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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“Maybe I could use my magic to trick her.”

Sentinel shook his head and raised his eyebrow at Dinky. “No.”

“No?” Dinky gave her brother a puzzled look, unable to figure out why Sentinel would say no about her idea. “What do you mean, no?”

“Harper has to be able to trust us. You’re her big sister. She has to know that she can trust you,” Sentinel said as he eyed the spoon that Dinky was holding in a field of purple magic.

“Piña, I have an idea. Make a funny face,” Dinky said to Piña.

“Why me? Why should I make a funny face?” Piña asked.

Dinky shrugged. “You’re already funny looking you silly earth pony.”

“Screwhead.” Piña narrowed her eyes at Dinky. She stuck out her tongue and blew a raspberry at her sister, a loud, long, and wet sounding raspberry.

As Harper began to giggle, Sentinel set down his coffee cup. “Keep doing that.”

“Okay, fine.” Piña stuck out her tongue and waggled her ears, which caused Harper to start laughing. She watched as Dinky snuck a spoonful of eggs into Harper’s mouth.

The foal stopped laughing. She sat there, in her high chair, with the spoon sticking out of her mouth. Harper’s eyes crossed as she tried to look down her muzzle at the protruding spoon.

There was a tense moment as Sentinel, Dinky, and Piña all wondered if Harper would spit the eggs out. Sentinel lifted up his mug and took a drink of coffee.

“Gotcha,” Dinky said as she pulled the spoon out with a wet sounding pop.

Chewing, Harper uncrossed her eyes and looked at Dinky. She swallowed and then banged her hooves upon the tray table. “More?”

Lifting another spoonful, Dinky said, “I can do that.”

 

 

Dinky was just getting the last few bites of biscuit into Harper when Helia came into the kitchen. Sentinel watched as the pregnant pegasus eased herself into a chair and being the polite little colt that he was, he offered Helia a pleasant smile.

“Having a nice time?” Piña asked. “Sorry about all of the screaming and yelling last night.”

Helia’s cheeks puffed out as she drew in a deep breath and held it for a moment. It took a moment to get into a comfortable position in the wooden chair. She turned to look at Piña. “All of that hubub was perfectly understandable. I’ll be screaming and yelling come spring.”

“But won’t you go to the hospital? Get drugs to stop the pain?” Sentinel asked.

Noting the colt’s confused look, Helia wondered where to begin, and if such an adult conversation was even appropriate. She looked around the table. Sentinel looked confused. Dinky looked baffled. Piña looked curious. Harper was covered in biscuit crumbs and jam.

“I’ll have tea out in a moment, or would you like coffee?” Semillon stood by the stove, cooking more eggs.

“Coffee would be lovely,” Helia replied as she wondered how to answer the foals.

“Cheerilee told us that during birth mares are made to sleep or to almost be asleep now so they don’t have to suffer,” Piña said.

“Yes, but there is a problem with that.” Helia resigned herself to talking about it as a cup of coffee was set down in front of her. She poured in a little milk and a spoonful of sugar.

“There is?” Piña asked.

“The problem is, you are asleep. Or so doped up you don’t know what is going on. So you miss out on welcoming your new little foal into the world,” Helia replied.

Piña slumped down in her chair. “Oh.”

“Come spring, I plan to endure natural foal birth. Violet is going to help me. She’s teaching me how to breathe. How to handle pain. How to endure. Foal birth is like a battle… and I plan to win.” Helia leaned over and looked at Sentinel. “What pegasus would turn away from a worthy fight or run away from battle?”

“So you want to be in pain?” Dinky’s ears splayed out sideways and Dinky’s head tilted off to one side. “Thistle was screaming like she was being killed or eaten alive by some gross monster. It was awful.”

“Thistle wasn’t prepared for the birthing. I’m learning how to fight and win.” Helia reached down with one foreleg and rubbed her rounded stomach. “I want to be there to welcome my foal into the world.”

“So you don’t want to be asleep?” Dinky asked.

Realising that she was in this for the long haul, and that she was dealing with smart, capable foals, Helia decided to be open. “It is more than just sleep… they’re still perfecting the procedure, but when it goes just right, not only do you not feel pain, but you don’t remember the birth. They consider this a triumph of medicine. When a mare starts to go into labour, they dope her up with morphine and scopolamine. The mare drifts away and the foal comes out while she is off in dreamland.” Helia’s muzzle scrunched. “Before this, there was chloroform and there was strapping a mare down to a bed.”

“You know a lot about this stuff,” Sentinel said as he studied the pregnant pegasus.

“Violet and I talk about it a lot. I’ve been reading a lot of books. Violet sees it as mare empowerment… to triumph over the pain and make it your own.” Helia wondered how much of what she was saying the foals understood.

“Berry Punch is a feminist and she’s all about mare empowerment,” Piña said.

“I know… Berry Punch and I talk a good deal if we get the chance to sit down and spend time with one another,” Helia replied, looking at Piña. “Do you understand what feminism is?”

Put on the spot, Piña sat up straight and cleared her throat. “A little. I try to understand. I know that my sister Berry Punch says that we are living a feminist ideal and that this family embodies everything she believes in. I don’t understand most of what she talks about though.”

“Berry Punch is happy because she is free to raise her foals as she sees fit without anypony telling her what to do. She is free to be a mother without interference,” Helia said, trying to explain to Piña something that was complex, but trying to put it into terms that Piña might understand. She knew that Piña was smart, but Helia also knew that this was tricky even for adults.

Semillon approached the table and set down several plates, each of them loaded with eggs, biscuits, and leftover beans. She took one look at Harper, who was covered in crumbs as well as sticky jam, rolled her eyes, and then walked away, shaking her head.

“Do you think Violet could teach me midwife stuff?” Piña asked.

“I don’t know, you would have to ask her,” Helia replied. “She’ll be down for breakfast in a while, she was tired and needed a little extra sleep.”

 

 

Trembling, almost overcome with emotion, Bucky stared at Bell Heather. The kelpie foal was in equine form and diapered. She had no mane, she had no tail. He supposed those would grow in later. She was little, smaller in her equine form, her long tail was now two little hind legs. The foal was also pudgy, far chubbier than Harper was when Harper had been born. Bell Heather had chubby little cheeks and a soft rounded little body that was well padded.

Grimacing, Thistle waited for the agonising cramp to pass. She rubbed her stomach and looked at Bucky. He was laying on his stomach, his head was down upon the bed, his snoot was a scant inch away from her foal. She could see his ears twitching, his nostrils were flaring, and all of his attention was focused on Bell Heather.

“You okay?”

The look of concern on Derpy’s face made Thistle feel emotional and she didn’t know why. Tears flooded her eyes and she felt them running down her cheeks a moment later. “I’m fine… just a cramp. Why am I crying?”

“New mommy hormones,” Berry Punch replied. “I hate to be insensitive, but I’m starving. Sorry, but I am about to abandon you all so I can have breakfast. The twins demand food and they’ve made me constipated to hold me hostage, the little creeps.”

“That sounds bad,” Bon Bon said, looking up at Berry Punch.

“I can’t even break wind I’m so stopped up,” Berry Punch replied.

“Oooooh Bell was a little creep too… she made me miserable!” Thistle looked at her foal, felt a flood of emotion, and then started to sob, unable to hold her feelings in.

Sliding out of the bed, Berry Punch shook her head. “Mommy hormones. This is what I have to look forward to.” She stretched, kicking out each leg in turn, and then cracked her neck to get the kinks out. “Come on Bucky… I know you’re having a proud papa moment, but you need to eat too.”

The only reply from Bucky was a grunt.

Watching Thistle sob, Derpy felt a case of the sniffles coming on. The sniffles turned into a tight feeling in her barrel, and then she felt her eyes begin to water. She threw both forelegs around Thistle and began to sob as well.

Berry Punch had not escaped in time. She stood, watching both Derpy and Thistle, and as she stood there, she could feel her own emotions welling up inside of her, overpowering her, and manifesting in the form of hot stinging tears that seeped from the corners of her eyes.

“Damnit, I don’t feel like crying,” Berry said, her feeling of frustration made her want to cry even more. She crawled back into the bed and collapsed on top of Bucky, ignoring his grunts, squeaks, and the crackling sound coming from his spine. She buried her face into Bucky’s mane and began to sob, unable to hold it in any longer.

 

 

Having escaped from the dungeon of seething mommy hormones, Bucky made his way down the hall. He wondered how Sentinel, Dinky, and Piña were doing. He could hear talking coming from the kitchen. He could smell coffee, tea, and the smell of breakfast.

He saw Violet coming down the stairs. Bucky stopped and waited for her. He smiled. As one of her front hooves landed upon the hallway floor, he took a step closer. “Violet, I wanted to thank you… you were wonderful.”

“I was just doing my job. I like delivering foals.” Violet, who had all four hooves on the hallway’s wooden floor gave Bucky a rare warm smile.

“Well, there is that too, but I was talking about something else,” Bucky said. He saw Violet’s brow furrow and her smile vanished. He took note of her quizzical expression.

“Yes?” Violet asked. She leaned forward, wondering what Bucky meant.

“I wanted to thank you for setting all of my teenage fillies straight… something tells me that each and every one of them is going to settle down, get serious about their school work, and be a lot more careful about what they do… you’ve given me the best gift a father could ask for.”

Violet scowled and shook her head. “Bucky… there are times… I just… I just don’t know how to deal with you. I don’t know what to say.”

Unconcerned about Violet’s reprimand, Bucky smiled at his assistant. “So why midwifery? I mean, why did you study it? I was laying in bed last night thinking about it for a while.”

“I like foals. I think I told you this,” Violet replied, her lips pressing into a straight line after she spoke.

“So have you thought about having some?” Bucky asked. He blinked, realising how it might sound, and backed a step away. “I, uh, ooh… I was careless there. I didn’t mean anything by that.”

“Bucky…”

“Yes Violet? You’re not going to hit me with a newspaper, are you?”

“I’m going to leave that option open for now Bucky… Bucky… I don’t like letting personal details get in the way of our professional relationship, but I’m barren. I can’t have foals. When I was little, I had a fever, I was sick, and it left me sterile.”

“Oh… oh dear… I am sorry… so sorry…”

“Don’t be sorry. And don’t tell me that you’re sorry about saying sorry… or I will get the newspaper.”

“You know Violet… I kinda have a lot of foals on the way… enough that I could share. You’re always welcome… if you help bring them into the world, you should stick around and see how they turn out.”

“Bucky, that is quite possibly the nicest thing anypony has ever done for me. Thank you.” Violet stretched out her neck and kissed Bucky on the cheek.

“Happy Hearth’s Warming, Violet…”

 

 

 

 

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