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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“Feeling better daddy?” Piña asked, hopping up onto the couch with her father and settling in at his side. She rubbed her cheek against his neck, feeling his longer shaggier pelt against her own shorter silkier pelt, and there was a faint soft crackle of static electricity as she nuzzled.

“Much better now,” Bucky replied, glad to have Piña beside him.

“While you were gone, it was my birthday,” Piña whispered as she continued to rub her face against her father’s neck, tilting it slightly so her ear was rubbing against him.

“I know Piña, and I am very sorry… I got called away on business,” Bucky apologised.

“No, ‘sokay, really, I don’t want a big party this year and I told everypony that, what I do want is some time with you and a little trip to the Ponyville Tea Room. With just a few friends,” Piña said. She craned her head around to plant a kiss on the side of Bucky’s cheek. “Berry said that she is going to fix a cake and maybe a nice dinner, she wants to do something for me for my birthday, but I don’t want a big fuss with everything that has been going on.”

“We will go to the Ponyville Tea Room. Send out some invitations to your friends. I am sure that Derpy will be glad to deliver them,” Bucky said.

“While you were gone, I was able to create a massive static discharge with my hoofsies. Dinky’s mane and tail stood up for hours,” Piña giggled. “Dinky was running around pranking ponies. She’s figured out how to cast illusions. Watch out if you are sitting down, the kitchen chairs might or might not be there for reals,” she warned.

“Illusion you say,” Bucky said, some genuine alarm in his voice. “Oh my, and with her being gifted as a mentalist.”

“She made an army of illusionary spiders and sent them after Barley while he was in the shower. He went running around the hall soaking wet and covered in soap shouting “crivens” at the top of his lungs. What does crivens mean?” Piña said, still giggling.

“I’m not sure,” Bucky sniggered in reply, trying to keep a straight face.

“She also made a swarm of bats fly out of the refrigerator when Bon Bon opened it. Bon Bon has a potty mouth,” Piña whispered conspiratorially.

“So do you,” Bucky whispered back.

“I know,” Piña chortled.

“So you have been practicing magic while I was gone,” Bucky said to Piña, feeling rather proud of her as he spoke.

“Can I be your apprentice?” Piña asked, now suddenly serious. “I mean, Dinky is your apprentice, and you are our dad, and I know you are already teaching me, but I, well, I want to be like Dinky. Labels are important, they indicate significance and relevance and I want to be significant and relevant.”

“The Significant and Relevant Piña Colada,” Bucky replied, his mind thinking about Trixie.

“Don’t tease daddy, or I’ll zap you too,” Piña warned.

“Oh gracious, you’d zap your daddy?” Bucky asked.

“In a heartbeat. You don’t understand how badly I want this,” Piña answered.

“An apprentice doesn’t sass her master like that,” Bucky warned, a faint laugh barely contained in his voice.

“You mean I’m-”

“Yes Piña,” Bucky interrupted.

“Thank you,” Piña said, kissing Bucky’s cheek once again.

 

 

Pressing his face tightly against Thistle’s rounded belly, Bucky felt the foal kick again. He sucked in his breath sharply and went completely silent, not breathing, not moving, his eye closed as he waited for another sign of life.

Thistle tried to stay still, tried not to giggle as she felt Bucky’s twitching ear tickle her tummy. She stuck a hoof in her mouth and bit down. She felt his face moving along her curves, his thick and rather coarse sideburns trailing along the thin pelt of her full to bursting stomach.

The constant pressure of his head proved too much, and Thistle farted, a loud squealing squeaker that made Bucky jerk his head away in alarm. His ears pinned back against his head, and his eye went wide with alarm.

“That sounded like a manticore rutting a chimera,” Bucky announced.

“The things you say,” Thistle whispered and then exploded into breathless laughter.

 

 

The night was dark and surprisingly cool. Fall was certainly coming upon them, and summer was dying down. Summer Wrap Up would happen soon, but Bucky would be in Griffonholm when it took place.

Other ponies were asleep. It was well after midnight and Bucky was alone, labouring in the night, working with glass to soothe his troubled mind. He had been quietly creating windows for his tower and shaped opaque glass doors to place in the entrances. He fused the glass windows into the opening they were intended for and enchanted each of them to be quite sturdy and magically hardened. The tower was more than a place for his office as a headmaster. It was more than a place for a few magical laboratories. It was more than a place for his vault to hold his orb with the still beating heart of a demon imp.

It was a place where he would secure his family in times of crisis, a fortress to protect that which he held most dear to his heart. He would spare no effort for their safety. It still needed to be furnished and have creature comforts added. It needed plumbing.  

And Bucky still needed to make the glass dome that would cap off the tower.

As he worked, Bucky realised that he could easily make a mooring for The Scorned Mare and provide her with a secure berth on the side of the tower. He would need to construct a cradle for her to rest in so the wind wouldn’t buffet her around too much. He would need to go to Canterlot and get measurements at some point soon.

 

 

A faint pink light filled the edges of the night off to the east indicating the dawn was thinking about happening soon. Bucky surveyed his work. The glass dome was finished. He had also added glass ledges in his office to walk around on for a good view out of the dome, and a flight of glass stairs so ponies could reach the circular ledge. Flowing glass bookshelves had been created.

He had been productive and had kept the troubling thoughts he had out of his mind. Luna told him that he might feel a little off for a few days. He was tired, and something told him he would sleep well. Before going to bed though, he needed a bite to eat.

 

 

Sitting at the kitchen table, Bucky orchestrated beautiful organised chaos in the kitchen. He made tea, brewed coffee, prepared several quiches to go into the oven, delicious breakfast pies made of eggs, cheese, diced green onions, fresh dill, and in one special quiche, dried smoked fish bits that he had found in the pantry with a note suggesting that he try some.

There was a lot of eggs in the kitchen, all of them bearing Lyra’s magical signature. Bucky guessed that she had been conjuring them from wherever the chickens had been laying them. Lyra was clever like that, never putting forth physical effort when magic effort would do. He didn’t want to say that Lyra was lazy, but Lyra loved her comfort, and that was the closest he would come to saying anything on that issue.

“Father?”

Turning his head, Bucky looked at Sentinel, who was standing in the kitchen archway entrance. He smiled briefly, glad to see Sentinel during a moment of quiet when the house was calm and still.

“Hey Sentinel,” Bucky greeted in a low voice.

Coming into the kitchen, Sentinel climbed up into a chair beside Bucky and then leaned on the table, resting his forelegs on its surface. He yawned, completely unaware that how adorable he was when he did so, his echolocation producing a squeak as his maw opened wide.

“It is finally just us,” Bucky said. “Everypony else is still asleep for now.”

“I like it when it is just us,” Sentinel commented in a low voice.

“I know. So many ponies want my time. I worry that I neglect you,” Bucky admitted.

“I don’t feel neglected. I have my duties to keep me busy,” Sentinel admitted.

“Our duties. They will be the death of us,” Bucky stated in a solemn whisper.

“Probably,” Sentinel agreed in a perfectly serious reply. “We are what we are. We’ve accepted this and march towards the inevitable conclusion. I could think of no finer end.”

“You’ve gotten wordy and smart,” Bucky said in a low chuckle.

“Been reading. A lot. And writing. And submitting things to the newspapers. I’ve made a few bits but I don’t know what to do with them,” Sentinel replied. The lunar pegasus foal reached up and scratched at his scarred ear with his front hoof, and then let out another yawn.

“So my squire. Report. How was everything while I was gone?” Bucky asked as he fetched himself a cup of tea with his magic. He was also cleaning up a few dishes that had been used during the preparation of the quiches.

“Witching Hour and Tiddlywinks came inside for dinner after Lyra invited them in. Tiddlywinks never talks, but I like him. We played chess. He’s too good at it. Worryingly so. I don’t think I’ll ever be that good. Barley has been teaching me how to play blackjack and poker. Mother Derpy has been showing troublesome signs… something is wrong with her. She’s been eating waffles covered with sauerkraut. Berry Punch keeps making bread pudding with leftover stale bread. And fresh bread. And she doesn’t share,” Sentinel reported, becoming sullen when he mentioned the bread pudding. “Surprise’s flight camp went well. We all have our basic flier’s licences. Surprise is married to a lunar pegasus and has a lunar pegasus foal. She’s a neat mare and we’re going to be penpals. She says that Ripple is fast enough to be a Wonderbolt junior cadet. Ripple is fast. She kept up with Surprise when Surprise gave every bit of speed she had, and Ripple managed to overtake her. Surprise is no slouch for speed.”

“A lot happened,” Bucky said.

“Sure did,” Sentinel agreed. “Thistle and Yew are becoming closer friends. She helps Yew with her reading primers. Lugus has started teaching me how to track. My nose is enough to find anything, but I want to learn how to follow other signs like footprints, broken branches, and bent grass. Piña zapped Dinky because Dinky was being an insufferably awful foal and playing pranks. Harper can say almost everypony’s name now and has taken to wandering… you should watch out for that by the way, she has a knack for slipping out the door if you aren’t paying attention. Bon Bon and Lyra packed up their old apartment and cleared it out from what I understand, and Bon Bon plans to reopen her candy store in town once everything settles down.”

“Interesting,” Bucky remarked.

“Sparkler and her police cadets have been meeting out here on the farm every morning and they should be arriving soonish. Rising Star has been going to the refugee camps with Barley and purifying the earth. Also it seems he can cure some diseases just by touching ponies. It gives them a bit of a fever and makes them all hot and sweaty, but the sweating is good for them or so I’ve heard. Also, it has been confirmed that Rising Star will be a candidate for the Stable of Representatives. Now that Loch Skimmer can fly she has been going off with Fluttershy… she should be waking up soon. She sings in the shower and is quite loud,” Sentinel said. He paused, and his face scrunched up. “She occasionally moans in the shower. I wonder if she is in pain or something.”

“Sentinel?” Bucky inquired.

“Yes father?” Sentinel replied.

“You’ve talked about so much, but I am curious about one thing,” Bucky stated.

“And that is?” Sentinel asked.

“Diamond Tiara. Do you like her?” Bucky questioned.

Sentinel slumped down in his seat and inhaled sharply, causing a snorting sound in his sinuses. His ears fell back against his skull and his lips pressed tightly together. His breathing became rapid and his small barrel heaved with barely contained emotion.

“A father worries about these things,” Bucky said, a faint smile spreading over his muzzle.

“I like her. She is a good friend,” Sentinel responded in neutral tones.

“Aw, Sentinel, don’t be like that,” Bucky said, reaching out and prodding his son. He took a sip of his now slightly cooled tea and then smiled broadly.

“She organised my desk for me. I now have inbox and an outbox, my art supplies are all in one location, my pencils for writing are all located in another, and she told me that she helps keep her father organised… because.... she… loves… him,” Sentinel confessed in a low squeak.

“So she likes you,” Bucky said, his voice now openly teasing. “I mean, organising your desk, that’s practically a declaration wanting somepony to be her special somepony I think.”

Sentinel made a low worried moan at his father’s words and sank down even further into his chair. He covered his face with his front legs and his wings fluttered against his sides.

“Aw, cheer up, it isn’t so bad. She probably just really likes you and wants you to be her friend. Enjoy your foalhood and try not to be so worried about stuff. Things like this don’t have to be so serious. Not that I would know, but I am speaking in a very general sense. Hey, something smells good,” Bucky said, his nose now sniffing at the savoury smell in the air.

“Dinky kept teasing both of us about roosting in a tree and kissing,” Sentinel squeaked.

“That sounds like Dinky,” Bucky acknowledged.

“I can’t deal with this pressure,” Sentinel whined as his head thumped down upon the table.

 

 

 

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