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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Sitting in a chair at the kitchen table, Bucky, still a foal, ate some cookies to help him recover from the recent magical expenditure. Beside him, Sunset Shimmer was also sitting in a chair, eating cookies, and she had an embarrassed smile upon her face. Photos had been taken, so many photos of the two of them being young and cute together. Photos that, no doubt, Princess Celestia was going to show off very much like a proud aunt… or a proud parent.

It made Bucky cringe just thinking about it. Princess Celestia had stricken his parents from the record and she was now the listed guardian of both he and Sunset. He supposed that like any guardian, or parent, she wanted photos of her foals. He knew that she had all kinds of embarrassing photos of Twilight Sparkle; he had seen them with his own eyes.

This body, tiny, young, was almost alien in comparison to his adult body. He was filled with strange emotions, feelings, everything was larger, doors loomed large over him and were intimidating. Staircases seemed far too big. Chairs were difficult things that one had to climb up into or get help.

But the emotions were the worst. Everything was so raw, so unfiltered, everything felt so strong. It was overwhelming. The heady rush of emotion when Derpy held him and kissed him. It wasn’t even romantic love that he was feeling. Just… love. As it was. It was as confusing as it was thrilling. It made this small body sing with happiness, an indescribable joy, and Bucky did not know what to make of it.

He felt it now looking at Sunset as she ate her cookies. An overwhelming feeling of joy, of love, of affection, a profound sensation of happiness that did not exist in his adult body. It was so strong that Bucky felt like laughing and crying at the same time.

It was a feeling so profound and so thought provoking that Bucky thought for a moment that every adult should be made to experience foalhood again for a while, just to refresh their perspectives and gain some insight into what it meant to be little. It was so easy to forget. The adult mind pushed away all of those old worries and insecurities. All of those things that seemed so important as a foal were never given a second thought as an adult. Those feelings of love and joy went dull over time and lost their impact.

It was good to have the clock rolled back to recall a simpler time.

Overcome with a feeling that he could not bear any longer, Bucky launched his tiny foal body out of his chair and hurled himself at Sunset. He slammed into her once more, wrapped his stubby limbs around her, and fell to the floor with her. Being so little, it didn’t hurt too much, and he clung to her as he was overcome with tears.

Confused, Sunset Shimmer lay on the floor with Bucky, blinking, trying to figure out what was going on. She sat up and pulled Bucky with her, who had a tenacious grip on her, and he refused to let go.

“I love you so much,” Bucky said in a voice that sounded both happy and sad. “I’m so sorry I hurt you… please forgive me.”

Sunset swallowed the bit of cookie she was chewing and returned Bucky’s embrace.

“I don’t know what came over me… I feel bad.” Bucky ran his now tiny talons through Sunset’s mane. “I’m so sorry… I can’t help how I am sometimes and I don’t like being me.”

“Shh,” Sunset replied as she pulled the smaller foal closer.

“You… you’re like… my sister or something. I love you so much. I’ve come to depend so much on you. I don’t know what I’d do without you.” Tears began to trickle down Bucky’s cheeks and there was a strange happy-sad smile upon his crooked, somewhat misshapen muzzle.

In his tiny body, it was somehow even more apparent that he was no longer quite an equine. Something about him was almost grotesque. His front leg with the talons was longer than his other equine legs. His neck was almost too long for his body, making his withers appear to be too far back from his head.

Hearing hooves upon the floor, Bucky buried his face into Sunset’s neck, almost feeling ashamed that somepony might see them like this. He tried to hide himself away, and for a moment, he had almost perfect understanding of Peekaboo’s foalish logic. If she couldn’t see a pony, then a pony couldn’t see her. Bucky squeezed his eyes shut and squeezed Sunset even tighter as he worried about hearing the sounds of a camera going off.

Bucky’s ears perked when he heard Sunset gasp and he gulped down a shuddering sob that was threatening to work itself loose somehow. They were much harder to hold back in this tiny, helpless body that didn’t seem to have any sort of emotion filters.

He thought back upon the unicorn he used to be. When he had been this age long ago, he would have never done this. He was already avoiding his fellow students as much as possible. He had already become cold and somewhat distant. He pushed others away, foolishly believing that he couldn’t be hurt if he didn’t let others reach him.

And now, holding Sunset, Bucky understood all too well what he had been missing, how starved he had been for affection, how much he had hurt himself. He understood all too well his own pain. The realisation smashed his fragile psyche and violently ripped open the floodgates.

A low screeching howl could be heard coming from Bucky’s throat, a sound that was certainly not equine in nature. It was unidentifiable for species, but was a sound of raw, unfiltered pain.

There was a thump beside Bucky, he felt it, and a part of his brain recognised that it was a heavy thump. It had weight to it. He felt feathers on his back and his whole body tensed. He pressed his muzzle even deeper into the fuzzy folds of Sunset Shimmer’s neck.

His ears picked up the sounds of more hooves as he moved, his body slid over the smooth kitchen floor that now had a few scattered cookie crumbs near the table where he and Sunset had landed together.

He felt himself being pressed up against something warm, and he realised that he and Sunset were being held in a strong, long pair of forelegs. Somepony was laying on the floor and cradling them both, and Bucky knew who. A burning feeling of shame consumed him. He had a lot of regrets. There were many regrets. So many regrets. And in this body, in this form, he felt them all so keenly. The pain was overwhelming. He squirmed, but he knew that there was no getting away from this.

“Is it selfish that I wish that the public could see you like this?”

Unable to reply, Bucky squeezed his eyes shut a little tighter and tried to endure the burning feeling of shame that poured through him like a flood. He felt his stomach doing flip flops and he worried that he might very well toss his cookies.

“I love the both of you so much. Both of you represent some of my worst mistakes. Some of my worst regrets. I wish so much and so often that I had done things differently. Looking back, my heart feels heavy when I can see all of the times that I failed both of you in hindsight.”

Adding to Bucky’s emotional turmoil, he realised that Sunset Shimmer was now crying. He could feel it. Her barrel hitched up and down just like his was doing. There were too many feelings present for such a small, helpless body, and perhaps the oddest thing about the situation was, Bucky still felt a feeling of happiness mixed in with everything else.

“I hurt you so much… I’m so sorry… no amount of power was worth losing you.”

Sunset’s words were squeaks of pain that made Bucky’s ears twitch with each syllable. He wasn’t sure if he could endure it. Her voice was raw, emotional, and some part of him realised that she was experiencing the same foalish flood of emotions that he was. Angling his head, rooting around with his muzzle against her jaw, Bucky gave Sunset a very snotty kiss and then buried his face against her neck once more.

He and Sunset were smooshed together in such a way that if they had been adults, they might very well be freaking out about the embrace that they shared, but were now oblivious to. Had he been in a more reflective state of remembrance, he might have thought about the lesson that Derpy had given him so long ago when she had held him in the bathtub.

“When two ponies are close, things are bound to touch. It happens. Some touches are just a touch and should be ignored, other touches have meaning.” At the time, the grey mare’s words were a profound lesson for Bucky, a lesson that he needed, words that he had needed to hear. Now, around a year later, the words spoken in the bathtub during that tender, loving embrace when he had been so profoundly broken had proven themselves true.

“My little orphans of circumstance… how I love you so.”

The words were choked with emotion and Bucky felt two lips pressed up against his ear. There was a soft kiss and then he heard Sunset gasp, he felt her squirm as her ear was tickled, and he heard the soft sounds of a loving smooch being applied.

Bucky felt sharp pangs of conscience. He was about to do something bad, something awful, and he wasn’t so sure that he deserved to be loved. This smaller body felt guilt the same way it felt everything else… in an emotional flood that threatened to overwhelm him.

But there was something else. Something that made him feel joyful. He was still loved, even if he didn’t deserve it. He leaned back into the soothing, comforting warmth of an alicorn pelt, something that was entirely unlike anything else. It was silky, slick feeling, it was perfect. He leaned back, resting his misshapen spine, and pulled Sunset closer. He felt himself being squeezed by her.

It was odd, perhaps even ironic that Bucky’s life could be defined by what he did not have. He had been born into wealth and privilege that few could even comprehend. He had the right family, the right name, he had won the birth lottery. An observer might see everything that Bucky had been born with and assumed that he was happy.

But that was not the case. Bucky’s entire life was defined by something he did not have. Something he lacked. Something that was vital to his growth and development, but was missing. Because of this, he had grown up stunted, both physically, from his mother’s horrendous act of poisoning him, and emotionally, from neglect.

Celestia had tried to reach him even then, but he had pushed her away. Now, he clung to a fellow pony, one of the few that could understand the depths of his suffering, emptiness, and pain, and the pair of them allowed the white alicorn with the broken, damaged heart to comfort them, as the three of them all shared a profound understanding of one another. Each of them knew emptiness, loss, suffering, loneliness, each of them had experienced a wretched, painful existence. Each of them were stunted in their own way, and now, each of them were trying to recover.

Bucky was all too aware of his many mistakes, of everything he had done wrong. There were things he regretted, things he wished he had done a different way, there were events that he knew he had made worse. He had done things that he could not say that he was sorry for. But, in spite of all of these things, he was loved.

In this small body, this small, vulnerable body that had no emotional defenses and felt everything in a raw, unfiltered state, he could feel love. He wiggled around and gave Sunset another snotty kiss as her sobs subsided into wet, boogery snuffles.

“Oh, I think they’d both appreciate that, thank you… that is very considerate of you.”

Bucky felt Sunset being lifted away from him. He strained to pull her closer, but then realised that she wasn’t being taken away from him, her head was being lifted. A steaming hot cloth brushed up against his cheek and Bucky, feeling brave, feeling hopeful, opened his eyes. There was a sky blue wing with a wash rag wiping Sunset’s face, cleaning her nose, and scrubbing away cookie crumbs. He heard Sunset grumbling in protest.

A second later, a clean wash cloth was produced and Bucky went blind as his face was being scrubbed. The cloth was hot, wet, and soothing. He felt it on his eyes, on his nose, it rubbed all over his muzzle, getting him cleaned up. When it was pulled away, Bucky opened his eyes and was greeted by two rose coloured eyes beneath a rainbow mane peering at him.

“Feel better?” Rainbow Dash asked.

Bucky nodded and then sniffled a bit.

“Don’t tell anypony, but Twilight mighta sorta kinda turned Flash into a foal so he could play with Glass Slipper.” Rainbow Dash’s lips pressed into a straight line for a minute and she shook her head. “He was fine for a while, but then he got overwhelmed. I guess this is just something that happens sometimes. It’s probably rough being little.” Rainbow shrugged and stood up. Extending her wing, she flicked the cloth she was holding into the sink and then looked over at Twilight. “Now, Twilight, do it now while they are at their most adorable!”

Bucky, cradled in Celestia’s forelegs with Sunset Shimmer, almost went blind when the camera flash went off.

 

 

 

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