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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Bucky awoke and immediately wished that he hadn’t. Without meaning to, he cried out and woke the others around him. He was wrapped in a bandages and a blanket, and there was warm bodies all around him. The room didn’t feel nearly as cold as it had the first morning. The blankets and the thick mattress made a difference.

“Say something Buckminster,” Berry said in a groggy whisper.

“Shite,” Bucky mumbled.

“You gave us all quite a scare,” Berry whispered.

“I need to go,” Bucky said.

“I’ll help you,” Berry said.

Bucky felt the blanket being pulled away. His skin felt sunburned, and every inch of his body was feeling some kind of pain. He also couldn’t see out of his right side. A hazy memory slowly crawled into his brain settled in.

“My eye,” Bucky whined.

“You and Derpy share something in common now," Berry said.

“Can you get up?” Derpy asked.

“I don’t know, just don’t touch me, please, everything…” the effort of speaking wore Bucky out and his words faltered.

“Sparkler, we can do this,” Rising Star said, sliding out from under a blanket he was sharing with Sentinel.

Sparkler rolled out of the bed and landed on her hooves, her teeth almost instantly chattering from the sudden cold.

For Bucky, the cold felt kind of good against his fevered skin.

Bucky felt himself lifted up gently from the bed and set down carefully on his legs. Even in his addled state, he was impressed. Sparkler and Rising Star worked together perfectly. And didn’t do anything bad like pulling him in half. Their magic held him steady while he tested his ability to stand.

He took a shaky step and then another, everything aching and throbbing. On the third step he cried out and nearly fell, the only thing keeping him aloft was Rising Star and Sparkler, who stood on either side of him, horns glowing.

“Want us to carry you?” Rising Star asked.

“No,” Bucky muttered.

Berry gave him a once over. His bandages were surprisingly blood free. There was only a bit of spotting here and there. She didn’t want to see what was under the bandages though. Keg Smasher explained what had been done. It made Berry feel sick.

“You did a brave thing. That is why I married you.”

Derpy’s voice was low but steady. It was filled with sadness, but also pride. The mare looked miserable, her ears drooping, one eye closed so she could get a good look at her mate. “I am not upset with you,” Derpy mentioned. “Don’t get me wrong. I am upset. Just not with you.”

Bucky made his way behind the privacy barrier and stood over the bucket, Rising Star and Sparkler on the other side. There was a distinctive sound of urination and a long low moan.

Nopony said anything.

Bucky quietly shuffled back towards the bed, Rising Star and Sparkler keeping him steadied and some of the weight off of his hooves.

As Bucky was lifted and eased into the bed, there was a knock at the door. Berry went to answer, wondering who it could be. She trotted to the door and pulled it open, and Thistle came pushing past her.

Thistle froze.

“What happened?” she demanded.

“Bucky went wolf hunting last night with Keg Smasher,” Berry explained. “Why are you here?”

“That is between Derpy and I,” Thistle said trotting to a sofa and flopping down. “This is a comfortable place to rest me arse.”

“Don’t ask. Mare business,” Derpy said.

“Are you going to be okay? Is he going to be alright?” Thistle asked.

“Keg Smasher said he should be fine. His eye is gone,” Berry answered.

Thistle hissed in sympathetic pain.

“I am in pain, but to be honest, I think I felt worse when my horn was cracked,” Bucky admitted. “I will survive this. I will endure and be made stronger. The loss of my eye bothers me though.”

“Lots of ponies around here missing eyes,” Thistle said. “Just look around.” She rolled over on her back, getting comfortable on the sofa, and began to rub her belly.

Piña cautiously crept out from under Derpy’s wing and approached Bucky. She did not touch him, but lay down close beside him, shivering in the cold. A moment later Dinky abandoned her warm place and joined Piña and the two huddled together, both of them looking at their father with wide sad eyes.

Sentinel moved forward on the bed and quietly pulled Dinky and Piña to him. He wrapped a leathery wing around each one and hugged them close. “I did as you asked. I watched over them. When Piña cried last night, I was there to comfort her,” Sentinel reported.

“Thank you,” Bucky said, falling over and resting his head on Derpy’s back.

“I didn’t cry much,” Piña protested.

“No, you didn’t,” Sentinel confirmed.

“I am going to need help after breakfast. I want to take Dinky outside. There is going to be a magic lesson today,” Bucky said.

“No,” Derpy said.

“Don’t tell me no,” Bucky grumbled. “I can lay in the grass on a blanket and be comfortable, and still teach Dinky. But I am going to need another strong unicorn’s help, and Dinky is the only one.”

Derpy grumbled wordlessly.

“Nothing that will put Dinky in danger,” Bucky promised.

“Fine,” Derpy grumbled. “But I am coming with you. We do this together or it doesn’t get done at all.”

“Fair enough,” Bucky groaned. “I wonder what is for breakfast.”

 

 

The sun was warm upon the ponies laying on the blanket in the grass. Bucky was made comfortable, a few pillows had been brought along, and he lay looking at Dinky with his remaining eye. Rising Star and Sparkler sat together, looking attentive, hoping to learn something. Derpy sat with Piña, and Thistle sat close to Derpy. Berry had wedged herself by Derpy’s side. Sentinel stood nearby flapping his wings for strength.

“I made a terrible mistake last night Dinky. Do you want to know what I did wrong?” Bucky asked.

Dinky nodded slowly.

“I allowed fear and doubt to get the better of me. I lost control. I let emotion hamper my ability to keep myself and others safe. I failed as a unicorn,” confessed Bucky, his voice filled with pain and anguish, both physical and mental.

Dinky blinked a few times and and let her father’s words sink in.

“I failed to live up to my own teachings,” Bucky admitted. “I did not keep myself grounded and under full control. I allowed fear to get the better of me. Now do you understand the importance of keeping your resolve?” groaned Bucky, his words having a dire effect upon their intended listener.  

“We can’t always be perfect,” Dinky replied in a small voice.

“No, Dinks, we cannot. But when we slip up, sometimes there are consequences. I was weak and bad things happened. Now I get to suffer and deal with the cost of my failure,” Bucky explained in an agony filled voice.

“I understand,” Dinky said. “Even if I don’t mean to do it, if I make a mistake as a unicorn, and fail at my task, I can be hurt or others can be hurt.”

“Yes Dinky. I used to be a lot less emotional. I was cold inside before I met your mother. Now, things have changed. But I want to feel things now. I need to find a balance between the two,” Bucky stated.

“Yes daddy, I understand,” Dinky said, nodding her head.

“I am going to test your emotions Dinky,” Bucky announced.

“How?” Dinky asked.

“I want you to summon some bees for me Dinky,’ Bucky replied.

“NO!” Dinky replied, her eyes immediately flooding with tears.

“Dinky, my foal, please, be calm. See, this is what I mean. I will make sure that everything is fine. I am almost certain that they will not attack anyone. You are not angry at anyone. Just restore yourself to calmness, take some deep breaths, and summon me up a few bees,” Bucky instructed.

“No, I don’t want to, the bees are bad,” Dinky whined.

“No Dinky, the bees are not bad. Not if you can control them,” Bucky said in a dry raspy voice.

Berry grimaced at the sound of Bucky’s voice. “I’ll be back,” she announced, getting up and trotting off towards the castle. For a moment, Bucky turned his head so he could see her out of his left eye and watch her go.

“Squire Sentinel, go with her,” Bucky said.

Sentinel took off, flapping after Berry without protest.

“Now Dinky, summon me a few bees,” Bucky instructed.

“You can do it Dinky,” Sparkler encouraged.

“To bee or not to bee, that is the question…” Dinky announced.

Thistle lifted her head and watched the foal with great interest, her bright eyes focused on Dinky, her ears perked forward. Derpy turned and watched Thistle’s reaction, keenly aware of Thistle’s interest in her foal.

Dinky closed her eyes and her horn ignited. She took a few deep breaths, her barrel rising and falling, and the air filled with the distinctive smell of a type three charging up their magic, the air reeking with ozone.

“Something doesn’t feel right,” Dinky warned, her voice wavering.

Derpy tensed, wondering if Bucky could react in time. His body was currently in bad shape, but he still had powerful magic.

A single bee popped into existence and then lazily buzzed off to a nearby patch of clover, zigzagging through the air.

“I don’t understand,” Dinky gasped. “That doesn’t feel like last time, this felt all wrong,” she said in a confused whine.

“Last time, you surged. This time, you had control,” said Bucky, turning his head so he could look Dinky in the eye.

Dinky closed her eyes again, and took a few deep breaths. Another bee popped into existence. “I can’t believe I was afraid of that,” she muttered.

“Can you do anything with the bees?” Bucky asked.

“Like what? Tell them what to do?” Dinky asked.

“Maybe try seeing through their eyes?” asked Bucky in return.

“Ooooh!” Dinky gasped. “I don’t know, how do I do that?”

“Lots of concentration,” Bucky replied.

“That’s awesome,”  said Sparkler, “Dinky can have spies.”

“Yeah, I can spy on you and catch you and Rising Star when you two are all smoochy smoochy!” teased Dinky, goading her sister on.

“Why you little monster!’ Sparkler said, lunging for Dinky.

Dinky took off through the grass with her sister right behind her, and Piña broke away to join the chase. The adults watched the fillies gamboling in the grass. Dinky’s bees popped out of existence. Bucky thought about calling Dinky back, but decided to let her play for a while.

He was content to rest his head and watch his foals. He was dizzy with pain.

Thistle took off, trotting after the foals, giggling as she went.

“What went on between you and Thistle?” Bucky asked.

“An agreement,” said Derpy cryptically.

“Ugh, you are impossible,” groaned Bucky with a sigh of pain.

“So are you,” Derpy retorted. “How are you holding up? Don’t lie to me!”

“I am in pain of course. Everything hurts. I feel a surprising amount of clarity though. I don’t know why. My mind, even though it is foggy with pain, it is like my thinking is really clear,” Bucky explained.

“Being near death can do that,” Derpy said. “I had a spell when Dinky was born. My body was near useless, and pain made my mind a bit funny, but I had some very clear thoughts. I thought about motherhood and the sort of mother I wanted to be.”

“You may be a good mother, but you are a better wife,” Bucky said, complimenting the grey mare.

“I know,” Derpy said in a matter-of-fact tone.

“And so modest,” added Bucky with a grumble.

“Berry is coming back. Looks like she has a jug perched on her back. And Sentinel has a pitcher I think,” Derpy announced, peering with her one good eye. “I am going to chase my foals,” she announced, and then bolted suddenly, giving hoot and a holler.

Bucky couldn’t help but notice that one of the ponies Derpy was chasing was Thistle. He realised he was probably making more out of it than there really was, but he still couldn’t unthink the thought once it popped into his head. Derpy was beautiful when she ran, her wheat coloured mane and tail streaming into the breeze as she bounded. He continued to stare at the group for a long while.

“I am back and I have brought mead. Sentinel has brought water. Bucky, drink some mead to dull the pain and drink lots of water. Sentinel can get more, he doesn’t mind,” Berry said. She studied Bucky in the sunlight, looking him over.

She sat down on the blanket, unstoppered the mead jug, and poured the frothy golden liquid into a battered metal cup she had brought with her. “Drink,” she commanded, hoofing the cup over to Bucky, who took it with his magic.

The first sip made his head swim.

“Sentinel, go play with the others, I’ll keep an eye on Bucky,” Berry said.

“Yes ma’am,” Sentinel replied, bounding off to chase the others after he set the water pitcher down.

Bucky emptied his mead cup in one long pull, and started to feel a little better. Once Dinky had a good run to get her excess energy out of her system, he planned to continue to the magic lesson. For now, it was pleasant to watch his family play.

 

 

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