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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Sprawled in a chair, Bucky held Cadance close, her head resting upon the crook of his neck. He patted her softly as she gurgled and babbled, trying to work loose the gas bubbles that were lurking in her body after she had fed. “I hope Thistle is okay,” he muttered in a low voice.

“She’s fine… probably miserable, but fine,” Derpy responded as she turned to look at Bucky. She smiled and felt her heart warm when she saw Bucky and Cadance together.

“The waiting is killing Trixie,” Trixie whined.

“They’re keeping her asleep so she doesn’t suffer,” Bartleby said, his beak clacking together from nervousness as he spoke. “She already looks so much better… look, she has her ear again… whole… they say the hair will grow back soon.”

“Feeling better Bucky?” Trixie asked as she looked over at the stallion holding the foal.

“A little… I guess… I feel bad about breaking my vow… but I don’t feel bad about killing that shiteheap,” Bucky admitted as he continued to pat Cadance upon the back just between her wings. “Come on baby… give daddy what he wants… please?”

“What an odd position to be in,” Bartleby commented as he gazed out the window.

“The vow was important… keeping my word… I gave my word not to ascend… it scares me that I might break that vow… Cadance here is depending on me keeping my word,” Bucky stammered as he tried to explain his thoughts and feelings. “I was bothered for a while that I had made a fellow equine suffer… but then I realised quite suddenly that I just couldn’t be bothered to give a damn about him or his life. Screw him… I’m glad he’s dead. I know he suffered… I made sure of that… over ten years on the hook all compressed into a few seconds… no… I am only bothered by breaking my vow… too much depends on me keeping my word.”

“All of that pain has made your dark magic potent,” Trixie murmured as she looked at Bucky, her eyes full of concern and worry. “Be careful… do be careful.”

“I know Trixie… I know,” Bucky whispered in a worried utterance.

Finally, Cadance belched out a hideous foul smelling burp and spit up all over Bucky.

“Aw, that’s my good girl… daddy loves you,” Bucky said as milk dribbled down his back and shoulder.

“I’m going to grab a towel,” Derpy said as she headed out the door.

 

 

“...and so class, the era of the noble houses had to end. We now are in the era of reconstruction… and one day, it will fall upon your shoulders to shape our shared future…”

“You look good in glasses,” Sentinel whispered in a very faint voice to Diamond Tiara, who was sitting beside him. “You look smart, and I like that… I like it a lot.”

“I look like a dweeb,” Diamond Tiara retorted in a hushed voice.

“...probably the single most important career for the reconstruction era will be politics… new policies will have to be made… new laws created…”

“You think I look smart? I didn’t look smart before?” Diamond Tiara whispered.

Oops! Too late, Sentinel learned an important lesson about the female mind in general.

“Um… no… I’m going to shut up now before I get into trouble,” Sentinel murmured fearfully as he slumped down into his chair.

“...and one of the most important aspects of politics is knowing what to say and when to say it, which is the point of this public speaking class… I’m very happy that the both of you decided to be quiet and pay attention… thank you very much Sentinel and Diamond Tiara…”

 

 

“Celestia hasn’t been back in a while,” Bucky remarked as he looked around the room.

“She had to go look after a few trivialities,” Luna replied as she settled into the bed where Bucky had been sleeping. She lay Erebus down beside her and then covered him up with a blanket. “How are you feeling?”

“Okay I guess,” Bucky answered.

“Your magic surges were most alarming,” Luna stated as he looked over at Bucky. “I am glad you are recovering. Having your apprentice, the very vessel where your knowledge is poured into, having them brought to harm is most traumatic…” Luna paused and her eyes narrowed. “... especially when you love her.”

Suddenly aware that every eye in the room was looking at him, Bucky began to stammer wordlessly as he tried to think of something to say. He blinked a few times and then his eye narrowed as he peered at those looking at him.

“You love her dearly as your friend. There is no shame in that,” Luna said in a soft voice. “But you worry that because she is female and nearly your own age that other ponies will get the wrong idea if you show her affection. I’ve seen your nightmares. You already have so many wives and you worry that ponies will think you seek another.”

“Well Luna, thanks for sharing this with everypony,” Bucky grumbled caustically.

“Now is the perfect time to share this. Let everypony know that you love her and how you actually feel about her. It is fine for you to have female friends… I don’t know if you have learned this lesson just yet my devoted apprentice,” Luna continued in an amused sounding voice.

“I love everypony and everybirdy in this room,” Bucky mumbled as he dropped his gaze down to look at Cadance.

“So where did Celestia go?” Trixie said, all to glad to try and change the subject before Luna started to discuss some other pony’s insecurities.

“Like I said, she had to go look after a few trivialities,” Luna responded.

 

 

Standing over two corpses, Princess Celestia looked upon them with a strangely calm expression. One unicorn, one pegasus, both of them had been staying on the upper east side of Canterlot and spying upon the whole city. Both were now very, very dead. The large white alicorn sighed serenely.

“I have saved you both from a terrible fate… you would have ended up in the nursery or Buckminster might have just killed you in some horrible fashion. You poor miserable souls. We would have let you live in peace with us if you would have just given us a chance,” Celestia said as she stared down at the corpses.

Reaching out with one gold shod hoof, Celestia prodded the dead unicorn. Nearby, a projected clone of Shining Armor stood watching, his expression disturbed. Seeing Shining Armor look at her in such an accusing way caused Celestia to feel some annoyance.

“What?” Princess Celestia said testily as she turned to look at Shining Armor.

“Majesty, it is strange to see you like this,” Shining Armor replied.

“Do you truly believe that I am incapable of defending my subjects?” Celestia snapped in near irritation. “I held back. It took a great deal of control, but I held back. I did not obliterate all of Canterlot around me. I only let them feel a tiny infinitesimal fraction of what I was capable of because I held back… do you believe that I was irresponsible?”

“No, not that your Majesty… just seeing you like this, in general,” Shining Armor answered carefully, his hesitant words coming out slowly. Ponies simply did not understand what Shining Armor understood all too well… the royal guard did not exist to protect Princess Celestia, the royal guard existed to protect ponies from Princess Celestia, to prevent her from using her magic in any sort of offensive manner, and sparing her the need to lash out.

“Something had to be done,” Celestia said as she began to restore her sense of calm. “I must hurry… there are a few trivialities to be dealt with in Vanhoover,” she stated as she teleported the two corpses off to a secret room in the bowels of Canterlot castle for study.

“Majesty, please… this is a bad idea… if you slip, if you make a mistake…”

 

 

“Hi Sunset,” Bartleby said in soft voice as Sunset groggily opened her eyes. The griffon was sitting on the edge of Sunset’s bed, and had been waiting since he had noticed her beginning to stir.

The unicorn let out a pained sounding murmur and squirmed in the bed.

“No no, hold still,” Bartleby urged in a gentle murmur.

“Trixie is here… we are all here,” Trixie announced as she moved closer to the bed.

A dry raspy cry came from Sunset and she feebly lifted one front hoof. Gently shushing her, Bartleby pressed her front leg down and then gently stroked Sunset’s cheek. Trixie helpfully poured some water into a cup and held it out to Bartleby, who took it in his talons and then held it up to Sunset Shimmer’s lips.

The unicorn drank slowly, the sounds of her swallows filling the now silent room.

“Sorry about the tube up your nose,” Bartleby whispered.

“I remember waking up like that,” Bucky whispered from his chair. “Sunset?”

“What happened?” Sunset wheezed in a pain filled raspy voice.

“You were hurt… Bucky saved you from the immediate danger and then many worked to save you from death,” Trixie explained in a gentle quiet voice. “Sweet little Tourmaline gave you back to us.”

“Everything hurts all over,” Sunset moaned. “I can’t see very well out of one eye.”

“The doctors were afraid of that after seeing your initial condition… they said you would be completely blind,” Derpy said in a soft voice as she moved beside Trixie to have a closer look at Sunset Shimmer.

“But you can see?” Bartleby asked.

“Light… dark… some blurry colour,” Sunset replied in a low groan.

Closing his eyes, Bartleby looked pained. “Hopefully, in time, more of it will come back.”

 

 

For a moment, Bucky worried about getting cavities as he looked at Cadance and Erebus, both of whom were in the bed with Luna, both of them sound asleep at the blue alicorn’s side. Rising silently from his chair, he took to his hooves and then carefully exited the room full of sleeping ponies. Sunset had slipped back into slumber, Bartleby was sleeping on her pillow next to her head, and Trixie was crammed into the bed with her. Derpy was sleeping in a chair, snorting fitfully. Luna was out cold, and against her other side Tourmaline snoozed.

He slipped from the room, through the door and into the hall, making no sound as he departed. The sun would set soon, it had been a long day, and Bucky felt his stomach rumble. He slunk down the hallway, his cloak draped over his body, and as he came around the corner, he nearly scared one of the nurses to death.

Beneath the black cloak, for just a moment, the nurse saw only bones. She quickly dismissed the visual oddity and blamed it upon her exhaustion. She stared at Bucky blankly, wondering why anypony would want to wear such a dreadful colour like black, and she said nothing as Bucky passed.

 

 

Standing in the hospital cafeteria, Bucky examined his options. There were vegetables that had been steamed into mush, rice, some lumpy potatoes, wrinkled baked potatoes, some kind of weird yellow gravy with a thick skin that had grown over the surface, a selection of soggy looking sandwiches wrapped in cellophane, some kind of brown gravy full of lumps, some hayburgers in crumbly buns, some oddly dehydrated jello topped with something that was certainly not whipped cream, and a collection of pie slices.

Filling his tray with pie slices, Bucky grumbled about the quality of hospital food as he moved down the serving line. As he scooted along, he came to a small freezer full of ice cream cups. Using his magic, he piled at least a dozen on his tray. When he drew near the cashier, she waved him along with a bored smile.

Carrying the tray in his magic, Bucky sat down at a table in a nice shadowy corner. He immediately ate a slice of pie, stuffing the whole slice into mouth. Bits of apple and sauce oozed out of his maw as he chewed, making a mess of his muzzle.

Very little remained of the unicorn that Bucky once was.

 

 

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