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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“Father? I needed to talk to you… alone if possible,” Sparkler said, looking at her mother. She stood at the foot of the bed, looking a bit out of sorts. Her tremors weren’t as bad this morning, at least not yet. She waited patiently.

“Your father just ate. Try not to upset him too much,” Derpy said. She slid from the bed, stretched out her legs, walked to Sparkler, planted a kiss on Sparkler’s cheek, and then trotted out the door, flicking her tail around as she left, leaving behind a cloud of citrusy soap scent.

Sparkler had to admit, it was nice to smell like something other than hot sweaty ponies once again. She hopped up onto the bed with her father and lay down near him.

“What’s up Sparky?” Bucky asked.

Sparkler looked into his eye. He had his head held up, lifted away from the pillows, at least for now. He was looking stronger, and already a little fatter. She looked at the tub of ice cream still sitting on the little table that was at the bedside. “Bananaberry Swirl with Crunchy Honey Oat Clusters” the label said. Finally, her eyes fell upon her father’s severed stump, sitting on a pillow and propped up for his comfort.

“We made it home,” Sparkler said.

“Yes we did,” Bucky agreed.

“And we got everypony that we love home safely with us. Not one of us lost along the way,” Sparkler stated. Her eyes darted upwards to look into her father’s Taint filled eye.

“That is important,” Bucky said, his head falling back onto the pillows and his body going limp. He sighed with relief.

“I was worried there for a time. When the wolves were on the ship. They were inside of the ship. I… they… we… there was so much fighting. I don’t know how many I killed. But when I was belowdecks, all I could think about was Rising Star and Ripple abovedecks and hoping I would see them again when I got back up there. Going into the bowels of the ship to root out wolves was terrifying. I very nearly lost control of myself. I knew it had to be done and I was the only one who could do it safely,” Sparkler said, her gaze never leaving her father’s eye.

“We understand one another,” Bucky groaned.

“Yes, I think we do,” Sparkler remarked as she nodded in agreement.

“I never once thought about what might happen to me, I just wanted to get them home safe and have them survive the battle,” Sparkler said. “Being made of stone makes you feel kinda invincible. I think I understand how you feel inside of your armor.”

“I wasn’t invincible,” Bucky said in a strained voice. He lifted his stump slowly, his leg shaking unsteadily as he did so. “I paid for my hubris. Don’t ever think of yourself as invincible.”

“I know father… I went down into the dark to find you… There was one more pony I had to bring home safe or I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself,” Sparkler said. She looked down and watched one of her legs quiver and her face turned into a scowl.

“Sparkler, love, I’m sorry about the shakes. I gave you power at such a price,” Bucky said apologetically.

“Like you, I regret nothing. I was able to keep ponies I love safe. I was able to rescue Harper… I love Harper like nothing else I know. The Shivers are a small price to pay,” Sparkler said reassuringly to her father. She smiled a halfhearted smile as her face jerked and spasmed.

“What about the pills?” Bucky asked.

“We haven’t decided yet about those. Ripple… Ripple offered to carry my fertilised eggs to term should I want foals. She wants to give Rising Star foals someday, and she loves me… she wants to prove her place and her value in the herd. She’s learned a lot from Bon Bon and Lyra,” Sparkler replied.

“I am glad we are talking,” Bucky said.

“So am I,” Sparkler said. “We are the protectors of our herds. I understand you now… I find I don’t relate so well to other ponies any longer. Grimglammer said I might have something called post traumatic stress disorder. Might cause me some problems and irritate my Shivers condition. I look at other ponies and I just don’t get them. But you, you and I, I think we understand one another.”

“I think you’re right,” Bucky said. “A terrible burden has been placed upon us. We’ve endured. We’ll both bear scars. Rising Star too… this has been awful on him.”

“Oh, I know. He doesn’t see how strong he is now. He doesn’t understand that he is what is holding me together right now. He doesn’t understand how all of the little things he does keeps me sane and happy,” Sparkler said, her eyes falling down to her father’s severed limb. “Just like my mother… and all she does for you. Where would you be without your grey pegasus?” she mused.

Bucky desperately wanted to tell Sparkler how proud he was of her at this moment. He wanted to say some meaningful words that would make everything better. He wanted to say some sentence that would truly express his emotion. But the words did not come, and he had no sentence full of meaningful platitudes to say. All he could do was look at her sadly. Above him, on the headboard of the bed, there was a sad sounding squawk.

“I don’t think I say it enough, but I love you, daddy,” Sparkler said sweetly.

 

 

“Things are moving quickly,” Berry Punch said as she folded up the paper and set it down upon the table. She stared at a dish of pastries and thought about eating one. Her plot was going to become enormous if this kept up.

Then again, Bucky liked her plot to be a little squishy. She grabbed a pastry and took a bite.

“I don’t follow,” Bon Bon said. “I haven’t read the paper yet.”

“Twilight Sparkle and Shining Armor have released a press announcement. I think they’ve had this planned for a while,” Berry said around a mouthful of food.

“What does it say?” Thistle inquired.

“They are going to form the Stable of Representatives,” Berry said after she swallowed. “Thirty earth ponies, thirty pegasi, and thirty unicorns will begin the process of creating representation. No Canterlot unicorns currently alive will be able to hold office. There are going to be places were you can nominate ponies you believe would be good in the new government.”

“This is exciting!” Bon Bon said, trotting over the table, sitting down, and picking up the paper to read.

“Vanhoover and Ponyville are going to hold discussions with Princess Celestia about reunification. We have a chance at rebuilding the nation,” Berry Punch said.

“Nominated ponies will go through a screening process and background checks,” Bon Bon muttered as she read. “Elections will be held and the nominees will be voted into office…” she continued in a murmur. “Those who hold office will receive no pay for the job and will be required to accept a geas of office?!” Bon Bon shouted as she stared wide eyed at the paper.

“Inspired by Twilight Sparkle and Shining Armor’s parents and the many other nobles who begged for mercy,” Berry Punch said as she grabbed another pastry. “Public office will not be held for personal gain and you will be required to live off of the goodwill of those you serve.”

“Nopony would ever willingly take this job!” Bon Bon cried as she threw down the paper. “That isn’t giving us what we want, that is a way to make sure it will never happen.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure about that Bonnie… if somepony was to nominate me, I’d run for office. I don’t give two shites and a tinkerpony’s damn about getting paid for it. It is a job that needs to be done. As for having a magical geas placed upon me? I’d want to know the specifics, but if I had to swear to never harm the interests of the ponies I served, you bet your sweet soft squeezable plot that I’d let Twilight Sparkle lay down the magical whammy jammy down upon me. I have no ulteriour motives or hidden agendas. A geas can’t hurt you if you are honest, straightforward, and true,” Berry Punch retorted.

“You’re crazy…” Bon Bon muttered.

“As a sump-hole rat,” Berry agreed, now grinning.

“Is my plot really sweet and squeezable looking?” Bon Bon said, craning her head around and looking at her backside, which was spread out a bit from sitting in the chair.

“Yes Bonnie,” Lyra said from over on the sofa where she was watching Harper wobble around on the floor.

“This smacks of untested idealism,” Bon Bon muttered.

“We’re going to make mistakes Bonnie,” Berry Punch said, waving a hoof around wildly. “Our first effort at government is probably going to fall flat. And so will the next one. And maybe the one after that. But with each attempt, we will get better.”

“Still better than the old system. Who wants a return of the noble houses?” Lyra said as she watched Harper attempt to kick out her hind legs and buck.

“Ugh,” Bon Bon grunted. “At least there is talk of reunification.”

Harper sneezed suddenly, and with the sneeze came a crackle of energy, a whiff of ozone, and a brand new smoking crater on the sofa a few spots down from Lyra.

“Bless you Harper!” Lyra said in a singsong voice. “Good girl! You pointed your horn away from mommy when you sneezed! Always point your horn away from other ponies when you sneeze!”

“You got that Lyra?” Berry asked in concern.

“Yeah, I’ve been fixing all the other broken stuff around here. I’m getting good at it,” Lyra muttered. Her horn ignited and she went to work using a simple repair spell.

“Harper is getting dangerous. I hope we survive if she ever gets a cold,” Bon Bon said, turning around in her chair to watch Lyra’s foal.

“I wonder how many non unicorn parents know to teach their unicorn foals to keep their horns pointed away from other ponies when they sneeze?” Berry questioned.

“Unicorns with allergies must be terrifying come spring,” Thistle quipped.

“Well, adult unicorns are mostly okay. Bucky sneezes and doesn’t cause a fusion reaction,” Berry said. “And Lyra sneezes all the time and doesn’t blow us all up. But little unicorns are terrors until they get some training to hold back their magic. Little unicorns require magic training as well as potty training.”

Harper bounced on her tiny legs and wobbled for the table, her nose dribbling and a little snot bubble that had formed was inflating and deflating as she breathed.

Bending down, Bon Bon dutifully scooped up Harper, held her close, and wiped her nose with a napkin. She kissed the foal on the head and then gently set her down upon the floor so she could run around. Peekaboo was hiding somewhere, probably under sofa or a chair. Bon Bon scanned the room and saw a tail poking out from under an overstuffed chair. She sighed and turned back around in time to see Berry Punch stuffing a whole pastry into her maw.

A door opened and Yew came staggering out, looking like she had just woke up. Her mane was mussed and she smacked her lips as she walked. She wordlessly approached the table and sat down, staring bleary eyed at her companions. She gave a little wave with her hoof and offered a smile.

“Long night?” Berry asked.

Yew nodded.

“Peekaboo still having bad dreams?” Berry inquired.

Yew nodded again and then she yawned.

“Lugus still up all night pacing around and worrying about Bucky?” Berry questioned.

Yew nodded yet again and looked at Berry Punch. “Lugus is finally asleep. It isn’t just Bucky… he has to check on Peekaboo to see if she is breathing in the middle of the night. He says he has to be awake and ready to tend to her if she wakes up crying from a nightmare. He just sits there beside her little cradle all night long rocking it back and forth… and I am stuck in the bed all alone,” Yew grumbled. She yawned again, slipped out of her chair, and then wandered off in a daze towards the bathroom door.

“Somebirdy is a devoted papa,” Berry Punch quipped.

 

 

 

 

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