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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Already, the snow began to accumulate. Celestia had made a cryptic comment that a few hours of snowfall were needed to get enough snow for the festivities, and then she had departed, leaving Bucky to wonder what those festivities were.

His memories of long ago seemed lacking.

Some ponies played in the falling snow, others took shelter under canopies set up for the festival. Under the canopies were braziers with blazing fires for warmth. Overall, the mood was festive and most ponies, young and old alike, were playing in the snow.

Looking back on everything that had happened in the span of less than a year, Bucky did not know how he felt about this moment, this point he had reached in his life. He looked over at Derpy, the pony that he had bumped into. The grey mare was playing with Harper and Lyra; Harper was enthralled by the snow.

The band played a tune that Bucky did not recognise. Ponies were dancing as a blanket of white settled over the castle and the surrounding city of Canterlot.

There was something else about the celebration, something that Bucky took notice of. Tribal intermingling. There were a fair numbers of ponies here from Ponyville, but there were other ponies here as well. All in all, the gathered masses seemed to be behaving themselves, being sociable, chatting, dancing, and having a nice time with one another. Social class seemed to have been forgotten. One of Canterlot’s orphanariums were in attendance and the foals were getting a chance to meet prospective parents.

There had been a time not all that long ago that the poor would not have been welcomed.

He had played his part, his own role in all of this change had been considerable. But Bucky knew there was one whose own role in all of this change was far greater and in his own mind, of far more importance.

Bucky’s gaze fell upon Twilight Sparkle, who was dancing with her friends. Dancing as though nopony was looking. Bucky was the catalyst, he understood this, he was the agent that forced change to happen. Twilight would be making sure that the changes transitioned into long term gain long after Bucky was dead and gone. It was Twilight that was preparing the world for long term peace. It was Twilight that was cleaning up the many messes that Bucky had left behind.

Each of them had a role to play.

“Bucky, you look like you are a million miles away.”

Startled, Bucky turned to look at Berry Punch. She hadn’t been there a moment ago. Bucky hadn’t noticed anypony around him for a time, so lost he had been in his thoughts. Berry Punch looked happy, she had a merry twinkle in her eye.

“Care to talk about it?” Berry asked as she settled in on the pile of cushions where Bucky had been hanging out and watching others have fun. She took a deep breath, held it for a moment, eased herself down upon her side, and then let out her breath slowly.

“Derpy is afraid our marriage is cooling off and I don’t know how to fix this,” Bucky replied.

Berry Punch nodded. “I know. She’s told me.”

“But you didn’t tell me.” Bucky watched as Berry Punch made herself comfortable. He eased himself from a sitting position to being sprawled out on his side to be nearer to the earth pony he so loved.

“I wanted to tell you, but Derpy figured you were stressed out enough and she didn’t want to worry you,” Berry Punch replied. She wiggled and flopped closer to Bucky and then rested her head upon his side. His shaggy pelt was warm even in the cold air.

Using his magic, Bucky pulled Berry a little closer, glad to have her with him. “So how do I fix this? I don’t know what to do. Or is this normal? Is this just what happens in a marriage?”

Sighing, Berry Punch snuggled against Bucky, now rubbing her neck against his ribs. She watched the falling snow, marveling at how it somehow muffled the sounds around her. The band was muted, the sounds of celebration seemed far away. “Bucky, sometimes, things do cool off… but I don’t think that’s happening here. You and Derpy… both of you… both of you are introverts. Both of you can be alone in a crowd. Here we are, having a celebration… and here you are, off by yourself, all alone, watching everypony else have fun.”

Bucky nodded.

“And Derpy, Derpy is off with the ponies she knows, rather than meeting new ponies. She has her social interactions, but they are limited—”

“Derpy didn’t seem so introverted when she ran me down,” Bucky said, interrupting without meaning to, the words just slipping out of his mouth.

Laughing, Berry Punch closed her eyes and rubbed her face against Bucky’s side. There was something in his pelt, a soapy smell, something almost spicy smelling. For a moment, Berry was lost in the moment and then she came around, her clarity restored. “Bucky, that was desperation. She was lonesome… introverts can and do get lonesome.” Berry Punch took a deep breath. “Anyway, Bucky, the point is, Derpy isn’t going to go out of her way to let you know she’s feeling lonesome most of the time because she doesn’t want to stress you out or worry you. She’s an introvert and you’re an introvert and she’s going to quietly sit and wait for you to make your move and you are going to quietly sit and wait for her to make her move and both of you are going to sit around and wait for the other and nothing is ever going to happen. Derpy is insecure, she’s worried that she’s not attractive right now, she’s worried that things are cooling off, and she’s afraid that she’s finally got what she wanted. Stability and routine.”

“Oh.” Bucky’s single word came out a gasp.

“So you are probably wondering… how do you fix this?” Berry asked. She felt Bucky’s ribs rise and fall, his breathing was slow and steady. “Poor Derpy… stability and routine, something she always wanted, is not living up to her expectations. The quiet peaceful boring life has become entirely too boring and peaceful.”

“Why do things have to be so complicated? Of course I want to know how to fix this,” Bucky replied as he watched a snowflake come drifting down near him, making its way beneath the canopy above. “If I give her more attention though, I’m worried that I’ll make the rest of you jealous.”

“Bucky, we knew going into this that it wasn’t going to be easy. We chose this. This is a rough patch, that’s all. We move forward and we figure out our balance. It’s easier for me. If I want attention, I find somepony or even somebirdy and then I talk their ear off. When I want you, I come and I find you. In case you’re wondering, I’m a happy mare and I’m not having issues with our marriage.”

Turning his head around to look at Berry, Bucky’s eyes narrowed. “But you are having issues. The dreams… this guilt you keep experiencing—”

“My issues are personal and I’m trying to sort them out. Really though, I’m perfectly happy with our marriage. My concerns are for others. Thistle feels increasingly isolated and Derpy has some issues. Belisama… Belisama has some of her own concerns but she talks to me and she talks to Lyra. Nothing you need to worry about though. She’s still trying to find her place with us and she worries that she doesn’t do enough to contribute,” Berry said, cutting Bucky off before he could get into her problems in detail, something she didn’t feel like getting into at the moment.

“Belisama confuses me.” Bucky paused and waited for his admission to sink in. “I don’t understand her. She can be so servile… so eager to please. So submissive. She is infuriating sometimes with how she acts… but that other times she is so assertive, so aggressive, so blunt and straightforward. I wish there was some consistency.”

“She’s a lot like you.”

Berry’s words hung in the air much in the same way as the drifting snowflakes, and for a brief moment, Bucky felt a hot surge of anger welling up inside of him. He bit back an angry retort, his jaw clenching for a moment, and then gave thought to Berry’s words, knowing she wouldn’t have said something like that if it wasn’t true.

“You are so submissive. So passive. So eager to please, Bucky. You gladly became the whipping colt of the universe. You sit back and you watch the world go by. You let everything have its way with you. You wait things out with your stoic resignation and much like any slave, you willingly take all of the abuse that is being heaped upon you, usually without complaint.” Reaching up with one foreleg, she rubbed Bucky’s neck with her fetlock. “Right up to the point where you decide that you are sick of the universe’s shite and then you lash out. Rampant destruction happens and everypony gets a scary reminder that being submissive is your choice… everypony fears what might happen if your submissive streak were to vanish and no doubt Celestia and Luna both have plans on what to do should that ever happen.” Berry’s foreleg fell and came to rest upon Bucky’s foreleg.

Bucky did not know how to reply.

“Inside of little tiny Belisama is a giant Lugus sized sense of murderous rage. She’s passive and submissive because it keeps the rage suffocated, like a fire not getting air. She remains passive and submissive because she doesn’t know what else to do or how else to be. She also has a fine sense of stoic resignation, which is why the two of you get along so well. Make no mistake Bucky, she’s sick of the universe’s shite as well. She’s done losing those she loves. I daresay that if things were to go bad all of a sudden, she’d be quite the little killer. I’ve heard stories about what she’s capable of.”

“Maybe you’re right,” Bucky said, not knowing what else to say.

“Back to the more pressing issue… I’ve already spoken with the rest of our herd. Spend a little extra time with Derpy if you can. She has physical and emotional needs that can only be satisfied by you and not our other herdmates.” Beneath her ear, Berry Punch could hear Bucky’s heart beating. “Moments like these leave me content… but don’t get me wrong, I have other needs too… needs that you are very good at looking after I must say.”

“You know Berry… I wouldn’t be assertive at all if it hadn’t been for you and Derpy—”

“I don’t believe that for a second,” Berry said, smiling as she cut Bucky off mid-sentence.

“No, really, hear me out… both of you taught me how to stand up for myself… and more importantly, it was the two of you that gave me a reason to stand up… you gave me something to fight for. Something to live for. You both gave me a reason to be a better pony. Without the two of you… I might still be an accountant, being alone—”

“And you would have never realised your potential as the alicorn of war I suppose.”

Bucky pondered Berry’s interruption and found it to be true. His moment of true potential had been profound. “It was Dinky actually,” Bucky said, blurting out what was on his mind. “I was so in love with both of you, even if I didn’t know how to express it. When Dinky cast the ‘want it need it’ spell that day, I wanted to keep Dinky and Piña safe because I knew how much they meant to the both of you. In hindsight…” Bucky’s words trailed off, his train of thought ran out of track as he did not know how to express what he was feeling. He looked at Berry, his eyes pleading for an insight on a feeling he did not know how to express. “I was so wrapped up in myself… and then you two came along… and Dinky and Piña.”

“Hindsight being what it is, was it worth it Bucky? And so help me, if you go into one of your long dramatic pauses and if you have to think about the answer, so help me, I’ll screw you right in half in front of all of these ponies. I need to know that I was worth it.”

“So… I submissively give an answer or I resist with silence and a dramatic pause,” Bucky replied, knowing full well he was playing a dangerous game. He felt a moment of relief when he heard Berry Punch chuckle. He saw her blink slowly, her eyelashes clinging to one another when her eyes closed. “It’s been worth every moment. I was not a happy pony with how I was, even though I had convinced myself that I was content. Even the very worst of moments, our worst days together have been better than my best days when I was alone.”

“That’s saying something Bucky… we’ve been in some pretty dark moments,” Berry replied. She lifted her head from Bucky’s side and looked Bucky in the eye. “You know, you should tell Derpy that. She’s not one for a lot of words, but I think she’d be happy to hear that.”

“You know Berry, I don’t know what I’d do without you. You made all this possible. You brought Derpy and I together, you helped me find myself… and now, you keep all of us together. I don’t know how you do it, but what we are is kept alive because of you…”

 

 

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