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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“Buckminster… Bucky… can we talk?” Twilight said as she approached Bucky who was sitting in the darkened dining hall, the faint unnatural glow of his Taint filled eye was the only light in the room. Twilight smelled the strong scent of tea, a medicinal smell, with the nostril tingling smell of peppermint.

“What is on your mind, Twilight?” Bucky replied.

All around her in the dark, Twilight thought she heard things… or felt things… or sensed something looking at her. She felt like a foal again, worried about ghosts in the dark, or the boogeypony in the closet. It brought up vivid memories of being in the Crystal Empire, being hunted by Sombra.

“You feel it, don’t you?” Bucky inquired.

Swallowing, Twilight cleared her throat and nodded. “Is that you?”

The oppressive darkness vanished. The dark still remained, but the lingering dreadful feeling of apprehension went away. Twilight Sparkle took a deep breath, sat down at the table with Bucky, and ignited her horn for some comforting light.

“My shadow essence manifests in the dark. I can’t always control it,” Bucky admitted. “I generate an aura of apprehension and dread. Luna tells me that Sombra did much the same.”

“Creepy,” Twilight Sparkle whispered.

“You wanted to speak with me?” Bucky inquired in a low voice.

“I have heard that you plan to make your school open to all tribes, to fully exploit their potential. Cheerilee mentioned it, that you spoke to her, and Luna mentioned it as well, telling me that you have a grand vision,” Twilight began, looking Bucky in his eye, and watching as the glowing purple mist drifted away, floating around his ear.

“You have heard correctly,” Bucky answered and then took a sip of tea.

“I want to register a student,” Twilight Sparkle said sheepishly, her gaze dropping down to the table.

“I see,” Bucky replied. “Are you the parent or guardian of the student in question?” he inquired, the ghost of a smile lurking in the left corner of his lips on the good side of his face. He took another sip of tea and took perverse satisfaction in watching Twilight squirm in her chair. “School is not in session yet, but will be soon. Before winter begins it should be open.”

“I’m… I am…,” Twilight began and then fell into a silent pause that lasted for several moments. “I am his mother,” Twilight said in a pained voice. “And I am not a very good one.”

Bucky’s sense of perverse satisfaction died and was replaced with a growing feeling of concern. “That’s not true Twilight. At least I don’t think so.”

“I hatched him, I’ve raised him, I taught him how to read and write, and I’ve used him as a mailbox for well over ten years. I have been absolutely awful to him, and I want to make it up to him… he wants to go to school and be a foal… um, uh, or in this case a dragon… hatchling? I don’t know… the point is, I made a terrible mistake and I need to fix it,” Twilight said, stammering a few times as she struggled to get the words out.

“Twilight, we all make mistakes with those we love,” Bucky said in a soothing voice.

“Says you… you’re like the father every foal would beg for!” Twilight snapped.

“Dinky,” Bucky said in a defeated voice. “I channeled dark magic through Dinky and used her to summon a swarm of demon bugs.”

“That’s… well…” Twilight said haltingly and then fell silent.

“I have laid a terrible burden upon Sentinel’s shoulders and I allowed him to enter into a prearranged marriage,” Bucky continued, shaking his head sadly, staring down into his teacup.

“That doesn’t seem so bad when you consider the bigger picture and the context of necessity,” Twilight whispered, glancing up at Bucky. “At least you didn’t give your foals away as cheap labour to your friends.”

“I will make a note to enroll one dragon, and will figure out the best way to exploit his unique talents for the greater good of Equestria. He will receive no special treatment though… I don’t care if you are a princess or a pauper,” Bucky said in a flat voice that contained no humour.

“He will do well,” Twilight responded. “He’s driven, and he wants to go to school more than anything.”

“I take it that you and Spike had a long talk,” Bucky stated, finishing off his tea and then pouring another cup.

Fetching a teacup with her magic, Twilight poured herself a cup of tea and then stared down into murky depths of her teacup. “We talked. Mostly, he talked. I didn’t say much. When I started to say stuff, I said all of the wrong things and I made everything worse. Finally, I just shut up and it became obvious that shutting up was the right thing to do. Reason and logic didn’t seem to apply.”

“That is a very important lesson,” Bucky whispered, his breath causing ripples to appear in his tea. “Foals… little ones… they don’t care about reason or logic or why you think things should be the way they are… none of that matters Twilight. They just know that something hurts and they want you to fix it because they can’t. And trying to explain away their pain or telling them their pain is unreasonable only hurts them more.”

“Well, I really hurt Spike… I did just that. I tried to explain to him why he was taking this way too seriously and he cried for almost half an hour and refused to speak to me,” Twilight grumbled.

“Ouch,” Bucky grunted. “Twilight, please tell me that you weren’t actively keeping track of the time that… oh dear,” Bucky said, interrupting himself when he saw Twilight begin to nod. “At least you didn’t say anything to him about how long… oh… nevermind,” he added, cutting himself off once again when he saw Twilight nodding once more.

“Mother of the year,” Twilight said in a strangled bitter voice. “For a time, it hurt so much to think about… this whole situation, that I actually thought about surrendering custody of Spike back to Celestia,” she confessed to Bucky.

“Oh… oh Twilight Sparkle, that’s not good,” Bucky said in a voice quavering with concern, looking over at Twilight with a pained expression upon his face. “Where is Spike now?” Bucky inquired.

“I tucked him into bed in Sentinel’s cabin. I… I… I kissed them both good night and told them both that I loved them… both. Spike looked at me suspiciously and Sentinel tried to squirm away from me,” Twilight answered and then took a sip of tea. “Hey, this stuff smells kinda awful, but it doesn’t taste bad.”

“Some kind of root… valerian or something, Luna mixed this tea for me and told me to drink it when my nerves are bad and I can’t sleep,” Bucky responded.

“I’ve been having trouble sleeping,” Twilight remarked, her voice low and somewhat raspy. Her wings fluttered for a moment and then she slumped down into her chair. “I keep thinking about what I did.”

“Killing does something to your head,” Bucky said knowingly. He reached up and tapped on his skull with his right hoof. “It is like losing your virginity Twilight. Once its been done, there is no going back to how things used to be.”

“Ugh, can we please leave that out of this?” Twilight begged in exasperation.

“Celestia is demanding a full explanation of everything that has happened and she has sent explicit instructions that I am to use my authority to seize control of The Scorned Mare and return home immediately,” Twilight confessed, looking at Bucky through narrowed eyes. “Bucky, she thinks it was YOU that used her beloved sun as a weapon.”

“What?” Bucky asked in reply, his eye opening wide and his eyebrow raising in concern. “She thinks what?

“She doesn’t realise it was me… she knows there was something wrong… she got a big pile of burned griffon bits dumped on her head after Spike torched the griffon. She said in her letter that she waited to send a message, worried that Spike suddenly burping out a letter might give us away… she figured out that we were in a tight spot on her own. But she thinks it was you that used her sun… she wants to know if you have ascended… she can’t tell, she says she can’t get a focused fix on you anymore because something is blocking her and she thinks it is you and she wants to know if you ascended into the alicorn of war because you used her sun,” Twilight explained with frantic nervousness.

“Oh really?” Bucky said in an icy voice. “I bet that would make her really happy,” he hissed, the darkness coming to life once again all around him.

Hearing something unpleasant and unseen in the darkness, Twilight Sparkle shivered and made her horn glow a little brighter. “Bucky, please, my nerves can’t take the spookiness right now.”

Taking a deep breath, Bucky tried to calm down, and as he did so, the darkness around him became less terrifying. His barrel heaving, he struggled to regain his composure.

“She can’t get a focus on you because of me. I’m blocking her. I’m shutting her out. She spies on everything. She is always watching over those of interest to her. I’ve seen it Bucky, in her private astral realm, she has projections showing everything about me… and others. I’ve even been there with her when she was spying on you… I shut her out because I wanted to deal with this… just me and you together, to prove that we can. She watches Dinky now too. And Piña. And Sentinel. Well, all of you. You have collected quite a few powerful entities that have captured her interest Bucky… but I blocked her out because I didn’t want her interfering or watching over our shoulders. I’ve also blocked any further messages from her through Spike,” Twilight said, her voice now somewhat manic as she spoke over her teacup, inhaling the steam. She took a long swallow, swished it around in her mouth, and then swallowed with a loud gulp.

“I don’t know what to say Twilight,” Bucky grumbled, slumping down in his chair. “I mean, what does a pony say after hearing that.”

“When I became an alicorn, when she revived me from the dead, I never gave much thought to all of the projections she had of me,” Twilight whispered. “But after the fact, after everything settled in, I started to think about how creepy it was.”

“That is unsettling,” Bucky agreed.

“I don’t know what the right thing is anymore Bucky… if you should be the alicorn of war or not… I’ve debated it for a long time… but the one thing I do know is, you have a right to choose… I’ve been having some paranoid thoughts lately Bucky, and they keep me awake at night. I won’t say them, but I suspect that you are having them as well,” Twilight Sparkle said in a husky emotional voice.

Nodding, Bucky said nothing but acknowledged Twilight’s words.

“I don’t know what is right or wrong anymore,” Twilight said, the first tear finally falling. “I find that I keep saying that lately. I… I started to lose track back when Discord took away my horn and set me loose in the hedge maze. He took my horn, he took Rarity’s horn, he took away the wings of Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy… but he took nothing from Pinkie Pie or Applejack. I realised that later. He took NOTHING from Pinkie Pie or Applejack. He left them as they were, and it occurred to me after the fact that the whole situation sums up everything currently wrong in Equestria. He saw nothing worth taking from either of them, and I don’t know how I feel about it, other than just feeling confused. I think I’m losing my way Bucky.”

“I’m sorry Twilight… I wish I could help you, but I lost my way a long time ago. Now, I just sort of stumble my way though life depending on my wives and those I love to see me through, and when a crisis comes, I just make stuff up as I go along,” Bucky responded.

“I can’t even figure out why I trust you so much, but I do,” Twilight admitted. “And don’t take this the wrong way, but it bothers me. Not that I trust you… just that I can’t figure out why.”

“We’re family Twilight. In the distantly related sense, in the divine sense, and bonds forged in the heat of trouble sense… and I will always be there for you if you need me,” Bucky offered.

“Thanks Bucky… I’m going to go to bed I think. This tea made me feel sleepy,” Twilight replied and then finished off her cup.

“Sleep well,” Bucky whispered.

 

 

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