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 whole house was filled with frantic activity as everypony and everybirdy tried to take care of last moment needs. There were diaper bags to pack, a large pregnant kelpie to look after, foals to wrangle, and a train to catch.

Tomorrow was going to be the first day of winter and the entire family was going to take a train to Canterlot. Also on schedule was a photography session, something that Bucky was not looking forward to.

Taking a deep breath, Bucky shouted, “Hurry up you lot! Butter Bean and Lima Bean are outside waiting! The train departs in an hour! Now get in that wagon!”

“I can’t find my glasses!”

“Has anypony seen Sentinel’s new glasses?” Derpy asked.

Berry Punch’s voice was loud and clear over the chaos. “I put them in the diaper bag because I knew Sentinel would try to forget them.”

“I wasn’t trying to forget them,” Sentinel said.

“Piña, you don’t have to carry all of your school books with you! Take a break!”

“Lyra! I need to get good grades!”

“Your grades are almost perfect!”

“But I want to keep them that way!”

“Where is Harper and Cadance?” Bon Bon asked.

Closing his eyes, Bucky took a deep breath. The family was only going to get bigger… the thought pained him. Family trips were going to become more and more chaotic.

Derpy’s voice cut through the cacophony. “Cadance and Harper are both in their foal carriers. Bittersweet has Harper and Bucky has Cadance.”

“Oh,” Bon Bon said from back in the nursery.

“I’m going to put Thistle in the wagon,” Lyra announced.

“I don’t want to go in the wagon!”

“Thistle, you can’t walk, and we need to get you to Canterlot.”

“Derpy, I don’t want to go to Canterlot!”

“The whole family must have their picture taken. Plus, we need to be there with Bucky when he welcomes the winter,” Derpy said.

“I don’t want my picture taken—”

“Hush Bucky, I don’t want to hear it. Luna made me promise to get you to Canterlot.”

“You’re killing me Derpy. Thistle, how about you and I go and hide on the bottom of the lake together?” Bucky asked.

“That sounds lovely Bucky—”

“Nope! No escape!”

“Derpy… you’re no fun anymore.”

“You are such a foal sometimes Bucky.”

“Help me! I am being abducted by Lyra Heartstrings!”

“I have you now! You are in my evil clutches my delightful little kelpie!”

“Help help! Sentinel, help me!”

“My family is weird.”

“Why can’t Lugus, Yew, and Peekaboo join us in the picture?” Piña asked as she came into the living room and watched as Thistle was being levitated out.

Bucky scowled. “Because they aren’t actually part of our family.”

“Sure they are.” Piña sat down upon the floor and stuck her lower lip out in a pout.

Sitting down next to Piña, Bucky summoned his patience. “They are part of our family and part of our tribe in our eyes, but others do not share our views.”

“Sentinel is adopted but he is part of our family. Why can’t we just adopt Lugus, Yew, and Peekaboo?” Piña asked.

Taking a deep breath, Bucky thought about Piña’s question for a moment. He didn’t have a good answer. Piña had somehow stumped him with tricky foal-logic. “Piña, love, you have brought up a very good point. I don’t know.”

“Where is Loch Skimmer?” Sparkler asked.

Berry Punch looked around. “For that matter, where is Rising Star?”

“You two better be behaving yourselves! Now is not a good time to scratch the itch!”

“Derpy, I have an itch… could you help me?”

“Shush Bucky!”

“But it itches…”

“Bucky, so help me—”

“Just remember that I love you.”

Derpy fell silent and gave her mate a stern one eyed stare to communicate her feelings.

“Look, I was just helping Loch Skimmer put her scarf on, honest,” Rising Star said as he came down the stairs.

Loch Skimmer, following Rising Star, smiled as she joined the mob standing around the entryway. “It’s cold outside.”

“I’m shocked. For once, you two were actually behaving yourselves,” Derpy said.

“Why is it that wearing a scarf around your neck makes your head feel warm?” Dinky asked, speaking in a loud voice to be heard over all of the hubbub.

Loch Skimmer looked down at Dinky “You have blood vessels in your neck that are close to the surface. They help to cool you off when you are too warm. In cold weather, you lose a lot of body heat from that area. Wrapping a scarf around your neck keeps the blood warm as it travels up to your head, and because of that, you feel warmer.”

Dinky looked stunned. “Loch Skimmer, how did you know this?”

Smiling, Loch Skimmer replied, “I paid attention in biology class.”

Berry Punch stood near the front door. “Okay, let’s move. Belisama, where are you?”

“In the living room,” Belisama answered.

“Okay, foals go in the wagon with Thistle. Bucky, you’re going in the wagon with Bittersweet. Thistle and the foals will need you,” Derpy said.

Bon Bon emerged from the hall leading to the back bedrooms and the nursery. “We have a train to catch. I want all of you on your best behaviour. And I’m not just talking about you foals. Bucky, I am watching you. Any stunts like running away and hiding… and I will be the one hunting you down.”

“I’ll behave,” Bucky said as he rolled his eyes.

Beside him, Piña giggled and looked up at her father.

“Do we have the blanket for in the wagon?” Berry asked.

“I put it in the wagon,” Derpy replied.

Bon Bon cast one final warning glance at Bucky. “Good, then we are off.”

 

 

“I can’t believe we almost forgot Barley,” Berry said as she boarded the train.

Looking around, Berry Punch checked out the well appointed car. Princess Twilight Sparkle and her family were already on board and settled in for the trip. Glass Slipper was sharing a chair with her father, Flash Sentry. Scootaloo was reading a book and Spike had his snoot in a comic book. Rainbow Dash was watching Bucky’s family as they boarded.

Much to Berry Punch’s relief, Thistle was already made as comfortable as she could be in a large bowl shaped chair. Moving though the chaos, Berry Punch made her way to Thistle’s side, snoot bumped her, and then climbed into the bowl shaped chair with her.

Glass Slipper’s good behaviour ended when she saw Bucky. Berry Punch watched as the foal tossed her book aside and then took off in what appeared to be a green blur. In a moment, Glass Slipper was hanging from Bucky’s neck and her shrill squeals filled the train car.

Leaning into Thistle, Berry Punch felt her heart warm.

 

 

Dinky found herself sandwiched between Ripple and Sparkler on a large overstuffed couch. They were not in the main car with the others, but in a lounge car with round windows. It was quiet and the only other occupant of the car was Barley, who was off in the other corner by himself, spending a quiet moment drinking and staring out one of the windows.

“Been thinking about our talk?” Sparkler asked.

Nodding, Dinky thought about what to say but the words would not come.

“You know Dinky, I started off the same way. I started thinking that some of the fillies around me were kind of pretty,” Ripple said in a low voice.

Shuddering, Dinky thought about the isles. She knew just enough to know that Ripple had been in a bad spot. Dinky realised that, by comparison, she had it easy. Ripple had been born in a place that didn’t care about what she was, how she felt, and the sort of pony that she was on the inside. Dinky was thankful that Ripple had been rescued.

Trying to get Dinky’s attention, Sparkler nosed the little unicorn. “You’ve been kinda quiet lately little sister.”

Taking a deep breath, Dinky prepared herself. “I keep thinking there is something wrong with me… Sparky, you like colts and fillies. My mothers like one another. I feel bad… like I am doing something wrong because I don’t like both.”

Lowering her head, Ripple kissed Dinky on the cheek. “You are just now figuring all of this out. Don’t be so hard on yourself. There is nothing wrong with how you feel. You don’t have to like fillies and colts. You don’t have to like fillies or colts. In fact, you don’t have to like either. There are those who do not feel attracted to anypony in particular.”

“Why does this have to be so confusing?” Dinky asked.

Barley looked over at the three fillies. “Aye, wee Dinky, life is confusing. Doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable. The trick is to think about it without thinking about it too much. Over-thinking everything will make a real mess o’ things.”

“Easy for you to say uncle Barley… you have everything figured out,” Dinky said.

Raising an eyebrow, Barley looked straight at Dinky. “Do I now?”

Feeling curious, Dinky wondered what Barley was up to. “You don’t?”

“Let me tell you something about me, wee lass… I’m a try-sexual—”

Unable to help herself, Ripple snorted and then just had to say something. “What?”

Taking a deep breath and remembering to be patient, Barley offered up his winning smile. “Just hear me out. I’m a try-sexual. I’ve left myself open to trying almost anything. In my long life, I’ve known a lot of love. Before you ask, yes, I was with a stallion once. It wasn’t my thing, but it was his thing. He was a dear friend. I’ve tried out all sorts of kink. Ropes, whips, bits and bridles, I have made it a point to try everything life has to offer me at least once. I even shagged me a diamond dog. She was nice. She was lonely. We had us a few drinks. For a time, she was the love of me life. And then, she moved on and so did I. I dinnae regret the time I had with her, even if we both took a lot of trouble for it. What I am trying to say is, leave yerself open to new experiences even if you aren’t sure if you will like them.”

“Wow Barley… I had no idea,” Sparkler said.

“Ripple, me pretty lass… you might be a lesbian, but you might enjoy a little fling with Rising Star some day. It isn’t about sexuality or what you are attracted to, it is about closeness and feeling a connection with the one you love. Now, I ain’t saying you have to go off and shag him, and if you really feel dead set against it you shouldn’t, but I am saying you should keep an open mind about the experience if it ever presents itself.” When he was done speaking, Barley finished off his snifter full of whiskey and set his glass down upon the small table beside him.

“You were with a stallion?” Ripple asked. She blinked. “Why? I mean, I don’t understand.”

“He was a dear friend of mine. He had a terrible crush on me. He knew that I didn’t swing that way. But I loved him dearly… aye, he was very dear to me.” Barley turned to look out the window. “I was still wandering at that point... I wanted him to remember me well… I had to go though, I had me a case of wanderlust. So I drank a lot of whiskey and I gave him the best memory that I could offer.”

Sparkler, unable to help herself, stared at Barley open mouthed.

“None of my experiences has left me any less a stallion,” Barley said as he turned his gaze back to the three fillies. “Dinky, just slow down and let life happen. Think about it, take it all in, but don’t think too much about it or you’ll miss out on a whole lot.”

Ripple felt Dinky squirming beside her and she leaned over to squish Dinky a little more. “Barley, I had no idea.”

“I had no idea either… ya just kinda let love happen… ya let life happen and you will never know where it’ll take you. I’ve had my share of great loves, lousy loves, and one night stands. Now though, I’ve met the love of me life… I didn’t think I’d ever love somepony as much as I do Luna. I’d like to think that she is my reward for being so open minded and jumping at all of life’s little opportunities,” Barley said.

Dinky, grateful for the advice, smiled at her uncle. “I suppose I have a lot to think about.”

 

 

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