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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With a grunt, Big Mac emerged triumphant from his storage closet, holding a satin finished heavy duty cardboard box tied up with string. The box was dull, faded somewhat, and covered in dust. Carrying the string in his teeth, he moved from the closet so he could set the box upon his and Cheerilee’s bed.

“Found it?” Cheerilee asked.

“Eeyup.”

There was an excited squeak from Babs as she trotted up to the edge of the bed and peered at the box, which was a faded shade of blue under all of the dust.

“I dunno about this.” Applejack’s mouth pressed into a tight, narrow line. “Babs, darling, wouldn’t you like to wear a frilly dress and be all pretty and dolled up?”

Clearing her throat, Cheerilee turned to look at Applejack. “She can still be pretty.”

“I didn’t mean it that way.” Applejack’s green eyes flashed and she shook her head.

Using his teeth, Big Mac yanked at an end of string, undoing the bow that had been tied. The string, old and dusty, fell away. Reaching out a hoof, Big Mac used his manipulation shoe to get a grip on the box lid. He lifted it, pulling the box open, and flipped the lid over onto the bed.

Inside of the box was a moth proof bag. Even though Big Mac’s movements were a little clumsy, he was careful when opening the bag. There was a flash of dark green and the rumple of aged plastic, as well as the scent of mothballs. A dark bottle glass green jacket was pulled out and laid upon the bed. Big Mac smoothed it out, his eyes were misty, but it might have been because of the dust.

Babs stood near, spellbound.

“Babs, honey, there is nothing wrong with a young filly wanting to wear a tuxedo coat to look good,” Cheerilee said, her muzzle a few inches away from Babs’ ear. “It takes courage to be different.”

“I got this coat for the Ponyville Apple Country Cotillion. Granny Smith took on every odd job she could find, did extra laundry and sewing, and she scrimped and she saved until she had this coat.” Big Mac shook his head and then closed his eyes. “I was a very foolish colt. I said I hated it and I refused to wear it.”

“Eeyup.” Applejack nodded, remembering that day all too well. “Made Granny Smith cry. Shame on you, Mac.”

Stepping away, Big Mac opened his eyes. “Apple Bloom was still in diapers.”

“Hey!” Apple Bloom looked up at her brother.

Big Mac stared at the coat; the dust in the room caused his eyes to glaze over. “I apologised when I realised what it meant to Granny Smith. I wore the coat, went to the cotillion, stood next to the wall, and did my best not to be noticed.” Big Mac coughed. “I came home and I asked Granny Smith to dance with me and I kept telling her how sorry I was.”

“You big softie,” Cheerilee said in a teasing voice. She bumped up against Big Mac’s side. Her head turned and she glanced at Babs. “Well, try it on.”

Licking her lips, nervous, Babs was careful as she pulled the coat down to try it on. She got her front legs through the sleeves, adjusted the coat, and then stood there. She looked up at Big Mac with a hopeful gaze.

Applejack’s eyes narrowed.

Sensing something was wrong, that something seemed out of place, Babs looked over at Applejack. “Are we gonna fight about this too?”

Cheerilee looked at Babs and then at Applejack. Her mouth opened, as if she might say something, but she held her tongue, waiting, knowing there would be a time for words if they were needed.

Shaking her head, Applejack took a step backwards from Babs. “No… we ain’t gonna fight about this. I was just being stubborn and if I keep doing that, I’m gonna end up hurting somepony that I love… I’m sorry.”

A cautious smile crept over Babs’ muzzle and she turned to look at Apple Bloom. “How do I look?”

Before anything came spilling out, Apple Bloom clamped her mouth shut. She wanted to be honest, there was a powerful need to be honest, Apple Bloom didn’t like it. Babs looked too much like a colt in the jacket. Looking up at her sister, Apple Bloom had a glimmer of understanding about what Applejack might be feeling. But there was Babs’ feelings to think about, and Apple Bloom knew all too well how much honesty could hurt. “Babs, cousin, I think that Larch and Piña will think you look fantastic.”

“You had better not give poor Larch a hard time when he comes over here and asks permission to take Babs to the dance,” Cheerilee said to Applejack. “He’s shy, he’s sweet, and he’s very, very sensitive. He is just the sort of colt you want to have around Babs.” Cheerilee’s eyes narrowed into a hard, flinty glare and she gave her sister in law a fierce stare.

“The coat needs some adjusting,” Applejack said, ignoring Cheerilee. “I’ll take you over to Rarity’s and she’ll make it fit ya, she’s gotta make some adjustments to Apple Bloom’s dress so it’ll be all perfect.” Applejack, sighed, lowered her head, and then looked at Cheerilee. “I’ll be nice when Larch comes over.”

“You had better,” Cheerilee replied in a flat voice. “I like little Larch.

“You like quiet sentimental types.” Applejack looked over at her bother and then back at Cheerilee. “I suppose I should trust your judgment.”

“Eeyup.” Big Mac looked at his sister, then his wife, and then down at Babs. He ignored the family drama, leaned down, and kissed Babs on the cheek. “You look awful pretty… er… handsome?”

The filly shrugged and smiled as she looked up at Big Mac. Her eyes, warm and affectionate, held the faint shimmering sheen of happy tears.

“I just had a thought,” Apple Bloom said, her expression becoming one of worry.

“And that is?” Applejack asked.

“Larch is a ward of the school… how is he gonna dress up?” Apple Bloom looked over at Babs and saw a concerned expression appear on her cousin’s face. “He ain’t got no money.”

A low whinny slipped out of Applejack and the mare appeared to be chewing on something. Her muzzle scrunched as her tail twitched from side to side, slapping around her hind legs with soft thumps. “Daggum it, I ain’t letting anything ruin Apple Bloom and Babs’ big day. We need to find out if Larch is getting any help and if’n he ain’t, we’re gonna make certain he looks good and I don’t wanna hear no arguin’, consarnit.”

“It seems that big, soft, sentimental types run in the Apple family,” Cheerilee said.

“Shut yer pie hole, Cheerilee!”

 

 

“Sir, we have an official letter of surrender from Princess Celestia,” Violet said as she placed a scroll case down upon the farmhouse library table. “She promises to make your life miserable for what you have done.”

“I’m okay with that,” Bucky replied.

“Dreary the donkey is here and she is working with Rising Star and Sunset Shimmer on the advanced prosthetic project. Lyra will be joining them, time permitting.” Violet looked over at Bucky. “The past week has been very, very busy. Are you holding up okay, sir?”

The past week had been busy. Bucky had killed the Element of Obedience. Cadance had become the equinomorphic embodiment of love. He had been working on making a advanced prototype prosthetic leg for Black Briar. There had been all manner of enchantment done upon Apple Bloom’s crown, and still more to do.

“Sir, you look exhausted.” Violet’s eyes narrowed and she looked at Bucky with concern as well as a well hidden bit of affection.

“Violet, I killed a pony in a cold blood. I had him at my mercy and I reacted from anger rather than reason or logic. I am having some trouble assuaging my conscience. I have retreated into my work and I haven’t been sleeping right,” Bucky admitted.

“Sir, you are a dimwitted dumbass, sir,” Violet said.

“Yes, Violet, I know.”

Sighing, Violet shook her head. “Agnetha will be giving birth soon. Word has it she is giving birth to a male cub.”

“That is pleasant news.” Bucky looked up from the ledger he was writing in.

“Sir, it seems that Celestia suggested a name and Agnetha was quite taken with it…”

“Oh?” Bucky set down the ledger upon the table and gave Violet a curious stare.

“Sir, Agnetha plans to name the cub ‘Beauregard’—”

“OH SOD IT!” Bucky’s talons clenched into a fist.

“Prince Beauregard will be born very soon. She might drop her cub before the coronation. She is hoping that you will be there for her. Also, King Tannis says hello.”

Glowering, Bucky slumped down into his chair. He unclenched his talons and began to drum his talon fingers upon the arm of the chair. “She did this because of the coronation.”

“Agnetha?” Violet raised her eyebrow.

“No, auntie… this is her subtle revenge,” Bucky replied.

“Your paranoia does not become you.” Violet shook her head. “You don’t name a foal or a cub based upon the principles of revenge. No, your auntie’s revenge is coming in the form that you are going to be Apple Bloom’s tutor in all of her royal duties. You are going to teach her everything she needs to know and she is going to start joining us while we work here in this library, doing what we do.”

Bucky’s talon fingers ceased drumming and his ears perked.

“I have a list of objectives,” Violet said, holding up a scroll tube in her telekinesis and waving it at Bucky. “Twilight Sparkle has her own list of duties expected from her as well.”

“Hmm, I am actually quite happy about this.” Bucky sat up straight and looked Violet in the eye. “This is not onerous at all.” He smiled and his ears relaxed.

“I couldn’t think of a better pair of teachers for Apple Bloom…”

 

 

Standing in the middle of Rarity’s kitchen, Applejack looked at her friends, her green eyes glittering with determination. She looked at Rarity, at Pinkie Pie, at Fluttershy, and at Rainbow Dash. The only pony missing was Twilight Sparkle, who was busy.

“I gotta be at the school in just a little bit… I have class to teach,” Rainbow Dash said as she began to pace with nervousness.

“Just hang on Rainbow… this is an emergency.” Applejack’s eyes narrowed as she gave the impatient pegasus a commanding stare. “It has come to my attention that Larch is a ward of the school. He ain’t got much in the way of money, I already found out that it is Bucky himself that sees that Larch has a little spending money.” Applejack cleared her throat. “I talked with Violet for a few minutes. We have a colt that is taking two fillies to the coronation dance. He is going to need to be well dressed and he is going to need to be able to get flowers for both Babs and Piña.”

“And we’re gonna help young love blossom?” Pinkie Pie asked as she bounced in place.

“Yes, Pinkie, that is what we’re gonna do.” Applejack pushed her hat back on her head.

“Ooooh, this is good!” Pinkie Pie said as she began to pronk around Rarity’s kitchen.

“He’s gonna need a nice jacket, something that will match with Babs’ jacket and Piña’s dress. He’s gonna need a shirt and a nice tie. He’ll also need a bit of a trim to his mane because he’s scruffy looking and we’re gonna turn this pauper into a prince… and I won’t accept nothing less. Babs is getting the night she deserves and I ain’t settling for anything less than perfection.”

Rarity’s lips puckered up in concentration for a moment as she looked at Applejack. “Big Mac’s old coat is bottle glass green. Piña’s gown is spring green. Larch would look good in something emerald green. I have a bolt of emerald green wool satin gabardine somewhere...”

“We have a week,” Applejack said to Rarity.

“Oh merciful stars, whatsoever shall I do, only a week?” Rarity replied, her eyes narrowing and blinking, a sarcastic flutter. “Please, I can finish the jacket in a day and still get everything else done that is on my long list of things to do.”

“Discord and I will make certain that he is cleaned up and looks presentable,” Fluttershy said in a low voice. “We’ll pitch in for the flowers, too.”

“We need to get him here so he can be fitted.” Rainbow Dash looked up at the clock on the wall.

“I gotta good feeling about this.” Pinkie Pie grinned as she stopped pronking about. She stood beside Applejack and gave her fellow earth pony a sideways glance. “We’re gonna need photos,” Pinkie Pie said in a conspiratorial whisper. “Cheese Sandwich just so happens to be an excellent photographer. He specialises in party photos. He has an excellent eye for lighting and getting the most out of his subjects. He likes getting photos of happy ponies.”

“Hmm,” Applejack hummed as she turned to look at Pinkie. “We’ll need photos of the coronation… that gives me an idea…”

 

 

 

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