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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“Dinky, we’ve messed up.” Piña turned to her sister and blinked away a few tears.

Staring down into her book, Dinky did not reply.

“We messed up,” Piña repeated, shaking her head. “Think about Sparkler and how she was always looking after you. Looking after us. There was plenty of things I know Sparkler probably wanted to do but she always made her plans with you in mind. With us in mind. And if it wasn’t for Berry, I would have been totally ignored as a foal because everypony in that house was sick to death of little foals by the time I came along.” Unable to stop herself, Piña began to sniffle.

Closing her book, Dinky went to the closet and began to rummage around.

“What are you doing?” Piña asked as she wiped her eyes.

“Looking for my old nightlight,” Dinky replied. “I know for certain Harper is scared of the dark. I used to be scared of the dark too. Daddy taught me I have to make the dark fear me.” Dinky dug through boxes, board games, arts and crafts supplies, and piles of old stuffed animals. Shrugging, Dinky tossed her old stuffed animals out on Harper’s bed as she continued to search for her old nightlight.

“A big sister is your first best friend,” Piña said, still sniffling. “And sometimes she’s your mama too… I fecked up!” Covering up her face with her hooves, Piña fell over on the floor and began sobbing.

Finding Piña’s sniffles somewhat contagious, Dinky delved even deeper in the depths of her closet, hunting for the lost nightlight. She felt a little like Daring Do at some old dig site. She began to open board game boxes to see if the nightlight had been tucked inside of one of them.

“Berry Punch gave up the chance to go to a Sapphire Shores concert so she could take me to a movie after I had to go to the doctor because of a cracked hoof and I was miserable.” Piña rolled around on the floor and continued to bawl. “She had backstage passes too. She carried me on her back! I’m shite! I’m the stinky little turd that sticks to your tail!”

Dinky sighed and thought about how much stranger Piña had been acting as of late. She had been far more emotional and it didn’t take much to send her off into a downward spiral of drama. She kept up her search for the nightlight and let Piña cry it all out.

It was the only thing that could be done.

“She held my head up when I couldn’t stop hurling everywhere because of an ear infection! My mama just left me in bed and I was stuck in my own puke puddle! Berry rescued me and I spewed on her a dozen times or more!”

“Piña!” Dinky closed her eyes and held back her own frustration.

“What?” Piña lifted her head and a long yellow green booger dangled from her nostril.

“Go talk to Berry! She’ll make you feel better… just… go!” Dinky pointed one hoof at the bedroom door and made a gesture for Piña to leave.

“But I don’t deserve to feel better!” Piña shook her head and the booger swung back and forth like a pendulum. “I would just feel worse because I know she’ll hug me and make me feel better even after how I treated her… I’m a gobshite!”

“Finally! Nightlight!” Dinky held the old nightlight aloft over her head in her telekinesis.

 

 

 

 

Today has been a strange day, but almost every day is a strange day. Princess Luna is currently in the body of a foal, and I do not even know where to begin to express my feelings on that issue. She does not seem like herself either, there are moments where she seems very much like an adult, but then her mood shifts and she becomes very foalish.

Are we more than a body, or does the body have its own say? Do I behave like a foal because I am in the body of a foal? If I was me, as I am now, in the body of an adult, would I behave differently? Or would my adult body give me more adult behaviour to match it? Were I an adult, and I was placed into the body I have now, would who I am change to fit the body, or would the body change who I am?

I have spent the evening pondering these questions and I have no answers. I do not even know who to ask to help me sort these things out. Once again, I fear I am alone in my contemplations with no help to be had. Perhaps if I had an adult body and an adult mindset, I would have answers to these questions. Or if I was an adult, would I even ask such foalish questions? Are these even foalish questions? I don’t know.

Boadicea and Diamond Tiara continue to become friends. I should not let this bother me, I know, but I feel so much jealousy when I see them together. I do not have a lot of extra time and what little bit of time I do have free, I want to spend it with Diamond Tiara… who is now giving me the brush off to spend time with Boadicea.

I cannot stand it but I have no choice but to live with it.

Father spoke to me briefly about not letting the need for revenge cloud your judgment. I suspect that he has more to say, but he wasn’t feeling well. When he opens up, I shall make it a point to listen.

Piña and Berry are squabbling again. I can hear Piña in the next room, crying right now, and I am tempted to go over there to make her feel better. But if I do that, she won’t go to Berry and sort this out, which is what needs to happen. So I all I can do is sit here and feel sad about the situation. Their relationship is confusing. Sometimes they are sisters; sometimes they are mother and daughter. I don’t know what to make of it.

I do know that Berry Punch walked away crying. She cries quietly in these situations, hoping that nopony will hear that she is hurt. It is hard having the hearing that I possess. I hear everything that goes on in this house. Nothing escapes my attention.

For the sake of recording my achievement, this entire entry was written using the power of my umbrakinesis. I can no longer hold the pencil.

 

 

 

 

Sitting in the tub, Berry Punch dunked herself beneath the water, holding her breath, and letting the hot water soak into her tear stained face. She remained submerged for a while, almost floating, glad to have the constant tug of gravity off of her stomach. She came up for air with a gasp and pulled herself up into a reclined sitting position with her back against the slope of the tub.

She became aware of a sniffling pink pony staring at her after she opened her eyes.

“Piña?” Berry asked.

“I’m sorry!” Piña cried as she threw herself over the edge of the tub and landed with a splash. She climbed up over Berry’s belly and threw her forelegs around Berry’s neck.

Stunned for a moment, Berry didn’t respond. After taking a deep breath, Berry wrapped her forelegs around Piña and pulled her closer. “I’m sorry too.”

“Why are you sorry?” Piña rested her head against Berry’s soaked barrel.

“Because… I don’t know how to reach you sometimes. You and I say such awful things to one another. We know how to push each other’s buttons like nopony else can. And there are times when I am tired, out of sorts, and just not in the mood for crap and when I have to deal with you, I take cheap shots.” Berry Punch heaved a sigh and squeezed the sopping wet foal on top of her.

“I do it too,” Piña said, offering up her admission in an apologetic tone of voice.

“I love you a lot… but you’re growing up and getting smarter and more and more, you keep messing with me and testing my patience and generally doing everything you can to drive me crazy and you know exactly what to do to do it.” Berry slid down the slope of the tub and submerged herself and Piña a bit in the hot water. “And so to get even with you, I do it right back because there are times when I am petty.”

“I do the same thing.” Piña closed her eyes and sniffled. “Why do we do this?”

“I dunno. We’re sisters. Maybe it is how we blow off steam because we know we’ll forgive each other.” Berry Punch rubbed Piña’s back and kissed her sister on the head. “I think I was about fourteen years old when I noticed that mom was neglecting you. My best friend, a mare you might know, she was pregnant and scared out of her mind. Amethyst Star, Sparkler’s mother, she sat me down one day and she gave me quite a talking to about doing the right thing. I was young and I didn’t understand it.” Berry Punch’s voice became gritty and raspy with emotion.

“I don’t even remember this,” Piña said in a low voice.

“Piña, Amethyst Star helped me find a part time job. I also did some foalsitting and other odd jobs. Star tried to show me how to be independent. And once I got my hooves under me, she helped me get custody of you. I had to take my mother to court and show that she was unfit. Everypony in the family hated me. My sister and I got into a terrible fight and I was forced to pound her into submission because every time I tried to walk away, she’d attack me again. When the dust cleared there were a lot of hard feelings. I don’t remember just how old I was. Everything back then blurs together.”

“How come you never told me this?” Piña asked.

“Because Piña… while there are times I torment you, I don’t actually want to hurt you. But I think you’re old enough to know,” Berry Punch replied. Taking a deep breath, she continued.

“Amethyst Star was an earth pony of the best sort. She looked after me, she looked after Derpy, she was almost like our mother. She loved us. And when I got a wild hair up my backside, she was very forgiving when I went off on a tear and didn’t look after you. Didn’t stop her from lecturing me though. After Dinky was born, we were something like a family. Barley came and stayed with us for a while. Amethyst Star worked a couple of jobs, Derpy got work with the postal service, I did whatever I could, and we all looked out for one another. Only I would get fed up with all of the pressure and responsibility and I’d go off on one of my adventures. I never had much of a chance to be a foal… even when I was younger there was just so much work to be done. You see Piña, our family, we were Shetlanders living on the mainland. We had to work twice as hard to make it and fit in. I went crazy a few times… got in some real trouble, and then one day Amethyst Star told me that if I kept behaving the way I was, I ran the risk of being declared an unfit guardian. I was sleeping all over town, having fun, partying, I was a wild thing and I was finally having fun. What she said hurt me pretty bad and I didn’t know how to take it. I kept screwing up and Star kept warning me.” Berry Punch felt tears welling up in the corner of her eyes.

Piña felt Berry shudder beneath her. She patted her sister’s barrel and felt Berry’s heart beating against her cheek.

“Then came the train wreck where Star got killed. I was still too young, still half wild, and Star was gone. This was just before Hearth’s Warming. Sparkler lost her mother. I lost my role model and the mare that was keeping me together. I realised that I couldn’t screw up no more.”

“I remember that,” Piña said in a trembling voice.

“Piña, I actually hated you just a little bit for a while… I feel so bad for it… but I did. It didn’t feel fair that I had to do what was right for you just because my mama got tired of looking after foals after having so many. And then I felt trapped. And I went off and I did something really stupid in Las Pegasus. I don’t remember much of it, but I got my cutie mark because of it. I was also arrested and I got in so much trouble. When the dust cleared, I got my warning. Get my stuff together… or else. You’d be taken from me.” Berry wrapped her forelegs around Piña and squeezed with a renewed effort.

“Is that where you went?” Piña asked in a strained voice as her ribs were crushed.

“Yes.” Berry Punch nodded her head in reply. “After I came home, I made some peace with my family. Just enough so that we could work together. Barley came back again for a while. I took advantage of Barley, I dropped out of secondary school, took an equivalency test, scored high enough to get into university, and I started taking classes to be a better brewer. I went to school at night, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I’d ride to Canterlot, go to school and be back by morning. I stopped screwing up. I did everything I could to look after you and Derpy. We had Sparkler to look after as well.”

“Why did you do all of this for me?” Piña lifted her head and looked Berry in the eye.

“Because I love you, you booger licker. I had a hard time seeing that for a while, but l love you. I ain’t perfect, I’ve made lots of mistakes, I might not have always said or done the right thing, and it might be my fault that you swear the way you do, but nopony can actually prove that.” Berry blinked and stared back at Piña. “I still feel so guilty for hating you the way I did. It eats me up inside.”

“I hate you too… sometimes.” Piña felt a little bit shocked by the honest words that came out of her mouth. “I didn’t know about all of this.”

“You were young.” Berry felt Piña’s head drop down on her chest. “I was young. I was stupid. They threatened to cart you off to Fillydelphia and it made me crazy.” Berry paused and had a moment of hindsight. “I guess that is where our family really began. Derpy had Dinky, I had you, we both had Sparkler, and we were brought together in hardship. We suffered together. We hadn’t met Bucky or the others yet, but we were a family.”

“Berry?”

“Yes, what is it Piña?”

“Dinky found her old nightlight. When Harper and Sukari move in with us, they don’t have to be afraid of of the dark.” Piña took a deep breath. “I’ve learned a bit from this. I need time to sort it all out. Maybe now that I am older and I understand more, we should spend more time talking and less time pushing each other’s buttons. I like knowing this stuff… it helps me understand.”

“Okay Piña.”

“And Berry?”

“Yes?”

“Thanks for never giving up on me. I know we bicker, I know we squabble, but knowing all of this helps me know that you really love me. I keep thinking about Loch Skimmer and Ripple and all of the horrible things they said to one another. I hope it never gets so bad that we do that.”

“Piña, I hope we don’t have a go at one another either.”

 

 

 

 

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