mouth left hanging open.

“She flew out the window,” Berry said.

Derpy nodded and gave Dinky the stinkeye. “You scared mommy so badly.”

Dinky buried her face into Bucky’s side, hiding from her mother’s gaze.

“Come here Dinky, hug me, I have to go,” begged Derpy, unable to bear the sight of Dinky hiding, holding out her forelegs as she balanced on her haunches.

Dinky burst free from the chair, along with Piña, both of them running for a hug, squeezing madly, Derpy squishing them both back, wrapping them in her wings. “I should be home sometime after noon if all goes well,” Derpy said. “Bucky, Berry, we might have to settle for a nice meal around the table together, foals and all.”

“I like the sound of that,” Berry said. “I’ll even get off my lazy plot and cook.”

“Uh, I think I might prefer that actually. I really don’t like going into places crowded with strange ponies. Sometimes I get a bit panicky,” Bucky said slowly and carefully, aware of the fact that Derpy and Berry had both been witnesses to his panic attacks.

“I gotta go,” Derpy said, tugging herself free from the embrace of two foals. She smiled at everypony in the room and then was gone, out the door.

“We are going to get started very soon,” promised Bucky, looking at Dinky. “Are you ready to learn a bit of magic?”

Dinky nodded. “My horn has been tingling and feeling funny,” the foal confessed.

“That’s normal,” Bucky explained in a careful friendly and warm voice. “Once you have your first big surge, and I mean your first real grown up surge, it is like taking a cap off of a soda bottle. You cannot put the cap back on very well and soda just keeps leaking out. Do you understand?” he asked, saying each word slowly and carefully,

Dinky nodded again. “I think so. So the magic is going to keep coming?” she asked, her head tilting to the side, and looking very curious.

“Yes Dinky Doo. The magic must be released or the pressure will build up and eventually, you will have a magical accident. But you don’t want the magic to keep leaking either. You have to hold it in until it is safe to release it in a big burst,” Bucky explained, making gestures with his hooves and smiling.

“So it is like potty training.” Dinky said, her muzzle scrunching. “Mama said I caught on to potty training real quick,” the adorable little foal said, scratching her chin with a hoof. “Will it feel good if I hold it in a while and let it out in a big flood?” she asked, causing Berry Punch to explode with laughter.

“Uh, um, yeah, actually. It will feel really good. The body has a way to reward you for careful control and release,” Bucky replied in very embarrassed tones. “Holding back a lot of magic and letting it go can be a very pleasant experience.”

Berry Punch stopped laughing, stared at Bucky, and then at Dinky. She had a very confused look on her face. She returned her gaze to Bucky, her eyes piercing.

Bucky nodded faintly at Berry Punch, saying nothing.

“Oh,” gasped Berry Punch. “I suppose Derpy will needing to have a chat with our wee Dinky Doo at some point about being a big grown up filly… And that book is going to come in real handy sooner than we thought. Come on Piña, we need to let these two go to work. I’ll read you some Daring Do or something.”

 

 

Popcorn. The table was covered in tiny golden brown popcorn kernels. A few had been placed in various spots around the table, and a jar full of popcorn kernels stood at the other end of the table.

“Popcorn?” asked Dinky. “I can have popcorn?” she asked, excitedly. “I love popcorn!”

“Yes, but you first must pop the popcorn. This is a proud unicorn tradition that any unicorn can do. Are you ready to learn the ancient art of unicorn popcorn popping?” Bucky asked, a slight smile on his face.

“Am I ever!” Dinky replied, bouncing up and down in her chair.

“Alright then Dinky, I need you to calm down, begin taking deep breaths. and then I want you to picture in your mind reaching out and touching he popcorn kernel with an invisible touch. Imagine a big invisible hoof coming down and touching it, lightly, and then think about warm thoughts. Just a little bit of warm, not too much. Got that?” Bucky explained.

Dinky nodded. “But keep ‘splainin’ I learn better when somepony repeats stuff,” she asked.

“Alright then Dinky. Deep breaths, and then imagine reaching out and touching them with something invisible. It can be a hoof… Or a feather, if you want to pretend you are a pegasus and you have wings. Just reach out, gently prod the popcorn, and think warm thoughts. This is called extending your will, and learning how to do this will allow you to do anything you set your mind to doing. We aren’t type fours, but our types once raised the sun together,” Bucky said, talking slowly and trying to make sure he could see Dinky’s face lighting up with some degree of understanding.

“Can Sparkler do this?” asked Dinky.

“Any unicorn should be able to do this,” Bucky answered. “And if you’d like, I will sit down with you and we will teach Sparkler together how to make popcorn, but only after you show that you can.”

Dinky began to concentrate, her tongue sticking out of the corner of her mouth, her eyes narrowing, her horn began to glow with purple light.

It was a good sign. Near instant horn ignition was always a good sign, except when it was a bad sign. Bucky could feel raw magic building in the air, and he sat ready to react at a moment’s notice. The air began to thrum slightly.

A single popcorn kernel began to wobble back and forth, rolling around slightly on the table. But nothing else happened.

“My horn feels itchy and hot,” complained Dinky, pressing her hooves against the table.

“You are doing fine, keep focus Dinky,” urged Bucky, now leaning against the table and wanting Dinky to succeed.

A new chase had begun.

For a moment, Dinky felt real power, and control, which she had not felt yesterday.

The popcorn kernel made an odd sound, rocking back forth on the table, and then, suddenly, there was a POP!

Bucky caught the popcorn before it could fly across the room and set it down gently on the table. “Lesson two. You must now levitate the popcorn to your mouth if you want to eat it. No hooves,” he said in a commanding but gentle voice. “And, eventually, you will learn to catch the popcorn before it takes off.”

“I can float one of mama’s feathers,” Dinky said, looking at the popcorn greedily.

“Then this will be a piece of cake,” Bucky said.

With a crow of triumph, Dinky levitated the popcorn into the air, made it zig zag a few times, and then gobbled it. She beamed, looking very pleased with herself. “My horn feels better,” she mentioned, reaching up and rubbing at the side of her head.

“Very good, now try again,” Bucky urged, wanting to strike while the iron was hot.

Dinky focused, staring at a kernel, which popped almost instantly. She caught it too, before Bucky had a chance to grab it, pulling it in to gobble it down. “This is easy!” she cried as she chewed. “I’ll never go hungry ever, I can make popcorn!”

Dinky focused on another kernel without being told, popped it, snatched it, and ate it, all in a smooth sequence.

As Dinky focused on another kernel, purple sparks flew from her horn. “Ow ow ow!” Dinky cried, holding her head in her hooves. Her horn glowed brightly, more sparks spilling forth.

The jar full of popcorn exploded, Bucky seizing the glass as it detonated, but the kernels were not contained. The kitchen filled with a cacophony of pops, and was filled with popcorn, which covered the table in a deep pile, and the floor around the table was completely covered.

“Berry, bring Piña quick! There’s popcorn!” Bucky cried, fusing the glass jar back together and helping himself to the fresh hot popcorn,

Berry burst into the kitchen a moment later, her little sister Piña hot on her heels, and Berry’s eyes went wide with the sight of all the popcorn.

“Nummy!” Piña shouted, climbing up into a chair at the table.

“Dinky Doo, what did you do?” Berry asked.

“I made popcorn!” Dinky said, beaming proudly.

 

 

 

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