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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Hungover. Again. This time without alcohol. Blinking, Bucky heard a low voice talking… maybe singing. There was a soft lilt. It was Berry. Moving his eyelids caused his head to fill with a dull ache.

“Berry… I’m a kelpie… a zebra can’t be in the water… what do I do?”

“Thistle, use your head. There are other foals and they can’t all go to the bottom of the lake with you. Now stop freaking out and stop crying. You’re scaring her.”

“I don’t understand how my mother did it.”

“Look, Thistle, love, we’ll talk with Bucky and see if maybe he can work out some sort of charm or something… just calm down. Really… you’re spooking her. Fear travels through herd animals.”

Bucky heard soft humming… a warm melodic tune. It was soothing, sweet, gentle. Bucky did nothing to reveal that he was awake. Half awake, he dozed in his bed. It was warm.

“See? Good griffon… if you stroke her belly, she purrs… nothing to fear.”

Berry’s voice was soft, smooth, and Bucky heard her resume humming. There was a soft faint cry and Bucky’s ears stood up. The cry became a subdued whimper. The sound caused something in Bucky to awaken. Something primal. Something deep within him that he feared but he also depended upon. His inner bestial nature, the part of him that wanted to mark his territory and all of the things that were his.

“I see somepony is awake,” Thistle said.

“How could you tell?” Bucky asked.

“If you open your eye even just a little the purple mist stuff comes drifting out.”

“Oh.” Bucky said nothing else. He heard a deep inhalation of breath from Thistle.

“Bucky?”

“Yes?”

A pause.

“Thistle, what is it?”

“Celestia made me the mother… on the paperwork. Apparently Raven keeps a generic multipurpose Crown stamp with her… so does Violet.”

Confusion. Bucky did not understand what Thistle meant. He willed his muscles to work. Cadance must have hit him pretty hard. “Paperwork? Did I miss something?”

“I am Sukari’s legal mother.”

Bucky’s brain kicked into action and a second later his limbs began flailing around. Nothing worked, everything was out of synch. He made it to the edge of the bed and tumbled to the floor with a thump.

There was a worried whimper and Bucky froze.

“The papers are in a little ivory coloured folder in the nightstand. Signed by Celestia.”

Opening his eyes and rubbing his head, Bucky looked at Thistle, who looked both worried and happy all at once. She was sitting on the floor. Berry Punch was laying on the floor beside her. A quilt was laid out on the floor. Cadance was sitting up, looking around, and looking very regal. Bell Heather was laying next to Berry. Belisama was laying on a cushion next to Berry, clutching her shawl close to her.

A pair of almost luminous blue eyes blinked.

“How is she not afraid of Belisama?” Bucky asked, feeling groggy and in pain.

“Every time she panics, Berry picks her up and rubs her,” Thistle replied.

“Earth pony hooves… there is something about…” Bucky fell silent and rubbed his head. Something in his spine crackled. “Ooooow.” He lay there and tried not to move.

“Can you say daddy?” Thistle asked.

“No,” Sukari replied.

“Oh come on…” Bucky twisted his body around, his joints popping as he moved to sit up. He flexed his talons and the knuckles popped… an enchantment that was almost too real and was enough to unnerve many who witnessed it.

“That’s unreal… ’tain’t natural,” as Applejack had said on a number of occasions.

Bucky stood up, a pony in his early twenties that moved like a pony in his fifties. He stumbled out the door, saying nothing, off to the bathroom to get himself sorted out.

 

 

Standing in the shower, Bucky allowed the hot water to beat down upon him. The water was hot, almost too hot, steaming, and the tile that he had his withered and scarred cheek pressed against was cool. He sat down in the shower, as he was prone to do, and he could feel the hot water soaking into his scrotum and softening the skin, loosening it up.

In his mind, he thought about everything said between him and Celestia. He had overreacted. He felt guilt and he crammed it down with all of the other guilt he carried inside of him, all of his troubles that he shoved down and never dealt with.

He had behaved like a foal.

He heard the door open but did not turn to look. At this point, he didn’t care who it was, or who it might be. He didn’t care about feeling naked and exposed. And why should he? How was this any different than standing in the rain? Why was he so uptight about privacy in the shower, anyway?

The door to the shower opened and Bucky realised it was Thistle as the kelpie was shoving herself into the shower with him. She had slimmed down a bit, but was still a little pudgy and round in a few places. The shower, only almost big enough for one, was only big enough for two if they didn’t mind sharing the same space in a very intimate sort of way.

Thistle sat down, wiggled around, glad that both she and Bucky were on the small side as far as little ponies went. Reaching out, she wrapped a foreleg around Bucky’s neck, hauled him in, and gave him a warm kiss. She felt his lips part, an invitation, and her tongue darted in for a moment, just long enough to say hello but not enough to get either one of them worked up.

She pulled away breathless anyway and felt a needy ache.

“No,” Bucky said in a low voice, reading Thistle’s mind.

“Aw… nuts.”

“Yes… you want them… and that’s the problem. The moment I hear from the doctor that it is safe to slip you the pony making bone, I will stuff your pony making pocket until you can’t walk. But not until then.”

“Bucky… while the licking is very nice, I’m a mare that likes deep stimulation… I have needs. And we have never—”

“I know… there has been a little poking and prodding around the entrance, lots of rubbing, but you want more.” Bucky sighed. “This is torture.”

“I want to have more foals, but not right away. I know I am giving up valuable time, but Bucky, I don’t want any more foals for a while. Not until later. When I’m older. I feel really bad about this, like I am denying you something important, or that I am somehow doing my kind a disservice.”

Bucky thought about what Keg Smasher said and felt a pain in his barrel. He leaned over on Thistle and felt the hot water pour down upon him. Thistle might be the last. He closed his eyes and rubbed her with his head, unaware that he was marking her, a subconscious action.

“But to make it up to you, I want to have lots of hot horny teenage mare nookie with you. That should make us both feel better.” Thistle’s fangs flashed as she smiled.

Letting out a startled squeak, for a moment, Thistle thought she was about to be taken, right here and right now in the shower as Bucky’s forelegs wrapped around her and pulled her close. He was sitting up on his haunches. She felt herself, belly to belly with him, and his forelegs encircled around her. He squeezed but made no other move.

He did not let go for a long time.

 

 

Food brought a full belly but not comfort. Despondent, needing to say something to several ponies, Bucky hunched over his coffee and stared down into the murky brown depths. In front of him, a pat of butter slid down along a slice of toast, leaving behind it a trail very much like a slug, slow and leaving behind residue as evidence of its passing.

A moment later, Berry Punch ate the toast, stuffing the whole slice into her mouth and chewing, her lips smacking and her eyes rolling back into her head and she devoured Bucky’s uneaten slice of almost burnt bread.

It seemed that everypony was happy but Bucky, and he felt out of place and out of sorts. He couldn’t even look Celestia in the eye and he had tried several times. All he had been able to do so far was croak out the words “thank you” and then he had fallen silent.

His coffee seemed more bitter than usual. He felt ashamed. Bucky felt ashamed. He needed to tell Thistle the truth, to tell her what Keg Smasher had told him, and he needed to make a proper apology to Celestia.

And then, he needed to work. But that was impossible. His workshop was too far away.

But work would make everything right. Work would show that he meant well, that he had slipped up and made a mistake, but he didn’t mean it and that he was still loyal, devoted, dedicated, dutiful, and true. Words were cheap. Anypony could say words. But actions, work, work and action proved things. They were evidence. They were meaningful. Derpy understood his work ethic, placing meaning behind action. He missed his grey pegasus. He needed her.

Lifting his head, he watched as Berry Punch spooned a bite of applesauce into Cadance. Cadance, banging her hoof, demanded more.

“I shall tell you something funny… Cadance hated applesauce… she felt that it was too mealy… she disliked the texture,” Celestia said, staring in Cadance’s direction but not staring at Cadance. She had a thousand yard stare and her eyes were unfocused.

“So Cadance has changed a little in her new life,” Berry said as she gave Cadance another spoonful. “Does it worry you that she is going to be raised by a bunch of rough and tumble earth ponies, pegasi, and unicorns and the will not be raised as a finely polished princess?”

“No.” Celestia sighed and her head dropped down a bit. “Cadance did not get to play like other ponies… she was a princess. She was kept out of the mud puddles and the mud. She was not allowed to crawl into the pile of dirt and mulch to play with the gardeners’ foals. After she defeated Prismia, after she became a princess, Cadance fought epic battles with boredom.”

“Mud,” Cadance said, sending applesauce spraying everywhere.

“Becoming a princess… or a prince. I wonder how many ponies have it in them to do something epic and prove themselves. Cadance did it when she was little, but she strikes me as a scrapper. Twilight did it when she was older, but Twilight also did something extraordinary that must have taken years of study.” Berry Punch held the empty spoon on her hoof and stared at it.

“And then there was Bucky, who proved himself in war… but calling him the Prince of War would be doing him a disservice.” Slumping down in her chair, Celestia scowled and looked at Bucky, who was gazing into the abyss of his coffee cup.

“Sentinel will do it… I know he has it in him. If he’s given the chance he’ll make good. All he’s got to do is wipe out Sombra’s fell shadow as was promised to him and he’s good. He’ll be a prince and maybe Bucky will cheer up and stop staring into his coffee.” Berry waited, and waited, and then after a few moments, she rolled her eyes. She fed Cadance another spoonful. “So what will Sentinel be the prince of?”

“Sentinel, once he proves himself, will be a prince in much the same way Keg Smasher is. A proven leader but not a prince by divine calling,” Celestia replied. She said nothing about the fact that Sentinel might not get to test his mettle against Sombra’s fell shadow. There were not years to prepare him available, the threat was here and now and Sentinel was far too young.

“Yeah, that’s fine, but what will he be the prince of? Keg Smasher has the United Isles. Bucky and Twilight both do a fine job of ruling Ponyville… which is now the most prosperous city in our nation… Tannis and Agnetha are probably going to get the west coast, from Las Pegasus to Vanhoover. So what will Sentinel rule?” Berry scraped a little applesauce off of Cadance’s snoot and stuffed the spoon in, not wasting a drop.

“Twilight and Bucky have certainly done a fine job with Ponyville.” Celestia shifted her gaze to Cadance once more and lost track of everything around her.

“It feels like you are dodging the question,” Berry said in a frustrated voice.

“I do not know,” Celestia replied. “When the time comes, I will give serious thought to it then. I will talk with Sentinel and find out what he wants. Bucky wants him to rule the griffons, does he not?”

Berry Punch reached over and prodded Bucky.

“What?” Bucky asked, jerking his head up.

Berry puffed out her cheeks and made a flatulent noise. “Never mind.”

“Manehatten shall need rebuilding. It is being rebuilt, but it will need rebuilding… the city needs integration. It will require some very forward thinking. Perhaps when Sentinel is old enough Manehatten will be ready for a crowned head to shape its future.”

Berry looked at Celestia for a moment, nodded, and then went back to feeding Cadance.

 

 

Lifting Sukari, Bucky pulled her close. In his embrace, the foal was first rigid and stiff, and then she went limp. “Hi there little one… you’re mine… I’m keeping you.” Bowing his head down, Bucky rubbed her sides against his good cheek. He could feel her ribs. His ear rubbed against her neck.

The foal let out a nervous giggle, unaware that she had been marked.

Using his magic, he lifted Bell Heather and held both foals together, cradled in his forelegs. The zebra foal wiggled for a moment afraid, tense, and then she squirmed around until she could wrap her forelegs around the the smaller kelpie and squeeze her.

“Soft,” Sukari said.

“Yes,” Bucky said in a low voice. “She’s soft. She is soft and she is your sister. She is your sister, yours to keep. Forever.”

Sukari looked up at Bucky and blinked. “Mine?”

“Yes.” Bucky nodded. “Yours. When you get scared, you run to her and you hug her. When the world feels like a scary place, you run to her and you give her a squeeze.”

Hearing Bucky speak, Sukari pulled Bell Heather closer. “Mine.”

Raising his head, Bucky looked over at Thistle and saw that her eyes were watering. Her lower lip was quivering in such a way that it made Bucky want to bawl his own eyes out. He dropped his head down and looked away before he was overcome with emotion.

“This was a good trip to the Shetlands,” Bucky said.

“Yes, but every time we go, we come home with family members… the first trip, we came home with Thistle and Sentinel… Bon Bon and Lyra… Lugus… Yew… Peekaboo. Ripple and Loch Skimmer… I miss Loch… I miss Ripple too… don’t get me wrong, but Loch Skimmer and I—”

“Are perverts.” Bucky raised his eyebrow and gave Berry a wry smile, a real smile that made his face light up.

“Now we’re coming home with more family and tribe. If this keeps up, well be overrun with Shetlanders.” Berry looked distressed. “There’ll not be a drop of liquor for miles.”

“I guess I was the Griffonholm souvenir,” Belisama said.

“I travelled several thousand miles just to fetch me a fine little pu—”

“Bucky, so help me, if you finish that sentence I will keelhaul you on your own ship,” Berry said, her eyes narrowing. She glanced at Cadance and gave Bucky a meaningful look.

“Let’s hope that Bucky never gets sent to dragon country…”

“Thistle…”

“Yes Berry?”

“Shut up.”

 

 

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