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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As Bucky stepped into the living room, the scent of blood was heavy in the air. He froze in place and closed his eyes. Blood had stopped bothering him quite some time ago, but this was different. He wasn’t sure he could face this. Standing there with his eyes closed, he heard Thistle scream once more.

“Bucky, I need your help.”

Opening his eyes, Bucky looked at Violet Velvet.

“Good… you’re with me. I need your help. We’re going to birth a foal.”

A rush of queasiness washed over Bucky. “What? No… we need to get Thistle to the hospital. We need to go to the hospital…”

“Bucky, don’t be stupid. She’s birthing now… and if you take her to the hospital they’re going to cut her open because she’s a strange species and they’re going to minimise complications. Do you want to see your pretty Thistle sliced open?”

Feeling his testicles shrivel, Bucky shook his head. Smashing a mare’s pelvis, slicing a mare open, for a moment, Bucky realised that the treatment of mares in hospitals was barbaric.

“I want to be in the lake! Don’t take me to the hospital!”

“No Thistle… we can’t help you if you are in the lake… Bucky, get her in the big tub,” Violet said, reaching out and prodding Bucky to get through to him.

Closing his eyes once more, Bucky focused, not an easy task. This was a crisis like any other, and crises were managed through force of will and control. Extending his will, he wrapped his mind around Thistle, cradling every inch of her, and then lifted Derpy as well, careful to support her hips. Bucky tried to force his knees to stop knocking; a loss of control now would be disasterous. Try as he might, he continued to tremble.

 

 

After setting Thistle down in the tub, Bucky threw himself in there with her. The kelpie was crying, sobbing, and sometimes screaming when the pain was too much. Bucky was only somewhat aware of the mob of ponies just outside the bathroom door, all of them looking in.

Berry Punch was getting Derpy comfortable on a cushion thrown on the bathroom floor.

“I can’t do this!”

Violet raised her eyebrow and gave Thistle a piercing harsh stare. “Why can’t you do this? I want you to tell me why. Speak, now.”

“I’m not like Bucky… or Derpy… I can’t deal with pain. I’m afraid of pain… pain scares me… scares me and I don’t like it,” Thistle replied as her tail started to thrash in the water.

“You’ve been in pain for months… now you have to endure just a little more pain and this will all be over,” Violet said, her voice softening a little.

Thistle bared her teeth, squeezed her eyes shut, and waited for a rush of pain to pass. She opened her eyes and looked at Violet. “You’re… you’re not a doctor.”

“I’m a midwife and I’ve birthed a shocking number of foals in my lifetime… now… deep breathing. Keep talking to me Thistle. Keep talking so Bucky can hear your voice and know that you’re okay.”

“I’m not okay! There is a foal ripping me open from the inside!”

Violet smiled, which most ponies found unpleasant. There was something off about her smile. “Feisty. Feisty is good. Anger is better than whining.”

“I’m not whining!” Thistle, unaware that she was in fact, whining, replied.

“Screaming is good. It requires a lot of air sucked into the lungs… deep breaths… and it clears the epiglottis… so keep shouting at me Thistle and tell me what sort of awful pony I am,” Violet said in a voice that seemed far too calm for the situation. “Bucky, how is it looking down there? I’m having trouble seeing from this angle.”

Reaching out with his magic, Bucky forced Thistle’s tail to be still. There was some blood in the water, some floating bits he could not identify. “Thistle’s vagina—”

“You can see inside of her?” Violet demanded.

Bucky winced. “Vulva… vulva, sorry… I don’t know what I’m doing here.” Thistle’s entrance looked like an angry red fissure. It was swollen and puffy looking. “It looks all red and kinda pushed outwards.”

“We have some time… Bucky, try to make Thistle feel better… tell her how pretty she is.”

Looking down at Thistle, Bucky took a good long look at her. Her eyes were bloodshot. Snot dribbled from one nostril. She was sweating or maybe just wet, Bucky could not tell. Her panting caused the snot to form a bubble which expanded and contracted with each breath.

“You’ve never been more beautiful…”

 

 

“I’m gonna be sick.”

Sentinel hoped that Dinky would not be sick. It would leave a mess on the carpet. Beside him, sitting on his other side, Piña was craning her head, trying to get a better look. “Dinky, there is nothing to even see yet,” Sentinel said, hoping to make his sister feel better.

“I can’t even see anything,” Piña said.

Sentinel felt Piña pulled away from him. He turned around and saw Sparkler. Piña was now sitting on Sparkler’s back. Sparkler was shaking, shaking like Sentinel had never seen her shake before.

When Thistle screamed once more, Sentinel gritted his teeth and pulled Dinky even closer. Foal birth was awful. There was no way that he wanted to put Diamond Tiara or Moonbow through this.

“I want my mama.”

Sentinel considered Dinky’s words. After a moment of thinking, Sentinel realised that he wanted his mother too. He gave Dinky a nudge, pushing her along, and made his way through the bathroom door. The tile floor was wet, treacherous, water was everywhere from Thistle’s thrashing. Staying out from underhoof was important. Shoving Dinky along every step of the way, Sentinel made his way to Derpy.

Dinky leapt up beside her mother, clambering up the cushion, and Sentinel followed after. Dinky buried her face into her mother’s side, unable to watch what was happening.

“I’m glad you’re here with me,” Derpy said in a low voice.

His mother’s voice was soothing. Sentinel, feeling very foalish, shoved his sister over a bit and pressed himself up against Derpy’s side. He didn’t feel grown up, he didn’t feel mature, he was terrified, he was frightened, and more than just about any other time he could think of, Sentinel wanted to be held, to be comforted, and told that it would be okay.

 

 

“How’s it looking down there?”

Bucky looked at Velvet. She was holding Thistle’s head now, stroking her, and reminding her to breathe when the worst of the waves of pain came along. Turning his head, Bucky looked down. He didn’t like what he was seeing. “She looks… I dunno… torn. All stretched out. The opening is bigger. There’s a little blood and some kind of liquid is dribbling out. There are little clots… little scab looking bits coming out into the water.”

“So far everything seems normal… good.”

Bucky looked around the bathroom. Derpy looked calm… Bucky envied her serenity. Berry Punch was standing near Violet Velvet, whispering something to Thistle. Bon Bon and Lyra stood in the doorway. Belisama was sitting on Bon Bon’s back. Dinky was hiding her face under her mother’s wing. Sentinel looked terrified.

This unnerved Bucky perhaps more than anything. Sentinel was the steadfast one.

In the doorway, the rest of the family stood, peering inwards, all of them trying to see.

“I can’t take this.” Shoving her way through the door, Loch Skimmer forced her way into the bathroom. She almost slipped on the wet tile, recovered her hoofing with a flap of her wings, and made her way to Berry Punch’s side. “I needed my mama… I ain’t ashamed to say it.” Pressing up against Berry Punch, Loch Skimmer heaved a fretful sigh.

“Still thinking about having a foal?” Bucky asked, looking Loch Skimmer in the eye.

Cringing, Loch Skimmer pressed up even tighter against Berry Punch. “Nope. I’m cured. Believe me when I say I’ve lost all interest.”

“What a pity… I wanted to be a grandfather…”

“Sorry… but all you’re getting from me this Hearth’s Warming is disappointment… and so is Rising Star for that matter,” Loch Skimmer said in a squeaky voice.

“I thought being a mother was going to be great… I wanted to fill the world… with kelpies… I’m having… second thoughts,” Panting, Thistle’s words came out in in between her bouts of laboured breathing. Thistle squeezed her eyes shut and tears rolled down her cheeks. “Other fillies… my age… Loch Skimmer’s age… are playing… are in school… are having fun… there was… a lot… that I… was wrong… about.”

Unable to stop herself, Thistle threw back her head and screamed.

“Those screams keep happening more and more… I don’t like this,” Loch Skimmer said as she stepped towards the tub. Lowering her head, she nosed Thistle’s cheek.

“The contractions are getting closer together. This foal is coming out and soon. Some mares can be in labour for hours… or even days. Thistle is going to be spared all of that prolonged agony,” Violet said in a calm voice.

“Contractions are the uterine muscle flexing. The contractions are so strong that it causes skeletal flexing and places stress upon the bones—”

“Piña, where do you learn this stuff?” Sparkler asked.

“School… books… Loch Skimmer’s biology textbook…”

“I feel like I gotta fart… and I can’t.” Thistle rolled around in the tub, unable to find any position that was comfortable. Her thrashing tail nearly knocked Bucky’s hooves out from beneath him. “It… feels… like… my… spine… is… being… crushed.”

 

 

“Something is happening… I can see Thistle clenching up down here… everything is quivering—”

A loud piercing scream cut Bucky off. He fell silent, waiting for it to pass. He felt sick with worry. There was a lot more blood now, and he wanted to believe Violet’s reassurances that this was normal, but the back of his mind kept creating nightmarish scenarios of Thistle bleeding out.

“Bucky, she’s not hemorrhaging. This is a slow steady trickle. This is perfectly normal. The placenta has detached from the uterine lining. There were a lot of blood vessels connecting the placenta to the uterine wall. Those are all breaking now as Thistle’s body prepares to give birth.”

“Everything is okay?” Bucky could hear it in his own voice. He was terrified.

“Things could not be going better—”

“SOMETHING IS PEEKING OUT!”

“Here we go then,” Violet replied, her voice as calm as ever.

“It’s gone… I just saw something and then it was sucked back in.” Shaking his head, Bucky tried to not let his confusion and fear get the best of him.

“She’ll be crowning soon. The foal is still being pushed into place. Once the foal’s little head starts to poke out and then stays poked out, that will be crowning. We’re close,” Violet said, explaining everything in her usual collected manner.

Thistle let out another ragged scream. Her voice was raspy now. Her eyes, when they were open, were glassy. Her tongue dangled out of her mouth as she panted. “Bucky?”

“Yes?”

“I’m having… crazy thoughts… I’m worried…”

“Thistle, just focus on breathing,” Violet said, patting Thistle on the neck.

“This isn’t… Bucky’s foal… I’m so scared…”

“Do I love Harper any less?” Bucky asked. “Or Sentinel?”

Thistle felt as though her insides were being ripped apart. She screamed, sucked in a ragged breath, and screamed again, her fears now forgotten.

“This is awful.” Loch Skimmer closed her eyes and pressed her face into Berry Punch’s neck. “So much blood and screaming.”

“This is life… it begins with blood and violence and if you are lucky it doesn’t end that way,” Violet said as she hooked her foreleg around Thistle’s foreleg.

“If I had stayed on the Shetlands, this could be me… this could be me…”

Stepping away from Berry Punch, Loch Skimmer gagged and then staggered into the wall. She felt her hooves slip out from beneath her, and, knowing that there would be no catching herself, Loch Skimmer gritted her teeth, preparing for the fall.

Which never happened. Opening her eyes, she felt the warm tingle of magic and saw that she was surrounded in a golden glow. Lyra had saved her. She heard sobbing and realised it was Ripple. Stumbling, feeling as though she would throw up at any second, Loch Skimmer wanted nothing more than to be with her sister.

A moment later, Ripple collided with Loch Skimmer and the two sisters held on to one another, both of them thinking the very same thoughts. Another mare from the Shetlands joined them, Bon Bon pushed her way into the tangle of pegasi, making her way into flapping wings and awkward clinging hugs while two pegasi were standing on three legs and trying not to fall.

Again, Thistle screamed as another painful spasm traveled through her body.

 

 

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