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


574. 574

Bucky watched as Thistle entered their cabin with Sukari held by the scruff of her neck. Behind Thistle was Berry, who had Bell Heather held by the same manner. Behind Berry, Cadance wobbled along, looking rather miffed, perhaps because she wasn’t being carried.

Approaching the bed, Thistle dropped Sukari in front of Bucky and drew in a deep breath. “This one is yours.” After mumbling a few words, Thistle went and sat on the couch where Belisama was already sitting.

“Hi,” Bucky said to the zebra foal as Berry Punch dropped Bell Heather in the crib.

Sukari fell over and went limp.

“Oh.” Bucky’s eyebrows arched as he looked at the fallen foal. “Do I have bad breath again? Is there a booger hanging out?”

Thistle and Berry both began to giggle and Belisama looked up from her book.

Standing by the bed, Cadance flapped her wings and made her needs clear. “Up!”

Berry Punch reached out her foreleg, wrapped it around Cadance’s middle, and lifted the foal up into the bed. After making sure that Cadance wasn’t going to topple over the edge, Berry crawled into the bed herself.

Pulling Sukari a little closer, Bucky rubbed his head against her side. She was still limp, which bothered him, even though he couldn’t say why. She was just laying there, staring at him with wide blue eyes.

Using his magic, he grabbed one of Sukari’s hooves in his telekinesis, pressed it against his lips, and blew a raspberry, knowing that it never failed to make a foal giggle. It worked on Harper, it worked on Bell Heather, it worked on Cadance…

It did not work on Sukari.

“What the… why is there…” Bucky lifted his head. The bed was now very wet. Sukari was now frozen, her barrel heaving, her eyes even wider, bulging out. She let out a mewl of fear.

“There is something wrong with my foal,” Bucky said in a low soft whisper. Lifting the foal up off of the bed with his magic, he crawled out of bed.

Beside him, Berry Punch was doing the same, and she lowered Cadance to the floor.

“Here… somepony take her and give her a bath. She’s soaked back there.” Bucky looked down. Indeed she was. She was dripping on the floor. “I’m going to pull the sheets and do some laundry. I’ll take care of the mattress too.”

“I’ve never seen anything like that.” Thistle’s voice sounded as though she was speaking while being strangled.

“Neither have I…” Bucky’s head dropped down a bit and his ears drooped, splaying downwards. He looked at the zebra filly foal and sighed. She was still frozen, locked up from terror.

“I’ll go bathe her. She likes baths… I think they make her feel better.” Berry took the foal in her teeth, grabbing her by the nape of the neck. She departed and Cadance went wobbling off to follow.

“What do we do, Bucky?” Thistle’s eyes were gleaming with tears now.

Shrugging, Bucky began to pull the bedding off of the mattress. “I don’t know. I guess we just keep trying and hope that we don’t make it worse.”



The soft swishing of the washing machine was soothing in a weird way. Sitting in a chair, Bucky waited for the washer to finish. As he sat there, he thought of everything that Celestia had said, he thought of Sukari, and he reflected upon his trip.

The trip had been wonderful. It had been just what he needed.

“The little griffons are all babbling and upset because you would not let them do the laundry. They love the washing machine… it beats having to wash things with talons.”

“I don’t mind. Doing the laundry allows me to just sit here and think. I have an excuse to be alone. How ya doing Magpie?” Bucky looked at the griffoness in the doorway.

“I’m fine.” Magpie came into the small laundry room and sat down.

“I just blew a raspberry on one of Sukari’s hooves and—”

“I know.” Magpie’s eyes looked sad.

Bucky slumped down in his chair and folded his forelegs over his barrel.

“I spoke to Berry… Sukari was just sitting there in the little tub. She looked… vacant.” Magpie’s feathers fluffed out as the griffoness sighed. “I think the change of scenery might be hard on her. Back at Keg Smasher’s castle, she had a half wild mob around her and a familiar environment. Now she is in this strange place without her protective mob and there are all these strangers doing strange things.”

Bucky’s head fell back into the wall with a thump.

Silent, Magpie rubbed her talon claws against her pelt, polishing them and leaving them shiny. She lifted them, examined them, and then polished them again.

“The world is a really messed up place,” Bucky said, feeling a need to kill the silence.

“Tell me about it. One day, I’m just trying to survive, to do what I have been told, and some marauder in scary black armor comes barging into my nursery—”

“Magpie, I—”

“—and that was the most terrifying day of my life, ever. Period. I thought I was witnessing the birth of a new death-god—”

“Magpie, I’m sorry, I—”

Magpie looked up at Bucky and raised her talons to silence him. “Every single day since then has been better and better. I am healed now, sound of mind. I am doing what I love. I am happy. I am safe. I don’t have to worry about rape, or having my head twisted off, or facing the interrogators who question you about your loyalty. All of those bad things are behind me… gone. That part of my life is over. It took me a long time to adjust. To be happy again. To stop living in fear. To realise that the marauder in the scary black armor was the best thing that has ever happened to me.” Magpie blinked. “I love you a great deal for what you have done for me. And what I am trying to say is, eventually, Sukari will adjust. Right now, everything is scary for her. But in time, she will realise there is nothing to fear and everything will be better.”

Magpie slid out of her chair, landed on all fours, and walked out of the room, saying nothing else. She paused on her way out to look at Bucky, who was sitting there staring at her, and then she turned and left.

Now alone in the laundry room, Bucky sat in his chair and thought about what Magpie had said.



Rubbing his cheek against the fresh from the dryer sheets, Bucky felt warm tinglies all over his body as he rolled on the bed. He did so with great enthusiasm, grunting and snorting as he rubbed his cheek and the side of his head against the bed, trying to rid himself of the itch that he had just below his ear.

“Bucky, stop.”

Belisama’s voice was soft. Low. Gentle. Bucky froze, now unmoving. He felt something dropped on the bed. He lifted his head and turned to have a look. He saw blue eyes peering at him, a curious expression.

A moment later, Berry Punch dropped Cadance down upon the bed.

Reaching out with his magic, Bucky pulled Cadance to him and plopped her down just in front of his face, his snoot just inches from her back, placing her in between him and Sukari. Hiding his face behind Cadance, Bucky said, “Hi.” Using his magic, he then raised one of Cadance’s forelegs to wave.

Cadance’s muzzle scrunched and her expression became one of confusion.

Using Cadance like a puppet, Bucky waved again and made Cadance bounce around a little. “So… are you an introvert? Might explain some of the social anxiety,” Bucky said from behind Cadance.

Sukari stared at Bucky and Cadance with a blank expression, not knowing what to think or do. Behind Sukari, Berry Punch stood at the edge of the bed, watching.

“Being an introvert kinda stinks,” Bucky said, still using Cadance as a puppet. “Ponies come up and do weird things to you and it freaks you out. Like blowing raspberries on your hooves. Or hugging you… random strangers coming up and hugging you is pretty bad. Or just ponies in general. Let me tell you, other ponies. Why… once I was chased all over town by this grey pegasus mare. She just wouldn’t leave me alone and she kept invading my space.” Bucky paused for a moment and pressed his snoot against Cadance’s spine, causing the foal to giggle. “Turns out, she’s an introvert too… just not as introverted as I am apparently.”

The zebra filly blinked and looked baffled.

“You and Harper are going to have to have a frizzy mane contest.” Bucky made Cadance wiggle once more. “You’ll like Harper. She’s your sister. She’s a funny little filly. She’s a little neurotic already and I think she has a neuro-magical compulsion involving masculine pronouns.”

Behind Sukari, Berry Punch smiled as she watched Bucky make Cadance wave once more. With cautious movement, Berry Punch climbed into the bed once more.

“You and Sentinel will be able to hide in cupboards together. He might let you use his hidey hole. You are going to have the most devoted big brother that you could ever want.” Bucky moved both of Cadance’s forelegs, wrapping them around Cadance’s barrel and making her hug herself.

Reaching out, Berry Punch took Sukari into her forelegs, pulled her close, and began to rub her sides. The foal panicked for a moment and then relaxed, but never took her eyes off of Bucky and Cadance.


Bucky looked over at the crib, his ears perking.


“Bell Heather… you’re talking!” Thistle bounced off of the couch and peered into the crib. “You don’t say much but it is so much more special when you do say something.”


“Yes… I can be mammoo if I need to be.” Thistle grinned, showing off her needle teeth.


“I don’t know what that means, but okay.” Thistle nodded in encouragement.

“Shnugflarf shnoo shnoo?” Bell asked.

“Shnoo shnoo,” Thistle repeated, nodding her head.

“Shnoo?” Sukari blinked after saying the word.

“Yes… shnoo.” Berry nosed the foal she was holding.

“The linguisticational level of this room has declined sharply,” Bucky said.

“Bucky… shut up.” Berry narrowed her eyes and gave Bucky The Look.

“Fine… I’ll stop flauntenationalating my linguisticational level.” Bucky’s ears dropped.

Chortling, Berry Punch relaxed her expression and gave Bucky the smile she felt he deserved. She rubbed her hoof along Sukari’s spine and felt the foal snuggle against her.

There was a soft rapping upon the door.

“Do come in,” Belisama said.

A moment later and Tourmaline stuck her head in. “Can I sleep in here tonight? I don’t want to be alone in a cabin and mama… is…” Tourmaline paused, not knowing what to say.

“Come on, get in here Cuddlebug.” Thistle said.

Not needing to be told twice, Tourmaline bounced into the room, pronked across the floor, and lept up onto the couch with Belisama. “Mama was sad. She said she needed a distraction.”

“Hush up about that. Don’t betray your mother’s trust,” Bucky said.

“I guess I’m not a good distraction.” Tourmaline flopped over, rested her head against Belisama, and sighed.

“There are different kinds of distractions… sometimes it is nice to snuggle a foal, at other times, it is nice to snuggle another pony in a… well, never mind,” Bucky said, shaking his head.

“I’m a changeling… I know what is going on. I know everything that goes on.” Tourmaline adjusted her glasses and sighed.

“Nookie!” Cadance said in a chirpy voice.

Thistle turned, a slow movement. “I say we blame Berry.”

“What? Why me?” Berry asked.

“Where else did she hear that word from?” The corners of Thistle’s mouth twitched.

“Bucky… Bucky might have said it. Cadance loves her daddy.” Berry gave Thistle an incredulous stare.

“No way… I am not taking the fall for this one. Derpy will do unspeakable things to me if I’m the one responsible. Berry, you’re her oldest friend, you gotta take the fall for this one.” Bucky looked panicked.

“Oh no… it doesn’t work that way… there is no proof it was me.” Berry turned her head to look at Bucky and gave Sukari a reassuring squeeze.

“Adults,” Tourmaline said, heaving a foalish sigh.





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