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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Bucky awoke with a feeling of panic. It was past dawn, the sun had come up, even though it could not be seen, and Bucky had slept far too long. There were things to do and foals to look after. Blinking his eyes open, Bucky took stock of his surroundings. Bodies had shifted in the night. Sandwiched between two mares, Bucky attempted to wiggle free so he could check on Cadance and attend to Harper. He hoped that Harper had not had an accident. It was the only clear thought in his half awake mind.

As he tried to pull himself free, Thistle growled. A savage horrible sounding sound, a terrifying sound, one that was misunderstood by the herbivorous sorts not in the know. Bucky growled back and Thistle quieted. The exchange, in its most simple form, was “I am sleeping, do not bump me” with the reply of “I will bump you… and you will like it.”

With effort, Bucky managed to get his front legs over the edge of the bed and he began to pull his backside free. A pair of legs wrapped around his middle and squeezed. More non verbal communication. “You are warm, do not leave me.” Grunting, Bucky wiggled himself, trying to make the grabby pegasus that was his mate let go.

In the dim light, Bucky realised that one mare was missing from the bed.

Bon Bon.

He hoped that she was looking after Harper and Cadance. With a wiggle of his hips, he communicated the necessity of getting free and hoped that the message would not be misunderstood as “wake up and let us make more foals.” The messages were similar and in a sleepy state, it would be easy to mistake one for the other. A simple hip wiggle could be misunderstood.

With his front hooves on the floorboards, Bucky pulled free. Not thinking of himself, not thinking of how his own bladder was in dire need of being emptied, Bucky limped off into the nursery to check on Harper and Cadance.

The crib was empty. Bucky felt a moment of panic. With a snort and a shake of his head, he cleared his mind, telling himself that Bon Bon had the foals and that everything was just fine.

 

 

His own needs looked after, Bucky made his way down the hall, towards the kitchen. He heard voices, laughter, and much to his relief, he heard Harper. He peeked into the living room, saw Bon Bon and Cadance laying by the fire, heaved a paternal sigh of relief, and then turned towards the kitchen.

There was quite a crowd in the kitchen for this time in the morning. Bucky stood in the archway looking around. Violet was in the kitchen, so was Helia. Coco was sitting on the bay window bench, looking very sleepy. Semillon was cooking. Harper was in her high chair. Sentinel, Piña, and Dinky were at the table, and Sentinel was feeding Harper.

Bucky felt confused. His foals were still being helpful. This was suspicious. He also noted that Diamond Tiara was missing from the table. His talons and his hooves clicking upon the floor, Bucky made his way to the table and had a seat.

“I was just telling Sentinel here how mares find stallions who are good with foals irresistible,” Helia said to Bucky as he eased himself into a wooden chair beside her.

When Bucky looked at Sentinel, the colt’s ears splayed out and Sentinel half smiled as he lifted the spoon he was holding between his thumb and wing joint. He was feeding Harper leftover bread pudding. There was a plump raisin stuck to Harper’s snoot and her face was covered in sticky.

“Is that true, father?” Sentinel asked.

Bucky was about to say something when a cup of coffee was set down in front of him. He leaned his head down and sniffed. Sentinel got another spoonful of food into Harper. Bucky smiled as he watched Harper chewing and dribbling food. He became aware that Piña was staring at him, perhaps waiting for some kind of answer. He looked at Dinky, thinking about the night before. Dinky was staring down at the table.

Looking around the table, he saw that both Helia and Violet were giving him meaningful looks. Bucky realised that something was up, some conversation had taken place perhaps, something had gone on that he had not been here for, but an important point had been made.

“I think that was the reason why Derpy and Berry fell in love with me. I was a hopeless mess of a pony and nothing special as far as stallions go… but I was good to their foals and other foals. It drove Derpy wild—”

“That’s all I needed to know,” Sentinel said, cutting in on his father’s words. “Harper likes bread pudding.”

“Of course she does, it’s sweet,” Piña said as she looked over at the stove with a hopeful expression. Piña rested her front hooves on the edge of the table and looked at Sentinel. “I don’t think I could eat anything sweet right now… not after yesterday… a bowl of oatmeal actually sounds pretty good.”

“Which is why Semillon is fixing oatmeal,” Violet said, nodding her head.

“With little bits of minced nuts like walnuts… mmm, crunchy bits.” Using the spoon, Sentinel scraped off some of the sticky from Harper’s chin and scooped off the raisin stuck to her snoot.

“Such a lovely time last night… so glad I came. Galaxy Guide and Shining Star are the best sorts of ponies,” Helia said in a low voice. “The non judgmental and really nice sort of ponies—”

Violet looked over at the pegasus. “Helia…”

Helia blinked. “Oh… sorry… right.”

“No, Helia… look,” Violet said, pointing over at the kitchen archway.

Peering into the kitchen were two little faces, both of whom looked a little afraid.

“We woke up hungry,” Brass Note said, stepping forward. The little unicorn colt stood protectively in front of his sister. “Mom and dad told us to come down. They want to sleep.”

“Well, don’t just stand there… come over here and sit down,” Violet said, gesturing at the table. “There is no point in being shy.”

Brass Note took the first few steps and Singsong trailed after him, her wings fluttering.

“Hi!” Piña’s voice was cheerful and chirpy. She watched as Brass Note and Singsong climbed up into chairs and sat down.

“Hello again,” Singsong said. The little pegasus was so small that she had trouble seeing over the table.

“I’m not shy,” Brass Note said, looking up at Violet.

Violet blinked and looked down at the unicorn colt. “You’re not shy?”

“No.” Brass Note shook his head.

A rare smile appeared on Violet’s face. “You seemed shy.”

“Not shy.” Brass Note’s voice was almost pouty now.

“You could have fooled me,” Violet said, reaching out her hoof and giving Brass Note a gentle nudge. “You looked very apprehensive standing in the entryway.”

“I like to be good mannered. Papa said it was important. Always wait until you are invited, always say please and thank you, and always leave a good impression,” Brass Note replied.

“Oh…” Violet turned and looked at Bucky, still smiling. “Well, I must say, you have left a good impression. Being well mannered is of the utmost importance. I shall have to tell your parents that they did a fine job and that you are a perfect gentlecolt.”

“Where is Sweetie Belle?” Bucky asked. “I didn’t see her when I tucked in Diamond Tiara, Dinky, and Piña last night.”

“She’s in the library,” Violet replied. “I found her in the library last night. She was curled up on the couch. I covered her up with a blanket and left her be.”

“What was she doing in there?” Bucky asked.

Violet glanced at Coco and then back at Bucky. “She was reading Blisterwick’s Guide to Practical Destruction—”

“Oh my goodness!” Coco gasped.

“Oh don’t worry, the dark magic spell books are all moved out of the library and the really dangerous ones are warded. Blisterwick’s Guide, while dangerous, is not a book about mass destruction… just practical offensive spells a unicorn can use to protect themselves,” Bucky said. One ear twitched. “I let Dinky read it all the time and she’s fine.”

“I would never use the spells in that book to hurt anything… unless I had to.” Dinky looked around the kitchen, first at her father, then at Violet, then at her siblings, until at last, she looked at Coco. “I’m the last little filly you would want to snatch and do bad things to. My daddy doesn’t have to worry about if I am safe. He taught me how to keep myself safe.”

“I still worry that you are safe,” Bucky said, listening to Coco’s heavy breathing and feeling a vague sense of worry.

“Sweetie Belle is accident prone… stuff happens—”

“Coco, forgive me for putting it so bluntly, but Sweetie Belle is accident prone because Rarity will not allow her to make mistakes and learn. Rarity is terrified of Sweetie making a mistake, or burning something, or shocking something, but these mistakes are necessary. I have Sweetie Belle as one of my students… she lags behind the rest of her classmates because she can’t practice magic at home and the worst part of this whole situation is, that filly has potential.” Feeling an immediate sense of regret, Bucky stared down into his cup of coffee and wished that he hadn’t said anything.

“Oh… oh dear…”

Coco’s soft voice was like sharp metal being scraped down a chalkboard to Bucky. He felt guilty for his outburst. Coco, who was soft and kind to everypony, and Bucky had just blurted out some harsh and critical words about the pony that Coco loved.

“I was worried about this sort of thing. I even tried to tell Rarity once. Rarity became very upset and I let the issue drop,” Coco said.

For whatever reason, Coco’s words made Bucky feel even worse. He wasn’t sure why. Perhaps it was because he was right, perhaps it was because she agreed with him, Bucky did not know. He slumped over the table and drank his coffee.

“Sweetie really wants to make her sister happy… she worries about it a lot,” Piña said to Coco.

“We shouldn’t be talking about Sweetie… she isn’t here to have her say in the issue.”

Lifting his eyes from his coffee cup, Bucky looked at Sentinel, feeling a sense of pride. “Well said, Sentinel.”

“I make mistakes. I thought it would make mama and papa not like me. I was afraid,” Brass Note said. He looked around. “Mama is very patient and she teaches me magic.”

“You’re silly,” Singsong said.

“I am not!” Brass Note looked at his adopted sibling.

“Are too… there is nothing you could do that would make mommy and daddy not love you. There is a rule… mamas and daddies have to love their foals and they can’t stop,” Singsong said.

For a moment, Bucky thought about his own mother. He shuddered.

“Show me this rule,” Brass Note demanded.

“It exists!” Singsong stuck her tongue out and blew a raspberry.

“Bucky, you break a lot of rules… it is kinda what you do for a living, do you ever break this rule?” Violet asked.

Bucky started to reply, but swallowed his own words when he saw Violet’s stony expression. There was no trace of a smile, no mirth, no sense of fun. Violet was back to her usual serious self, or so it seemed. Her eyes were narrowed and there was a wrinkle, a crease of concentration upon her brow.

“Bucky, I asked you a question. This is very important. Do not make me find a newspaper. Do you ever break this rule?”

Bucky flexed his talons, a nervous gesture. “No… I would never break this rule. A parent loves their foals, no matter what.”

Violet nodded. “See?”

“The rule is real?” Brass Note asked.

“Bucky works to track down ponies that break the basic rules that hold our great society together. There are some rules you don’t break. A parent must never stop loving their foals,” Violet replied.

“Mignon Croix loved his foal… well, Magnolia wasn’t his real foal, but he wanted to adopt her… Mignon found himself in a really tough spot where he had to pick between loving Magnolia and obeying the law. Obeying the law meant hurting Magnolia. Mignon chose to love his foal, even though it got him into a whole lot of trouble, and daddy had to go and sort everything out,” Piña said. She looked at Bucky and saw her father’s slack jawed expression. “What… Sentinel told me everything that happened.”

Brass Note peered at Bucky with wide curious eyes.

“I told you so… see, sisters are always right,” Singsong said.

 

 

 

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