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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After stabbing a cheesy bite of potato with her fork, Lyra stuffed it into Harper’s mouth. Harper, sitting in her highchair at the dinner table with the adults, chewed for a moment, trying to determine if what she had been given was any good.

“I’m okay… really… I just had a moment there where everything fell apart. I wish all of you would stop being like… like… well, like this.” Lyra stabbed another bite of potato and ate it. “Look, this has made me grateful for what I have… not mournful for what I have lost.”

“I must say, you are taking this well, Lyra. You’re taking it better than I am,” Bon Bon said as she sat beside Lyra, holding a spoonful of uneaten peas.

“I started to take it badly.” Lyra’s admission was said in a low voice and for a moment, her eyes darkened. “But then I thought about everything I had… it softened the blow.” Lyra, now armed with a spoon, shoveled some hot buttery peas into Harper’s mouth. “When Harper is older, how would she feel if she thought I had just settled for her because I can’t have my own foals? Harper is my foal. Make no mistake. I’ll zap the stuffing out of anypony that says otherwise.”

“Stop sulking.” Reaching out, Derpy prodded Bucky with her hoof. Sitting beside him as she always did, she leaned over and her eyes narrowed. “If she can take it this well, so can you.”

Slumped in his chair, Bucky looked over at Derpy. “There is more going on here than you realise. I’m bothered by all of it.”

Derpy shook her head. “I don’t care. If she can put on a brave face, so can you.” She gave Bucky another poke and then one more for good measure. “Now… you eat.”

Taking a deep breath, Bucky sat up in his chair and looked at the others sitting at the table around him. He looked down at his plate of food, which had been untouched. His ears perked when he heard a low growl from the pegasus beside him. “I ate a little earlier. The trip to town took a lot out of me.”

“And we’re eating dinner now.” Derpy leaned over a little more. She tapped a hoof upon the table.

“Oh come on, don’t be so hard on him,” Berry said.

“She’s only doing it because she loves me.” Bucky lifted up a fork and stabbed his slab of fish on his plate. He pulled off a flaky bite and stuffed it into his mouth.

“Berry is right though. I am being hard on you. It frustrates me how you get sometimes.” Derpy hunched over her plate and began to eat her food, tucking into her potatoes. With her mouth full, she said, “Sometimes, being hard on you is the only control I have over a situation.”

The sounds of laughter came from the kitchen, where the younger foals were eating. The adults sitting around the dining room table all lifted their heads and ears all perked.

“I miss having Rising Star, Sparkler, Loch Skimmer, Ripple, and Bittersweet with us.” Bon Bon, still listening to the commotion in the kitchen, set her spoon down and picked up her fork. “I wonder what it is like around their dinner table.”

“They’re not having dinner at their table. Their table is covered with clutter. It is already piled high with boxes, empty bottles, potato chip bags, and other things I don’t even want to think about. They’re probably eating over the sink or scarfing down dinner while sitting on their couch.” Lyra looked disgusted. “Their apartment over the forge already smells. What is it with teenagers and the stink they generate?”

“I don’t know, but we’re going to need the Black Cloaks to drive away the stink demons they left behind in their old room. Sparkler says they cleaned it, she swears they did, but oh… oh my, what an eye watering funk.” Berry shook her head.

“If Boadicea’s room begins to stink, I am moving her into the barracks—”

“Oh no you’re not!” Yew cried, turning on Lugus. “That poor thing has suffered enough!”

“Adolescence… it starts around the decade mark and it makes itself known through stink,” Derpy said around a mouthful of food. A green pea was stuck to her snoot. “Dinky is already getting stinky sheets. Gone are the days that I could give her a bath and she’d stay clean and fresh smelling for days if she didn’t get a bath for some reason. Now, she gets clean in the morning and by evening time, I can smell a fair bit of stink on her.”

“So says the pegasus that bathes every chance she gets… what sort of stink is she hiding?” Berry asked.

“The ‘I just had to pound my best friend into the mattress’ stink,” Derpy said, looking at Berry.

“I must say, I appreciate modern living. I hated being stinky.” Yew Wood picked up her glass of water and took a drink. “Nopony likes a pungent pegasus. Stinky wing pits are the worst. You open your wings and ponies around you pass out. Flowers wilt. Flies come swarming in and then die.”

“The other day Piña said that Harper’s olid crepitations were putrefactive. I had no idea what she was saying. I had to slip off into the library and find a dictionary.” Bon Bon wiped her muzzle with a napkin.

Lyra giggled and looked at Harper.

“How did we get to talking about stink?” Belisama asked.

Derpy shrugged and kept eating.

“Lyra is giggling and we’re not so depressed. Who cares. Stuff happens.” Berry sat back in her chair and lifted up her glass of water.

“Somepony at the door!” a voice shouted from within the kitchen.

 

 

“Kinda surprised to see you,” Bucky said, looking up at Luna.

“I am rather surprised I came,” Luna replied. “You vandalised my moon—”

“Luna… what do you know about Lyra’s past?” Bucky asked, cutting Luna off and not caring about it in the slightest.

The night princess sighed. “I know enough that you should not ask about it.”

“Well I am.” Bucky lifted his head. His breath was visible in the cold night air.

“Buckminster, there is a lot that I do not know. Her mind was shattered… broken by magic that rivals my own. It is a fragile thing, a delicate thing that I dared not touch for the fear that I would do more harm than good. After Lyra was found at the train station, I tried to find out more and then I realised that it would be better if I just backed away. I have my suspicions on what happened though, based upon others that I have found.” Luna looked off towards the school, her teal eyes almost glowing with inner luminance.

Wrapped in a shawl around Luna’s neck, Erebus began to babble.

“Can we have a cease fire?” Luna asked.

Bucky shrugged.

“I would like to see Barley. I also have need of you and Sentinel both. There is a lesson to be learned.” Luna turned to look at Bucky. “Buckminster, my apprentice, I sense much turmoil in you. If you are thinking of revenge for Lyra… I must ask that you step back from this darkness.”

“I don’t know that I can,” Bucky replied. “Every day I feel more and more like a griffon… there are vermin that need killing… we hate vermin.”

Frustrated, a whinny escaped from Luna. “It started this way for Sombra as well.”

His head dropping, Bucky’s ears went limp against the sides of his face.

“You worry that you cannot stop what you are becoming… yet you desire to hurry it along with vengeful action. You worry me… Buckminster, please, reconsider this action. As your teacher, I am asking you to take this lesson to heart. But if you cannot, I will not stop you and I will help you if I can.”

“What needs to be done tonight? I don’t feel like leaving home.” Bucky lifted his head up a little and looked up at Luna.

“We can do what needs to be done from here,” Luna replied. She reached out her wing and stroked Bucky’s neck. “I am still furious with you, just so you know. You turned my moon pink.

“I am not a pony to be trifled with. You filled my office with popcorn and you framed your sister. You manipulated me into playing a terrible prank against my auntie. Now, I don’t mind pranking her, but that was no ordinary prank.” Bucky allowed himself to lean against Luna. He felt weary inside, depressed, and beaten down by life. He didn’t care if Luna was furious.

“Booly?” Erebus asked.

“In a moment, be patient, Erebus,” Luna replied.

“Booly!” Erebus cried.

“Erebus, be patient!” Luna swatted her shawl with her wing.

“Ucky?”

“Yes, what do you want, Erebus?” Bucky asked.

“Ucky.”

“Can you say your mama’s name?” Bucky turned and looked at the muzzle peeking out of Luna’s shawl.

“Mama.” Erebus’ voice was squeaky.

“No… your mama’s name… Luna.”

“Una.”

“Close enough.” Bucky took a deep breath, filling his lungs with cold air. “We should go inside. Erebus wants to see Booly.” Bucky leaned his head closer and bumped his snoot into Erebus’.

There was a shrill whistle of echolocation and the flutter of tiny wings could be heard. Luna’s shawl, filled with something lumpy, stretched and moved.

“Erebus continues to endear himself to me. In the bath together, he took it upon himself to soil my bathwater. My foal is a menace.” Luna frowned and rubbed her shawl with her wing.

“Since we have this cease fire, I suppose I should offer a little hospitality. Would you like some rice pudding? We were having dinner when you arrived,” Bucky said.

“That would be lovely,” Luna replied.

 

 

Sitting in his chair, with Luna’s shawl around his neck, Barley cradled Erebus. He rubbed the colt’s back through the shawl and felt the warm fire upon his bones. At the end of a long day, it felt nice to sit in a chair and cuddle a foal. Barley closed his eyes.

“Booly.”

“Yes, Erebus, Booly,” Barley said.

This winter was being downright cruel upon his joints. Everything ached, everything burned. His joints felt as though they were filled with broken glass. Even his jaw ached, the rheumatoid had settled into his jawbone.

But this, this made it all bearable. Erebus smelled of milk, of some soft floral shampoo that Luna loved, and the scent of his mother’s perfume was strong upon him. Erebus’ body was warm, almost like a hot water bottle, and even though Erebus was heavy to hold, the warmth of the warm body against him made it worth it for Barley.

“Your mama wants me to have a few foals,” Barley said to Erebus in a low whisper. “She says that there is too much complication for us to be married, even though she said she would… but she said that a few foals would ease the sufferin’ of her heart. What do ye think o’ that?”

Erebus burbled and rubbed his cheek against Barley’s neck.

“She says she’s worried about making the same mistake as Princess Platinum… leaving behind a little too much power for her foals… even you. But she wants them well off and looked after… how would ye feel about a wee sister or a brother?”

“Booly.”

“Luna says that Rarity and Coco are well off, but not too well off… they’re just right, like the porridge that yon wee golden maned filly found in the house with the three ursa majors that was nae too hot and nae too cold.”

“Rararay.”

“Yes… that’s right Erebus, Rarity.” Barley bent his head down and kissed the colt he was holding. “Luna says she could avoid a scandal. She would have a little foal or three she could be an aunt to, or a godmother, and she wouldn’t have to show favouritism or give them money, which could lead to some trouble down the road. So much fuss for a wee foal to have a comfortable life, eh?”

“Fuss.”

“Yes… wee Erebus… a fuss. I suspect that when you grow up, yer goin’ to face quite the fuss as Luna’s adopted colt. Ponies will accuse you of being privileged… and Luna at some point is going to have to hurt herself real bad by letting you go and seeing if you can make it on your own. It’s gonna break her wee heart but nopony will even know her heart is broken. They’ll go on calling her a heartless bitch, thinking she’s all cold and distant.”

“Una.”

Barley shifted in his chair, trying to get comfortable. There was a burning ache in his hip. “If’n I leave behind a few foals with Coco and Rarity, that’ll be one less thing for Luna to worry about. She’ll have what she wants, and I’ll be happy giving her what she wants, and Coco and Rarity will be happy getting what they want.”

“Coco?” Erebus asked.

“Yes, Coco. She’s a sweet thing. She has a thing for both Bucky and myself I think. She likes the roguish types. I can make her blush like a school filly,” Barley replied. The old stallion sighed. “That makes it a little easier I guess, knowing that Coco at least has a bit of a crush on me. But then again, what mare wouldn’t want me? I’m damn sexy.”

 

 

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