Guides with fleas
Categories: Humor; PWP
Disclaimer: All things related to The Sentinel belong to PetFly and Paramount. This story is strictly for fun and not profit.
Series: Part of my universe/series "The Spirit Guides Who Came To Dinner". The first story in that universe is "Strange Rescue". After that, the stories don't follow any particular order.
Thanks to Elaine for her perfect beta reading!
This is for Rogue, who requested a Spirit Guide story with the following scenario: "I'm thinking...fleas".
Summary: How to care for Spirit Guides with very real fleas.
"Guides with Fleas"
"Sandburg...they're Spirit animals, right?"
"That is, they're not real animals, correct?"
"So how in God's name can animals that aren't really real, get real fleas?"
Dark blue eyes glared as Blair looked up at his lover. "I don't know. Why do you always come running to me with these types of questions?" he muttered.
"You're the Guide," Jim retorted. "And they talk to you more than me, so I thought they might have enlightened you." He gave a nasty look to the two huge animals that were sitting in the kitchen, quarantined from all other areas of the loft. "Did they do this just to make me mad?"
A deep sigh. "Yes Jim, they did. They got fleas for the sole purpose of driving you insane. The fact that they are the one's scratching, and in misery, is beside the point. All that matters is bothering you."
Jim sat back in the kitchen chair, Blair's sarcasm having reached him. He noticed the glare he was receiving from three pairs of eyes, and crumbled under the pressure. "Okay, okay. I'm sorry," he apologized to three other occupants of the room. "It's just...crazy." Blair snorted in agreement.
The entire situation was pretty crazy. One minute Jim and Blair had been watching a game, entertaining thoughts of going upstairs and engaging in some sports activity of their own. The next minute, they had a whining panther and a furiously scratching wolf in their laps.
Blair didn't quite understand how Spirit animals could get real fleas either, but at least he wasn't trying to figure it all out right now. After assessing the situation, Jim had headed to a pet store, while Blair herded the two Guides into the kitchen to prevent the spread of the parasites, and started gathering towels and blankets. Now they were studying the instructions on the flea shampoo and treatment bottles. Mindful of the size of the animals, Jim had prudently bought a large supply of everything the store had to offer for flea eradication.
"Still think we should just dip them," Jim muttered, having visions of the two animals splashing in a large tank at the pet store. He liked the vision.
"Yeah, I can just see us walking into the store with a panther and a wolf, and asking for a flea dip. Think they'd charge us extra?"
That appealed to Jim's practical side. "Probably," he conceded. "Okay, you're right it's not the best solution."
<Itch!> The wolf whined, barely resisting the urge to scratch. He had been ordered to refrain from the scratching as it might spread the little fleas further.
"I know, buddy," Blair said, taking pity on his Guide and scratching behind the ears, figuring that much couldn't hurt. "Honest, this stuff should take care of it."
<Hurry> It was the panther, impatient with all this nonsense and wondering why the humans couldn't do something immediately.
Jim looked at his Spirit Guide. "Want to explain how you ended up with fleas?" There was silence from both animals. "Then shut up and let us concentrate on the best way to do this."
"Well it's obvious, Jim. The bathtub." Blair braced for the reaction; it would either be a bellow of rage, or a sigh of resignation.
It was the sigh. Good; Jim had thought this over. "Yeah, I know," the older man said. He picked up one of the flea shampoo bottles. "Okay, I'll line the tub with a towel, and get the water running." He felt a lump in his throat at the thought of his beautiful, immaculate bathroomabout to become a pet grooming shop. "You figure out who's gonna be first."
<Me, me!> the wolf volunteered. He had figured out that getting rid of the fleas involved a bath, and he had no problems with that.
Blair looked at the panther. "You okay with that?" he asked. The cat nodded. He too, had surmised that the treatment involved water, and while he certainly hated the fleas, he still wasn't eager to get into the tub. "All right, but first we can put this powder on you; it should help." Blair carefully shook the contents of one treatment bottle on the cat, smiling a little as the black fur took on a gray appearance. "Don't lick," he warned. The cat huffed a little, but enjoyed the quick brushing Blair gave him, working the powder into the long fur.
"Sandburg, any time now," Jim hollered, having removed all breakable objects from the bathroom.
"Just a sec," Blair called back. He gave the cat an extra brushing to his tail, smiling as he heard the familiar purring. Carefully, he cleaned the brush in the kitchen sink, giving it a dip in the disinfectant to remove any remaining fleas that had come off with the grooming. "Okay, buddy, let's go." The wolf trotted after him into the bathroom.
Jim had prepared the room as best he could; lining the tub with a huge old towel, having no intentions of allowing his precious porcelain tub to be scratched. The wolf studied it curiously as the Sentinel started the water and poured an amount of the shampoo in. "Well, get in," Jim growled. The canine obligingly put his paws up on the edge of the tub, preparing to jump, only to be jerked back quickly. Jim laid another thick towel on the tub edge, muttering as he checked for scratches.
"Jim, come on," Blair said. "They're not going to deliberately scratch anything. They'll be good, I promise.
<Promise> the dog echoed. He carefully climbed into the tub.
He seemed to actually enjoy the bath, thinking that he could maybe get used to this. Both humans mumbled and fussed as they worked a generous amount of shampoo into the gray fur, then rinsed, then repeated the process several times. Considering the size of the animal, it took nearly an hour before he was declared clean. The wolf leaped gracefully out of the tub, making sure to land on the towel the Sentinel had placed on the floor to prevent drips.
"Don't you dare shake," Jim warned him, not one second too soon. The wolf looked at him sheepishly, having been just ready to do that. He was dried with towels, then had powder brushed thoroughly into his damp fur. Jim even sprayed him with an aerosol can of flea treatment, taking no chances. Then he bagged the used -flea infected - towels in a garbage bag, planning to throw it out. "Well, I guess it is a good way to use those old towels," he mused aloud. "Okay, next victim."
"Um..." Blair was hesitating for the first time the entire evening. "He's your guide Jim. I think you should go get him."
Jim raised an eyebrow. "Scared?" he asked.
"Yeah, me too." The Sentinel sighed. "Okay, we'll both go." He looked at the wolf. "You be sure to stay away from him since you're clean. And try to convince him to come quietly, alright?"
They found the panther huddled under the kitchen table, having correctly deduced that he was up next for the water torture. Blair got down on his knees to peer under the table. "Come on," he tried coaxing. "It's the only way." There was no response. "You know, some panthers actually like the water; they've been known to swim and play in it and even catch fish."
"Look," said Jim, glaring from the living room where he was starting up the fire so they would have a warm place to dry, "do you want to get rid of them or not?" He stomped over to the table and started pulling chairs away. The cat moved quickly, but the Sentinel grabbed him by the scruff of his neck, and Blair seized his back legs. Together, the two men lifted the twisting cat.
"Yeah, yeah, cry me a river," Jim retorted. He had totally had it with this ridiculous situation, and started dragging the cat toward the bathroom. "In. The. Tub. Now!"
They reached the bathroom and somehow managed to get in the room despite the panther's efforts. A strand of thought from the animal caught the Sentinel's attention. "Don't you even think about using those claws, mister," he warned. "If you scratch Blair I swear I'll drown you." He slammed the door shut behind them.
"Ah, Jim," Blair said, pausing to catch his breath. "Come on; he wouldn't hurt us and you know it."
Jim studied the cat that was trying to huddle in a corner of the bathroom. "Usually, yeah. But I'm taking no chances. Just look at the gleam in his eyes; I think he's planning to bolt."
Blair ignored him, and petted the animal. "Look, I got something for you," he said. He dug out a box of kitty treats that he had prudently stashed in his pocket and offered a few to the cat, who snatched them up. "It won't be that bad, really," the younger man said. "Would you rather scratch forever?" The cat seemed to be thinking this over. Okay, Blair decided; time to go for blackmail. "My Spirit Guide was brave," he said. "Are you gonna' let a dog beat you in something?"
That got the cat's attention. "I have three cans of tuna with your name on them for afterwards," Blair added, another bribe.
The cat sniffed, weighing the pro and cons of the situation. One, there was no way he was going to let a dog appear braver than him; two, he did want to get rid the fleas; and three, that tuna was pretty tempting. All in all, there was really no choice in the matter. He hesitantly moved toward the tub, took a deep breath, and jumped in.
It took longer to wash the cat, mostly because they had to stop every now and then when he growled a little too loudly. Blair would pacify him with a few cat treats and petting, and then they would go back to work. Over an hour later, they had him washed and declared clean, and he frantically jumped out, splashing water in his eagerness.
Drying him went much more smoothly, and the panther accepted the second douse of flea power and spray with as much dignity as he had left intact. Released finally from the chamber of horrors - the bathroom- he raced out to the fireplace, shoving the wolf aside, and made a dramatic show of shivering.
Blair, knowing that he'd better follow through, quickly got out the promised cans of tuna, and found some jerky for the wolf. He took the food to the fireplace, where they were gratefully accepted by the damp animals. He was thinking of sitting with them and visiting for a while when Jim bellowed from the bathroom.
"Sandburg! Get in here and help me clean up this mess! And we need to spray the kitchen too; those beasts probably contaminated it and the couch!"
Blair winced, seeing the sympathetic looks both animals gave him. "Wish me luck, guys," he muttered as he went to face a Sentinel in full cleaning mode.
Hours later, Jim collapsed into bed beside Blair. It had taken half the night to clean the bathroom and kitchen to his standards, and get everything resettled. The animals had sat quietly beside the fire the entire time, sensibly keeping out of the way. Now, having decided that the loft was flea clear, Jim helped his partner up to bed. Exhausted, they stripped down to boxers, and fell on the bed, Jim just barely having the strength to pull the covers over them.
A minute later, he sensed a familiar presence in the bedroom. Too tired to complain, he just grunted an affirmative at the unspoken question, and moved a little as the wolf and panther joined them. The wolf curled up beside Blair, nuzzling his human's long hair for a moment, making Blair smile in his sleep. The panther stretched out along Jim's back, purring. It was a dirty trick, Jim thought; the cat knew he was a sucker for the purring. Okay, maybe it was a peace offering.
Jim sighed. "You're welcome," he yawed. "Ever going to explain how you got fleas?"
"Um, figures." Too tired to think any more, the Sentinel went to sleep, surrounded by three clean, happy, and flea-free Guides.