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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“Belisama… Belisama… wake up… Belisama, I need you.”

With a sleepy peep, Belisama woke up and opened one eye a tiny bit. The bedroom was dark. She felt a few soft pokes with a firm hoof. She lifted her head, confused, not quite awake, and feeling somewhat irritated for having been woken up.

“Belisama, I need for you to go and get Violet… fly fast.”

In an instant, Belisama was wide awake and she let out a yowl. She opened her other eye and looked into Derpy’s face, her crest rising with alarm. She felt a warm body stirring beside her. She heard a murmur.

“Where is Bucky?” a very sleepy Bon Bon asked in a drowsy voice. “I’m gonna kill him… he’s supposed to be getting some sleep… he’s so fragile right now.”

“What’s going on?” Thistle asked. The kelpie yawned as the griffoness hopped down out of the bed. Reaching over, Thistle shook Berry Punch. “Wake up, I think something is happening. Bon Bon is going to kill Bucky.”

There was a loud snort followed by the words, “Good.” Berry Punch rolled over, let rip a whooshy sounding fart, then slipped off back into slumber, her large, foal-filled stomach rising and falling with each steady breath.

“I’ll be right back,” Belisama said as she gave her wings a flew flaps and headed for the bedroom door.

Bon Bon shoving Lyra over, climbed out of the bed, got her hooves on the floor, shook her sleepy head, and then yawned. She smacked her lips once, then twice, then said, “I’m gonna murder him as soon as I find him… he’s so dead. I’m tired of this foalishness and the fact that he just won’t take care of himself.”

“Just be gentle, Bonnie.” Thistle bounced out of the bed and landed beside Bon Bon.

“Can somepony get me into the tub and get some water going?” Derpy asked.

Rolling over, Lyra tried to disentangle herself from the blankets and from Berry Punch, who had latched on to her and wasn’t letting go. Lyra wiggled and kicked her legs, trying to scrabble free, and Berry Punch moaned from the struggle.

“Lemme go, need to help Derpy,” Lyra grumbled.

“Why?” Berry Punch asked in a sleepy whisper. “Lemme snuggle you.”

“She’s giving bir—OOOOOOOOF!” Lyra wheezed as Berry Punch almost crushed her. “Berry, I need air, leggo!”

“Derpy?” Berry Punch lifted her head and looked at the grey pegasus.

“It’s time,” Derpy replied.

“I found Bucky.” Thistle’s voice came from the nursery. “He’s sleeping in the chair in here with Bell Heather, Bandua, and Cadance.”

Bon Bon stomped off for the nursery door, muttering and sputtering. She turned on the lights, hitting the switch on the wall, causing several ponies to moan and groan in pain from the sudden light. She stood in the doorway, turned her head, and looked over at Bucky, who was indeed sleeping. Cadance’s nose was protruding out from beneath the blanket covering them, and she was curled up against Bucky’s side. Bell Heather and Bandua were cradled in Bucky’s forelegs, pressed up against either side of Bucky’s neck. Bon Bon could hear Bucky’s wet, raspy breathing. When sick, Bucky’s lungs were always the first things to go, but the lingering pneumonia and respiratory infection was getting better.

“Bucky, wake up… wake up, you’re about to be a daddy again,” Thistle said as she gave Bucky a shake. “Wake up, Derpy needs you.”

 

 

“Are you in much pain?” Bucky asked as he eased himself into the water beside Derpy. He lifted her head, cradling it in his right foreleg, and braced his back up against the side of the tub. “Talk to me.”

“Just a little more pain than usual, but not much,” Derpy replied in a soft whisper as she closed her eyes. She felt Bucky repositioning her body and getting her comfortable. “This will all be over soon.” Reaching out, Derpy wrapped her left fetlock around Bucky’s leg, just above his talons. “I’m going to be able to walk and fly again.”

Leaning his head down, Bucky kissed Derpy, pressing his snoot into the velvety fold of her ear. He inhaled, wheezing somewhat, and relaxed in the warm water. Using his telekinesis, he pushed Derpy’s wet mane out of her face and tried to pull her a little closer, worried that she might be uncomfortable.

“There is a full moon tonight… I wonder how many spring foals are being born right now, tonight,” Lyra said as she sat down beside the tub. “It’s a little early for Derpy’s foals, but the doctor said this would happen. They’re well developed and I think we’re ready for them.”

“I want them out.” Derpy gave Bucky’s leg a gentle squeeze. “I’m ready for this to be over.” The grey mare yawned, feeling sleepy. She nestled up against Bucky and closed her eyes. “You know, I thought Bucky would be more panicked then he is.”

Bucky, blinked, but said nothing. His ears perked when he heard the bedroom door open. He heard hooves on the hardwood floor, an unfamiliar gait. His head swiveled towards the door. He heard a soft chuckle, and then he heard Clotho say, “Berry Punch, are you ready to be a mother?”

“Yeah, I can look after Derpy’s foals,” Berry replied.

Another chuckle. Bucky’s ears quivered as he listened. “No, I mean are you ready to be a mother? Because—” A loud, pained, somewhat confused grunt came from the bedroom. “—your water is about to break.”

“Amaranth, what did you do?” Bon Bon demanded.

“I felt a popping feeling and everything just clenched up… ow ow ow!” Berry whined.

“I did nothing. This is Luna’s doing. Foals want to be born on full moons.”

“LUNAAAAAAAAA!” Berry shouted.

“Luna’s moon and Celestia’s sun are the celestial clocks to which life is timed. Without them, life as we know it would cease. With them, new lives are conceived, and much like hands on a clock, they announce when new life will arrive,” Amaranth said. The earth pony heaved a sigh as Berry Punch stumbled off for the bathroom.

“Are there many births tonight?” Thistle asked.

“Do you really want to know?” Amaranth replied.

“Um, yes?” Thistle’s voice sounded uncertain.

“Right now, in the Ponyville area, sixty two mares have just given birth, are in labour, are birthing, or will be birthing. Before the dawn, that number will climb to seventy nine. Out of those seventy nine, fifty four newborn foals will live to see the sunrise.” Amaranth’s voice was a soft monotone. “Nine mothers will join their foals in passing.”

“I… I didn’t want to know that!” Thistle backed away from the strange earth pony named Amaranth, shaking her head. “That… that’s awful! That’s just awful!”

“All knowledge comes with a price. I’m sorry. You asked, I answered. Next time, be careful what you ask for,” Amaranth replied.

 

 

Sentinel, feeling protective, pulled his sister Piña closer and kissed her just below her ear. She was yawning, not quite awake, and leaned over on him. Harper was clinging to his right foreleg, fighting to keep her eyes open. Sukari held on to Harper, her chin resting on the back of Harper’s head and her eyes were closed. Dinky, sitting on the other side of Sentinel, peered into the bathroom, trying to see what was going on. So far, not much had happened, the exciting part hadn’t yet begun.

“You foals should lay down in the bed,” Bon Bon said as she paced. “There’s fresh sheets… go on, lay down.”

“But we don’t want to go back to sleep and we’ll do that if we get comfortable,” Piña said in protest. She rubbed her eyes with one foreleg, yawned, and shook her head. “I don’t want to go fall back to sleep.”

The earth pony stopped pacing, moved near the foals, and then sat down. “This might take hours. Go ahead, go back to sleep. I promise, when something starts to happen, you’ll be awake… there’ll be all sorts of commotion.”

“Is Amaranth a midwife?” Dinky asked.

“I dunno… but she knows how to help. Violet will be here soon. Now get in the bed,” Bon Bon replied as she gave Dinky a gentle nudge. As Bon Bon watched, Harper slumped over with a thump and fell fast asleep on the floor. Sukari sat up for a moment, looking conflicted, then fell over on Harper, using her as a soft pillow on the hard floor.

“I got these two.” Lyra scooped up the two foals, kissed them both, and then set them down upon the big bed with fresh sheets. She tossed a blanket over them, kissed them both once more, and then turned to face the other foals. “You can either get in the bed and get some rest, or, I can give you mustaches if I find you sleeping on the floor.”

Grumbling, the other foals began climbing up in bed.

 

 

Bucky, who held Derpy, listened to the grey pegasus humming. The bathroom was dim and rather warm from the press of too many bodies, not to mention the warm water of the tub. Derpy seemed quite relaxed about the whole thing and would sometimes close her bad eye so she could tilt her head back and look up at Bucky. Beside her, Bon Bon was holding Berry Punch, who wasn’t quite as relaxed, and Berry Punch would sometimes whimper, not so much from pain, but from anticipation of squeezing what was certain to be a big foal out her backside.

Out of both of the twins in her belly, Brandywine was said to be larger than normal sized and fully developed, while Barley was a little smaller and a bit more like a normal twin sized foal.

“How can you be so calm?” Berry Punch said to Derpy.

Derpy, humming, paused for a moment to answer Berry. “I took those psychoprophylactic method courses with Violet. I’m gonna be fine. Positive outlook and all that. Plus, I’ve done this before. While the last time was pretty bad, this time is going to be awesome. Isn’t that right, Violet?”

The stern looking mare standing beside the tub nodded.

“I took all of those courses with you and Helia started joining us… how is Helia… I’m worried… how is Helia?” Berry Punch looked at Violet with wide, concerned eyes and perked ears.

“Helia is fine. I think she’ll drop her foal in the next batch of births. Gofannon has become very protective of her. Griffons.” Violet, who smiled for a mere moment, reached out and prodded Belisama, who squawked on contact. “Relax. Be calm. There may have been danger once, but there is no danger now.”

“I’ve been having trouble letting my guard down since the war… and since…”

“I know… but do try and be calm. I think it would help Berry,” Violet said to Belisama.

“I’m calm!” Berry, panting, squirmed in Bon Bon’s embrace. “But I do keep thinking about the last time Derpy gave birth.” Berry Punch squeezed her eyes shut. “It’s hard forgetting.”

“Yeah it is, but this time isn’t going to be like that.” Derpy drew in a deep breath, held it, and then let it out in a measured, slow huff through her nostrils. “Now don’t bring that up again. I don’t want you messing with my calm.”

“I wonder who will come out first?” Berry Punch blinked a few times as a dull ache throbbed in her hips. “I’m kinda hoping that Barley will be first… so I’ll stretch out and it will make birthing Brandywine a little easier… the doctor said that she’s so big.”

“Little earth ponies are always so fat and chubby when they’re born. They’re wonderful,” Amaranth said from where she sat in the corner. “Unicorns tend to be skinnier and so are pegasi… gotta watch out for those wings on pegasi though.” The rotund earth pony mare sighed and looked at Berry Punch. “The only real trouble you’re ever going to have from Brandywine is about to happen very soon—”

“What?” Berry Punch kicked her hind legs in the water. “What?”

“Oh, Brandywine is going to take after her father… his best parts. She’ll be quiet, a little shy, and she’ll be a homebody… but she’s going to give you trouble coming out,” Amaranth replied.

“No,” Berry whimpered. “No no no… no.”

“A little earth pony version of me?” Bucky lifted his head. “That sounds wonderful.” He closed his eyes for a moment, listening to the sounds of breathing around him, the splash of water, and tried to hold back a cough because of the dreadful tickle in his throat. “You know, Amaranth, that elixir you gave me to drink, I don’t think it fixed my problem much, but it is a little easier to breathe.” Bucky opened his eyes and looked at Amaranth and saw a look of concern upon her face.

“I’m going to get you better.” Amaranth’s eyes flashed for a moment and then changed from blue to green.

The ponies in the bathroom all listened as a single cry could be heard from the nursery. Thistle stood up, shaking her head, and then trotted out of the bathroom, hurrying off to look after Bell Heather. Belisama, who was more than a little twitchy, turned her head around to watch Thistle leave.

“I bet Bandua is getting hungry. I think I’ll go tend to her.” Belisama stalked out of the bathroom, following after Thistle, her tail slashing through the air and her feathers fluffed out.

“She hasn’t been right since the attack,” Lyra whispered after Belisama was gone.

“Don’t disturb Derpy’s calm.” Violet gave Lyra a stern glance and shook her head.

“Just saying that I’m worried about her. She’s my friend… she’s one of my best friends. I don’t know how to deal with it sometimes. I don’t like seeing her so tense all the time because I’m tense all the time and I don’t want others to suffer like I do,” Lyra explained, her expression one of pensive worry.

“It’s been almost a year,” Bucky said, his lips brushing over Derpy’s ear and causing it to twitch. “I was out buying supplies… and I bumped into you.”

“You were handsome,” Derpy said in a wistful, almost sleepy sounding voice.

“You were pretty.” Bucky trailed his lips over Derpy’s ear, causing the grey mare to shiver. “You… you ran me down. At the time, that just might have been the most terrifying moment of my life. Nothing made sense.”

“You were worth chasing.” Derpy closed her eyes, drew in a deep breath, and heaved a long sigh. “I had a good feeling about you.” Derpy reached out and touched Berry Punch. “It’s been worth it… all of it. The good and the bad. If I had to do it again, knowing what I know now about everything that was going to happen, I would do it again without thinking. Probably so I could have this moment happen again. This moment right here.”

“This moment must be pretty special to you.” Bon Bon glanced over at Bucky and Derpy. “I’m glad you’re getting to have a special moment. You deserve it.” Bon Bon gave Berry Punch a little squeeze and kissed Berry between the ears. Bon Bon felt Berry tremble; she watched as Berry’s legs kicked in the water, causing the shallow water in the tub to make waves and splash around.

“It was so rewarding watching Bucky come out of his shell.” Berry Punch gulped in a deep breath and squirmed as she felt something shift inside of her. “It was like watching a butterfly emerge from its cocoon—”

“A drunken, profanity spewing, perverted butterfly.” Lyra gave Bucky a teasing wink as Berry Punch somehow managed to laugh with all of the pain she was in. In a moment, everypony was laughing, Lyra included.

“We got to know you and Bon Bon… we didn’t know it at the time, but you came to us at the moment we needed you most and you became a part of our family,” Berry continued as she rubbed her stomach. “I guess we just didn’t know it at the time.”

“Everything changes now as we move into our second year.” Derpy closed her eyes and laid her head back against Bucky, going limp. She tried to ignore the stabbing ache in her pelvis, knowing this would all be over soon. Derpy’s ears perked. She heard Barley’s voice off in the nursery, singing some lullaby that she couldn’t quite make out. His voice was gruff, but kind, and was useful for getting Bell Heather to go back to sleep. Barley, sweet wonderful Barely, who was about to have a nephew named after him. Barley, who was such a kind and gentle soul. Barley, who had set several ponies on fire who had threatened his home. Derpy shivered, her whole body trembling from the memory as she had been carried from the house to the tower. The defenses on the house had been breached and the house itself had been set on fire. She shoved the troubling memory from her mind and focused on something else instead.

“Lyra, I love you… thank you for keeping me safe,” Derpy said as she opened her eyes. She looked at Lyra, her vision fuzzy, not just from her messed up vision, but from tears as well.

“I’ve resigned from everything. I don’t know if they’ll let me go… but I’m done… I’ve had enough.” Bucky closed his eyes and rested his chin on the top of Derpy’s head. “I can’t keep doing what I’ve been doing. I just want to be a father and live a quiet life at home.”

“Bucky…”

“Yes Violet?”

“I’ve been speaking with Celestia…”

“And?”

“I don’t know for certain, but I think I’ve convinced her that you’ll be more valuable at home in your workshop and working as a headmaster… I think she might be planning to let you go from everything but the Black Cloaks, because let’s face it, there are some things you are good at that nopony else can do, and I don’t think you want Sunset going off by herself and getting hurt,” Violet said.

“You really think that she’ll let me go?” Bucky asked.

“I don’t know, but I’m hopeful,” Violet replied.

 

 

 

 

Author's Note:

And now, the torch gets passed on to others. I've been saying that Bucky would be fading into the background for quite some time now. I suppose that this is the most obvious moment of transition.

 
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