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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Hearing voices, Bucky struggled to free himself from the darkened void of sleep. He heard laughter, quiet subdued laughter, but laughter. As he rose from the depths of the dreaming realms, he felt that the dawn had happened and he had a passing thought, wondering if Clotho had  found a cure for his sickness. His eyes opened, it was still early, but he wasn’t certain what time it was.

The bed was empty, but Bucky was not alone. As he gained consciousness, he could feel the love around him. It was overwhelming, like drinking too much strong drink. Bucky was still learning about all of the different emotions that he could sample, but maternal affection was beginning to stand out—it was so powerful that sometimes it felt as though it was burning him from the inside.

Yawning, he lifted his head. He heard Sentinel’s voice and soft laughter coming from the nursery. Rolling over, Bucky slipped out of bed, blinking his eyes, and he stumbled over to the nursery door, smacking his lips after yawning once more.

Peering into the nursery with bleary eyes, he saw Sentinel… attacking? Sentinel had his head low and he was prowling around Derpy’s nest on the floor. Crisis was moving around Derpy, her legs wobbling, but she was mobile and moving around quite well. Crisis’ eyes were a dark, fierce green. She kept moving between Sentinel and Derpy, her mouth opened and her strange shovel shaped teeth bared.

As Bucky stood there watching, Sentinel kept repeating the words, “Gonna getcha, gonna getcha,” over and over again while acting like he was going to attack at any moment. Crisis’ horn was emitting sparks and the little fierce filly was growling. A blast of green magic flew from her horn and scorched the wooden floor near Sentinel.

As Sentinel toppled over and played dead, Bucky made a few quick conclusions. Crisis didn’t have to miss, something told Bucky, some gut instinct, Crisis could have zapped Sentinel. She was playing a game and somehow, she understood the rules. The little filly’s green eyes were becoming lighter, the dark green becoming a soft, pale green as a smile spread over her face. From where Bucky stood, he could see a couple of scorch marks on the wooden floor.

“Good morning, Bucky,” Derpy said as she turned to look at Bucky in the door. “Sentinel and Crisis were playing a game. Sorry we woke you.”

“Crisis is amazing.” Sentinel rolled over and got to his hooves. He bounced up, crossed the room with unusual enthusiasm, and stood before Bucky, looking up at his father with a broad smile upon his face. “She doesn’t just lay there like a lump and I got her to play with me.”

“Son, laying there like a lump is kinda what most foals were meant to do.” Bucky sat down on the floor, looking at Sentinel, glad to see Sentinel acting a bit more like usual after all of the trouble. “Make sure you are ready for school.”

“I will be, father.” Sentinel bowed his head, but his smile remained. He turned around, rising, and went over to where Derpy lay on the floor in the middle of a thick quilt. Crisis met him, her head high, a most curious look upon her face, and Sentinel nosed her, bumping snoots with his smaller, but no less fierce sibling.

Crisis let out a cooing gurgle, happy to have Sentinel’s affection.

“I have stuff I need to do to get ready for school. Look after the others, Crisis.” Sentinel puckered up and planted a kiss on top of Crisis’ head, making a loud smacking sound, and the strange little filly bounded away on springy legs.

As Sentinel left, Derpy’s wings fluffed out. “She is so attentive. Bucky, I keep having bad thoughts and it bothers me.”

“Bad thoughts?” Bucky stood up, his remaining bad hind leg popping as he rose.

“I keep having awful thoughts about Crisis and it makes me feel bad. She’s been such a good filly. She’s so protective… and…”

“What’s the problem?” Bucky asked as he flopped down on the quilt next to his wife.

“Bucky, I feel terrible for having these thoughts, like I’m a bad mother—”

“Just tell me what is going on in that pretty head of yours,” Bucky said.

“I keep wondering if Crisis is just being a good… whatever she is or if she is just protecting her food source.” Derpy’s voice was low whisper. “This bothers me so much. I hate myself for thinking it, but I can’t stop.”

“So what if she is?” Bucky replied. “We all have to have motivations. Crisis is still little, I think, still developing, still becoming whatever she was meant to be. For now, she might be a little bundle of instincts. She might be protecting her food… but if we praise her and give her lots of love for doing this now, she might continue to do it for other reasons once her mind develops and she grows up a bit.”

The grey mare turned her head, focusing her good eye on Crisis, who was now creeping closer to Bucky, her nostrils flaring as she sniffed. She felt a bit of a giggle rising up in her throat as Bucky sniffed back and Crisis’ ears pitched forwards. The foal looked so serious, almost grown up even. She watched as Bucky kissed her, then grabbed her. Crisis let out a strange sound, almost a hiss, then the little white filly allowed herself to be cuddled.

“Where is Cadance?” Bucky asked.

“Off sulking and having breakfast I think,” Derpy replied. The grey mare looked sad as she glanced at her husband, watching as he pressed his muzzle into Crisis’ tiny stomach. “I hope she’ll come around.” Ears perking, Derpy heard Crisis laughing, there could be no mistaking the sound, and she felt the corners of her mouth pull upwards as Bucky blew a raspberry against Crisis’ stomach.

 

 

Pacing up and down the hall, Lyra Heartstrings glanced at the closed door to the farmhouse library. A group of zebras had arrived at the farm with Twilight Sparkle, delegates from Canterlot, diplomatic sorts with hard faces and flinty eyes. They had arrived early, it seemed, as Violet wasn’t ready for them and Bucky wasn’t quite up and about just yet.

Lyra knew why they were here, at the farmhouse, working with Bucky. She didn’t know everything, but she knew that the zebras were big supporters of Bucky’s plan to strike back against the mirror travelers. As for Lyra herself, she didn’t know how she felt about the whole thing. Bucky, in the view of most, was doing something bad, something awful, Bucky had made allies with the changelings, one of the most hated species on Granum.

Bucky believed it was necessary, and Lyra trusted Bucky’s judgment, at least on this issue. The enemy had spared no quarter and had done deplorable things. Now, it was Bucky’s turn to be deplorable, and Lyra Heartstrings had no doubts that Bucky was the more capable one in this horrendous battle of wits.

Only the barest details of Bucky’s plan were known by Lyra. Create a portal to the mirror travelers' home dimension, send an army through the portal, steal some earth ponies, and unleash every horrific disease or plague that the zebra alchemists could muster through infected, infested changelings. As far as plans went, Lyra thought it was a good one, at least in theory, there was no telling how it might play out when put into action though.

Lyra also knew that Twilight was against the plan, but had agreed to go along with it anyway, understanding that something needed to be done. As awful as it was, Lyra hoped that what it brought about would one day prove good in the future. Making peace with the changelings seemed like a worthwhile goal and Queen Chrysalis was a fearsome enemy.

She was also proving to be a fearsome ally. Lyra thought of Crisis; if Crisis was the only good thing that came out of all of this, Lyra could live with that. Crisis made Bucky happy, she made the whole family happy, and if there was one thing Lyra knew, one had to find happiness in the middle of all of the misery, otherwise, what was the point of life?

“Go out?”

Blinking, Lyra stopped and looked down. Harper was peering up at her, her eyes wide, a playful expression on her face. “You want to go outside?” Lyra smiled and her mane spilled down around her face as she looked down at the filly that was her daughter. “Your face is all sticky, come here, let me clean you up and then we’ll get the others and go outside.”

 

 

“They’ve been in there for a long time.” Derpy looked over at Lyra beside her and saw the spring sunshine glinting in Lyra’s eyes. The sun was warm but the breeze was cool, it was an almost perfect spring morning. Derpy watched as Harper and Cadance wrestled in the grass, Cadance was being good and not using her superiour strength to pin Harper into submission. Sukari was laying on her side, her eyes closed, napping in the sun.

“Feels strange not having Thistle with us.” Lyra frowned, shifted her body a bit, and felt Dizzy squirming against her foreleg. “I mean, normally, when she isn’t with us, she is in the lake and she can be summoned… she’s gone.”

“She has a job to do,” Derpy replied. The grey pegasus grinned. “Thistle is growing up. She’s become quite the little mare.”

“You call Thistle a mare but still call Sparkler a filly.” Lyra heard Derpy snort and she felt Dizzy snuffling against her.

“That’s different.” Derpy’s mouth pressed into a small, tight, straight line. “Sparky is…” Derpy fell silent, unable to finish her sentence. A sour expression spread over her face. She lowered her head and pressed her muzzle against little Barley’s ear. The colt let out a squeal of happiness and rubbed his head against Derpy’s snoot, his little eyes blinking as he made more happy sounds.

“I think Barley is the most affectionate one,” Lyra said, changing the subject. “Look at him. He doesn’t care who is loving on him, he just wants to be loved. He’s so friendly.”

“I don’t know if they have personalities yet or if we are just seeing what we want to see.” Derpy’s words tickled against Barley’s ear, causing the colt to giggle and shake. “But Barley is one of the most loving little foals I have seen.”

“I wonder how Berry is doing,” Lyra said as Harper climbed on top of Cadance and tried to pin the pink alicorn. “I miss Berry…” Lyra’s voice lowered. “I miss her kisses. Not the sexy ones, but the sweet ones… you know, like the ones she gives to wake a pony up or the little kisses she does when she wants you to feel better.”

“Things aren’t the same without Berry around.” Derpy smiled as Cadance flipped Harper over and got the little unicorn filly into a headlock. Cadance was fierce, but also gentle. Harper was giggling and not harmed in the slightest. “Bucky is going to be leaving us again. He has to go off and do whatever it is that he is going to do. There is a lot of fuss being made about all of this.”

“Does this bother you at all?” Lyra asked.

“I dunno.” Derpy shrugged with her wings. “I understand that Bucky has to do what he has to do. I understand that he is about to do something bad, perhaps the worst thing he has ever done. I couldn’t figure out how I felt about it so I just stopped thinking about it, and tried to focus on the good that might come out of it. I have Crisis and I’m happy.”

“I guess it really does come down to that, doesn’t it?” Lyra scowled and shook her head. “A hundred years from now, I wonder how they will portray this in the history books. How much truth about all of this will they tell. I suppose how this is seen has a lot to do with Queen Chrysalis… if she becomes our ally, Bucky might be forgiven and the history books might remember this as a questionable act that brought us together… but if Queen Chrysalis remains a villain, then Bucky might be seen as a villain too… just another horrific act done by the Lord of Winter.”

“The world will never remember Bucky in the same way that we know him. They don’t see him like we do. They don’t see him as a father, or as a husband, they don’t see him pacing around the room at night trying to figure out new ways to save lives and end war.” Derpy lowered her head and brushed her cheek against Barley, causing the little colt to kick and wiggle. “Right now, history is being made in the library, something that Bucky will be remembered for, but the things that Bucky does in the house, all of those things will be forgotten.”

Turning, Lyra watched as Crisis prowled around in the grass, her nose to the ground, exploring the world around her. Her teal coloured mane blew in the breeze and a strange new fear filled Lyra’s mind.

Grass stains. Crisis was white, so very white. Not pale pink, appearing to be white, or a pearlescent grey masquerading as white, but white. Lyra’s ears perked as Crisis’ diaper crinkled. Changing her had been a trying experience, Crisis’ pure white pelt held on to stains. If Crisis decided to tumble around in the grass and have herself a roll, she would be stained green.

Almost holding her breath, Lyra wondered how they would keep Crisis clean. She thought of every horrible thing lurking in the house. The corner of Lyra’s eye twitched and one ear flickered. Chocolate. Grape jelly. Bright red fruit punch. Magic markers. Dinky’s paints, which Harper kept getting into, much to Dinky’s annoyance. The other foals burping up a meal. Lyra felt a scream lurking deep down within her insides. Crisis’ beautiful white pelt was not a blessing, but a curse. Queen Chrysalis had done this on purpose… the bug queen was pure, undiluted evil, and for a moment, Lyra hoped that Bucky, who had a special brand of evil all his own, would find an excuse to make Chrysalis go away. Crisis’ white pelt was an act of creeping insidious evil, something done to disrupt and destroy the harmony of their household, what little harmony that they had. If Lyra ever meet Queen Chrysalis, there would be words, oh so many words.

“Oh stars, Derpy, we’re in trouble, how are we going to keep Crisis clean?” Lyra breathed.

“I’m hoping that Bucky knows a spell, otherwise, how is it that unicorns say it? We’re horned...”

 

 

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