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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In his short life, Sentinel had been in quite a number of life threatening and dangerous situations. None of those situations felt as dangerous as the one he was in right now though. Applejack looked a teensy bit irritated and Big Mac towered behind her in the doorway. He eyed the window and pondered his ability to escape.

“Don’t run,” Applejack warned, “I know where you live.”

“Eeyup.”

Blinking a few times, Applejack stepped forwards as Diamond Tiara moved to stand in front of Sentinel. The orange mare looked down at the pink filly as she continued towards her and Sentinel. She stopped, pawed the floorboards with her hoof, and then stood there, staring with her wide, green eyes.

“The way I reckon, I owe you a chance to explain yourself,” Applejack began in a low voice as Big Mac continued to block the door. “You’re starting to become the troublemaking type, Sentinel, and that worries me. I wanna believe that you have good reasons. So talk to me and restore my faith in you, colt.”

“He didn’t do anything to me,” Diamond Tiara said, “other than cuddle with—”

“Shush,” Applejack commanded, and the pink filly shushed, knowing what was best.

“Appahjack?” A very sleepy Apple Bloom shoved her way past Big Mac. She froze when she saw Sentinel standing behind Diamond Tiara. She stood, blinking, and looking a little fearful.

A moment later, Babs was beside her, yawning and wide eyed. The little orange filly reached up, rubbed her head with her foreleg, and then ignoring the looks of disapproval she was getting, walked over to Diamond Tiara and Sentinel. She kissed Diamond Tiara on the cheek and then with a soft, affectionate touch, gave Sentinel a careful head bump, rubbing ears together with him.

“Babs… clear out,” Applejack said.

“No,” Babs replied, “Apple hospitality.”

“Babs—”

“Don’t ‘Babs’ me!” The little dark orange filly turned around to face the larger bright orange mare. “This is just you being stubborn about us growing up. Nothing happened, that much is obvious, and you’re blowing this out of proportion. Save your anger for when it’s needed.”

“Babs, I’ll deal with you later,” Applejack said, somehow remaining patient. She turned her head to Sentinel and focused upon him. “You still have your chance to explain. Just help me to understand.”

“Because I was scared,” Sentinel blurted out as he focused his only remaining eye on Applejack. “Last night when I was in bed, I kept hearing and feeling things in the dark! I kept thinking about stuff and reliving some terrible moments over and over! And I couldn’t bear to be alone!”

Closing her eyes, Applejack let out a huff. She drew in a deep breath, and then let out another huff. She moved forwards, pushing past Babs, who put up token resistance, and shoving Diamond Tiara aside. She sat down beside Sentinel, threw a foreleg over him, and pulled him close, her anger melting away.

“Sentinel, I get like that too,” Applejack said to Sentinel in a low whisper. “I’ll be by myself and the walls start closing in, and everything feels all tight and wrong, and I’ll start shaking. Been like that since Griffonholm and Tradewinds. I can’t imagine what it’s like for you.”

“Bad,” Sentinel confessed.

“Perhaps we can come to some accord.” Applejack gave Sentinel a squeeze. “Promise me that there will be no hanky panky under my roof, Sentinel. Just give me your good word and I’ll take it. If there is gonna be hanky panky, you do it under Rarity’s roof. I have enough laundry to look after.”

After a brief struggle to resist, Sentinel let out an apprehensive chuckle, which he tried to swallow right away, not knowing if it was okay to laugh or not. He rested his head against Applejack, thankful that this hadn’t turned into a shouting match or some hot, contested moment.

“Really, all I want is your good word.” Applejack looked at her brother. “Will that satisfy you, Big Mac?”

“Eemaybe?” Big Mac shifted on his hooves as Apple Bloom leaned up against him.

“I give my word,” Sentinel said to Applejack, “that I will attempt to be on my very best behaviour. Just don’t make me Pinkie Promise, I’ve only got one eye left.”

“That works for me. Come on, let’s go and have breakfast while I daydream about tying you to an apple tree.” Applejack heaved a sigh and focused her green eyed stare on Babs. “And you, you little cuss, you need to give me a chance to work things out before you assume I’m gonna do the worst!”

Babs’ ears drooped and she took a step backwards.

“Get over here,” Applejack said to Babs, “so I can give you a hug. I’m gonna squeeze the apple juice right outa you, Babs!”

 

 

Perhaps Sentinel went on an early morning hunt. Berry Punch watched Dinky and Piña as they gave Harper, Sukari, and Cadance breakfast. She blinked, yawned, and waited for the coffee to finish brewing. Her stomach hurt, her teats were chapped and sore, and she had not slept well.

It was rough, being the herd’s go to milkmare. It was almost impossible to sleep through the night without somepony poking you to wake you up so they can tell you that they’ve gone dry and the foals still needed feeding. It was real rough being dragged out of your warm bed, away from your fluffy pillows and fellow ponies that had warm, inviting bodies to snuggle.

It wasn’t all bad. There were late night snuggles and early in the morning cuddles and warm fuzzy foals with full bellies… Berry paused and gave a moment of consideration to that. Those full bellies turned into full diapers. Reaching down, she scratched her stomach and wondered if her teats were going to stretch out like silly putty. She needed some bag balm or something.

While Brandywine was a sweet, adorable foal, she was also a puller and a tugger. When she fed, she jerked her head around, pulling, tugging, and yanking, stretching flesh in ways it was never meant to be stretched. Made it difficult to sleep when howls of pain came from the nursery. With bleary eyes, Berry glanced over at the coffee pot, waiting. She was in a race against time, needing coffee and breakfast, but at any moment now, some sleepy little fuzzball would wake up and somepony would be summoning Berry for milkmare duty.

This had to be what it was like to be a superhero, expected to be ready to combat evil, er, hunger at all hours of the night and day, with no thanks and no rest. Berry’s ears perked up when Harper began to giggle and when she turned, she saw Cadance with her muzzle down in her bowl of granola, blowing bubbles.

With a groaning sigh, Berry knew that Cadance would need a thorough scrubbing, lest she smell like sour milk all day. Marital bliss had long ago become marital blah. For now, it seemed, they were just surviving, going hour to hour, feeding to feeding, moment to moment, quickie to quickie. Blinking, Berry’s ears drooped when she realised that she had been dreaming about the quickies. She needed to be laid in a bad way. Maybe a bit of squishy, sloppy scissoring with Derpy. Some nibble time with Thistle or maybe even some face sitting time. Time spent as a pony sandwich with Lyra and Bon Bon. And then, after she was warmed up and good to go, some time spent being railed by Bucky when he was in one of his manic phases. It’d have to be face down and arse up though, as Berry wanted nothing touching her teats right now unless absolutely necessary.

Too bad that Bucky wasn’t at home.

 

 

Laying in the grass, Derpy was soaking up some sun as she looked after the little ones. At the moment, they weren’t crying and seemed content to be out in the sun, on a quilt, and enjoying the day. Overhead, Rainbow Dash was teaching the next generation of flyers and Derpy glanced up at them on occasion, trying to focus with her good eye.

She thought about Sentinel and felt a mother’s worry. He had come home with Applejack and then had gone to school. Applejack had some troubling things to say. Derpy intended to have a talk with Bucky when he got back. Turning her head, she watched as the airship that Sour Mash had come to visit on was loaded and preparations were made for its departure.

Crisis was gamboling around the perimeter of the quilt on her wobbly legs. Derpy paid her no attention, the little weirdo would wear herself out soon enough and then come over for a snuggle. A snuggle? Or was it feeding? She did eat food, but snuggling also gave her sustenance. Derpy blinked in confusion. There was a cry from Crisis and Derpy turned her head to look at whatever was the cause for alarm.

Bell Heather, wringing wet, was charging around the corner of the house, having just come out of the lake by the looks of it. The little kelpie foal was clumsy, still trying to get the hang of walking, and a big toothy grin was plastered to her face.

Derpy thought of Sentinel, Crisis, and Bell Heather… her offspring had nightmarish smiles, but she loved them. She lifted her head as Bell got closer, happy to see the exuberant little kelpie running about.

“Come to Mama!” Derpy shouted.

Bell, hearing Derpy’s voice, tried to hurry but lost her balance. She tumbled down into the grass face first, rolled, and ended up on her back with her legs sticking skyward. Derpy laughed as Bell struggled to get on her hooves again. Bell had the beginnings of a mane and tail now and every day she seemed a little bigger and a little more capable. She was growing like a weed and showed signs of being a chatterbox.

Crisis went bounding off to help Bell, and by help, what Crisis really did was keep nosing Bell as she tried to stand up and cause her to fall back over. Bell let out a frustrated whinny as she tried to get up, and Crisis kept being ever so helpful.

“No!” Bell shouted in protest.

“No!” Crisis shouted with Bell’s voice.

That caused Bell to fall over again and go still as she stared up at her sibling. Derpy laughed. Crisis was already able to speak in just about anypony’s voice, at least for a word or two. There was going to be so much confusion later when Crisis truly understood the power that her voice had.

“Stop.” Bell looked up from where she lay in the grass.

“Stop.” Crisis nodded down at Bell, still using her voice.

“No!” Bell took a swipe with her foreleg at Crisis, who sidestepped it.

“Yes!” Crisis, still using Bell’s voice, made a clumsy pronk away from her fallen sibling.

With a stormy expression, Bell Heather rolled over and managed to get on her hooves before Crisis could help her again, and then managed to stay upright when Crisis plowed into her. Derpy realised that Bell was now several months old. Time would fly by and she would be a yearling. Thistle was already feeding her solid food now, little bits of fish and bugs.

“Bell,” Crisis said in Thistle’s voice.

“Mamamoo?” Bell asked, looking very confused as she glared at her sibling.

Derpy felt her eyes watering. Mamamoo. Harper sometimes called Lyra ‘Mamamoo,’ even now and Bell had picked up on it somehow. Hearing it made Derpy feel emotional and squishy. Soon, the foals piled around her would not longer be fuzzy lumps, and they too, would be doing adorable stuff.

“Gotcha!” Peekaboo lept out of the hedges situated near the corner of the house and pounced on Crisis, who completely freaked out. Crisis changed colours, going from white, to yellow, to orange, to red, to purple, to blue, to blue-green, to green, to brown, and then to black. She let out a strange yowling sound as she struggled beneath Peekaboo.

“Rwar, I has you now!” Peekaboo growled as she tried to pin Crisis down. “I am the mightiest kitty pony!” She struggled to hold Crisis, who was now a strange shade of pulsating purple brown. “Rwar! Om nom nom nom!”

Bell Heather used this opportunity to escape and ran over to where Derpy was laying while the sneaky pegasus and Crisis battled it out. Crisis got up for a moment, but was thrown back down again. Peekaboo had her legs kicked out from beneath her with a clumsy but effective swipe.

Crisis let out a squeal of protest as Peekaboo blew a raspberry against her neck. Peekaboo was bigger and had more control over her body, but Crisis was stronger by far. The two foals rolled around in the grass as they struggled for dominance. The play was rough, real rough, but Derpy wasn’t worried. Crisis had durability as well as armor and Peekaboo could take her lumps. Crisis never bit her siblings with those scary shovel shaped teeth and never brought real harm. But she did give Peekaboo a good, solid cuff upside her head with her foreleg that made Peekaboo grunt and bare her teeth. Crisis bared her teeth right back and the two foals growled like the horrible little savages that they were.

Derpy let out a contented sigh. The sounds of the struggle would soon bring Cadance out from wherever it was that she was hiding. Or maybe she wasn’t hiding. She might be inside, sprawled out in front of a window, napping. Derpy had last seen Cadance with Harper and Lyra. Lyra had been chasing after Cadance with a hoof file and a curry comb and Cadance wasn’t in the mood to sit still so she could be groomed.

Overhead, Rainbow Dash cried out and Derpy heard the word, “Airship!”

Rolling over, almost smooshing a few foals, Derpy closed her bad eye and scanned the sky. She saw more than an airship, she saw an airship being towed by a dragon. She felt her heart leap up into her throat. Ripple was home! The grey mare was so excited that she grabbed the nearest foal she could, which just so happened to be Bell, and began squeezing.

“Mama, no! Mama, no! No! No squeezee!” Bell’s muffled protests could barely be heard as she struggled against Derpy’s affectionate, over-excited embrace. “Mama! Bad Mama! Leggo! Bad! No! You squeeze pee out!”

Rainbow Dash and her troupe of foals cleared the skies, getting out of the way as the airship approached. Shouts could be heard all over the farm now and many little griffons were swarming all over the place as they prepared to welcome the Raptors home.

In the middle of the chaos, a lone donkey stood, looking skyward, waiting, her long ears standing straight up in alert attention. The donkey pronked in place, and then began bouncing around, unable to contain herself any longer.

Something charcoal grey streaked from the airship, flying at an amazing speed as it hurtled towards the ground, leveled out, and then flew right for the donkey. The pegasus never slowed and the donkey went still. A split second later, Ripple snatched up Bittersweet and flew off with her.

Derpy watched them go, feeling relieved. Ripple was fine and seemed to be in the mood for donkey. She turned her head and watched as the dragon pulled the ship. A klaxon sounded and griffons rushed off to prepare the moorings for the airship.

“Daddoo?” Bell asked as she looked up at the dragon, still trapped in Derpy’s embrace.

“Yes Bell, that’s your Daddoo,” Derpy replied as she let go of Bell and allowed her to escape. “Clever little filly to know that’s your Daddoo.” She wondered how Bell knew, but could not fathom how the foal had known. It never occurred to Derpy that shapeshifters had their own innate senses.

Peekaboo let go of Crisis and then began pronking around in circles when she realised that her mother and father were home. Crisis, not finished, pounced on Peekaboo and got revenge while the getting was good. The two tumbled over and Crisis clung to Peekaboo’s back while making savage growls in Peekaboo’s ears.

Derpy heaved a sigh of relief. All of her foals were home, accounted for, and safe.

 

 

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