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 laughter, Twilight Sparkle whirled about to face Luna, Celestia, and Bucky. Her lip curled back and she glared at the snickering ponies through one narrowed, squinting eye, her wings springing out from her sides. She pawed the floor with her hoof and her tail swished from side to side.

“Oh dear.” Princess Celestia’s smile vanished and a solemn, serious expression appeared upon her face. “Funny how what started off as a mild mannered jest turned out to be such a serious subject.”

“Twilight accidentally created a new political party,” Bucky said, making no effort to hide his mirth. His toothy grin was alive with mischief. “The traditionalist monogamist party now identifies as the Tea Party.”

“Ugh!” Twilight stomped her hooves and made no reply as she stood in place and fumed. “All of you are horrible… all of you!”

“Mine apprentice, do you know what sounds good right now?” Luna asked as she looked at Bucky.

“What?” Bucky replied as one eyebrow raised in a delicate gesture of curiousity.

“A cup of coffee.” Luna grinned for a moment and then threw back her head as she howled with laughter, which boomed and echoed through the long, narrow room. The alicorn laughed so hard that her cheeks became damp with tears and she began to sniffle as she clutched her sides with her wings.

“Ugh, I’m so embarrassed, I wish I was dead.” Twilight rolled her eyes and snorted, her ears ringing with the sounds of Luna’s near maniacal laughter. “I’m glad the former Element of Laughter finds this so funny.”

“Little ponies are such curious creatures… always looking to form a herd of some sort. They don’t even need a reason, just an excuse. Today, the line was drawn in the sand over tea and coffee.” Princess Celestia heaved and sigh and glanced at her sister, who appeared as though she might fall over at any moment.

“Embarrassed,” Luna gasped and then she sucked in some much needed wind. She panted for a moment and then continued, “Hey, Twilight, do you know what the fundamental differences between you and Buckminster are when it comes to embarrassment?”

Celestia rolled her eyes and shook her head as Twilight gave Luna a blank stare.

“What?” Twilight replied, already hating herself for taking the bait.

“When you are embarrassed, you wish that you were dead.” Luna made a dramatic pause, flapped her wings against her sides, and then let out a laugh. “When Buckminster is embarrassed, he wishes others were dead. I have taught my pupil not to leave behind witnesses.”

Princess Celestia strained against the need to smile as Bucky began sniggering, a smug, satisfied sound. It took all of her will to remain stony faced. The white alicorn took a deep, calming breath and felt a pang of worry that her former student would strain some sort of muscle if she kept rolling her eyes the way she was.

“The entire lot of you can get stuffed. I’m going to my room to spend time with my loved ones. As far as I’m concerned… all of you can… you can… all of you can bugger off!” Twilight’s heated words ended with her stammering out her response.

Luna, now stony faced herself, with no trace of her former mirth except for damp cheeks looked at Twilight and her ears pivoted forwards. “I could apologise over tea…” Luna’s words lingered in the air like a bad smell and Twilight’s reaction was much the same.

Snorting in disgust, Twilight vanished in a flash of magenta magic.

 

 

“I do not think that Twilight found that funny,” Princess Celestia said to Luna. The larger alicorn looked down at the smaller with a disapproving look. “I think her feelings were hurt. Twilight has never taken jokes at her expense very well.”

“Eh, I’ll apologise later.” Bucky’s talons tapped upon the floor as he looked around the room and then he gave Celestia a glance. “It was nice spending time with you, even if it was quiet time.”

“It was, indeed, a nice time,” Celestia replied. She looked down at Buckminster and gave him a fond look as she heard a soft giggle from Luna, which caused her ears to perk. Celestia heard hoofsteps at the far end of the room and she turned just as Luna started speaking.

“Buckminster, dearest, look over there… a pregnant mare to distract you.” Luna lifted up her left foreleg and pointed at Bon Bon, who had frozen in place, wide eyed after being spotted.

“Pardon me ladies, but there is a good lookin’ earth pony mare that needs my attention.” Bucky bowed his head, excusing himself and then took off at a swift trot in Bon Bon’s direction, mischief gleaming in his eye.

Seeing the half-crazed look in Bucky’s eye, Bon Bon also took off at a trot, trying to be polite, and not wanting to run indoors. Bucky overtook her with ease and his head vanished into Bon Bon’s full, curly tail. Startled, Bon Bon’s head raised high and she let out a whinny as her whole body shimmied, trying to get away from Bucky, who had just goosed the inside of her thighs.

No longer caring about being polite, Bon Bon sprinted away in a full run and Bucky took off in hot pursuit, his tongue hanging out of the side of his mouth, leaving the two sisters alone with one another. Bon Bon’s feminine laughter filled the hallway as she escaped the room.

“Springtime,” Celestia said to her sister in a knowing voice. “He is so much like Sombra in everything he does. His mannerisms… his actions… the way he sits in silence with me.” Celestia let out a sorrowful sigh. “I think I will go and spend time with Clover. I bet she is lonesome.”

Luna nodded in acknowledgement and her ears twitched at the sounds of Bon Bon’s laughter mixed with Bucky’s howling. For a moment, she envied them, missing Barley something terrible, and she knew that there was only one place she would find solace.

“Sister, I am off to spend time with Erebus. I do not wish to be disturbed. Tonight will be a long night and I need some rest.” Luna looked up at her sister. “Have a nice time with Clover and tell her hello for me.”

“I will do that, Luna… but you should not be a stranger. Clover could use the company…”

 

 

Almost submerged in the water, Ripple sighed. She was starting to enjoy this trip. She sniffed, breathing in the floral scented soap that had produced such lovely bubbles. She looked over at Bittersweet, who was sopping wet after being submerged in the tub, her ears drooping, heavy with water. The donkey had a pleased, pleasant smile upon her face. After a nice bath, she and Bittersweet were going to get dry in front of the wall mounted hot air blower, which promised to be a great deal of fun. The powerful hot air blaster lifted tails, fluffed out manes, and caused ears to go flapping in the stiff wind, which was quite amusing.

The tub, which was big enough to hold one pony, was a little cramped with two, but Ripple and Bittersweet made it work. The pair were close enough for intimate touches now, but there was still no hurry to ‘take it to the next level.’

It was good to have a break from school, even if she still had to do her schoolwork. At least now, she could do it on her own time, and she did. She knew the importance of what she was doing and how crucial it was for her to keep her ducks in a row.

Beneath the surface of the bubbles, Ripple let her hooves go exploring all over Bittersweet’s body, and the donkey did nothing to stop Ripple’s anxious advances.

 

 

Standing a short distance away, Bucky watched as the wound care nurse began to unravel Sentinel’s bandages, which needed changing. He needed a new poultice packed in around his face and fresh, clean bandages. Beside him, he could hear Lyra’s heavy breathing, and on his other side, Bon Bon stood, looking grim, their earlier playfulness now forgotten. On his back, Belisama leaned forwards, her talons clenching his mane, and she peered down over his ears, her neck stretched out as far as it could go.

Sentinel, in the bed, lay on his back, covered with a blanket. To his left, Diamond Tiara sat, his fetlock hooked in hers, and on his right, Boadicea held his other leg in her talons. The nurse, a unicorn, was an older mare and she gave both Diamond Tiara and Boadicea a gentle smile.

There was a wet, sticky sound as the bandages nearest to Sentinel’s face were peeled away, the gooey remains of the poultice coming away with them. The air was filled with a strange smell, a weird smell that no one present could quite place, an alien smell that Bucky could only describe as changeling related.

“Here we go,” the nurse said as she began loosening the final layers and stripping them away, making certain to never tug too hard.

Bucky was almost holding his breath now and without realising it, he took a step closer, as he did so, he heard Piña and Dinky murmuring something to one another. Sentinel’s face, from what little bit that Bucky could see, was hairless at the moment. Bucky swallowed, feeling something that resembled glass lodged in his throat. Sentinel had a face.

The nurse began to scrub away the somewhat dried up encrusted goo off of Sentinel’s face and the room filled with the sterile smell of rubbing alcohol. Bucky took another step forward, anxious, worried about his son, trying to get a better view of Sentinel’s face as the nurse scrubbed away the dried out poultice with a gentle, careful touch.

From what Bucky could see, Sentinel still had a face. He was missing his eye, and the nurse was pulling gauze from the eye socket. He heard a whimper, his ears perking, and realised it was Diamond Tiara, who looked as though she was going to be sick at any moment. He looked at her, feeling bad for her, knowing this must be agonising. For a filly her age to be so deeply involved with the one she loved and for her to stick this out, Bucky could not help but feel a deep sense of respect for her, and a paternal sense of love.

There was a wet —glorp!— sound as the last bit of wadding was popped free from Sentinel’s eye socket and sticky strands of residue stretched from the gaping hole to the now freed wad of gauze. Bucky heard Diamond Tiara gag, and there was a whimper from both Dinky and Piña.

“Feel anything?” the nurse asked.

“Not much,” Sentinel replied, “just feels like pressure being relieved, like when your ears pop as you change altitude.”

“Good.” The nurse began swabbing around inside of Sentinel’s eye socket with an orange-yellow liquid and Sentinel squirmed a bit as she did so.

“It tickles,” Sentinel said in protest as he squirmed.

Bucky, who had experienced the sensation of having his eye scooped out, felt his insides writhing as he watched. He felt Bon Bon lean up against him on one side, and Lyra on the other. Belisama stroked his ears and he realised that he was trembling so hard that he feared he might fall down.

Sentinel still had a face though. It was crooked, and the left side appeared to droop a bit. It was a bit misshapen, but Sentinel had an ear, his eyelids, a cheek, and lips. The left side of his mouth was pulled upwards in a slight smirk. His left ear was hairless, pink, and veiny.

Beside him, Bucky heard a sob of relief from Bon Bon.

“I saw you before all of the work was done,” the nurse said in a low voice. “You were a mess… I would never believe it was possible to make you look this good.” The nurse lowered her head and peered into Sentinel’s eye socket, holding his eyelids open, her horn glowing with a bright, piercing light. “Everything looks good on the inside, we’ll be able to get you fitted for a glass eye soon.”

“I’ll be able to take my eye out and set it on the dinner table.” Sentinel smiled a dopey grin and looked over at Diamond Tiara. “Hey, Monday, don’t cry, it’s okay.”

Diamond Tiara’s cheeks went as taut as a drum as her teeth gritted together and she gave Sentinel a nod. After a moment, her face relaxed a bit, and she was able to say, “Sentinel, it’s rude to leave your eye on the dinner table. Don’t you dare.”

“Aww.” Sentinel’s face sank into a sad expression.

Watching his son’s face move, Bucky gritted his own teeth and let out a little cough, feeling something caught in the back of his throat. It was hard to breathe, each breath taken made him want to cry, so he tried to breathe as little as possible.

“Excuse me,” Lyra said in a strangled voice as she departed, her movement swift and jerky. “I’m sorry… I gotta… I can’t… I don’t want Sentinel to see me cry.”

Lyra didn’t quite make to the door when the sobbing started, and she let out a choking gasp as she passed through the door. Bon Bon, who stood beside Bucky, looked torn, needing to be there for Sentinel, needing to be there for Bucky, and knowing that Lyra needed her too.

“Go to her,” Bucky whispered into Bon Bon’s ear, straining to lift his head that high.

As Bon Bon went after Lyra, the nurse began packing a fresh poultice upon Sentinel’s face.

 

 

 

 

 

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