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 snow is starting to pick up again… I’m worried. Do you think he’s still in Ponyville or do you think he’s heading home?” Bon Bon asked Lyra as they both stared out the window living room window together.

Lyra shrugged and could not figure out why Bon Bon was worried. “You know Bonnie, if Bucky wanted to, he could teleport himself, the sleigh, and his golems home. He’d need lots of food and some rest afterwards, but he’d be fine.”

“And fresh milk.” Bon Bon’s voice was low and her words were meant to only be heard by Lyra. “Not that I mind.”

On the floor, sleeping on a thick quilt, Cadance’s wings fluttered for a moment. The foal gurgled, kicked a leg, and then grunted, but did not wake up. One ear twitched and then, still sleeping, Cadance muttered, “Shiny.”

“I wonder where Harper is,” Lyra said, saying something because there was nothing better to do. There was no shop to run, no business to look after, no books to balance, there was nothing to do but be lazy. Lyra yawned.

“Yew and Lugus have her. They took her upstairs with them,” Barley replied from his chair. The old stallion stretched out one hind leg, the joints crackling, and he whimpered, a wordless sound of pain. After taking a moment to collect himself, Barley looked over at the two mares. “Sentinel is in his hidey hole. Probably needs some alone time after all off this hullabaloo. That and his sweetheart is gone. Dinky and Piña went upstairs to practice magic. Thistle took my sweet little kelpie foal away from me and she headed off to the big bathtub ye have back there. I dinnae have any idea what the rest of the house is doing.”

“The house is quiet. Too quiet.” Bon Bon wasn’t sure she liked how quiet the house was. “What are our big foals doing? You know, the ones that think they’re all grown up but are really just big babies…”

“Cleaning, methinks,” Barley replied.

“I made the mistake of going into their room about a week ago,” Lyra said. Her lip curled back in revulsion at the memory. “You walk in that room and it stinks like somepony has been screwing in there.”

“Lyra!” Bon Bon turned her head and looked at the unicorn beside her.

“You could probably use those sheets as armor plating on an airship.” Barley closed his eyes and stretched out his other hind leg. There was a loud -pop!- and a grinding sound.

“Yeeeugh! Barley!” Bon Bon, shuddering, shook her head.

“Ah… to be young again… to be carefree an full of life… to be so in love that you don’t mind sleeping in the wet spot—”

“Ugh, Barley, really,” Bon Bon said in protest.

“—and old age hasn’t had its way with you cause when you are old, you look at the wet spot and think to yourself, ‘self, that wet spot is going to be damp and chilly.’ And this is what the both of you have to look forward to when ye pretty mares get old like me.”

“Barley, I just don’t know what to say.” Lyra looked into the fire, watched the logs burning for a moment, and then looked at Barley. “So I am guessing that Luna sleeps in the wet spot?”

“Lyra!” Bon Bon, reaching her limits, scowled to let Lyra know this had gone too far.

“No ye empty headed numpty! We change the sheets. Well, usually Luna changes the sheets. Ye dinnae ask a bloody princess to sleep in the wet spot ye big daft booger brain!” Opening his eyes, Barley looked at Lyra as he scolded her in a teasing way.

“I give up. This whole family seems to have an allergy with decorum, good taste, and sensibility,” Bon Bon said, her ears drooping down in defeat. “When Cadance grows up and becomes the princess she was meant to be, she’ll be running around the Crystal Empire singing frog song, blowing butt trumpets, and saying the sorts of things that make the high society ponies faint.”

“And what’s wrong with that?” Barley asked as one eyebrow raised.

“The way I see things…” Lyra allowed herself a dramatic pause and she saw Bon Bon roll her eyes. “We’re doing Cadance a favour. At least for the rest of her impossibly long life, she’ll be interesting and a lot of fun.”

 

 

Stretching out her tail, Thistle had enough room to get comfortable in the big tub. The deepest part of the tub allowed her to float and give her aching body a rest. In the water with her, Bell Heather swam, now free of her diaper and four legs. On land, she was helpless, but in the water, she was free to move unhindered.

Left alone in the quiet, Thistle thought about everything that had happened. The long pregnancy that seemed to stretch on forever. The birth. And the past few days. Thistle thought of Bucky and how he had been there for her. She thought about how attentive he was as a father. Her worries about Bucky mistreating Bell because she was not his own, they now seemed silly or maybe even insulting to Bucky. The birth seemed blurry, a jumbled recollection of thoughts. Thistle was having a hard time remembering it all.

Thistle, so distracted by her thoughts, did not feel two little lips latch on to a teat and begin to suckle.

Unable to help herself, Thistle began to think of having her next foal. She had a responsibility to keep going. Unknown to herself, Thistle’s lips curled into a scowl. She did not want to go through another year of pregnancy. Another year of miserable suffering. Just thinking about it made Thistle want to cry. She wanted to be out and about with other ponies. She wanted to run on four legs. She wanted to play. She wanted to go to the spa with Shining Star, Sparkler, Loch Skimmer, Bittersweet, and Ripple. She wanted to see a play. She wanted to explore Ponyville, see Canterlot, and do exciting things.

Torn between her sense of duty to her species and her need to have a bit of fun, Thistle did not know what to do.

 

 

The library was warm, cozy, and rather noisy. Bucky, still being squeezed by Glass Slipper, craned his head upwards to look at Flash Sentry, who was smiling a tired looking smile.

“It’s nice to see you Bucky, I’m glad you could stop by,” Flash said.

“You look a little rough, what’s going on?” Bucky asked as he stood up and lifted Glass Slipper up on to his back so she could keep squeezing him.

“The holidays. The weather… we have organised teams of volunteers out and about to make sure that nopony wanders off into the snow and gets lost. Before Hearth’s Warming, I got cornered by Granny Smith in Sugarcube Corner… she told me how this was going to be the worst winter in a hundred years of her being living alive, she could feel it in her hips… and she told me about how it used to be… ponies would wander off into the snow trying to get somewhere and then come spring, they’d find bodies. Granny Smith blames the winter wandering for why there are so many orphans running around.” Flash Sentry blinked. “I’m sorry… I’m so tired… I’m blathering on without thinking.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Bucky replied. “Where is Twilight?”

“She stepped out to check on a few ponies that might need checking on. Spike went with her. He insists on making himself useful and clearing the snow away with his fire breath,” Flash Sentry replied.

“Did you see Tourmaline?” asked Glass Slipper.

Bucky shook his head. “No, I did not get a chance to see Tourmaline over the holiday.”

“How’s Dinky and Piña?” Glass Slipper scooted herself along Bucky’s spine and then wrapped all four legs around his neck. “And Sentinel?”

“They’re all fine,” Bucky replied. “Where is Scootaloo?”

“Being bratty.” After speaking, Glass Slipper blew a raspberry at the stairs.

“Being bratty?” Bucky raised an eyebrow and looked at Flash.

“Scoots is in a bit of a snit. She wanted to go to see Applebloom and visit Sweet Apple Acres. We told her that there was no way she was going there by herself. So she is currently sulking in her room and hating us all for being so unfair.” Flash Sentry rolled his eyes as he turned to look at the stairs. “I really love her, but I don’t know how to deal with her at times.”

“Bucky!” Rainbow Dash lept down the last few steps and landed with a clatter of hooves.

Rainbow Dash was strutting as she moved, but Bucky noticed that there was something different, something had changed. It wasn’t her usual boastful swagger. Rainbow seemed more radiant somehow. Her strut and swagger had changed. Or perhaps Rainbow had changed.

“Am I showing? Can you see a difference? Look at me Bucky, I’m going to be a mom,” Rainbow Dash said, turning herself sideways so she could be seen in profile.

Beside him, Bucky heard a wicker from Flash Sentry. He wasn’t sure if Rainbow was showing. She seemed a little fuller, maybe not so slim and slender. He watched her inhale and then push her stomach out. Unable to disappoint the strutting mare, Bucky nodded and looked at Flash Sentry. “There is something about the sight of a pregnant mare…”

“I know,” Flash replied as he struggled to rearrange his wings and keep his feathers in order.

“Pinkie Pie is showing. But she’s always been a little pudgy. It’s not fair. She also cheats by eating ten pounds of fudge every day. The fudge gives her a pudge and then she can’t budge.” Rainbow, after approaching Bucky, stretched out her neck and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek.

This wasn’t like Rainbow at all. Bucky looked at her in stunned surprise. The Rainbow he knew hated ‘mushy stuff’ with a passion. Bucky realised that Rainbow Dash felt like a complete stranger to him and he didn’t know how to feel. She had changed.

“I’m going to go cheer up Scootaloo. She’s had her chance to pout and now it is time for her to get over it,” Rainbow said as she took off and headed back up the stairs.

When she was gone, Bucky turned to look at Flash Sentry, and found that Flash was looking at him. Bucky blinked and his ears perked forward.

“It is like being married to a different mare with the same body,” Flash Sentry said as he shook his head.

“I don’t understand what is going on,” Glass Slipper said in a soft confused voice.

Flash Sentry turned to look at the crystal pony foal he called his own. “It’s nothing Slippy…”

 

 

Seeing a tall figure hunched over a collection of snow ponies, Bucky willed his spider golems to a stop. He hopped out of the sleigh and landed in the snow with a soft crunch. He pushed his way forwards, through the deep snow, and then came to a place where other ponies had walked, packing some of the snow down.

“Discord!”

The tall figure turned. Bucky saw that he was wearing a silly looking hat and a very long striped scarf. Beside him, a smaller figure stood. She was also wearing a silly looking knitted hat and was wrapped up in a long scarf.

“Buckminster… I do declare, I have you to thank for all of this chaos!” Discord said when he saw Bucky. “The nicest holiday gift ever!”

“Hi Bucky,” Fluttershy said as she stepped forward.

Bucky sucked in his breath when he saw her. He heard her make a soft -meep- and he started to apologise. “I’m—”

“Don’t bother. It startles a lot of ponies. It’s okay. You’re the last pony that would ever make fun of how another pony looks because of how you are and how you look,” Fluttershy said in a soft voice that was difficult to hear.

Trying to look without looking like he was looking, trying to see without staring, Bucky pressed his lips together as he had himself a good look at Fluttershy. Her eyes were now yellow and red, very much like Discord’s. One front leg had changed, becoming sloth-like. Both Fluttershy and Disord were round in their middles.

“You’ve never been more beautiful,” Bucky said.

“Why thank you,” Discord replied, grinning a manic rictus of glee.

Fluttershy glanced up at Discord, the corners of her mouth twitching as she struggled to hold back a smile. “Thank you Bucky… I know you wouldn’t lie to me. Berry Punch tells me how much you love her and all of your wives and your… um… well… your little fetish.”

Discord gasped. “Egads, Buckminster, were you flirting with me?” The draconequus clutched his rounded stomach and drew himself up to his full height. “Sir, I will not be content until you have flirted with both of us. We are a pair!

Fluttershy began to giggle, unable to hold it back any longer.

“Notice any other changes?” Bucky asked.

Nodding, Fluttershy became far more animated. “Oh I can understand the animals so much better now. I can feel the world around me… the plants, the animals, everything, and I can’t really explain it, but I can know if there is something wrong, or if something isn’t right. It has made me a much better caretaker.”

“I have noticed all manner of insufferable changes. Because I have this dreadful cutie mark, I have this uncontrollable need to be kind to all living things. I have a need to make friends. This is awful. Still no sign of a cure… Celestia and Luna tell me they have their best ponies looking into it and they are hopeful that a cure will be found,” Discord said. He reached down and rubbed the three pink butterflies on his hip.

Bucky nodded. He had seen the memo and he held it in fond memory. It forbade him from offering any sort of magical research assistance towards fixing Fluttershy and Discord’s little problem. He knew that Twilight had received a similar memo. Celestia was very insistent that this was a problem that was not to be fixed under any circumstances, upon the pain of torture, banishment, and any other horrible thing that Luna might think of.

Luna could think of a lot of horrible things.

“I don’t want this fixed… I like what I am becoming, whatever it is. And Discord is much more lovable.” Fluttershy looked up at Discord for a moment and then looked at Bucky. “I don’t mind the changes. They scare me a bit, and I have some worry about how ponies see me. I know I scare some of them now. I don’t know if I am becoming Discord or if Discord is becoming me. The change has brought us together.”

“Was it worth it, Discord?” Bucky asked.

“Was what worth it?” Discord replied.

Bucky tilted his head back and looked upwards, trying to look Discord in the eye. “Killing Tirek. Doing the right thing. Falling in love. Allowing somepony to fall in love with you. Everything leading up to this moment.”

Raising his talons, Discord began to rub his chin as he stared off into the distance, looking thoughtful. His tail coiled around one of Fluttershy’s legs.

“We do things for those we love that we’d never do for ourselves,” Bucky said. He looked around and listened to the sounds of ponies playing in the snow.

“One day I am Discord, the Spirit of Chaos. I’m a little muddled, and maybe a bit confused by recent experiences, but I am still Discord, the Spirit of Chaos.” Discord turned and looked down at Fluttershy. Reaching out his lion paw, he stroked her back. “And then one day, on a day I’m not sure who I am anymore, I realise that Tirek had just obliterated Manehatten and was heading for Canterlot and Ponyville. I couldn’t enjoy the chaos. I don’t know who I was that day. I think about it a lot. I almost died Buckminster. Death. Immortals can die you know. It is rare, but it happens. Look at Tirek. He was thousands of years old. And he would have gone on living but he threatened to destroy everything I’ve come to love. So I had to kill a fellow immortal. I had to kill the unkillable. Murder that which cannot die.”

Bucky nodded.

“You’ve done it… you’ve killed something on the cusp of godhood… on the threshold of immortality. This isn’t your average killing Buckminster. This is something with a very long lifespan and then it ends for them. You’re not an immortal Buckminster, and I know you have no desire to be, but the death of a fellow immortal tends to make one think,” Discord said.

“About your own mortality?” Bucky asked.

“No…” Discord shook his head.

“No?” Bucky asked.

“Well, maybe… I do not know.” Discord shrugged and looked down at Fluttershy, all traces of his smile and good cheer now gone. “I would rather spend a thousand years in stone than one day without her. Immortality gets lonesome. I think sometimes of how Celestia suffered and I feel pity for her. There is something wrong with me Buckminster… I feel pity for others now and it makes me want to cry for them… I don’t like it!”

Reaching out, Fluttershy patted the draconequus beside her. “Discord, hush…”

 

 

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