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


513. 513

“Ach… tonight’ll be the chorus of the damned!”


“Don’t ‘Barley’ me… Luna, ye dinnae live here.” Barley’s eyebrow raised as he looked around the table. The old stallion leaned forward. “A house full o’ pregnant mares… and our beloved cook fixes a fine feast. Those funny little cabbages that ain’t half bad with cheese sauce… steamed broccoli and cauliflower… baked beans with molasses an’ brown sugar… candied carrots… baked sweet potatoes… if’n one little unicorn horn so much as sparks we’ll all be blown to Tartarus!”

Luna rolled her eyes and shook her head.

“I think Barley is right… Semillon is trying to kill us,” Bucky said. “A pregnant mare is like loaded cannon already, this is doubling the powder load and inviting a sneezy dragon to come help out.”

“Bucky… you are so dead.” Berry Punch waved her fork at her husband.

“Death by asphyxiation no less,” Bucky replied. His words caused a great deal of chortling from around the table and a few groans.

“I’ve set out to do what Bucky’s many enemies could not,” Semillon said from the other end of the table.

“See! She admits it!” Bucky banged his hoof on the table and laughed, watching as Barley slumped over in his chair guffawing.

Looking disgusted, Luna turned away from Barley and looked elsewhere. “Some ponies.”

Still laughing, Bucky looked over at Sentinel, who was sitting at the table with the adults. Sentinel had offered to help feed Harper, something that Bucky was rather surprised by. Sentinel was armed with a spoon pinched in between his grasping digit and his central wing knuckle. Sentinel was patient, the colt was calm, collected, and Harper was eating. As Bucky watched, Sentinel coaxed a spoonful of sweet potato in.

The table was crowded. There were far too many ponies and far too little space. Bucky realised that they were going to need a bigger table. And possibly a larger dining room. His ears perked as he listened, straining to hear the sounds coming from the kitchen. It was quiet in there. Perhaps too quiet.

Without warning, Bucky was wet. Startled, he looked around, hearing a great deal of giggling and laughter. He turned to look at Harper. Her cheeks were still puffed out and her lips were puckered.


Sentinel looked frantic. Amused, Bucky kept a straight face and looked Sentinel in the eye, hoping to draw this out a bit.

“Sorry… so sorry… I gave her a drink to so she could wash down the sweet potatoes and she just kind of—gah!”

Mid sentence, Harper squirted Sentinel, a stream of water shooting out from her pursed lips. There was more laughter from everypony but Sentinel. The colt was just sitting there in stunned shock, blinking, and dripping water.

“It seems she was still loaded,” Bucky said after he watched Harper swallow. Bucky watched as the foal smiled and the rest of the water in her mouth dribbled out, running down the front of her neck and her barrel. Leaning forward, Bucky grinned at his foal.

“I can’t believe she did that to me.” Sentinel set down the spoon he was holding and then wiped his face upon his foreleg. “She squirted me.”

“Every day she gets a little smarter. A little more personality. She’s becoming a pony.” Settling back in his chair, Bucky lifted up his glass and took a long drink of water himself. Bucky heard a clatter as Sentinel armed himself once more with a spoon and went back to work.

“Erebus remains a wee lump—”

“Barley, so help me, I will destroy you.” Luna emphasised her warning by leaning over and giving Barley a meaningful look.

“—who likes to nap, eat, nap, and occasionally fill a diaper.” Barley ignored Luna’s harsh glare and focused instead on Sentinel feeding Harper. “Ach… maybe  someday I’ll be a wee lump… what a horrible thought.” Barley’s face became downcast and he sighed.

Staring down at her plate, Berry Punch said, “Barley, don’t talk like that. I can’t deal with it right now. Or ever for that matter.”

“Aye, sorry lass… I’ll keep those thoughts to myself,” Barley replied.

“She gets an apology while I get nothing but sass… I fail to understand this family at times.” Luna looked at Berry Punch first and then at Barley.

“Berry is my wee little lass… Luna, you’re the mare I love. The sass is just my way o’ saying that I love ye,” Barley said, still looking downcast and staring at Harper. “Aye, look at wee Harper. She’s in the springtime of her life… I think I’ve hit my winter… and speakin’ o’ winter, I’m feeling it this year.”

There was a stretch of prolonged silence, the sort of silence where entire volumes could be spoken with one meaningful expression. Several such expressions were shared around the table. In the end, it was Harper who broke the silence with a happy gurgle.



The farmhouse library was dim, the only light was the burning fire. A record was playing, something with horns and woodwinds. Bucky stood in the doorway looking in. The room was empty, save for one occupant. This struck Bucky as being odd. He supposed that everypony and everybirdy was in the living room where the tree was.

“I think I ruined our meal…”

“Barley, don’t say that.” Bucky crossed the room and sat down.

“Luna left… she was upset. She denied it, but I could see it in her face.”

“Luna had to go. There is much to do in Canterlot and little Tourmaline was no doubt missing her,” Bucky said in a low patient voice. He saw Barley’s pained expression.

“Every day I get a little older and Luna stays forever young… I don’t understand what she sees in me… I used to know what I was doing with my life… now, now I’m not so sure. I’m happier than I’ve ever been… I have everything I’ve ever wanted. A home, family, family is more important than gold lad, never forget that… but for some reason I just feel so miserable right now,” Barley said.

Bucky did not know what to say.

“I ain’t never loved nopony like I do Luna… the idea that I’m going to hurt her kills me… it is the worst feeling in the world. I can feel it dragging me down.”

Knowing that his words would be useless, Bucky tried anyway. “Barley… it doesn’t matter how old you are… or how young. Either way, Luna would outlive you. Time is limited. For Luna, ten years or fifty years is just a blink of an eye, but those special moments in those years are what she’ll remember. Just make the most of what you have.”

“Aye… yer right… I wanna be alone lad… I need time to think.”

Bucky nodded. “Of course. But don’t be alone for too long. I’ll go away and leave you be.”



After searching the house, Bucky found Berry Punch, alone in the empty nursery with the lights off. Only the dim light of the hall illuminated the room. Saying nothing, Bucky crossed the room and climbed into the bowl shaped chair to be with her.

“I just needed a moment alone… to think,” Berry said.

Bucky nodded.

“You should be with the others.”

Leaning over, Bucky kissed the pony beside him on the cheek. She smelled of garlic and peppermint. “I worry about you… Derpy’s downed. Thistle is downed. Belisama is now asleep more than she is awake. You’re still up and moving around. You’re still functional. But I worry that you aren’t getting the attention you need.”

“Bucky, I told you, if I need attention, I know how to find it.”

Berry sounded irritated. Bucky took note of it. “Or you know how to wander off, hoping that I will find you.”

“Don’t be a presumptuous arse,” Berry said, turning her head away from Bucky as she did so. “Look, I’m having a moment. I know that usually I’m the solid rock around here. I’m the solid sturdy one. Bon Bon and I both. I’m having a bit of trouble carrying my own load… and I came back here for a quiet little break.”

Pressing his snoot against Berry, Bucky inhaled, taking in her scent. He felt her shiver. Opening his mouth, Bucky took in a bit of Berry Punch’s mane and gave a tug. He was rewarded with a nicker. Letting go, he rolled over on his side and kicked out his legs. He felt Berry sprawl out beside him and felt the weight of her head come to rest upon his neck.

“Maybe I did need a little attention.”

Bucky grinned but said nothing, knowing full well it would only cause trouble.

“I’m missing the rest of my family. I don’t know why… they’ve done nothing to contact me. I know they’re alive because I’ve checked up on them. After mom and dad both died, we all sort of drifted apart. There was bad words between us… ugly words. Barley is getting older… and family just doesn’t seem to be what it once was. Between what Barley said earlier and knowing that Hearth’s Warming is in just a few days, I’m feeling kinda gloomy.”

“Anything I can do to help?” Bucky asked.

“Just sit here with me for a while…”



Entering the nursery, Lyra hit the light switch. She heard a grunt and groan, which startled her. Moving towards the crib, Lyra looked at the two ponies spooning in the bowl shaped chair. Lyra smiled and hoped that she wasn’t interrupting anything.

“Two little foals have had a bath and are now all dried and ready for bed,” Lyra said. “And they smell so good. Why do freshly bathed foals smell so good?”

There was a crackle as Bucky stretched. He tried to get out of the chair, but two strong forelegs pulled him back. He fell down with a grunt. He watched as Lyra placed Harper and Cadance in the crib. Harper was yawning and Cadance was already asleep.

“Night night,” Harper said as she gave a little wave.

The foal yawned once more as Lyra covered her with a blanket. Lowering the rail, Lyra then leaned in and gave each foal a kiss goodnight. With a soft click, Lyra raised the rail and locked it back in place.

“We wore you out… we won… you’re going to go right to sleep for mama,” Lyra said in a sing-song voice to Harper.

“She must be tuckered out. What happened?” Berry asked.

“Loch Skimmer tickled little Harper to death with her wings and now little Harper is too tired to stay awake,” Lyra replied. “Little Harpy Narpy had the hiccups.”

“Harpy Narpy?” Bucky asked, giving Lyra a puzzled look.

“Yes… little Harpy Narpy,” Lyra replied in a foalish voice. She stepped away from the crib, smiling a victorious smile. “Bedtime was super easy tonight.”

“Almost too easy,” Berry Punch said. “The Empress usually demands cuddles.”

“The Empress had cuddles. Dinky and Piña hugged her and squeezed her and kissed on her until it was bathtime… Cadance fell asleep in the tub.” Lyra took another step away from the crib, eyeing it, hoping for a clean getaway. “Bon Bon says that something is up with our foals… Sentinel offered to feed Harpy Narpy… Dinky and Piña played with Cadance… Bonnie thinks the foals might be hoping for extra presents for Hearth’s Warming.”

“That makes sense,” Berry Punch replied. “The help is nice but things will return back to the usual after the holidays.”

“Helpful foals are a pleasant holiday surprise.” Reaching out with his magic, Bucky tugged Lyra closer to the chair and then pulled her in with him. Lyra smelled of peppermint, garlic, and brandy.

“Bucky, what are you doing?”

“Why, cuddling you of course. I thought that was obvious.”

“I was going to leave so you and Berry could go back to spooning.”

“Nope. Berry and I have decided to keep you. Now be quiet Lyra, so the foals can sleep.”

Unable to help herself, Lyra giggled, a brandy fueled giggle.

Ripple came bounding through the door, her eyes were wide, and she was panting with nervousness as she burst into the nursery. The flustered filly took a deep breath and bounced in place.

“Thistle just made a huge mess in the living room! She’s moaning at lot and Violet Velvet says she’s having her foal… like right now!” Ripple reported.

The bowl shaped chair almost fell over as three ponies scrambled to escape it’s comfy confines. Lyra tripped and fell over, no longer giggling, and she rolled out of the way so she wouldn’t get stepped on. Berry Punch sprung free and with surprising grace, she landed, catlike, and then trotted away as Bucky was still getting to his hooves.

A long blood curdling scream filled the house…




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