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 hospital was far too warm and the pungent chemical stink of disinfectant stung Bucky’s nostrils. Nervous, fearful, Bucky said very little and could not look away from Derpy for more than a few moments. Frazzled, Bucky wasn’t sure how much more his nerves could take.

At home, Thistle was going to explode almost any day now, there were some concerns if she was going to make it till Hearth’s Warming. Belisama was nesting, becoming more and more territorial. The little griffoness at some point had become a lioness trapped in a tiny body.

And then, there was Derpy and the current situation in the hospital.

The pain down in her pelvis had begun quite some time ago, but the grey mare had said nothing, not wishing to worry anypony or anybirdy. Derpy had been living with the pain in her pelvis that had grown daily, right up to the point where she could no longer bear it and could not even get out of bed this morning.

Angry, Bucky said nothing, his worry for his mate overriding his need to lecture her for not saying anything about her condition. The only thing he could think of was Derpy’s well being and the twins. Sitting in his chair, twitching in a fitful state, Bucky was beginning to get sick of waiting for the doctor.

Beside him, Berry Punch was just as restless. Across the small examination room, Sentinel was busy scratching something into his journal. The sound was somehow both annoying and soothing to Bucky. The scritchy scratchy sound of the pen on paper meant that all was right in the world, Sentinel was writing, which was Sentinel’s usual state of affairs, but the sound was also distracting.

“Sentinel, son, I don’t know why you had to come along with us,” Bucky said, feeling the need to say something, just to hear the sound of his own voice, and perhaps to vent a little. “It would have been better for you to stay at home. This has to be very boring for you.”

The pen, held in between Sentinel’s thumb and central wing knuckle, went still. Reaching up with his other wing, Sentinel adjusted his glasses, glasses that protected his eyes from the light but looked like regular corrective lenses. “I was worried about my mother. I don’t care about being bored. I couldn’t stay at home.”

And that’s my Sentinel, Bucky thought to himself. He heard Derpy whimper and saw her squirm on the examination bed. “Where is Doctor Wagoneer?”

“I dunno, I’m starting to worry, we’ve been here for over an hour after the initial examination. Maybe they’re doing lab work… they did draw blood,” Berry Punch replied, trying to reassure her husband.

“I can’t be in two places at once… I have one kelpie and one griffoness at home that I am very worried about,” Bucky said, his words little more than an irritated grumble.

“Thistle has the enormous indoor bathtub in the new bathroom so she’s happy and as comfortable as she can be… and Belisama is fine. Belisama has just been… a little moody, that’s all.” Berry Punch turned to look at her husband and then gave him a gentle pat with her hoof.

“Derpy, I know you’ve told me that you’ve been having a little bit of pain in your pelvis, but why didn’t you tell us just how bad it was?” Bucky asked, glad for Berry’s reassuring touch. “I’m scared out of my mind right now.”

Reaching out, Berry Punch turned Bucky’s head towards her, forcing him to look her in the eye. “Bucky, we all are. Now don’t scold her.”

“Then you scold her—”

“No Bucky, we don’t need that right now.”

Overcome with emotion, Bucky snorted. “You take every chance you can get to scold me if I’ve done something to screw up.”

“Bucky, not right now… just shut up about this. Trust me, I plan to let Derpy have it later once we know what is going on and all of this is over. But right now, she is miserable and I am miserable and you are miserable… and Sentinel is probably miserable as well and we don’t need to compound that and make it worse.”

Slumping down in his chair, Bucky nodded. “Of course, you are right. I’m sorry.”

“I’m not miserable,” Sentinel said in a low voice, unsure if he should be saying anything at all. He looked at his father, then at his mother, Berry, and then at his other mother, Derpy. “I’m worried and scared.”

The door was pushed open and three heads turned to look. Bucky took a deep breath, ready to let go of a long stream of frustration at the doctor. Or even a nurse if she came as the messenger. In the door was neither.

“Hello,” Sweetie Belle said as she pushed her way into the room. “I heard you were here. I’m here doing my volunteer time. Can I get you anything? We have comp… comp… comp… oh bother, we have free coffee that I could bring you.”

Swallowing his words, Bucky said nothing but offered the foal a smile. One of his brightest and most promising students. Sweetie showed signs of being gifted with magic.

“Nothing for me, thanks,” Berry said to Sweetie Belle.

“Hiya Sentinel… Diamond Tiara was just talking about you this morning at breakfast. She’s upset about the mistletoe incident,” Sweetie Belle said, looking up at Sentinel in his chair.

Sentinel’s pen clattered to the floor and Sweetie Belle was quick to pick it up in her magic. The filly held it up and offered it to him, giggling, it was clear she took pleasure in watching Sentinel squirm.

“What happened under the mistletoe?” Derpy asked, glad for a distraction.

“Nothing… nothing happened under the mistletoe, and this is why Diamond Tiara is upset. Sentinel took off—”

“There were too many other ponies around… all of them looking at us!” Sentinel said as he stuffed his journal and his pen into his bag.

Giggling, Sweetie Belle leaned closer to Sentinel. “It was a holiday party… of course there were other ponies around.”

“Sentinel, you just can’t stand up a filly like that,” Derpy said as she tried to get herself more comfortable upon the examination bed. “You probably really hurt her feelings.”

Slouching, Sentinel sighed, unable to look Derpy in the eye. His ears drooped and he set his bag upon the floor beside his chair. He gave one look to his father, a silent plea for help or at least some support.

Bucky was too busy looking at the clock upon the wall to notice.

“Diamond Tiara’s feelings are fine… but I gotta warn you Sentinel, she is plotting her revenge. I’ve read her diary—”

“You shouldn’t read that, that’s private, it’s a violation of trust!” Sentinel said, sitting up straight and looking at Sweetie Belle.

“She gave it to me and told me to read it on the page it was opened to for a laugh.”

“Oh…” Sentinel, looking defeated, slumped down in his chair once more. Making mental notes, Sentinel planned to write this down. Yet more evidence of the filly conspiracy. They were all in this together, a united front to bring misery and hardship to colts everywhere. The proof was everywhere.

“Good luck… I gotta be going. Today I’m going to sing for the recovery ward. All this snow and ice has caused a lot of ponies to fall down and break stuff… they need cheering up,” Sweetie Belle said.

 

 

“Ma’am?”

Bucky was about to deliver a tirade, a full blown rant when he saw the doctor, but Berry’s sharp poke into his ribs cut him off. He bit down on his lip instead, glared once at Berry, got a glare of equal intensity in return, and then he turned his attention upon Derpy.

“So what’s wrong? Are my foals okay?” Derpy asked in a raspy voice that sounded as though it was on the verge of tears.

“Ma’am, I’d like to start off by reassuring you that your foals are fine. Perfect health,” Doctor Wagoneer replied. He smiled a broad smile and his wings flapped against his sides.

“Then what’s wrong? Why am I hurting so much?” Derpy asked.

The doctor’s smile vanished and he became very serious. “We’ve been trying to figure that out all morning. Which is why we’ve had x-rays, blood work, and we’ve done all of these tests. Sorry getting the results have taken so long, but we have some answers.”

“Well, I for one would like to hear them,” Bucky said, feeling another painful stab in his ribs as he spoke. He ignored Berry, his eyes locked upon Derpy as his worry grew.

“A long time ago, according to your medical records, you had a symphysiotomy. There was a lot of damage done by this procedure. And it is the cause of your troubles now.” The doctor moved closer to the examination bed and leaned his head down close to Derpy. “There was lots of soft tissue damage. What you are feeling is some severe arthritis, aggravated by your condition. Those fat healthy foals of yours are putting a lot of pressure on your pelvis.”

“But I’m okay?” Derpy asked.

“Well, you are as well as can be expected, given the circumstances. This is only going to get worse as your pregnancy continues. I am afraid the pain will become quite unbearable. I am going to have to insist upon total bed rest—”

“But I have foals to look after… and a whole house to keep up with,” Derpy said, her voiced a now panicked whimper.

The doctor turned and looked at Sentinel. “Ma’am, if I may be so bold, might I suggest that you get your foals, the ones capable of doing so anyway, to wait upon you and look after your needs for once? This one right here looks capable.”

“I will do whatever is required of me,” Sentinel offered.

The doctor nodded. “Good on you… your mother is going to need your help.”

“But I don’t want to be stuck in the bed,” Derpy said in protest.

Berry Punch rubbed her stomach and fidgeted in her chair. “Is the cold weather making her condition worse? I mean, my uncle Barley has rheumatoid, the cold does awful things to him. Is there anything we can do to help her feel better?”

“The cold will make her condition worse… I’m going to give you an info packet… there are some exercises she will need to do on a daily basis that will help a little,” the doctor replied.

“What does this mean for my ability to have foals in the future?” Derpy asked.

The doctor froze, unprepared for the question. After a moment of not responding, one hind hoof tapped upon the tile floor, a light nervous tapping. “Ma’am, you’ll still be able to have foals, but I can’t recommend it. It is going to make your condition worse. The strain will only further damage the soft tissues. By the end of this pregnancy, this is going to feel unbearable.”

Bucky’s ears perked forward as Derpy made a hiccuping sound. He watched as her barrel hitched. He saw her eyes close. Her ears dropped, first one, then the other, and then her barrel hitched once more.

There was a clatter of hooves as Sentinel fell out of his chair, scrabbled across the tile floor, and then jumped upon onto the examination bed with his mother.

“I would carefully consider all future pregnancies. They will come at a price. Each one will be worse than the last… and as old age sets in, this could make it quite difficult to walk later. There are, of course, other complications from having pain in that area,” the doctor said. He watched as the grey mare squeezed the colt and he cleared his throat, trying to hold back his own growing emotional state. “This is the reason why we avoid performing symphysiotomies now. There are always complications later, trouble, it leaves behind lasting lingering damage.”

“Anything else, doctor?” Berry Punch asked.

“I’m going to schedule an appointment for you with an immunologist I know in Canterlot and she has an office here in Ponyville. Don’t worry, she makes house calls,” the doctor replied.

“Immunologist?” Confused, Bucky blinked.

“In certain cases of arthritis, seeing an immunologist can help, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Think of it as exploring all possible options to make your wife feel better, or at least ease her suffering a bit,” the doctor replied, offering an explanation to try and end Bucky’s confusion.

“So… I have one moody griffoness… one kelpie that almost lives in a bathtub… and now one pegasus that is bedridden… okay, I can handle this… somehow,” Bucky said and then he took a deep breath.

“I’m still in pretty good shape, we have Lyra and Bon Bon, and the doctor is right about one thing.” Berry Punch leaned over and looked Bucky in the eye.

“And that is?” Bucky asked.

“We have foals we can put to work. I know Dinky will help. Piña already helps out Thistle any way she can,” Berry replied.

“Looking after Harper and Cadance is a full time job for several ponies. They’ve become troublesome,” Bucky said, shaking his head. “I’m going to tell Luna that I’m no longer available for anything.”

“We’ll get through this the same way we get through everything else,” Berry said. “As a family. No need to panic just yet.”

“I am very sorry to have been the bearer of bad news. If I can, I’d like to talk to you a bit about the little things you can do that will make a difference. Things you can do that will keep Derpy comfortable and happy…”

 

 

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