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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Princess Luna looked around the dining room table at each and every mare that mattered in Bucky’s life, and one griffoness. She took a deep breath, shooed away her mental exhaustion, and continued to try and get the mares around her to do the right thing.

The only problem was, Luna was not sure what the right thing was, and as the discussion progressed, her doubt continued to plague her. She crossed her front hooves in front of her, resting them on the table, and squirmed in her chair in a most unprincesslike manner.

Her tea, untouched, was cooling. Her food, somewhat nibbled, lay on a plate unfinished.

“It’s been two weeks since Bucky was attacked. He’s recovered. If you continue to treat him like a helpless foal, he is going to start to resent you,” Violet said in a low hesitant voice.

Berry Punch noticed that Violet’s usual confidence was absent. The earth pony raised an eyebrow but said nothing because Berry believed that Violet was right.

Hunched over the table with her eyes almost closed, Derpy leaned over in her seat and rested her forelegs upon the table. “I dunno how much longer I can keep sitting here. This is hurting me.”

“Bucky needs a break, but he also needs to stay busy. Finding the balance seems difficult. I agree that Bucky needs to be doing something. He’s slipped into full ‘get drunk and screw’ mode for the lack of anything better to do. I just don’t know about him taking a trip to the Shetlands,” Bon Bon said. She was holding a sturdy mug between her front hooves.

Reaching up, Luna began to rub her jaw. “I think the trip would be good for Bucky. I can assure you that Bucky would be safe. There is no danger here. If it will put your mind at ease, I will send a compliment of Myrmidons. Keg Smasher needs Bucky’s help. Bucky is the rightful ruling head of the Shire Isles. Bucky needs to be there for the official formation of the United Isles. This is a major moment in history. This is the formation of a new nation, a new territory that will be a protectorate of Equestria and the Sea of Grass, a symbol of our unification. Plus, Bucky would get to see some of the good that he has done. Many of the unicorns rescued from the Shire Isles have settled in the Shetlands, where they are healing and recovering. Witching Hour and Tiddlywinks have both been working very hard to help the transition. This could be a very positive experience for Bucky.”

“It could also be a nightmare… the Shetlands are the place where Bucky became what he is now… plus, he can’t be left alone. He’s vulnerable. He keeps waking up screaming about rats nibbling off the faces of little foals and how the rats are Sombra’s rats… Bucky is not in a stable state of mind right now and trust me, I know a little something about unstable mental states,” Lyra said, daring to look Luna in the eye for a moment before her nerve broke and she looked back down at the table.

Bon Bon set down her mug, reached over, and rubbed Lyra on the withers. “If Bucky went, and I am only saying if… but if he went, some of us would have to go with him. That means splitting up our herd again. This isn’t like the Vanhoover trip though. Derpy needs care. Harper is becoming troublesome… I don’t know what has gotten into her, but she has become a little tyrant.”

“We could go Bonnie,” Lyra said in a low voice, leaning into Bon Bon’s touch.

“You would have to take Harper with you… she can’t stay here without a unicorn around to help her discharge. That would mean spending all of your time minding Harper and her troublesome moods and not watching Bucky,” Berry Punch said.

“We don’t even know if the discharging is helping,” Bon Bon replied.

“I trust Bucky’s gut feeling. Draining her of her magic helps. At least she’s worn out, tired, and unable to cast anything for a long time. She’s not as troublesome after a big discharge,” Lyra said, reaching up and rubbing at her eyes with both front fetlocks.

“I could go,” Berry Punch said, looking around the table, her eyes falling upon Derpy last. “At the risk of being blunt, I can look after his needs. He can shag me silly and I don’t mind. I might be a bit rotund, but I can still get around just fine. I can be with him in every way that matters.”

“I’ll go.” Belisama sat up in her chair, her head only just above the level of the table.

“No,” Derpy replied. “You’re going to give birth any week now. Maybe any day now.”

“Don’t tell me no… he’s my husband too. I’m not completely helpless and even if I do give birth, The Scorned Mare has a full well stocked medical bay if it is needed. Plus, I know Violet is coming along. Bucky is going to be performing official functions and that means having his majordomo around.” Belisama fluffed out and began to drum her claws upon the table.

Derpy turned to look at Violet and then turned back to Belisama, a scowl upon her face. “I’m not trying to tell you what to do… I just want us all together for the birth. These things are important and it is part of the reason why I don’t want Bucky going.”

“What about you, Thistle? You’ve been quiet.” Berry  Punch looked over at Thistle, who was sitting beside Luna. “Your opinion matters too.” Berry hoped that her gambit to change the subject away from Belisama would work.

“My opinion, if you want it, is that we should not be discussing this decision about Bucky without him being present. I don’t like this. This feels wrong,” Thistle said. She heaved a sigh and then reached down to rub her hips. “I have the same problem Derpy does… it hurts sitting here.”

“I feel that we should arrive at a consensus before we bring the subject up to him. If we bring it up, say that he might be going, and then decide not to let him go, he will be very cross,” Luna said, explaining her reasoning. “Perhaps this is a mistake. I was trying to avoid stress and contention.”

“We’re doing the right thing, it just feels awkward. And bad. Luna is right I think. We need to sort this out and not get his hopes up.” Bon Bon, still rubbing Lyra, leaned over and gave a soft patient smile to Thistle.

“I’ll agree to him going, but I don’t have to like it.” Derpy crossed her forelegs over her barrel and shook her head, her soft golden mane spilling around her neck as she did so. “He should have Cadance with him though. Just like when he went to Vanhoover. She becomes intolerable when she can’t have her daddy and Bucky becomes out of sorts when Cadance isn’t around.”

Bon Bon nodded. “Agreed.”

“Violet knows how to make Cadance surge… I’ve taught her,” Lyra said in a voice that squeaked with nervousness. “I still don’t know how I feel using Cadance as a weapon against Bucky.”

“Bucky doesn’t mind, so why should we? Be practical,” Berry Punch said.

“I wasn’t thinking about Bucky… I was thinking about how difficult it is going to be to explain to Cadance later on when she’s grown up that we had to weaponise her talent and use her to take down her daddy, whom she dearly loves,” Lyra replied.

“Hopefully, she’ll understand. It doesn’t hurt him, it leaves him love-drunk, he has no means to defend himself against it, and it is a safe effective means to solve a problem.” Berry Punch tapped one hoof upon the table, a nervous tic, and she stared down at her plate as she spoke.

“Yeah, well, you clearly don’t like it either.” Lyra, emboldened, lifted her head high and looked at Berry Punch. “I don’t see how you can sit there and defend it if you feel like it is wrong.”

“No fighting.” Derpy’s command was harsh and straightforward. “Not now. This herd does not fight in times of trouble Am I clear?”

Slumping down in her seat, Lyra let out an annoyed whinny.

“Lyra, you’re right. I don’t like it. But I do try to justify it so I’ll feel better,” Berry Punch admitted, her ears pinned back in submission.

“That’s better… this herd does not fight in times of trouble.” Derpy, mollified by Berry Punch’s confession, leaned over in the other direction in her chair, trying to take the pressure off of her sore hips.

“So we can agree that he is going, but now we need to figure out who is going with him. Since the no fighting rule was just invoked, I’m going to go ahead and say that we should send Belisama with him,” Bon Bon said, knowing full well that there was about to be trouble.

 

 

Not bothering to knock, Luna pushed open the bedroom door and stepped through. “Look, I have brought you a gift… a grey pegasus for your enjoyment.”

Held aloft in Luna’s magic, Derpy smiled a coy smile at Bucky.

Bucky lifted his head. “This day just keeps getting better.”

Sprawled on the bed, Bucky was surrounded by foals. Bell Heather lay under a blanket. Cadance was curled up against her father’s side. Harper was sitting up and looking at Luna and Derpy in the doorway. Erebus lay on the bed close to Bucky, imitating Bucky’s posture and pose by lifting his own head up high as he lay on his belly.

Striding forward, Luna approached the bed. Mindful of Derpy’s condition and the bed full of foals, Luna eased Derpy onto the bed and then dropped her head down to snoot bump Erebus. “How are you feeling Bucky?”

“Bored.”

Luna nodded, noting Bucky’s blunt reply. Lifting Erebus in her magic, Luna whisked him away, grabbed a blanket, and headed for the comfortable pile of cushions in the corner by the wardrobe. She lay down, plopped Erebus down beside her, and covered herself and Erebus with a blanket.

“Well, Bucky, I have some good news. I think your boredom is coming to a middle,” Luna said. She winced when she felt sharp little teeth clamp down on tender flesh.

Bucky groaned and rolled his eyes. “I am sick to death of being treated like a helpless foal. I’ve had enough. I can’t just keep sitting here and doing nothing.”

“You’ve been doing stuff.” Derpy reached out a foreleg, hooked it around Harper, and pulled Harper close. “You make golems. You’ve been allowed to work on pro—”

“Allowed… allowed... that is the problem right there! Allowed! I can’t get a fecking moment alone! I am followed everywhere. I have nowhere to think and be by myself. I can’t work like this. I’m going mad.” Bucky flopped over on his side and blew a frustrated raspberry.

“Fecking?” Harper asked.

“Oh good job Bucky… now she’ll never stop saying it… I hope your little moment of drama was worth the loss of your daughter’s innocence.” Derpy’s ears perked forward and she glared at her husband.

“Gobshite,” Bucky muttered.

Derpy, clamping her hooves over Harper’s ears, let out a low frustrated growl. “You are being a foal!”

“I’m being treated like a foal!” Bucky replied.

Cadance, waking up, opened her eyes and looked around. She crawled closer to Bucky, who had rolled away from her, snuggled up against him, and closed her eyes once more.

Luna, who knew better than to get involved, remained silent.

“I’m sorry… I’m being a foal,” Bucky said in a low defeated voice. “Luna brought me a nice pretty grey pegasus and I screwed everything up.” Bucky closed his eyes, reached out with his talons, and pulled a pillow over his head.

“Bucky. We all think it is time that you took a little vacation. A nice trip for once. Maybe see some of the good that you’ve done in the world.” Derpy took a deep breath, looked over at Luna, and gave Harper a squeeze. “How would you feel about a little trip to the Shetlands?”

Jerking his head from beneath the pillow, Bucky looked at Derpy. “Would I have to fight an army of shadow wolves? Slay the undead? Kill off a lich that stands in the threshold of godhood? If the answer is yes to any of those things, count me out. I’m bored, but I am in no mood to be mauled, traumatised, or lose another leg.”

“No… all that is expected of you is that you sign some papers, act as the proper king of the Shire Isles, maybe have your photo taken, and there is a possibility that you could get as drunk as a lord with Keg Smasher,” Luna said, realising now was a good time to say something.

“Get drunk off my teats?” Bucky asked. “I can do that. Where do I sign up?”

 

 

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