Numb Me, Drill Me, Floss Me, Bill Me
by Desha


Note: The story has been sitting in my notebook for months now waiting to be typed... Got the idea while listening to a Weird Al CD (which is where the title came from), so most of it is pointlessly silly Reno-torment. ^_~ It takes place just prior to the events of the game.


A low, pained moan was the first thing that greeted Tseng as he stepped out of the elevator. He resisted the urge to roll his eyes. The source was not difficult to deduce, even standing alone in the tiled hallway. The door to the private lounge afforded to the Turks stood open... no one but one of his Turks would dare set foot in there... it was most definitely not Elena, and Rude's ability to keep silent amazed even Tseng sometimes. That just left Reno.

'Why am I not surprised?' Tseng asked himself as he stepped into the room and saw Reno's slender form stretched out on the sofa. His arm was draped over his eyes, and he didn't move a muscle until Tseng was standing right next to him.

"Good morning, Reno," he greeted the younger man.

"What's good about it?" Reno snapped, briefly uncovering one eye to look up at his superior.

Tseng shook his head. He knew the routine. Reno wanted out of something... Tseng was well aware that he was none too thrilled with his latest assignment (bodyguard to Scarlet when she left later that afternoon for Junon). It was either that, or he was trying to worm his way out of work all together today. It had become almost a game between them. Reno would whine and complain... Tseng would outright refuse to let the younger Turk lay around doing nothing all day. In the end, Reno usually grew bored with the game and did what Shinra paid him to do. And did it quite well, Tseng had to admit. Sometimes he wondered whether Reno ever really wanted the day off... The redhead simply seemed to enjoy being obnoxious on occasion. And on occasion, Tseng was rather fond of playing along... to a point.

"Forget it Reno."

"Forget what?" he grumbled back.

"You're not taking the day off... and I'm not letting you out of your day with Scarlet, either"

"Did I *say* anything about taking the day off?" Reno snapped, suddenly sitting up, glaring, "I don't *want* the day off!"

The cranky redhead abruptly stood and stormed off toward his office, leaving Tseng alone to contemplate the ill-humored Turk's foul mood. It was unusual for Reno... He was normally one of the most laid-back people Tseng knew. The Turk leader didn't have long to think on it, though. If he didn't hurry, he'd be late for his meeting with Heideggar.


As Tseng made his way back to his office, he wonder if there was anyone in Shinra, Inc.'s headquarters toady who *wasn't* in as foul a mood as Reno had been earlier. To say that the meeting could have gone better was an understatement. Heideggar had been have a bad day long before Tseng arrived, apparently, and the fact that the Turk had been forced to report that he was no closer to returning the escaped Ancient to Hojo's custody than he had been a month ago had not gone over very well.

Unfortunately, it seemed that Heideggar's mood had trickled down to his staff, and Tseng had received some rather nasty looks from the secretary... not to mention the other employees who had meetings with Heideggar that morning... and the kid who made the coffee... even the janitor in the hallway had seemed moderately hostile toward him. And after nearly two hours of Heideggar's pointless and often repetitive tirade about just how important the Ancient was to the company, even the usually cool and collected Tseng was on his last nerve.

He glanced at his watch, and saw that it was coming up on eleven o'clock. The decision to make for the cafeteria rather that the stack of paperwork waiting for him on his desk was not a hard one to make. The day had barely begun, and he already needed a break.


Tseng eyed the egg salad sandwich and sniffed it suspiciously... he wasn't entirely certain that it hadn't been sitting in the little refrigerated display rack for a few days too long.

"The most powerful organization on the Planet, and this is what they feed us," he sighed, allowing himself a brief moment to pine for the wonderful food he remembered from his childhood in Wutai.

Rude sat at a table in the corner... one unofficially reserved for the Turks. Across the table from him, a blond head bobbed happily in what appeared to be a very one-sided conversation. Tseng silently made his way over to the table, pausing behind the blond. He saw Rude's eyebrow raise in what the Turk leader recognized as a silent plea, before he took another bite of his pasta salad and proceeding to quietly tolerate his dining companion's incessant chatter.

"... and when I told him that I'd been chosen to train as a Turk, you should have seen the look on his face! He never really believed that I'd make it... He thought I'd wash out after the first couple of months, you know? But here I am, ready to be part of the team, and..."

"You're not a Turk yet, Elena," Tseng said smoothly, cutting her off in mid-sentence. From behind his sunglasses, Rude cast him a very grateful look. The young woman, on the other hand, nearly jumped out of her skin, springing to her feet and turning to face the Turk leader. By her expression, Tseng gathered that the young woman wasn't sure whether she should salute, or cut her losses and run.

"Y-yes, sir... I... I mean, no sir... I mean... I know that, sir..." she stammered as her face reddened, "I... I was just telling Rude about my father, sir, and... and how he..."

Tseng nodded, setting his lunch down and seating himself at the table. New recruits were always amusing.

"Sit down, Elena," he said calmly.

"Y-yes, sir," she replied, and promptly returned to her seat, resuming her meal. Her previous conversation was forgotten, and Tseng was all too aware that she was now watching him nervously out of the corner of her eye. Elena would make an excellent Turk one day, he was certain... but her confidence was something he was going to have to get her to work on.

"I'm surprised Reno's not here yet," Tseng commented, taking pity on Elena and breaking the somewhat awkward silence, "He's usually first in line."

"... Said he wasn't hungry," Rude replied with a shrug. Tseng stopped mid-way into taking a bite of his sandwich and looked up in surprise.

"We are taking about the same Reno, aren't we?" ha asked in disbelief. Rude nodded in confirmation. Reno's appetite was next to legendary among all who dared to venture into the Shinra building's so-called cafeteria. Not only did the skinny Turk's cast-iron stomach not seem to mind the bland and often questionable food they served, but he could eat enough of it to feed a small army... a feat that left Tseng wondering just where the hell he put it all, given that Reno never seemed to gain an ounce.

'Odd,' Tseng thought.


Reno winced in pain as he fished around in the overflowing drawer of his desk, and eventually withdrew a bottle of painkillers. He shook two tablets into his hand, paused for a moment in thought, and then dumped the remaining four out of the bottle. He swallowed them dry in one gulp, and tried to ignore the chalky taste they left on his tongue before reaching for a small cold pack and pressing it to his cheek.

"Just do something to take your mind off of it," he murmured, reaching for some of the reports that had been piling up on his desk for the last week and a half.

He was midway through his third report when a knock on his office door cut off his train of thought. A moment later, the door opened, and Reno had only seconds to toss the ice pack into a corner, out of sight.

"Reno?" Tseng questioned as he slipped into the office, "No lunch today?"

"I, uh... I'm not very hungry," Reno replied, hoping his empty belly would stay quiet and not give him away, "I was just catching up on a few things..." He motioned to the mound of paperwork on his desk.

"Are you feeling alright?" the older man asked, not quite sure what to make of this. The prospect of Reno not waiting until the last possible minute... not to mention requiring any number of reminders and threats... to file a report was a little disconcerting.

"Fine... Just fine," said Reno, "Now, uh... If you don't mind, I've got a lot of these to do... Heh heh... They really start to pile up on you if you're not careful..."

'Who are you, and what have you done with Reno,' Tseng thought to himself as the younger man hurried him out of the room. He was hiding something... and it was so blatantly obvious that it was hardly worthy of Reno.

He eyed Reno for a moment before allowing himself to be ushered out. He was still trying to make sense of Reno's odd behavior when Rude returned from lunch.

"Reno's acting very strangely today," Tseng commented, turning to face the other Turk.

"... Stranger than usual, anyway," Rude replied in agreement.

"Hey, Rude... Come're for a minute... I need a favor..."

Both men turned in the direction of the voice. Reno's head peaked out from behind the door of his office. Rude glanced at Tseng and shrugged, then followed Reno into the other room.

"What the hell is ho up to, now?" Tseng sighed at the closed door.


"Please, Rude... I'm begging you... It'll just take a minute!"


"I'll buy the drinks tonight," Reno offered.


"And tomorrow night!"


"For the rest of the week?"

Rude's lips curved into a small smile as he drew his fist back. Reno quickly closed his eyes, bracing himself, and seconds later, there was the sound of flesh slamming into flesh, followed by a loud crash as the lightweight Turk was sent flying.

Rude watched his friend hit the wall and slide to the floor, out cold. And ugly, purplish bruise was already forming where Rude's fist had collided with his face.

"What is going on in here?!" Tseng demanded, flinging open the door and taking in the sight that greeted him.

"He asked me to do it," Rude said.


"Ohhh... My head..." a very disoriented Reno moaned.

"You're lucky your jaw's not broken."

Reno poked lightly at his cheek, and hissed in pain. "Dammit!" he muttered.

He gratefully accepted the ice pack that Tseng held out to him, silently cursing the source of his pain. The punch he'd just taken hadn't helped. His tooth still throbbed horribly. It'd been killing him since the night before last... He couldn't eat anything harder than soup, it hurt so badly. Of course now, his entire head pounded in rhythm right along with the offending molar.

"Didn't anyone every tell you that home dentistry can be hazardous to your health?" Tseng commented. He glanced briefly over his shoulder at Rude, who simply shrugged. Reno glared at his stoic friend. Obviously he'd been ratted out by the bald Turk while he'd been unconscious...

"Why didn't you just ask for the day off? ... Like a normal person..." Tseng asked, ignoring the glare that was quickly redirected at him.

"What... So I could go see that sadist our HMO calls a dentist? Thanks, but I like my method better," said Reno, stubbornly crossing his arms over his chest, "Psychos, all of 'em, anyway... with their drills, and their needles, and their sharp pointy things... Forget that. Just gimme a minute, and Rude can sock me again."


"No... I think not. I would prefer to have you in one piece for the time being. Don't you think a trip to the dentist would cause considerably less damage in the long run?" Tseng replied.

"Forget it. You'd have to *drag* me, kicking and screaming, in to see one of those nut-jobs," said Reno.

Something about the calm half-smile that crossed Tseng's face made Reno wish he hadn't said that.


"This isn't funny! Let me out of here... I'm warning you! I swear I'll get you for this!"

Reno's muffled protests found their way to the other two Turks' ears.

"... Think he's alright back there?" asked Rude. Tseng glance over his shoulder in the direction of the truck of Rude's car and listened to Reno raving from his small prison.

"He's fine," Tseng replied, "Though perhaps we should have gagged him."

Rude shrugged and turned up the volume on his car's CD player.


The sign in the window read "Dr. C. Payne, D.D.S.", and Tseng couldn't help but laugh at the thought of Reno's reaction to a name like that. He and Rude climbed out of the car and went to get their passenger out of the trunk.

When they opened the small compartment, they found a very angry redhead glaring at them menacingly... or at least as menacingly as one can look when one's body is curled into a fetal position in order to fit into a very cramped space, and one's arms and legs are bound securely with duct tape...

"I hate you both," Reno stated as the two men hauled him out and began to carry him up the front steps of the little office building. It was about that time that Reno caught sight of the sign in front of the building.

"Dr. Pain?!"


"Come on, Tseng... There's got to be something I can do to get you to let me out of this... I'll work extra hours... Hell, I'll volunteer the next time Scarlet needs a security detail!" Reno pleaded.

"Reno, you're a Turk. Behave like one," Tseng replied, not bothering to look up from the magazine he was reading. The younger man fell into a sulking silence, and sat, tightly bound and scowling, as they waited in the reception area.

"I hate dentists..." he finally muttered under his breath. Tseng glanced over at him.

"You hate chiropractors... You hate surgeons... You hate orthopedists... You hate dentists... Just to satisfy my own curiosity, is there any sort of doctor you *don't* hate?" he asked, somewhat amused.

"No," Reno said, flatly, "And if ya ask me, dentists are the worst of 'em all."

"The doctor will see you now," called the receptionist, motioning to a woman in the doorway, waiting to lead the patient into the next room.

"Hey, ya know what? Doesn't hurt anymore... All better. Guess we can all get back to work now, huh?" Reno said in a last-ditch effort to get out of this. Rude poked him in the jaw, sending a sharp wave of pain reverberating through his skull. "Owww! Rude, you son of a..."

"Rude, why don't you give the doctor a hand with him," said Tseng, cutting Reno off and nodding toward the woman. Rude smirked almost imperceptibly and hoisted his partner over his shoulder with relative ease. He carried him into the examination room and set the squirming Turk down in the chair.

"... Better leave the tape on 'im..." he said to the doctor before turning and heading back to the waiting room.

"Rude, I swear... If I live through this, I'm gonna kill you... Slowly!" Reno yelled after Rude's retreating form.

"Now, now... Just relax. There's absolutely nothing to worry about," said the woman. Reno had to admit, for a doctor... and a dentist, at that... she wasn't bad-looking. Soft, golden curls, neatly held back in a silver clip, blue-grey eyes that sparkled behind a pair of bookish, wire-rimmed glasses... slender, shapely body... Reno mentally slapped himself, reminding himself that this person was in reality a maniac in possession of a drill... and that, at the moment, he'd been rendered more or less immobile. It looked like he wasn't getting out of this one.

She smiled brightly, revealing a row of perfect white teeth, and patted her hesitant patient on the head. She flipped a switch, and Reno suddenly felt the chair begin to recline. He soon found himself staring up into a very bright light.

'I am gonna get them for this...' he promised silently, once again.

"Open wide," Dr. Payne said, a little too cheerfully for Reno's taste.

"Look, I'm fine... Really! So why don't we just..." He was suddenly silenced as his mouth was immediately invaded by cold metal.

"Mmm... Yes, I see... Well, I'm sorry to say this, but it looks like we'll have to drill..."

"Drill?!" Reno managed, despite the implements of torture the woman was currently using to explore his teeth. He swore her smile widened even more... if that was even possible.

"Don't worry," she replied, "It'll be over before you know it..."

He heard the soft hiss of gas being turned on, and a mask was placed over his nose and mouth.

"Now just breathe deep..." Dr. Payne said.

'Like I have a choice here?' he thought to himself, pulling against the duct tape that held his arms tight against his sides, 'It's not like I can go anywhere right now... Assholes. Why'd they have to use duct tape, anyway? It's gonna hurt like a bitch when they finally let me loose. Tseng, you... are... gonna pay...'

His eyelids were suddenly too heavy to keep open, and Reno gave in and let them close. He lingered for a brief moment in that blissful place between awake and asleep, before drifting off completely.


Painfully bright light blinded him, and beyond the light, he could hear only high-pitched, near-maniacal laughter and the whine of a drill.

"What pretty teeth..." a voice tinged with homicidal glee cooed softly in his ear, but the light above him was so bright, he couldn't see the person's face. "Now, open wide..."

Reno struggled against his restraints, but it was useless. He was utterly at the mercy of the mad dentist and her arsenal of power tools. She chuckled wickedly, and a latex-gloved hand pried his mouth open.

"Nice knowing you, Reno..." Tseng's voice called out from somewhere outside Reno's very narrow field of vision. The whine of the drill grew louder and louder, and Reno closed his eyes, waiting for what he knew was coming...


"All done," a strangely disembodied voice seemed to call from very far away when his eyes fluttered open again. Reno blinked slowly as the world around him gradually came back into focus.

"Now you might feel a little light-headed from the anesthesia for another hour or two, so take it easy."

'Huh? Anesthesia? The hell kind of anesthesia gives you dreams like that?' he wondered as his head cleared. He cautiously probed the tooth that had been the cause of all this with his tongue. 'Well, a least it doesn't hurt anymore...' he thought.

"Guess it wasn't *too* horrible," he muttered, more to himself that to the dentist.

"Well, good," she replied, smiling, "Let's just drill some more then!"

Reno's eyes widened slightly. "Uh, no... No, I think once is enough..."

She laughed and called to the receptionist, telling her to inform the other two Turks that it was all over. Rude appeared a moment later, and Reno quickly found himself slung over the larger man's shoulder once again.


"See, Reno... Don't you feel better now?" Tseng asked, talking down to the redhead as though he were a small child.

"Yeah... Whatever. Can you let me go now? In case you weren't aware, duct tape's not exactly comfortable," Reno complained from the backseat of Rude's car, wrestling with his restraints.

"Oh... not just yet," Tseng replied, "We have one more stop to make, and I want to make sure you remain... cooperative."

"Er... What do you mean 'one more stop'?" Reno asked suspiciously. Tseng chuckled softly.

"Well... You are about due for your annual physical, after all..." he replied in an uncharacteristically sadistic tone. Reno blinked.

"Wha... Noooooooo!!!"