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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Landing in Canterlot, Twilight Sparkle shook the thin layer of ice off of her wings. She had been flying at the top of the sky, where the air was thin, and she could achieve the highest rate of speed. Normally, most pegasi were incapable of flying up there; only the alicorns and the lunar pegasi flew at that altitude regularly. Some of the lunar pegasi could even go where there was no air at all, holding their breath for minutes at a time while hurtling effortlessly through the near void.

Twilight had been learning all of the tricks she could about flight from a variety of instructors, Rainbow Dash being the first and foremost among them. Rainbow Dash’s experience placed her at the forefront of any flight discussion, the lithe blue pegasus was second only to alicorns, and she had achieved her wealth of experience during her short mortal life, which Twilight Sparkle felt was quite impressive.

A mortal life that Twilight Sparkle found more precious than just about anything she could think of. Right now, she wanted to be at home and in the middle of two warm and affectionate pegasi, she wanted comfort after what she had found in the Crystal Empire, but there was business to take care of and potentially a new family member to pick up on the way home. Cadance had insisted on giving the crystal pony foal a chance and Twilight had promised to do so.

 

 

Still sitting on the sofa, Derpy continued to hold a now quieted Diamond Tiara. She still hadn’t managed to get the foal to say much of anything, other than she hurt all over. She hummed softly, it seemed to help, and she stroked the back of the foal’s neck with her fetlock, gently smoothing out Diamond Tiara’s mane.

On the floor, on a blanket spread over the floorboards, Harper and Peekaboo played quietly, both of them occasionally looking up at Derpy and Diamond Tiara, both little faces filled with worry, the foals were unusually subdued and quiet.

Bittersweet sat nearby, quiet, her eyes focused upon the foals, her soft ears partially lifted away from her head, and she too occasionally looked up at Diamond Tiara and Derpy, her eyes both sad and filled with understanding. She understood what it was like to cry and be full of hurt.

Bucky, lying sphinx-like on the sofa, let out a small soft sigh and tried  to ease his worried heart. “I’m sure your father will be here soon. I’m glad you felt safe enough to come to us. Do you want a drink of water?”

Still clinging to Derpy, Diamond Tiara made no reply.

 

 

Celestia’s chambers were… different. There was a smaller bed not too far from her own and at the foot of the bed was a small toy box. There was another bookshelf, this one filled with foal’s books. The floor was also a bit of a mess and in the middle of it all, there was a large white alicorn and two much smaller by comparison foals.

Twilight Sparkle recalled fondly the time she had spent with Celestia as a foal, pressed up against Celestia’s side, under her wing, or beside her at her private desk as Celestia performed her tasks.

“Tourmaline, say hello. Twilight Sparkle can know your secret,” Celestia said in a soft voice, looking up at Twilight.

Looking at Celestia, Twilight Sparkle saw the most peculiar look upon the alicorn’s face, one she had never seen before, she had no idea what it was, but Celestia seemed happy, as though some great weight had been lifted off of her shoulders.

The small jet black foal with a soft pastel pink mane shimmered for a moment and then became something else. Something small, black, and insectoid. There was a tiny horn and two tiny nubs of what appeared to be wings in an early stage of growth.

Twilight Sparkle shivered.

“Bucky was right, they’re not so different from us,” Celestia mused, smiling a serene smile, her eyes wide and gentle. “She is a delightful foal, after all of the horrible abuse she has endured, she is so loving and kind.”

“Hi,” Tourmaline greeted, standing at Twilight Sparkle’s front hooves.

“Hello,” Twilight Sparkle responded, feeling a curious sensation when she looked down at the foal. “You’re kinda cute,” she said, being completely honest.

“Thank you,” Tourmaline replied, still looking up at Twilight.

“I have promised Tourmaline play dates with Glass Slipper, I hope you do not mind,” Celestia said, her teeth visible as she spoke, her smile a beam of sunshine. “Glass Slipper is having a rough time at this moment. It’s been difficult for her.”

“I could imagine,” Twilight said, her voice full of genuine concern. “Losing your entire family like that. I’m so sorry.”

“Bucky rescued us. He’s nice. He looks scary but he’s nice,” Tourmaline said, her tone foalishly insistent. “He named me and hugged me.”

“Yes… Bucky loves foals,” Twilight Sparkle said as she watched Tourmaline shimmer and warp, becoming a small jet black filly with a soft pink mane again. Her bright green glasses had spotless glass lenses.

“Glass Slipper is sad. I hope you’ll be nice to her,” Tourmaline said, looking hopeful.

Nodding, Twilight Sparkle slowly approached Celestia and Glass slipper, carefully stepping over Tourmaline. She drew near with her head down, studying the small green foal that was pressed up against Celestia’s side.

“Would you like to come home with me? I have a little baby dragon and an adorable little pegasus foal of my own. I’m certain we can make room for you too… Flash Sentry likes foals and Rainbow Dash is very nice… too nice actually, she lets Scootaloo and Spike eat junk food rather than a proper meal,” Twilight said in a soft voice, her brows raised in concern.

“They’re all gone,” Glass Slipper said in a sad voice.

“I know… I was in your home earlier, working as part of the investigation. I saw everything,” Twilight Sparkle replied, her expression darkening. She said nothing about seeing the bodies of Glass Slipper’s parents and family, the sheer brutality of the assault, or how most of the family’s scattered body parts were still being sorted though. Twilight Sparkle knew she was going to have nightmares from this, and the next time there was this sort of investigation, she planned to pass it along to Bucky, who didn’t seem to be bothered by horrific stuff like mutilated and exploded bodies. “I know we’re not your family, and I can’t replace what you’ve lost, but you could be happy with us I think.”

“Will I get to see Tourmaline?” Glass Slipper asked, her purple eyes sad.

“Of course… I think it is important to have friends. I’m the Princess of Friendship,” Twilight Sparkle said, blurting out the only thing she could think of. “Plus, you could see Bucky. He’s not too far away.”

“I’d like that,” Glass Slipper said, looking hopeful. “He rescued me and took me away from the bad ponies. I’d like to thank him.”

“I think that’d be a good thing, Bucky needs friends too,” Twilight Sparkle stated. She turned her gaze from Glass Slipper to Celestia. “We need to talk. Hopefully somewhere away from foals. I have a lot to tell you and some of it is troubling.”

 

 

Filthy Rich moved through the front door, breathless, worried, terrified in a way that only a parent can be. Behind him, Yew Wood the one eyed pegasus was carefully folding her wings and sorting herself out. She had flown him from Ponyville, a terrifying experience, and Filthy Rich never wanted his hooves to be separated from the earth ever again.

He made his way through the front door, stood in the entryway, turned towards the living room, and then, he saw her. Diamond Tiara was being held by Derpy Hooves, a mare that Filthy Rich had once believed was the most amazing single mother. He stepped into the living room, feeling relieved. She seemed okay.

“Diamond… Doctor Derby sent word. I couldn’t find you… I thought you went home, I was worried… I was so scared,” Filthy Rich said in a pained voice.

“This is your fault,” Diamond Tiara said in a strangled voice, the first clear words she had spoken in a while.

“My fault?’ Filthy Rich questioned, his expression quizzical and his tone one of confusion. He stepped forward hoping there would be some sort of explanation.

“This is your fault. You made me like this,” Diamond Tiara murmured, burying her face into Derpy’s neck and wrapping her forelegs tighter around the grey mare.

“I don’t understand,” Filthy Rich responded, shaking his head, a strange pain creeping through his heart, which currently felt as though it was shriveling.

“Doctor Derby had to try and break all of the conditioning you did. You made me hate. You filled my head with garbage about lazy pegasi and condescending unicorns. You came home and you told me how much you hated the world and everything that was wrong with it. You made me hate everything… THIS IS YOUR FAULT!” Diamond Tiara explained, her final words a shriek.

“I made mistakes,” Filthy Rich admitted, now frozen in place. “I’m sorry… I’m trying to make up for those.”

“I’m still broken. And now there is no way to be fixed,” Diamond Tiara said in a low chilly voice, refusing to look at her father.

“I’m sorry-”

“GET OUT! I NEVER WANT TO SEE YOU AGAIN!” Diamond Tiara wailed and began crying again, great heaving sobs that wracked her body and caused her to convulse in Derpy’s embrace.

Rising silently, Bucky slowly approached Filthy Rich and gently nudged the stallion along, moving him out of the living room. The pair walked into the kitchen, where Semillon was still cooking. Bucky looked at Filthy Rich and waited patiently.

“I don’t know what to do,” Filthy Rich said, shaking his head.

“She’ll come around,” Bucky stated, his expression troubled.

“Can you… can you look after her for a while? Until she calms down and is willing to talk?” Filthy Rich inquired, his tone pleading and heartbroken.

“Of course,” Bucky responded. “You need not ask. I told you, my door is always open to the both of you.”

“I’ve made so many mistakes… so many mistakes. I’ve always wondered when they would come back to haunt me. I keep making mistakes… this has been a horrible day. I’ve lost Diamond Tiara… I’ve had nothing but rejection today,” Filthy Rich mumbled, a look of mental anguish settling over his features.

“What happened?” Bucky asked.

“Nothing important… not when compared to Diamond Tiara… I love her Buckminster, I really do… and I know I am to blame for her condition… I did make her the way she is… I said awful things. Even about you… I did this,” Filthy Rich said, staggering towards the kitchen table. He fell into a chair and his head thudded into the table a moment later.

“Things happen,” Bucky said knowingly. “This will get smoothed over.”

“Doctor Derby was the only behaviour specialist in Ponyville. I don’t know how to fix this… His colt, Steeplechase, has caused all manner of problems. The colt has behaviour issues… Doctor Derby was quite upset… he told me a little bit about what happened, the colt is troubled, I feel bad for him now that I know… funny how learning about somepony can change your perceptions and feelings about them. I thought Steeplechase was the way he was because of bad parenting… like I am the one to talk… or because he was just a rotten colt… but Steeplechase… he had bad things happen to him and I feel terrible for passing judgment on something I knew nothing about,” Filthy Rich stammered, his words halting and slow.

“Don’t tell me,” Bucky said, looking at Filthy Rich. “Whatever was said was between you and Doctor Derby.”

“It was bad Bucky… I threw up on the doctor’s floor. It actually made me ill. You always hear about something making you sick when you hear it, but this actually made me sick. On top of everything else that happened today. This has been a terrible day,” Filthy Rich whimpered.

There was a faint pop and a bottle of blue gin appeared on the table, along with two small glasses. A moment later, ice cubes popped into existence, and Bucky pulled the cap off of the bottle of gin. He poured some into one glass, then the other, and then he sat down, lifted one glass, and took a sip.

Lifting his head, and then grabbing a glass, Filthy Rich downed it in one go. He then sat crunching on the ice cubes, his expression miserable, broken, and defeated. His ears still heard Diamond Tiara sobbing, and he felt the pain unique to fathers, knowing there was nothing he could do to make her hurt go away.

 

 

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