DISCLAIMER: Goes without saying that I don't own anything TMNT-related, other than Splinter's fleas – though preferably I hope he keeps them! LOL
Author's Notes: After I uploaded what was supposed to be the one and only chapter, my muses besieged me with more ideas. So, given the fact that I haven't written much this year – actually, I've not written ANYTHING for 2010 – I decided to further this adventure, in the hope that it will generate ideas for my other on-going and unfinished musings. Where this story takes me, who knows, but I hope it entertains you, the reader, nonetheless. Thank you all for reading and for any reviews tossed my way! :0)
Chapter 2 – They're Baaaack!
"What do you mean, it didn't work? It should have worked, that stuff's the best flea powder on the market."
"At first, I thought it did work, April. After the first application, a day or so later Splinter seemed to be back to normal, but then a week went by and he was just as bad as before."
"Leo, you did rub it down to the skin, right?"
"Yes, April, I followed the directions exactly as written. You know how I am."
"Only too well."
"Funny. Anyway, I even used two boxes of the stuff." Leo laughed a little, "Splinter rather likes it, actually. He said it makes his fur soft."
April smiled but then cocked her head, as if in thought. After a moment, she said, "Well, it's possible the fleas laid eggs and…"
"Fleas lay eggs, like in ALIEN?" Leo almost looked panic-stricken.
"No, no, not like Alien, like on his skin, around the base of his hair follicles. You can kill the adult fleas but the eggs remain largely unaffected, until they hatch. That's probably what happened, so, you're going to have to do it all over again."
"And…he still has them?"
"Like before, he improved with the second round, but they came back less than a week later."
April sighed, "Then he's not the only one infested. Someone else is a carrier and I know that you guys aren't. Turtles only get mites."
April laughed, "Leo, don't worry about it, I don't think you live anywhere near where you would get something like that."
"Well, that's a relief! I can't imagine trying to powder up Raphael…"
April giggled again, just envisioning THAT scene, but she sobered up with her next comment, "Anyway, it has to be something else…something he came in contact with that carries fleas…" April paused when she noticed Leo look away, almost guiltily. "Okay, bub," she grabbed his shoulder, fingers pressing into rock-hard muscle, to let him know she meant business, "It's been a while since my last visit, so what's going on in the Lair that I don't know about?"
Leo reacted almost defensively, his eyes going a bit wide. Shaking his head, he declared hastily, "Nothing, nothing's going on…"
"I KNEW it," April almost crowed, "Mike brought home another stray cat!"
Beaten, Leo finally fessed up, almost looking embarrassed, "Yeah, only…it's not a cat this time."
When Leo didn't answer, April threw her hands in the air, "Didn't it occur to you guys that maybe the dog is responsible? I mean, they're famous for having fleas. Since Master Splinter's never had this problem before, I would think you guys would assuuuume… Wait a minute, why didn't Donnie figure this out?"
Leo almost whispered, "No one knows about Splinter's flea problem, yet, April, except for me. Splinter's forbidden me to say anything. If Raph or Donnie find out, they would make Mike get rid of the dog and then Mike will get all depressed and…"
"How can your brothers not know? If Splinter is so bad off that he's miserable…not to mention the fact that he probably smells like a garden in bloom…"
"He's ninja, April, or did you forget about that?" Leo said and rather imperiously, too, "Master Splinter can put on a stoic face like no one else, except for maybe Raphael, although – lately – it's getting harder for Sensei." Leo sighed.
"Okay, I'll buy that, but what about the smell?"
"Told the guys it's from this new candle I found for him. Kind of strong stuff. They totally accepted it!" he smiled.
"Nevertheless," April persisted, "I'm sure Splinter has figured out why he now has fleas. So, it makes me question why YOU, or even he, haven't banned the dog. Just tell Mike that the dog is too much to care for. Tell him it's cruel to keep an animal like that underground, or…"
"Well, Mikey really likes Shadow and he's such a good dog and..."
April noticed the affection in Leo's voice when he mentioned the dog's name and its attributes. She shook her head, this time, and said accusingly, "More to the point, Leo, I think YOU and Splinter both like Shadow!"
Almost blushing, Leo sighed, "Yeah, well, everyone does, actually. He sort of grew on us! Shadow's a very smart dog, April!" Leo gushed, "He fetches, he stays when told to, he even pees where and when he's told to – Mike taught him that. Figured if he could house…um…lair break the dog, Splinter would let him keep it, and it worked, but then," Leo sighed, "about a week later, Splinter began itching, and," he shrugged, "you know the rest."
"Well, Leo, you're going to have to do to Shadow what you did to Master Splinter."
"How can I do that, April?" Leo declared in exasperation, this time throwing his hands up. He began pacing her living room, now, as he ranted, "Shadow stays mostly with Mike. If I tell Mike to de-flea his dog, he's going to ask why. Then he'll figure it out and if not, then he will once he uses the flea powder. He'll recognize the scent. Splinter's been acting more itchy than normal, too. It's to a point where he's not doing very well at keeping the obvious from being – well - obvious."
"Tell him not to scratch!"
Leo turned to face her and with eyes wide, "He doesn't scratch, April, he SQUIRMS! Sensei never squirms. Don's starting to think that he has hemorrhoids. He's even talked to Splinter privately about it, which got him into deep trouble. Had to do fifty back flips for asking such a personal question. Really bummed him out, too."
April fought the tug at one corner of her mouth, trying hard not to smile. This was serious stuff, at least that's what she tried to convince herself of, anyway. Finally, she suggested, successfully doing so without breaking into a huge grin, "Well, tell Mike it's just preventative, that you don't want to bring fleas into the lair."
Leo thought about that and finally said, "Well, that might work, IF you can get a different brand or a different scent. Won't do to have a flea powder AND a room freshener that smells the same."
"Actually, you can! Lilac Morning is quite popular, I've seen it at Candles and Things and it smells almost exactly like the flea powder. I'll pick up a couple candles for Splinter and come down tonight to give it to him. I'll make a big show of it, just to throw the guys off. Since everyone seems to like that scent, anyway, they won't protest too much."
Finally convinced, Leo relented, "Well, okay, I'll do it, but I'll…need more flea powder."
"Why, Leo? You should have four boxes left."
"I had to use a couple more when Splinter had his second outbreak. And…I used the rest early this morning."
"Splinter must smell pretty good by now…" April laughed.
"No, not on Splinter, on…everything else."
Leo shrugged, as he explained, "I was afraid that Shadow had infested the lair so I sort of dusted everything with the powder."
"Um…everything in the Lair?"
"I hope you didn't include the kitchen; that stuff's poison."
"Really?" Leo's eyes went very wide, this time.
"Leo, come on, you're killing fleas. How do you think that happens?"
"I just thought it…suffocates them. Almost did me in while powdering up Sensei."
April rolled her eyes, "And you said you read the directions." She ignored Leo's indignant expression, going on to say, "Well, it's a good thing Donnie's the brains in the family, otherwise you'd all be screwed." She then gave Leo a scathing but sympathetic look, "And if you HAD included him in this little secret FLEA club of yours, he would have told you to leave the kitchen alone. Better get back to the Lair and see about cleaning it up, otherwise your family may as well make out their final will and testament."
Leo looked stricken, "Seriously?"
"Actually, you should clean up the whole lair, but yes, I'm serious. Leo, if you dusted the kitchen with that powder, it could get into your food. It's poison, remember." April then realized something, "By the way, HOW could you dust the entire Lair and not have your brothers notice? I mean, they would smell the scent, at least." Almost in exasperation, April added, "You can't claim Lilac Morning as something the sewer blew in."
Leo smiled, almost triumphantly, "I told them you found a room freshener like the candle I gave Splinter, after I told you how much Splinter liked the scent. Considering how stuffy the lair can get during the summer, you said it was for making things smell fresher." He smiled broader, "Raph kind of likes it, in fact!"
April couldn't help giggling. Still, she had to ask, "And they didn't question you about it, that it wasn't a spray, but a powder?"
"Told them you said the powder lasts longer. Anyway, Don't you know? Anything coming from you is always good!" Leo declared with a smile.
"Yeeeeah, until one of them DIES from LILAC MORNING! Thanks a lot, Leo."