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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27. 27

A patient plum coloured mare sat on the couch, holding a very frightened stallion’s head in her forelegs. She made soothing sounds, not words, just sounds, waiting for the whimpers to reside. Nearby, a grey mare stood, a small foal on either side of her, looking concerned. Sitting in the overstuffed chair sat a purple pink unicorn, looking quite frightened.

Bucky’s screams had filled the house and it had been Berry that had reached him first, waking him with a rough prod and freeing him from whatever horror he had witnessed. Still unable to speak, she held him, waiting for the worst to pass.

“I thought only foals had nightmares,” Dinky said softly, her voice velvety with concern, stepping closer to her mother.

“No Dinks, anypony can have bad dreams. I have bad dreams all the time of losing you,” Derpy replied, fluffing her wings and trying to calm her thudding heart. She had come downstairs ready to fight, adrenaline pumping, and now she was trying to calm her body. Something had upset her flock and disturbed their sleep, and it had frazzled the poor mare.

A low gibbering cry came from Bucky’s lips, thoroughly unnerving Sparkler, whose horn glowed even brighter, the only light in the room.

“Another panic attack?” Derpy asked.

“Damn near,” Berry said, looking closely at Bucky. “Something scared him bad in his sleep.” Berry gently stroked Bucky’s ears, in much the same way he had stroked hers earlier. “Can you talk to me Bucky?” she asked, looking down into his eyes, trying to determine if he was alright.

“I’m scared,” Piña whimpered. “If something scares adults it must be really bad.”

“Come on Dinky, Piña, I want both of you to go back to bed,” Derpy said, heading for the stairs. “Now,” Derpy commanded, her tone unusually brisk.

The foals obeyed, sensing that now was not a good time to argue, heading up the stairs after the overly protective and riled pegasus.

“I’m not going back to bed, not yet,” Sparkler said. “I want to know what’s spooked him. He’s all sweaty and his eyes are pinpricks. He doesn’t look well.”

“I know Sparkler,” Berry said. “I’m worried.”

“B-b-b-bees in the hospital,” Bucky stammered, finally able to speak.

“What?” Berry asked.

“B-b-b-bees in the hospital. Everything went wrong,” Bucky stuttered, teeth chattering, shivering now,  air evaporating the sweat from his pelt and causing his body to cool rapidly.

“Slow down Bucky, no bees are in the hospital,” Berry said soothingly.

“No, dream, day went different, bees, so many bees, Celestia took Dinky away,” Bucky said, his nostrils flaring, his eyelids now fluttering rapidly.

“It didn’t happen,” Berry whispered, leaning her head down and touching snoots.

Bucky calmed slightly at the contact, but his breathing remained heavy, his limbs still convulsing slightly, his body now shivering violently.

Derpy came down the stairs, looking concerned, a little frightened herself.

“Bucky dreamed about things going wrong in the hospital today,” explained Berry, “bees happened, and then Celestia took Dinky away.”

“Come on Bucky,” Derpy said, rising into a hover. “You need help, and you are in no position to help yourself,” the mare stated. She scooped him up off of the couch, flying slowly, trying to not bump her head on the ceiling. She began the slow flight up the stairs, holding him securely, his hooves occasionally bumping a stair as they went up. “Berry, help me, run a really hot bath,” Derpy ordered, her tone still one of authority.

Berry was up on her hooves in a moment, heading up the stairs after the pair, waiting to pass when Derpy had Bucky in the upstairs hall. She squeezed past them both, ducking into the bathroom, and then kicked the bathtub levers to make the water run.

“Help me Berry, I can’t fly through the doors,” Derpy said.

Berry went into the hall, standing there, not sure what to do, when Derpy laid Bucky out over Berry’s back.

“Well, when I finally had you on my back, I didn’t think you’d be so limp,” Berry said, causing Derpy to scowl. Berry trotted through the bathroom door with her cargo, who squirmed and protested. She stood alongside the tub and after a moment of waiting, Derpy gently shoved Bucky into the partially filled bathtub. He landed with a thud, a splash, and a groan.

“Now isn’t the time for jokes,” Derpy said.

“I disagree,” Berry retorted.

“We’ll talk about it later,” Derpy said, turning her attention back to Bucky, who was sprawled in the tub, muttering about something she couldn’t make out.

The two mares stood waiting patiently for the tub to finish filling with water, and, when it did, Berry turned it off, giving the levers an extra nudge to make sure they didn’t leak.

Berry pulled up a chair, causing it scrape over the tile floor, and then sat down next to the bathtub, resting her hindhooves on the edge of the tub. “I showered with him already. If you want to crawl in there, I won’t stop you,” Berry said.

“Naw, leave him in there as he is, he’s stressed enough, look at him,” Derpy said, standing beside the tub. “Tempting though.”

The pegasus continued to stand guard, showing all of the signs of being an aggressive protector, Berry taking note of Derpy’s posture and mannerisms. Derpy’s humour would return when she calmed down.

“No bees,” Derpy murmured soothingly.

Bucky made a strange gurgle and nodded.

Both mares heard Sparkler pass by in the hall, her horn causing ghostly light to flicker as she passed, heading off to bed.

“G’night, Sparkler,” Derpy called.

“Sleep well you foghorn!” Berry called.

There was a faint titter from the hall as Sparkler continued to her room. “Goodnight, and look after Bucky,” she called, disappearing into her room.

“Bucky, I’ve said it before, but you are too tightly wound,” Berry said.

“I know,” Bucky replied in a strained whisper.

“Your brain is torturing you over something that didn’t happen,” Berry said.

The stallion in the tub did not reply. He was rapidly regaining his senses, and was now keenly aware that he was prone, naked, and in a bathtub, with two mares staring at him, stuck supine on his back.

“Stop being neurotic!” Berry barked angrily. “I can see you getting yourself all worked up even now you anal retentive empty headed numpty! Yeah, you're vulnerable right now, and you can’t take care of yourself, and you are currently stuck relying on two other ponies who are worried sick about you looking after your needs, so shut up, calm down, and don’t make me drown you!”

Bucky whimpered, flinching, cringing away from Berry’s verbose reproach.

Derpy, outside of Bucky’s current field of view, looked at Berry and nodded slightly. Seeing Derpy’s approval, Berry took a deep breath and prepared to continue.

“Just stop overthinking everything and stop worrying about how we see you,” Berry demanded. “At some point, all three of us are going to be in a hot sweaty pile and if you can’t stand up to us looking at you now, then you don’t have a hope of surviving that when it happens you uptight repressed snob!”

Bucky slumped down deeper into the water, only his muzzle above the surface. Berry leaned over the tub and glared down at him. “Now you just lay there and try to calm down. Get warmed. Relax. And stop being an uptight numpty!”

The two mares exchanged a glance briefly, and then Derpy sat down upon the chilly tile floor, fidgeting as the cold tiles touched and titillated delicate places.

For a moment, Bucky thought about calling Berry a numbskull, but on some level, he knew he had the tongue lashing coming. His stomach roiled from jittery nerves.

Oh no…

Some things do no good to restrain. In Bucky’s case, clenching his pucker was a terrible idea, reducing the size of the pressure release nozzle his body had so helpfully provided as standard equipment, causing any escaping pressure to become concentrated and increased as it was forced to escape from a much smaller opening.

“FRRRRBLRURBLURBLURBLURBLUBBLE!” The pressure from Bucky’s pucker announced, a cry of freedom as it escaped the confining compressing colonic prison. There was a massive stream of bubbles that made the water appear to boil.

Bucky let out a whimpering cry and submerged in the water, attempting to drown himself, no longer wanting to live.

Berry stared downward, wide eyed, her face full of shock. “Well, I’ll be damned, you are a flesh and blood pony after all,” she said, grinning.

Derpy chortled, finally relaxing her guard a bit. And then she flapped her wings, trying to fan away the offensive odour.

“And here I thought that unicorn’s dung don’t stink, but their farts sure do,” Berry grunted, lacking opposable digits to pinch her nose shut and regretting her unfortunate evolutionary course.

Bucky stuck his snoot back above the water with a gasp, not liking his own brand as he drew breath. Not at all. Smelled like shame and failure. It was a reminder he couldn’t control everything.

“Excuse me,” Bucky said in a guilty voice.

“No way,” Berry said. “What you did constitutes an act of war, and I reserve the privilege of returning shots fired you filthy son of House Avarice.”

“And this is why unicorns clear these little disputes during the legal proceedings during the trial phase of our courtship,” Bucky said in a weak voice. “Lawyers are so helpful,” he added.

“Feel better?” Berry asked, still looking very concerned.

Bucky nodded, which made Derpy take a deep breath and heave a sigh of relief.

Berry leaned back in her chair, her hindhooves still on the edge of the tub, folding her forelegs over her barrel. She closed her eyes for a moment, and after being quiet for several minutes, began to sing in a fine Shetland Isles lilt.

 

 

“I'm a rambler, I'm a gambler, I'm a long way from home

And if you don't like me, well, leave me alone

I'll eat when I'm hungry, I'll drink when I'm dry

And if the moonshine don't kill me, I'll live til I die

I've been a moonshiner for many a year

I've spent all my fortune on whiskey and beer

I'll go to some hollow, I'll set up my still

And make you a gallon for ten bits I will

I'm a rambler, I'm a gambler, I'm a long way from home

And if you don't like me, well, leave me alone

I'll eat when I'm hungry, I'll drink when I'm dry

And if the moonshine don't kill me, I'll live til I die

I'll go to some hollow in this dry county

Ten gallons of wash I can go on a spree

No herd to follow, the world is all mine

I love none so well as I love the moonshine

I'm a rambler, I'm a gambler, I'm a long way from home

And if you don't like me, well, leave me alone

I'll eat when I'm hungry, I'll drink when I'm dry

And if the moonshine don't kill me, I'll live til I die

Oh, moonshine, dear moonshine, oh, how I love thee

You killed me old father, but I dare you to try me

Now bless all moonshiners and bless all moonshine

Their breath smells as sweet as the dew on the vine

I'm a rambler, I'm a gambler, I'm a long way from home

And if you don't like me, well, leave me alone

I'll eat when I'm hungry, I'll drink when I'm dry

And if the moonshine don't kill me, I'll live til I die”

 

Berry Punch opened her eyes, looking down at her two dear friends. The pegasus had tears in her eyes, wiping them way fiercely with her wingtips. Bucky was staring up at her, looking relaxed, sleepy, much of the worry now gone from his face. Berry reached down and stroked his face gently, getting a hoof wet.

“I bet your mother never sang to you,” Berry said sadly, her voice still thick with her familial accent, tears in her own eyes now forming. “No wonder you stay spooked. My mom used to sing to us to keep the banshees away and the pookas and all the other things that gobbled foals up in the night.”

“Come on Berry, let’s get him out and dried off. Bucky, you’re coming to bed with us. If you argue, I am going to smack the fire out of you, do you understand me? Berry, no funny business, he’s had a bad night. Everypony is going to behave and be respectful. We all need sleep,” Derpy said.

“I’ll be good,” Berry promised. “But I demand that the conditions of the truce allow spooning and or cuddling of at least one pony in the bed with me. I’m missing my mama.”

Berry kicked the lever that opened the drain with her hoof, thinking about her mother, the fine unicorn that she was, and how much she had loved her foals.

 

 

Author's Note:

Berry deserves better treatment than most stories give her.

She wouldn't be at the Sisterhooves Social if she was such a bad sort.

 
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