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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Feeling the approaching dawn, Bucky awoke, feeling a little confused and disoriented. The dawn had moved, he was now in a different time zone now than where he had been not just a week before. Beside him, he heard Derpy’s muffled breathing and realised she was awake.

Rolling over, he pressed up against her back, reached over with his talons, and slid his foreleg down along the rounded curve of her protruding belly. “In much pain?”

“A little.” Derpy leaned back against Bucky and gasped as she felt his talons sliding down along her belly, going lower and lower, brushing up against her teats. She felt him touching her right along the ridge where her pelvis was, right where it hurt the most, the place that had been broken all those years ago when Dinky had been born.

“Feels hot to the touch, like a fever. You probably need your pills… I can go get them,” Bucky said. “Do you need to get into the bathroom?”

“Yeah,” Derpy replied. She closed her eyes and melted into Bucky’s embrace. “I can’t take my pills until I eat something.”

“I will fix you some breakfast.” Bucky nuzzled the grey mare’s ear. “What would you like to eat?”

“Waffles,” Derpy breathed. “Waffles with apple butter. And scrambled eggs. Scrambled eggs with apple butter.”

“Anything else?” Bucky asked as he wrapped Derpy in a telekinetic bubble.

Derpy licked her lips, thinking about what sounded good to eat. “Well, if you don’t mind, slather everything down in that hot chow chow relish stuff that Berry Punch makes.”

“With the apple butter?” Bucky cringed; there was no accounting for pregnant mares and their tastes. At least Derpy seemed to be off of her sauerkraut kick.

“Yes, with the apple butter,” Derpy replied as she felt gravity lose its hold over her. She sighed with relief as the horrible pressure dropped away. “Bucky, this is very embarrassing, but…”

“What is it?” Bucky slipped out of bed, trying not to disturb grumbling sleepers.

“When I get done, you’re going to need to clean me up back there with those medicated wipes. Doctor doesn’t want me getting any fissures or hemorrhoids. All the skin back there is stretched too tight.”

“I can do that.” Bucky, half in shadow, floated over the bedroom floor, moving in silence. “This is kinda my fault that you’re like this, so helping you is the least I can do.”

“After breakfast, can you get in the tub with me?” Derpy asked.

“Sure, I can do that too. Maybe we can invite Berry to come with us?”

“I’d like that.” Derpy paused and then turned her head to look back at Bucky. “I can’t reach back there to clean any more. I’m having problems with acne because of my hormones. I’m gonna need you to spend a lot of time scrubbing my butt.”

“This is not a chore…”

 

 

“I don’t know how I got talked into this,” Bon Bon said. She leaned back, yawned, and then looked at Bucky. “I suppose I don’t have anything better to do.”

Closing her eyes, Lyra leaned over on Bon Bon. “Mmm, you’re hot, wet, and soapy.”

“Lyra, there are foals in this tub,” Bon Bon whispered.

“So there are,” Lyra said, opening her eyes. “I don’t know what came over me.”

Giggling, Cadance kicked her hooves and splashed both Lyra and Bon Bon as she flapped her wings and soaked everypony else. Beside Cadance, Sukari covered her face and tried to shield herself. Harper kicked back and gave as good as she got.

“The tub is crowded.” Thistle stretched out her tail and tried to get comfortable. Beside her, Bell Heather floated in the water, stretching out her own tail. “I’m surprised we all fit.”

“Thistle, this is a fourteen foot long, eight foot wide tub that holds over sixteen hundred gallons of water. Most ponies would call this a swimming pool.” Berry Punch reached up, grabbed Thistle by the cheeks, pulled the kelpie close, and gave Thistle a soggy kiss.

“My head hurts,” Belisama said, floating in what was for her, deep water. “I drank too much last night. Why did I do that?” The griffoness cringed when Harper let out a war cry. “Am I a bad mother because I was too drunk to look after Bandua? What does Magpie think of me?”

Bucky, quiet, laboured with a scrubbing brush, saying nothing, enjoying the time spent with his wives and his littlest foals. The bigger foals had school today, and for this, Bucky was glad. He needed this quiet, peaceful time. Discord and Fluttershy were now gone and with the exception of Luna, the house was back to its usual state of affairs.

“I think Bucky has a few more silver hairs mixed in with his black mane,” Bon Bon said as she looked over at Bucky, her head tilted off to one side as she studied him. “Black and silver is a good look for you… makes you look distinguished. Stately.”

“Berry Punch, don’t you dare.” Derpy’s eyes narrowed and she gave Berry, who was about to say something, a fierce glare.

“I wasn’t going to say any foal-unfriendly words.” Berry Punch let go of Thistle and grabbed Sukari, pulling her close. She grabbed a scrubbing brush in one fetlock and went to work getting Sukari cleaned.

Cadance, having lost interest in the splash fight, focused on Bell Heather instead, pulling the kelpie closer and giving her a squeeze. For Cadance, Bell Heather was like a living bath toy.

“Cadance, don’t squeeze Bell Heather so hard. She’ll fart,” Thistle warned.

Grinning, Cadance squeezed Bell Heather even harder, causing Thistle to roll her eyes. Cadance, playing a dangerous game, didn’t seem to mind, and Bell Heather was giggling now, her orange eyes bright with glee because she was being hugged by her sister.

“Harpy mane heavy.” Harper tired of holding up her waterlogged curls, fell over and floated on her back. She kicked out her hind legs and closed her eyes. “Harpy better now.”

“These are the moments that I wish would last forever,” Derpy said as she turned her head to look at Bucky. “I know that you’ll probably have to leave us again soon, but stay as long as you can.”

 

 

“Today, I am going to be your substitute teacher. I am Princess Luna. You may call me Luna. Your regular teacher is unable to come in to class due to some pregnancy complications, at least from what I understand. She wants us to focus on painting—good brush strokes, technique, adding texture to your painting,” Luna said to her class. She lifted her head high and her ears perked forward. “This is my assistant, Erebus. Say hello the class, Erebus.” Luna heard several foals giggling.

“Hi!” Erebus, suspended in a foal carrier hung from Luna’s side, waved with one hoof at the class while grinning a huge grin.

The students seemed squirrely. This was the first class of the day and many of the students were, no doubt, jacked up on sugar from breakfast. Luna, somewhat nervous, stood before her students, wanting to leave a good impression upon them.

“Well, get to work!” Luna commanded. She watched as the foals scattered, each of them going to their easels. She began to prowl around the classroom, looking for talent, waiting for a call for help, or trying to spot a painting that might benefit from some helpful suggestions.

She spotted a filly whose painting had hard lines and lacked soft edges. Luna approached, feeling more than a few butterflies in her stomach. She tried to calm herself. This is just a foal, Luna thought to herself. She took a deep breath.

“Gentle strokes would give your painting a softer appearance. Would you like a demonstration?” Luna asked.

“Sure,” the filly replied as she stepped aside.

Luna lifted a paint brush in her telekinesis and pointed at what was supposed to be a pony. It was almost all straight lines with no curves, no rounded places. Luna made a soft, curving stroke, making the pony’s square backside a little more rounded. “See, like so.”

“I don’t have telekinesis,” the filly said to Luna.

“Oh dear, you do not.” Luna looked down and she heard Erebus burbling. “No matter, it can still be done.” Luna slipped her paintbrush into her mouth and leaned her head down to the canvas. Using her lips, she made a smooth, somewhat curved stroke along the pony’s back, rounding off the withers and the croup.

“Hmm.” The filly looked up.

“You cannot bite the brush in your teeth,” Luna said in a somewhat muffled voice. “Hold the brush loose in your lips.”

“Okay.” The filly picked up her brush once more, allowed it to dangle in her lips, and began touching up another pony in her painting. She added a curved, flowing tail and began to round off the hard angles and edges.

“Very good!” Luna said as she pulled the paintbrush from her lips with her telekinesis. “Telekinesis does not make you a good painter. One of the greatest painters I knew was an earth pony. He painted bugs for the Royal Academy of Science. He did not like photographs because he felt they lacked detail. I met him not long after my return. Sadly, his talent is lost to us now.”

“Hey, that’s pretty neat!” a pegasus colt shouted.

“Art is an expression of your body. You do not need magic to make art. Art is magic,” Luna said in a loud voice. “Art is the language of the soul and the means of expression for the inner mind.”

Head high, Luna began to pace around the room again. Everywhere she went, she saw talent. Real talent. She saw promise and she saw hope. A well funded art program was now showing dividends.

 

 

“You are my pretty little filly,” Thistle said to Sukari in a low voice. Reaching out, Thistle adjusted the bright yellow ribbon tied into Sukari’s mane.

“No.” Sukari dropped her head and looked down at the floor.

“You are so my little filly!” Thistle reached down with her hoof, placed it under Sukari’s chin, and lifted the filly’s head, making her look up. “I am so your mother… I have proof! Don’t you ever forget that!”

“Not pretty.” Sukari pulled her head away from Thistle’s hoof and stared down at the floor. “Ugly.”

Deflating, Thistle sat down with a huff. She blinked a few times, shaking her head, not knowing what to say or how to respond to this. “Why would you say you are ugly? That’s awful!”

Sukari lifted her head up and looked Thistle in the eye. She blinked, her blue eyes gleaming in the nursery lights, and then, raising one trembling hoof, she pointed at the scar that went from her ear down to her nostril. Then she made a gesture pointing at the rest of herself. Cringing, she pointed at the mirror that stood in the nursery.

“Are you trying to make me cry?” Thistle asked. Sitting down, she then reached down and snatched up the zebra foal. “You have a few scars… they’re not that bad. Baba has scars too, but we love him.” Thistle tilted her head down and kissed Sukari while clutching her close.

“Why… this… happen?” Sukari asked in a halting voice. “Why… make… ugly?”

“Bucky! Help me!” Thistle cried as she felt tears coming.

There was the sound of hooves and claws upon the floor. Thistle, holding Sukari, waited, not knowing how to answer. There was a rustle of feathers as Magpie entered the nursery, hooves clattered as Lyra came running, and then Bucky pushed his way past Lyra, who had stopped in the door.

“What’s wrong?” Bucky asked, worry causing his face to wrinkle.

“Sukari thinks she’s ugly.” Thistle took a deep breath. “She wants to know why something made her ugly… I don’t know what to do.”

Sitting down beside Thistle, Bucky leaned his head down. “Calm down… just take a deep breath, Thistle.” He looked at the kelpie’s heaving sides and felt pity for Thistle. For all of her seeming maturity, there were moments where she was more filly than mare. He stretched out his neck and kissed Sukari on the side of her muzzle.

“Bucky, do something!” Thistle demanded in a high pitched whine. “Make this better somehow. My filly is unhappy.”

Reaching out his talons, he caressed Sukari’s scarred cheek, keeping his claws away from her skin. He shook his head and heaved a sad sounding sigh. “There isn’t much I can do, really. She’s going to have to make peace with this. All we can do is love her a whole lot and try to make her feel special.” Bucky lifted his talons up to his own face, where scales were still growing in over the worst of the scarring, what remained after his regeneration in pheonix fire.

Lyra, sitting down on the other side of Thistle, reached out with her hoof and touched Sukari’s side. “Sukari, all of us have scars. Some of us have scars on the outside, like you and Bucky… some of us, we have scars on the inside. They’re harder to see, but that don’t make us feel any better about having them, because we know they are there.”

“Lyra, she can’t understand most of what you are saying.” Thistle shook her head.

“Doesn’t matter. We start telling her this stuff now and she grows up hearing it. She’s a tough little scrapper and she’s come a long way. She’ll get better. She has Bucky as a role model. And Yew… Yew Wood had half of her face ripped off by an eagle. Not only will Sukari have scars, but in time, she’ll understand scars. Inside and out. And maybe, if she’s lucky, she’ll be able to help somepony who’s worse off than her,” Lyra said, explaining her actions.

Blushing, Thistle leaned over and kissed Lyra on the side of her mouth, pressing in and making a wet smack. “Thank you, Lyra, thank you.”

“Well, if you plan to kiss me again, I have more advice to offer,” Lyra replied.

“Sukari, do you want to play ball with me” Bucky asked.

Sukari, frowning, gave thought to Bucky’s words for a moment and then, lifting her head, she nodded. A somewhat frowny half-smile appeared on Sukari’s muzzle and then she tilted her head back to kiss Thistle on the bottom of her chin.

“Come on, we’ll get Harpy and Cadance to play with us. And maybe Peekaboo if she’s around. She might be off with Lugus though,” Bucky said to Sukari.

“Okay,” Sukari replied as Thistle eased her down to the floor.

 

 

 

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