Disclaimer: Whaddaya know!? Still don't own the turtles and their little team. But can't keep a girl from borrowing them once in a while, can it?
A/N: The title sound familiar? On the request of my dear readers I started working on a sequel to 'Deputy Housekeepers'. I don't know if you've read it? Even if you haven't - it doesn't matter! Because this story is what I would call an unofficial sequel. It stands in its own, but at the same time holds a great resemblance to its ancestor, in the way that their style and type of humor is very much alike. But like I said, this is a story in its own that has nothing to do with the guys' earlier house chores - so you're safe to read it even without the prequel in your luggage. Okay, now that I've made that point clear - let's get this show on the road!
Rating: PG13 (in case Raph might get mad and start cursing)
Summary: When spending the summer at April's farmhouse, the boys drive Splinter up the walls. So April suggest the turtles go hiking together. But who on earth ever got the twisted impression nature would be relaxing?
Chapter 1 - "I had hoped nature would do them good."
April drove up in front of the farmhouse and turned off the engine. She leaned back in the seat and closed her eyes, enjoying the peaceful silence only nature could provide. She loved New York City more than anything, but spending the summer upstate was something she felt she deserved after one year of hard work. An alarming thought soon interrupted her clean mind and brought her back to a reality where the ice cream melted in the back of the car. She quickly undid her seat belt and stepped out of the mini-van she drove these days. She had bought it so her mutated friends would all fit inside.
When did it go so far I started choosing my cars after their needs? she mused to herself as she opened up the back of the van.
She reached inside for the two bags she had purchased in the local grocery store. After closing the backdoor with her chin, April stepped up on the porch, holding the stuffed paper bags to her chest. Normally she didn't have to buy this much food at once, but when having four teenage turtles and an elderly rat living under her roof, the fridge tended to get empty a little more often.
The second she managed to get the front door open, the peaceful country silence she had treasured only a moment ago quickly vanished.
"Would ya stop it! We're not watchin' 'World War Veterans!'" Raphael's voice hollered from inside the living room.
"Oh, like 'Monster Truck's are any better?" Leo's voice came to defence.
"Ye wouldn't know a good show iffit came up and bit'cha in the ass!"
"It doesn't matter, 'cause I had the TV - so if you don't wanna watch my show you might as well leave!"
"Are ya threatenin' me?!"
April sighed and walked into the kitchen, deciding to just ignore the war that was about to break out in her living room. As long as they weren't throwing stuff at each other, like two days earlier when Donatello ended up fixing the video remote, she didn't have to worry. When arriving in the kitchen she noticed Splinter sitting at the table by himself with a cup of tea. He stared down his cup as his facial expression revealed the visit of another migraine.
"How long have they been arguing?" April asked, causing the old rat to look up from the table, not looking the least bit surprised by her presence, what with being a ninja master and all, that wasn't very shocking to her.
"Ever since you left," he answered, stirring with his spoon in the cup.
"Well," April said, putting down the bags on the counter and taking a look outside the kitchen window. "It's such a beautiful day, why don't you tell them to go outside?"
"If only I still had the power to force them in such matters," Splinter said with a sigh, his ears rising on top of his furry head as Raphael's furious voice rose above everything else.
"Yer not the boss a' me, Leo!"
"I had hoped nature would do them good," the old rat said, tiredly shaking his head.
"It would," April insisted, putting a few cartons of milk in the fridge. "But in order to enjoy it they have to go outside." She turned around to her old friend with a comforting smile, willing some strength into him, while at the same time thanking her uterus she didn't have any children of her own.
Soon, Splinter's whiskers twitched at the sound of the television repeatedly switching from one channel to another. April thoughtfully bit the inside of her cheek. Then, after putting the ice cream in the freezer, she left the kitchen to see what was going on in the living room. She feared 'The Flight of the Remote' wasn't that far away.
Raphael say on the floor right in front of the TV, flicking the channel to what he wanted to watch, while Leo sat positioned on the couch; changing back to his world war documentary with the remote control aimed at the television.
"Stop doing that!" the oldest turtle demanded, his patience growing thinner by the second. "You'll break the TV!"
"So you stop!" Raph countered from the floor, his finger continuously pressing one of the buttons on the TV. "Yer the one who keeps changin' the channel!"
"I was here first!" Leonardo argued, angrily speeding up his flicking of the remote, causing his younger brother to push his button even more violently.
"Umm... guys?" April hesitantly interrupted, witnessing the whole scene from the wide doorway, fearing something was about to break. If not the television then at least someone's patience. However, it seemed as if they didn't notice her, either that or they simply ignored her.
"I said stop it!" Leo yelled, rising to his feet to be able to aim better with the remote.
"You stop it!"
April sighed and walked up to the TV, where she bent down and turned it off, causing both turtles to fall silent. And maybe it was her imagination playing tricks on the silence, but she thought she heard ringing noises in her ears.
"What's the matter, April?" Leo asked, looking a little concerned for his human friend.
"Yeah," Raphael filled in and looked up at her from the floor. " Ya look like ya haven't slept in days."
"Gee," April said, looking between the two of them. "I wonder why that is?"
Raph and Leo fearfully glanced at each other when they recognized her sarcastic tone, knowing from experience her girly temper wasn't far behind.
"What's wrong with you?" April asked, staring at the two of them. "You can't even watch TV without driving each other crazy, not to mention the rest of us."
"Sorry," Raph apoloqized flatly. "We didn't mean ta upset'cha."
"I don't understand why you can't get along with each other for three simple weeks," April continued, tiredly putting her hand to her forehead. "I mean, is that really too much to ask?"
"Of course not," Leo said, walking up to her and putting a calming hand on her shoulder. "We're really sorry, April. We'll behave from now on." He exchanged a glance with Raph, silently coming to an agreement with each other on not to argue over the TV anymore. Worst thing they could think of was April having a nervous breakdown. No one really knew how to handle situations like that.
April looked up at Leo and answered in a calmer voice. "I know you say that now but... I just don't think this house is big enough for all four of you."
"What are ya sayin'?" Raphael asked, narrowing his eyes on his friend.
April looked from Leo down to Raph. Without another word spoken April left the two of them in the living room, staring at each other in confusion.
"What's that all about?" Raph asked, looking up from to floor at his older brother.
Leo shook his head in response, his eyes following April as she walked upstairs. After exchanging another glance with each other, Raph got up from the floor and followed Leo out of the room, looking up the stairway to the second floor where April entered one of the bedrooms.
Donatello and Michelangelo were playing 'Ice Climber' in the bedroom the two of them shared when they staying at April's house. The both of them were sitting on the floor in front of the small TV that wasn't good for anything else but video games. Just as Mikey was leaving Don behind to go ice climbing on his own, April entered the room.
"Could you guys come downstairs?" she asked, watching their shells from the doorway.
"Righte-o," Mike said, his eyes glued to the screen as his blue clad Eskimo jumped from one platform to another. "I'm just gonna win.."
Donatello rolled his eyes and put his Nintendo control aside. The most obnoxious thing he knew was Michelangelo on a confidence boost. When he rose to his feet Mike was on the top of the mountain, chasing the red bird that flew across the screen.
"Yes!" The youngest turtle exclaimed as the Eskimo grabbed on to the bird's feet, clinging on for his animated life. "Another victory for He Who Cannot Be Defeated."
"Oh please," Donnie said, mockingly shaking his head. "You cry for mercy every time you're up against Raph."
Mike rose to his feet and quickly looked around the room, fearing the brother in question was near. Upon not finding him he confidently turned back to Donatello. "He Who Cannot Be Defeated does not see anyone with that name around here."
April shook her head and went back downstairs, her heels clicking on the steps of the stair.
"He Who Cannot Be Defeated needs to stop talking about himself in third person," Don said, bending down to the floor to turn off the video game and TV. "C'mon," he said, patting Mikey on the shoulder as he went after April to join the rest downstairs.
When arriving downstairs Mike noticed everyone had gathered around the kitchen table, everyone except for April who stood in front of them, obviously about to deliver them some news. So, in order to avoid the seat positioned directly in front of the sun, he darted past Donatello and hogged one of the last two chairs. Donnie sighed as he walked up to the final chair, squinting his eyes to avoid the sun's fierce glow.
"Okay," April said, nervously clapping her hands together. "Not that I don't enjoy having you around," she nodded apologetically to her green friends, "but I think the four of you locked up in this house together might not be the best way to spend the summer... for any of us."
Raph exchanged a suspicious glance with Don seated across from him, both of them wondering where this conversation was heading.
"So..." April trailed, fidgeting with her hands. "I thought maybe you should go hiking for a few days."
A stunned silence fell over the kitchen, no one really sure if they had heard her right. Although judging by the relieved look on Splinter's face, he definitely seemed to have gotten the idea of it.
"Hikin'?" Raph questioned pessimistically after a few more seconds of silence. "As in sleepin' in the forest?"
"U-huh," April nodded.
"On the ground.." Raphael continued, still not looking very excited about the proposal.
"Well, yeah," April said, sensing her suggestion wasn't as popular as she had hoped. "But it's not as uncomfortable as it sounds. With the right equipment it can be really fun," she quickly ensured the red masked reptile.
"An' by equipment ya mean...?" Raphael trailed, still not convinced about the whole thing.
"I have some stuff up in the attic," April said, listing the objects in question to her friends. "Tents, sleeping-bags, backpacks.. basically everything you'd need out there."
"Far out!" Mike exclaimed, a wide smile spreading across his face. "So we'd be like sleeping outside," April nodded. "In tents! This is so cool! I've always wanted to go camping!"
"Well, this isn't exactly like camping," Don told his younger brother who sat next to him, peering his eyes to avoid the sun. "We'd be depending on nature completely. And with not being able to carry too much stuff with us as we'd be walking, we have to hunt our own food."
"So... you're not up for it?" Mikey asked disappointed.
"Are you kidding?" Donnie said, a smile curving his lips. "Count me in!"
Raphael shook his head as another one of his brothers gave in to the idea and joined the Scouts.
"So.. what about you, Leo?" April wondered, turning to her blue masked friend. "You like hiking, right?" There was an obvious hint of hope in her voice.
Leo nodded and turned to look at his friend. "I've always wanted to go hiking," he confirmed, causing two of his brothers to light up, while the third groaned at the news. "But I'm not so sure the four of us sleeping in the same tent is such a good idea," he added, putting a smile on Raph's face while the others slumped at the sudden turn of events.
"No, you'd be sleeping two in each tent," April quickly explained, afraid she might lose the oldest turtle's support. "So long as you and Raph don't sleep in the same one - I don't think there should be any problems."
"Yeah," Don lit up, trying to convert the Fearless Leader to their side. "The two of us could share a tent, Leo" he quickly offered, also seeing a way out of being roommates with Mikey, who after eight nights in the same room had gotten a little too much for him, to say the least.
"What?" Mikey exclaimed, looking sincerely hurt. "You're dumping me for Leo?"
Donnie quickly turned to his baby brother. "It's only for the greater good," he insisted. "Besides, you get to bunk with Raph." He pointed to the angry turtle sitting across the table.
"Talk about your second choices," Mike mumbled, glancing at the red masked turtle.
"Hey!" Raph hissed, angrily turning to his little brother. "Ya don't see me jumpin' with joy! Sides, it's not like we're actually doin' this, right Leo?" He turned to look at the oldest turtle, who still seemed to contemplate the trip.
"I don't know," Leonardo said, causing Raphael to lose some of his hope. He turned to his father, who had been quiet the whole time. "What do you think, Master?"
Splinter looked from Leo to his two youngest sons, who seemed very hopeful at his answer, but then as he turned to look at Raphael he realized not all of his students were crazy about the idea. But when looking inside himself for his own opinion, he realized he could certainly enjoy the peace and quiet the trip would bring him, which is what he suspected was April's intention with the whole thing. However, he realized he couldn't make this decision in his best interest, but had to consider how everyone else felt about it. In the end, he felt his decision would be best for all of them, even if some of them didn't see it themselves.
"I agree with Miss. O'Neil," he finally revealed, causing Don and Mike to highfive each other. "I believe the four of you could use some nature. Perhaps its soothing effect will put an end to this endless bickering."
"Or... maybe it'll worsen things," Raph quickly pointed out that the half full glass might as well be half empty. "Sensei, think about it: the four of us off hikin' togetha'? We could do some serious damage ta each otha'. Sides, isn't there that old sayin' about how turtles shouldn't sleep on the ground?"
Splinter sent his son a scolding look. "Don not be ridiculous, Raphael. There is no such thing. We came out here to get away from the crowded city. So far, none of you have left the yard. I believe this is a wonderful opportunity. The decision has been made, my son. Tomorrow morning the four of you will be ready to leave, so I suggest you start packing."
Raphael said nothing, but silently exchanged a discontent glance with his older brother, who for once didn't agree with their Master. Yes, he had always wanted to go hiking and enjoy the peaceful nature, but doing so with his siblings seemed anything but peaceful, if not disastrous.
"Is this clear?" Splinter asked, his voice very solemn as he looked at his students.
"Yes, master," the four of them answered in chorus, although two of them didn't seem as enthusiastic as the other two.
"Great," April exclaimed, clapping her hands together in an attempt to lighten to mood in the kitchen. "If you want you can check the attic right away. I'm pretty sure everything you'll need is up there. Just try to only bring what's necessary. That bag might not seem so heavy when you leave tomorrow, but trust me, after carrying that thing for a few days you'll be thankful you didn't stuff anything else inside it."
"Sounds like you're talking form experience," Donatello implied, squinting his eyes to be able to look at April, who was standing with her back to the sun.
"You could say that again," she confirmed with a nod. "My dad used to drag my brother and I away from the house to teach us about the 'wonders of nature'." She rolled her eyes at the memory.
"What about your mom?" Mikey wondered, leaning forward on the table. "Didn't see come with you?"
"Well, no," April replied, shaking her head. "She used to stay behind with our grandmother. She always said it was because she was allergic to grass... but I think her and grams had their own little vacation here, at the house. See, my brother and I used to drive them crazy with our constant fighting with each other."
"Talk about apples not fallin' far from the tree," Raph murmured and snickered with his brothers.
April, suddenly aware of the similarities between their situations, smiled sheepishly and scratched herself in the back of her head. "Well.. uh..." she stammered, not sure on what to say. "That was something completely different. I mean, I'm doing this for you... right? Not because I need some vacation."
"Right," Raphael said with a smirk, not the least bit convinced about her lame excuse.
"C'mon, dudes," Mikey said as he rose from the chair to leave for the attic. "I think mom and grams wants to be alone."
April and Splinter glanced at each other as the four teenagers left snickering with each other. Splinter held back a smile as he took a sip from his tea, hiding his face behind the cup.
"Oh my God," April breathed with realization after a few moments of silence. "I've become my mother!"
A/N: Okay, now those of you who read the earlier work. Don'cha think it's a lot like it? What with how this and the other story began? Anyway... I probably posted this chapter earlier than what might be safe. Because so far, I haven't written anything else (except for some ideas about what should happen to the guys when they're hiking) but other than that I'm pretty much stumbling in the dark. Anyway, I hope I'll be able to pull this off. Could turn out to be pretty fun. Oh, and one last thing. Please review and tell me what you thought of it? Hopefully it'll kick some sense into my ass and get me writing the next chapter. Tah tah!