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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Brandywine yawned and Bucky felt himself doing the same. It was funny how a pony felt like yawning after watching another pony yawn. He looked down at the chubby foal cradled in his forelegs. She was sleepy, but fighting to stay awake, fussy, and refusing to be put down for bed.

“Given who your mother is, I can’t help but wonder if you are going to be a troublemaker,” Bucky said in a low voice, a lopsided smile upon his lips. “Still, you’re going to have to work very hard to beat Sentinel… he stole my airship.”

The house was quiet again. It was late, late enough to be early. Brandywine yawned again and then snuffled as she smacked her lips together. Bucky heard her stomach gurgle and then began to wonder if she was hungry or if the gurgles were what was causing her to be fussy. His mind wandered and he thought of Harper’s stomach problems. She was doing okay but her diet had to be monitored.

Sombra was gone. Bucky could not help but feel as though the dark shadow that loomed over him was now gone. He didn’t know how he felt, at least not yet, but he was grateful that Sombra was gone. He heard the soft sound of hooves treading over the wooden floor, lifted his head, and looked at the nursery door.

He saw Amaranth in the doorway. It was strange, thinking of her as both Amaranth and Clotho. By some strange coincidence he hadn’t messed up and said her real name around the others. At the moment, she was a pale blue colour, with a pink mane and dark blue eyes. She came into the nursery, stood near the crib where the other foals lay sleeping, and then turned to look at Bucky.

“It’s just gas… but she’ll be hungry within the hour. They all will,” Amaranth said to Bucky. She moved over to the rocking chair and sat down, her eyes never leaving Bucky, who was sitting in the bowl shaped chair. After getting comfortable, she sighed. “I like it here… I really do… but I’ll be moving on soon.”

“You don’t have to go.” Bucky spoke in a low whisper, a soft voice, and Brandywine cooed when she heard her daddy’s voice. Bucky watched as Brandywine’s grey eyes closed and the foal went still in his embrace.

“Sentinel has been rooted.” Amaranth leaned back in the chair, trying to get comfortable, and the rocker tilted back and forth. “He will have a difficult life, but he will be happy. He has found the companions that will make life bearable. He will continue the work that you have started.”

“Why are you telling me this?” Bucky asked.

“You look as though you need comforting,” Clotho replied, her eyelids settling down over her eyes. She yawned herself, and her sleepy expression intensified. “The foals that he has with Diamond Tiara will give him no end of trouble though.”

“It bothers me sometimes that you speak of the future as though it is written in stone.” Bucky shook his head, disturbed, but he kept his voice down. “I have never liked that, you speak as though we have no choice in our own lives.”

Clotho pulled a blanket overself and the rocking chair continued to rock. She smiled. “Sentinel has no desire to run away from his destiny, unlike a certain pony I know. He runs toward it. His future is far less clouded and there are far fewer probabilities. Sentinel wants to continue your work. Sentinel wants the future that has been laid out for him. He’s not being made to do anything… this is the future of his choosing, this is what he wants, which is why his future is so easy to see. I can peer far, far ahead and there are so few unknowns.” Clotho sighed, looked sad for a moment, and stared into Bucky’s eyes. “His future isn’t an easy one. As a knight, he will know the suffering that you know.”

“I know,” Bucky whispered, “it bothers me, but this is what the little guy wants. Just so long as he gets his happy moments too.”

“Nine minutes from now, he is going to wake up from a terrible nightmare, and not one of Luna’s creation. You would be wise to be there. Be warned though, if you leave now, Brandywine is going to wail her lungs out and none of your wives shall sleep. I’m sorry Bucky… your future seems to be filled with nothing but bad choices. Sentinel shall awake and suffer upon his own, or you can be there to comfort him at the expense of Brandywine suffering and your wives losing sleep.” Clotho blinked. “Eight minutes now.”

Grumbling, Bucky glared at Clotho and reminded himself that this wasn’t her fault. She saw things as they were, how they could be, and what was. She at least gave him a choice, even if it was a rotten choice, warning him that Sentinel needed him.

“I reject your future,” Bucky muttered as he slipped out of the bowl shaped chair with Brandywine held within his magic. “I’ll go look after Sentinel and take Brandywine with me.”

Clotho grinned, watching as Bucky headed for the door, knowing full well that he would take this option, the option unmentioned. Her ears perked as she heard the soft breathing of Brandywine, who didn’t seem too keen on wandering about with her father.

“Don’t you dare start crying,” Bucky whispered to Brandywine, “please, please, please be a good foal for me… just let me look after my son and I’ll see that you get fed.” Bucky heard a grunt but no cries seemed forthcoming, it appeared that what he had said had mollified Brandywine, at least for the moment.

“Oh, and Bucky, try not to be angry…”



Pacing outside of Sentinel’s door, Bucky was rehearsing in his head why he was lurking outside of Sentinel’s door. There was no easy way of saying it or explaining it. He thought about Clotho’s parting words. Why would he be angry? He waited, anxious, not knowing if he should go in and wake Sentinel up or if he should go in after Sentinel was awake. Which one was right? Gnawing his lip, Bucky continued to pace with Brandywine held close against his neck and chest in a bubble of magic.

What to do, what to do? Bucky was frozen with indecision, a feeling that he hated a great deal. He paused just outside the door, hearing a soft cry, a gasp, and a sharp intake of breath. He was about to open the door and go inside when he heard something he did not expect.

“Sentinel, are you okay?”

The voice, little more than a whisper, was well known to Bucky. That was Boadicea. Bucky, knowing full well that Sentinel would hear him, muffled himself with a spell, silencing every noise he made. He listened just outside the door, his ears straining.

“Sentinel, it’s just a bad dream… come here… it’s okay. Let me hold you.”

Bucky felt angry but choked it back. Clotho had tried to warn him. Why was he angry? Boadicea was being sneaky and deceitful, that’s why. She was supposed to be upstairs, in the attic, with Lugus and Yew, tucked away in her own bed. The sneaky little griffoness had somehow made her way downstairs without anypony noticing and was now sleeping in Sentinel’s bed.

Bucky sighed.

Comforting Sentinel after his nightmare. She was probably scared herself. She was probably too terrified to sleep all alone after everything that had happened and probably felt that she was too big and too grown up to climb into bed with her parents to seek comfort.

Bucky sighed again. She had gone to Sentinel for comfort. His anger melted away, he had trouble faulting Boadicea for that, or Sentinel. Something would have to do be done about this, the sneaking about had to stop, but now was probably not the best time to deal with it.

The worst part of all of this was, Boadicea had been trained to be sneaky. That was what she did. She spent many long hours with Loki learning the fine art of stealthcraft. She was going to have to be punished for this, but Bucky wasn’t certain how.

“That’s okay Sentinel, let it all out.”

Bucky felt his lower lip quivering. He stood there, wanting to rush in, wanting to comfort Sentinel, but he knew that his sudden appearance would cause no end of panic. Boadicea would know she was busted. Sentinel, already upset, would be even more upset knowing that he and Boadicea would be caught.

What harm was being done here? Bucky asked himself that over and over, not knowing the answer. They weren’t doing anything. Sure, Sentinel had shagged Moonbow and had admitted it. Sentinel had known that what he had done was questionable and had done nothing to hide it. Bucky reasoned that there was almost zero chance of that happening right now. Bucky had to trust Sentinel to do the right thing, no easy task given that Sentinel had just done something colossally stupid.

Being a parent was hard and Bucky realised that he wasn’t prepared for this, not at all. He needed advice, he needed somepony to talk to. He needed somepony to go to for a few helpful tips, but he didn’t know who.

Standing there, confused, hurt, not knowing how to deal with his son, his own neurosis gnawing away at his mind, Bucky tried to think about who he knew to go to for advice. He flogged his brain to start working, this was a battle of sorts and he needed resources. This was a fight he had to win, or so he told himself.

After thinking about it in the right way, Bucky’s brain provided an answer.



“Buckminster Bitters… what are you doing here at this hour?”

Bucky, feeling very much like a guilty foal stood there, not knowing what to say, holding Brandywine, and wondering when she was going to get hungry enough to become a problem.

Clearing his throat, Bucky committed himself to his course of action. “Twilight Velvet… I… um… I… uh…”

“Mister Bitters, are you okay?” Twilight Velvet stepped away from the door of the small house they now had and made a gesture for Bucky to come inside.

“I needed parenting advice and I didn’t know who to go to and I…” Bucky stood in the doorway, unmoving, and Brandywine fidgeted against his neck. His mouth moved but no words came out.

“Just do come in,” Twilight Velvet insisted, making an impatient stomp with her hoof.

“Both of you were the best parents I could think of and I thought to myself, ‘what’s the harm in asking’ and I’m really very sorry that it is so late and I—”

Bucky was cut off as Twilight Velvet grabbed him with her magic and yanked him inside, shutting the door behind him.



“ —so, that’s everything, more or less.” Bucky clutched his teacup in his talons and stared at his hosts. Twilight Velvet was fussing over Brandywine and the foal seemed delighted to see Twilight Velvet. Night Light looked thoughtful and composed while sipping his tea. The house was small, cosy, comfortable, and a fine example of griffon work.

“Mister Bitters, if I might be direct,” Night Light said to Bucky.

“Please do,” Bucky replied.

“I offer my most sincere apologies. But you have lost control of your foal—”

Groaning, Bucky slumped down in his chair.

“—and this is not as bad as you make it out. Sentinel was bound to grow up sometime. Mister Bitters, you cannot shelter him forever. As much as you might want to, you cannot hover over him and protect him from the world. You’re going to have to let go. As painful as it might be, you’re going to have to let go and let him make mistakes. You’re going to have to watch as he gets hurt and even worse, you’re going to have to watch as he recovers from being hurt. Sentinel is a little young, but it happens. Foals assert their independence from their parents and they do things that drive us crazy. Shining Armor started off rather young and the only thing that kept him from driving us completely insane was little Twilight. He adored her and tried to be a good example. The moment that little Twilight wasn’t around though… ugh.” Night Light reached up and began to rub his temple.

“Shining Armor caused us no end of grief. But we endured. We had to let him become the pony he was meant to be. We let him make mistakes. We had to sit back and watch as he made some serious mistakes. We had to watch him choke as he bit off more than he could chew. Shining Armor was a little stubborn… not earth pony stubborn, but stubborn enough.” Twilight Velvet gave Bucky a sad smile. “And then, Cadance came along and Night Light and I both almost gave up hope. All we could do was wait it out. When Shining Armor became an adult, he leveled out a bit. Princess Celestia did a lot to help him level out. Make no mistake though, Night Light and I went through over a decade of madness. We had to ship Shining out to military school.”

“So you’re saying that I should let go and just let things happen?” Bucky asked.

“Only interfere if you must. Let him make mistakes. Punish him when need be and let him face the consequences of his own actions,” Twilight Velvet replied.

“Little colts do stupid things. So do fillies, for that matter, and you have a lot of them—”

Bucky gulped.

“—but little colts are particularly bad. Shining Armor once stole the wagon out of the garage and used it to haul Cadance and her friends around for a night on the town in Canterlot. He desperately wanted to impress her. It was foggy and there had been rain earlier that evening. He went down a steep incline on slick cobblestones… Shiny didn’t have his wagon license and he didn’t know what to do in the situation. There was a crash.” Night Light shook his head and a  faint smile was on his lips as he reminisced.

“That was the night that things changed for Shining Armor… he started to realise that his actions had consequences for others. Cadance was hurt and Cadance… well, Cadance might have acted a bit more hurt than she really was at my insistence,” Twilight Velvet said.

“One of her friends really was hurt though,” Night Light said, picking up where his wife left off, “and Shining Armor understood that what he had done had brought serious harm to others. That was the night that he grew up a little bit and started trying to do right.”

Clutching his teacup in his trembling talons, Bucky came to the slow conclusion that there might be ten more years of this behaviour. His insides felt like lead and he didn’t know what to say. Sentinel was already off to an epic start. He hadn’t stolen a wagon, the little cuss had stolen an airship. Bucky groaned and felt tears stinging his eyes.

“Oh, try not to be upset dear… it does get better,” Twilight Velvet said.

Ten years. Bucky wasn’t sure that he had that long.





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