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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The airship moved through the night, silent and unseen by most. Luna stood near the prow, staring ahead, the alicorn was silent and calm. Bucky sat on the deck, watching over both of the rescued foals, both of whom clung to one another, neither of them understanding everything that was going on.

“I’m scared,” Glass Slipper said in a soft voice. “I don’t like flying.”

“I’m sorry little one, the ride will be over soon and you’ll be safe. Do you like ice cream? I could make sure you get some for being brave,” Bucky responded, his long shaggy pelt whipping in the breeze. He lay down upon the wooden deck and both foals slowly approached him, easing themselves up against his side to get out of the breeze.

“Too cold for ice cream,” Glass Slipper whimpered as she pressed her face up against Bucky’s neck, grateful for his warmth. “Why is your face all messed up?”

Bucky blinked at the innocent but blunt question and turned to look at Glass Slipper, unsure of how to answer. “I was injured,” he said in a soft voice. “I was trying to do the right thing and keep other ponies safe.”

“I’m sorry I screamed when I saw you,” Glass Slipper said, sniffling slightly and shivering as she pressed herself a bit more against Bucky.

“Think nothing of it,” Bucky said in a soothing voice.

“It hurts,” Tourmaline whimpered, her eyes flickering with a strange light.

“I’m sorry… have you worked up any spit yet? Can you heal yourself?” Bucky questioned, his voice wavering with concern. Without thinking about it, he bent his head back and gave the changeling a soft kiss, which seemed to comfort her.

“Why did those ponies take me? Why was I stolen from my parents?” Glass slipper asked, her eyes narrowed as she studied Bucky.

“Because you are a very special foal,” Bucky answered. “They were bad ponies.”

“Will they come and take me again?” Glass Slipper questioned.

“I hope not. If they do, I’ll come rescue you again,” Bucky said, watching as Glass Slipper’s eyes seemed to grow heavy. It was late, well past bedtime for most foals, and poor Glass Slipper had endured a very long day.

“Why do those big ponies keep staring at me?” Tourmaline asked, her voice somewhat fearful.

Sighing, Bucky was once again unsure of how to answer. “A lot of ponies are afraid of changelings. Many bad things have happened.”

“I’m scared of ponies,” Tourmaline whispered.

“I know,” Bucky responded. “A lot of bad things were done to you, no doubt. But all of that is over.” He raised his head slightly and glared at a Myrmidon that wouldn’t stop staring, his nostrils flaring, and his ears swiveled forward.

The Myrmidon, not liking Bucky’s burning stare, blinked and looked away.

 

 

Bucky watched as the two sisters spoke. Celestia had intercepted the airship and was now aboard, engaged with Luna in a very animated discussion that Bucky could only make out brief bits and pieces of. He watched them hug for a moment, standing close and each wrapping one foreleg around the other’s neck, and Bucky felt a little bit better about things.

Glass Slipper was sound asleep, curled up against Bucky’s shoulder in a tight little ball, her face covered by her forelegs. Beside her, Tourmaline was still awake and whimpered occasionally. Strange gurgles came from her insides and the changeling’s surgical incisions were dribbling an odd greenish yellow liquid.

When Celestia and Luna both began to approach, Bucky felt his hackles rising. He tried to control his multitude of feelings, not even sure what it was that he was feeling, but the all too familiar heat flushing through his body was certainly rage. He choked back a growl and tried to keep control of his senses.

“You did very well Buckminster… I am very pleased with what you have done,” Celestia said as she paused a few feet away, her posture submissive. She lowered her head and gave Bucky a kindly look. “Luna told me of the promise that you extracted from her.”

“Extracted… you imply that I used force,” Bucky said in a flat monotone.

“I do believe you did,” Celestia said softly, never taking her eyes off of Bucky.

“She’s a foal,” Bucky insisted.

“And I agree,” Celestia answered, her eyes wide and warm.

Bucky let out a long shuddering exhale when he heard Celestia’s words, his whole body trembling, and he felt tears beading up in the corner of his eye. “She’s been tortured… she has open surgical incisions… they drained her of the chemicals she had before the battle, she can’t heal herself. They did it while she was awake.” He watched Celestia flinch, he saw anger in her eyes, for a moment they were bright, as blazing as the sun, and it brought Bucky comfort.

“Buckminster, you look unwell,” Celestia said, her voice flooded with concern.

“I’m having some trouble,” Bucky admitted, nodding his head, the corner of his eye spasming violently as he spoke.

“I give you my word that your rescue will be looked after and cared for,” Celestia promised. The big alicorn looked at the changeling. “Tourmaline is it?” she asked, smiling at the changeling. “Buckminster thought of a very pretty name… he is a very clever pony under pressure… Tourmaline, how would you like to come and live with my sister and I? We will make sure that nothing ever hurts you again. Truth be told, I am a very lonely pony.”

“You’re lonely?” Tourmaline asked. She slowly rose up on four wobbly legs, moving slowly, painfully, her movements causing the incisions in her sides to flex and pull. She took a cautious step towards Celestia, looked at Bucky for a moment, and then took another step.

“I am,” Celestia replied in a very soft voice. “I have so much love to give. And you seem very special,” the motherly alicorn said as she took a step towards Tourmaline. Celestia lowered her head down ever lower, her ears splayed out sideways, and the expression upon her face was hopeful.

Tourmaline was every bit as black as Celestia was white and they stood out in sharp contrast to one another. The changeling was small, so very small, and Celestia was large, so very large. They drew closer, looking at one another, until Celestia made a rather sudden movement, pushing her head forward and gently snoot-bumping the changeling.

Bucky could feel his heart beating in his throat.

“You are not so different than us,” Celestia said softly, studying the changeling foal. “I must confess, this the first time I’ve seen one of your kind in this state up close.” Celestia began to notice the same things that Bucky had noticed. The flat square teeth being the most noticeable thing that stood out in Celestia’s eyes. “Your face is so expressive, surprising given your nature.”

Tourmaline stepped forward and rubbed her cheek against Celestia’s, feeling the larger pony’s warmth against her shell. “You’re warm.”

“Are you cold?” Celestia asked.

“Yes,” Tourmaline answered.

Flexing her knees, Celestia lowered herself down to the deck and carefully pulled the changeling closer with her magic, pressing the black foal against her swanlike neck. Celestia closed her eyes and for a brief moment, she thought of Twilight Sparkle and the times she had held the unicorn, trying to soothe her when she missed her parents or the troubled unicorn was having a Twilight moment.

“What about Glass Slipper?” Bucky inquired, almost feeling guilty for saying anything, as though he was intruding upon a private moment. He had never seen Celestia behaving the way she was acting right now. The large white alicorn was crying silently, her barrel hitching, and Bucky could see her wings twitching.

“My sister and I have spoken at length. Glass Slipper is an exceptionally powerful focuser. We cannot send her back to the Crystal Empire. We want her closer to us and in a more secure location. Celestia and I both feel that Twilight Sparkle, as head of the Black Cloaks and the Bureau of Thaumaturgy, would make a suitable custodian for the foal,” Luna explained in reply, looking down at Bucky and then at her sister.

“They cut her open,” Celestia blurted out in a pained voice as she looked down at the changeling she was holding. “Luna, tell me you’ve never done anything like this.”

“Never on the living,” Luna said in a cold voice. “We took prisoners after the invasion. They were studied, but nothing cruel was done. They were mercifully executed first,” she added in a flat monotone.

Feeling overwhelmed, Bucky swallowed and licked his lips. He looked up at Luna. “If Twilight Sparkle disagrees or declines, you know I always have room for one more,” Bucky offered. Done speaking, he turned to look at Celestia, who was cradling the changeling in her forelegs. He wanted to say something, something meaningful, but he was at a loss for words.

“Well Buckminster, you have done well… you completely obliterated our enemies in Las Pegasus, destroyed a good quarter of the city, rescued the foalnapped crystal pony, and being the thoughtful and considerate pony that you are, brought back a stray for my sister to smother in motherly affection,” Luna said, looking at Bucky as she spoke.

“Hush Luna,” Celestia said, turning to glare at her sister. “She is sleepy.”

“She can sleep with you,” Luna said, turning her gaze upon her sister.

“She is not a bug Luna,” Celestia said in a harsh whisper.

“I was not going to say anything,” Luna retorted, raising her eyebrow at Celestia.

“But you were thinking it!” Celestia accused.

“Are you two really going to start fighting again?” Bucky asked, looking at one sister and then the other.

“No,” Luna said sullenly. “Besides, she started it.”

 

 

After being placed on the ground, Bucky watched as Luna flew away, returning to the airship. He nearly stumbled, exhausted, his mind weary. He looked around and saw a light on the kitchen window. Moving slowly, he climbed the steps, crossed the porch, and entered the house. The house was silent, all he heard was the crackle of the fireplace in the living room. As he stood in the entryway, his ears straining, he heard a sound in the kitchen.

“Bucky, in here.”

Breathing a sigh of relief, Bucky wobbled into the kitchen. He saw Derpy and Belisama sitting at the kitchen table. He walked to the table, pulled out a chair, and sat down wearily. A moment later, he felt Derpy kiss him on the cheek.

“You don’t look so good,” Derpy said in a soft voice.

“I had a rough night,” Bucky replied.

“My poor husband,” Belisama said, her beak clicking and her crest rising.

“Is the foal safe?” Derpy asked.

“Yes,” Bucky said. “Glass Slipper is safe.” He did not elaborate upon the other foal, now sworn to secrecy.

“Lots of property damage?” Derpy inquired, giving her husband a worried look.

“You’ll be reading about it in the papers,” Bucky grumbled as his head thumped down on the table. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly.

The grey mare shook her head. “You can’t seem to go anywhere without something just exploding,” Derpy stated.

“I know… tell me about it,” Bucky responded.

“Wait, you mean something actually exploded?” Belisama questioned.

“Apparently I’m responsible for detonating about one quarter of the city of Las Pegasus,” Bucky moaned. “I’m a very responsible pony… if something goes wrong, I’m responsible.”

Derpy, unable to help herself, tittered at her husband’s words. “Bucky, you have to stop going on business trips and blowing things up.”

“I know, right? Tell me about it,” Bucky agreed as he feebly lifted his head.

“Do you want anything?” Belisama asked.

“Yeah… actually,” Bucky responded, snatching the griffoness with his magic. He pulled her close, mindful of her broken leg, and gave her a squeeze, causing her to let out a panicked squeak. “You’re little and fluffy and huggable,” Bucky explained as he held her close.

Relaxing, Belisama allowed herself to be held and even wrapped her forelegs around Bucky’s neck. She felt Bucky’s right foreleg sliding under her backside to support her, she shivered, feeling him brush up against her sensitive places. She ran her talons through his mane and tried to be affectionate, not really knowing what to do.

“So nice to see you learning to trust, Belisama,” Derpy commented in a soft voice.

 

 

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