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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As the heated, enclosed carriage banked towards the general direction of Ponyville, Twilight Sparkle, who was sitting with a worried look upon her face, looked over at Bucky and said, “Can you come home with me and be there while I break the news?”

“Are you going to wake them up this late?” Bucky asked.

Luna shrugged. “Or this early. They might still be awake. It is only around two in the morning. We did quit rather early.”

“They might be up for the time between sleeps.” Twilight reached up and rubbed the side of her jaw with the edge of her hoof. “I sort of got them practicing first and second sleeps by accident. They wanted to spend more time with me when I started doing it.”

“Do the foals wake up?” Bucky asked.

Twilight sighed and then replied, “Sometimes.”

Turning his head, Bucky looked out the carriage window at the lights of Ponyville as Luna pulled up the small wooden shutter that allowed for communication with the lunar pegasi pulling the covered  carriage.

“Ponyville library first!” Luna shouted to the lunar pegasi pulling the carriage, her voice amplified with magic by the communications portal so it could be better heard outside. She shut the wooden shutter to keep the cold out.

The carriage made a sharp turn and then leveled out. Bucky turned away from the window and looked over at Twilight Sparkle once more. “I’m very happy for you. I’m also scared, because you go into danger regularly, so if I seem distant, it is because I’m trying not to freak out.”

“I’ll admit, I’m scared too.” Twilight’s hoof moved down and rubbed her belly. “I was not prepared for this. I didn’t have time to make plans and organise every detail of this pregnancy. This just sort of happened. I’m happy about it, but I am also scared out of my mind.”

“We are almost there. Both of you at least try to look happy.” Luna smiled and made a gesture with her hoof. “Everything will be fine.”

 

 

Pushing open the door, Twilight Sparkle stepped inside. Inside of the library, in the main room, a quilt had been spread on the floor. Rainbow Dash was sprawled out on her belly and Flash Sentry was busy working over her spine, rubbing, popping, and realigning each vertebra as he worked from Rainbow Dash’s croup up to her neck.

It was something that Twilight Sparkle loved to have done to her after a long day. Flash was good at it, gifted even, he could take almost any crick in the back and work it out if given enough time. But he refused to reveal where he had learned his art.

“Hi Twi… Bucky… teeny tiny Princess Luna,” Rainbow Dash said in greeting. Something in her spine popped and her eyes rolled back into her head. The mare moaned, stuffed her right front hoof into her mouth, bit down, and then banged on the floor through the quilt with her other front hoof.

Grunting, Flash Sentry continued to press down with his hoof, right between Rainbow Dash’s wings, there were several loud pops, a crackle, an even louder pop, and then a sound like a bunch of celery being twisted and broken. Rainbow cried out around her hoof in her mouth, banged upon the floor with the other, and then with a whinny, she went limp on the floor after a gruesome sounding crackle.

“Did you just paralyse that poor mare?” Luna asked, her eyes wide with horror. Beside her, Bucky stood there, statuesque and unmoving.

“No,” Twilight replied before Flash could. “Rainbow does stupid stuff while flying. It leaves her spine all messed up. Flash is really good at putting stuff back.”

“I love this mare too much to paralyse her,” Flash Sentry said as he lowered his head. He kissed Rainbow Dash upon her nasal bridge and then stepped over her to greet Twilight. There was a snoot bump, followed by a swift peck upon the lips. “And I love this mare too… she’s kinda special.”

“I guess everypony is asleep?” Twilight asked as she lifted her head and brought herself up to her full height. “Look, I have something I want to tell both of you.”

“That you’re an egghead?” Flash Sentry replied as he took a step backwards.

“Ha ha… you’re almost as funny as Applejack—”

“Ouch, that’s cold,” Flash Sentry said, interrupting Twilight and shaking his head.

“Flash Sentry… Rainbow Dash… do you remember that night while we were on vacation?” Twilight Sparkle asked as she glanced over at Luna and Bucky, looking for silent support.

“Which one… the night when Rainbow Dash ate all of that weird fruit from the market in Tradewinds and had the squirts or the night we all got drunk and—”

“The night we got drunk, you silly stallion!” Twilight Sparkle tossed her head around and snorted as Rainbow Dash let out a weak sounding chuckle.

“Oh yeah… that night… when Twilight Sparkle used that spell from that book that Princess Celestia gave her and both of you screwed me senseless.” Rainbow Dash tried to lift her head and couldn’t.

A very sheepish grin spread over Twilight’s face and she looked over at Bucky and Luna, who both had raised eyebrows. She dropped her head and her ears splayed out sideways. “Um, yeah, that happened.”

“I was the middle of a two stallion sandwich.” Rainbow Dash’s wings fluttered and she closed her eyes. “We did crazy things that night.”

“Dash!” Twilight cried out in a nervous voice.

“Seems as though Twilight Sparkle has developed a little kink,” Bucky said in a low, rumbling baritone.

“Look, none of this is helping me! I’m having a really hard time trying to say what needs to be said! I’m really emotional and while all of this is kinda funny, it is also really, really embarrassing because I still feel awkward about it even though I know that nothing is inherently wrong or bad if everything is consensual, but I still feel really out of sorts about the whole thing because I haven’t gone through my list and sorted out my sexuality… and I’m doing it again, aren’t I?”

Eyes wide, Flash Sentry nodded.

“Look, I’m pregnant. I know I said a lot of things about how important it was to plan everything and I know that I’ve messed up and—umphulumphle!”

“Shut up,” Flash Sentry said as he stuffed his hoof into Twilight’s mouth. “I am going to pull my hoof out and you are going to repeat what you just said with no more than three words.”

On the floor, Rainbow Dash struggled to lift her head and her wings flopped at her sides.

When Flash Sentry pulled his hoof out, Twilight Sparkle took a deep breath.

“I mean it, no more than three words, or it is the hoof again,” Flash warned.

Grunting, Twilight Sparkle rolled her eyes. “I am with foal,” she said in defiance, using four words. She backed up a step and looked at Flash.

Sniffling, Rainbow Dash flailed on the floor, unable to get up or move. “Twilight… that’s wonderful news… now we can do this together!”

Twilight’s eyes narrowed “But—”

“No buts!” Flash Sentry said, cutting Twilight off. “No apologies, no buts, no berating yourself… I don’t want this moment ruined.” Flash stepped forward, got into Twilight Sparkle’s personal space, wrapped his wings around her neck, and hauled her down for a kiss. The kiss, which started out as a peck, intensified and became something else.

“It is time for us to go,” Luna said. “Oh my, look at the time.”

Twilight Sparkle let out a whinny and her tail began twitching as the kiss turned into something resembling two cannibalistic ponies trying to devour each other’s faces.

“Hey! Hey!” Rainbow Dash cried. “Hey! Selfish needy pegasus feeling left out over here!”

“We should be going,” Bucky said. “Best of luck to all of you.”

 

 

“That went well.”

Luna, listening to Bucky’s words, nodded.

“It’s nice to see them happy.”

Once more, Luna nodded.

“Now if we could just get you happy…”

Flashing a coy smile, Luna turned her head and looked out the window. She giggled, a fillyish sound, and her wings fluttered at her sides. “Oh, I have a plan to be happy.”

“Do you?” Bucky asked.

“I do.”

“Well, do tell then.”

Luna’s teal eyes locked onto Bucky’s mismatched grey and weird purple-blue eyes. “I have asked Twilight Sparkle for a little help. I had a crazy plan to ask Barley to that dance that you are having at your school.” Luna took a great deal of satisfaction in seeing the shocked look upon Bucky’s face. “Twilight Sparkle has agreed to use a little age magic on Barley, to turn him into a colt for the dance, so we can both be about the same age and have fun together.”

Bucky felt the corners of his mouth turning upwards, almost as if by magic.

“Barley agreed and he’s looking forward to having a night together as foals.” Luna turned away from Bucky and looked out the window once more. She heaved a lovesick sigh, tapped her front hooves together, and then her expression became one of nervousness.

“Luna?” Bucky asked, seeing the change.

The night blue alicorn closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and then, turning her head towards Bucky, she opened her eyes. “Bucky… I’m tired of making the same mistakes over and over again in my impossibly long life. Being young once more has changed my points of view. I have my mind, my memories, but a pony is more than just a mind and memories… a pony is also physical, and the brain must make connections. The brain is a collection of neurons, a network that develops over time, shaped by our growth, our development, our experiences in life, and I am aware that mine is being altered right now, even as we speak. Each connection is a new way for me to look at life, or to experience something new… I am not the pony I was once was.”

Bucky blinked and looked at Luna, not understand everything she was saying, but trying to take it all in nonetheless.

“What I do now, what I feel now, what I experience now, all of that will shape how I am for as long as this current incarnation of my body exists. When I came back the first time, when Twilight freed me from the nightmare, I was but a foal… and I was kept locked away from everypony and everything, so I could collect my thoughts and grow and become myself. My sister was busy. So very busy. Those were momentous times.” Luna shook her head. “I developed in lonesome times. It shaped me, shaped who I became, turned me into what I was. I was a mare out of time, out of place, out of touch, and I made no connections with the ponies around me as I grew. I think it made me cold, distant, and unlikeable.”

“Oh.” Bucky’s voice was a faint gasp.

“I have since read a lot about brain development. We know so much more now. Each experience makes a neural connection that affects who and what we are. You, for example, are more than just the sum of your memories… you are a collection of neural pathways in the brain, each one formed from something that happened in your life.” Luna paused, blinked, and then tapped her front hooves together a few times once more. “I am not the pony I was. I feel different now. I feel a lot more remorse than I did. I have memories that plague me, cause me pain, memories I am not happy about… being around you, your family, being around Barley, it has affected my development. Changed my perceptions. I feel my emotions quite keenly now.”

“I see,” Bucky said, feeling uncertain about what to say or how to acknowledge Luna.

“It is my intention to ask Barley to marry me at the dance. I expect quite a scandal. I expect a lot of angry shouting between my sister and myself. Things might get bad. I do not want to jeapordise your relationship with my sister, so I must ask you to stay out of it if possible.” Luna shook her head. “I want to be a better collection of connections. I want this cycle of growth and development to go better than the last one. I have grown to hate the pony that I was.”

“Oh my goodness…” Bucky did not know what else to say. He felt the carriage lurch as it came in for a landing.

“Bucky, I mean it, your relationship with my sister means more to me than my own feelings… you are to do nothing that might damage your standing with my sister. Please, I am begging you, I do not want that upon my conscience… I cannot bear the thought of knowing that I drove a wedge between you and her. She loves you so much, in her own confused and somewhat muddled way. Her own connections are faulty and well over a thousand years out of date I think. I do not know what to do for her, but I intend to make the most of my rebirth.”

Sitting on the cushioned bench in the carriage, Bucky gave Luna a blank slack jawed stare as the full weight of her words settled into his mind.

“Would you please fix me tea when we get inside?” Luna asked in a soft fillyish voice, giving Bucky a hopeful look. “I think I need a cup of tea…”

 

 

 

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