**Standard Mice Disclaimer**
Mice is in no way associated with the Marvel Comics Group. She is merely trying to write a story and this is all she has to show for it. A noble effort. Though she would one day like to be paid for writing, please don't send her any money (send mail to urmonkeyifudo@yeahright.com on instructions to send her money). The characters of Bobby Drake and Hank McCoy do not belong to her, but to the Marvel Comics Group. Any archiving of this story that is unaware of her attention will be ily received (Read: Tiki Curse). If you e-mail her, explain your intentions to archive the story and address of your archive, she will be MORE than gracious and will probably do something nice for you, like bake you brownies, not to mention permission to archive the story. In truth, she just wants to know where she can drool over the sight with her name. *G* If you want to e-mail her comments (read: FEEDBACK), do it at mice5k@hotmail.com. Good or bad, you'll still probably get some brownies out of the deal, but it's not really that great of a reward because she can't cook.

Dog Tags
by Mice

I think it'll be the leg room I'll miss most of all. Say what you will about the Blackbird, I've probably said them all myself, but it's times like this, times where you're flying on a commercial airline, that you begin to miss tiny details like that ... even if you've only had about an hour to miss them.

I will not pull a Luke Perry. I will not say that I won't be coming back to Westchester 90210, just to come back. For once, I, Robert Linus Drake, will not wuss out.

Even if what I'm doing is wussing out.

It's been getting too hard, lately ... when I was a sixteen year old with the exciting world of accounting ahead of me, being a super-hero was swell. When I was in college with the exciting world of accounting ahead of me, it was fun. And now, I'm a fully grown man with the exciting world of accounting behind me, running around New York in ice covered underwear.

Personally, I'm amazed that I lasted this long. Physically. Jeannie's died. Warren's died. Scotty died. I thought Hank had died. And then there's me who's never even really had a near scare once. Physically.

It's only been recently that these thoughts have been creeping into my mind ... I guess I've been doing some belated growing up. Ever since my dad had his "accident", I keep getting this gnawing with the feeling that I'm next -- that I've been too lucky so far. I mean, my father got hurt. Fatally. The worst that I've ever had done to me was having Emma Frost taking over my body ... and, personally, that's not a near death situation, it's a plotless dream come true.

There's just something so wrong about that ... the think about my father, not Emma.

And recently ... I've been getting panic attacks. Me. It's the icing on my cake. It's just a matter of time before my luck catches up with me, I know it. Whenever I change into my uniform, I get a new kind of chill and I think, "This is what I'll be wearing when I die." Then I go and throw up.

I had to quit, there was no other choice. It was getting to the point where I couldn't sleep anymore, just dreading that damn alarm. But after a while ... it wasn't just the alarm, it was also the fear that someone might attack us in the night with no way of knowing it. And the fear of waking up and not being in my bed or my solar system. And anything else I could think of. That's when I began to refuse going to sleep.

I had to do this for myself and my parents. What if I had stayed on and died while on some sort of mission that was in another dimension or planet, how long would it be before Mom and Dad found out? Or what if Mom and Dad had died while I was on one of these missions, how long would it be until I found out? What if they never found out?

I have this nightmare -- had this nightmare. In it, I die, and nobody ever finds out. The X-Men just assume that I'm at my parents and my parents assume that I'm with the X-Men. It has happened plenty of times that we don't leave all together after just such a scene ... and just the thought of my mother making her usual Sunday call to me, talking to one of the guys and having them say to her, "You mean he's not there with you?" ...

It goes on. Nobody knows if I'm dead or alive. My body just rots where it lies and I can feel it in my nightmare; as each moment goes by, I feel my body growing colder and colder and rotting as my friends and my family live on, none the wiser.

See, in my nightmare, nobody finds me.

I just gotta take this trip, first, and then everything will be fine. I gotta calm down before I tell my folks and the X-Men. Otherwise, they'll just make me get counseling and convince me not to leave because of the state I'm in. But if I spend a few weeks in the Caribbean relaxing, and then come back -- calm and collected -- and explain it to them, they'll see my side and see that I'm doing the right thing.

It's only a matter of time...

Hank McCoy gathered the yellow sticky notes that littered his door as he went into the rec room to watch "Sports Night". Hank couldn't suppress an amused smiled as he read them out loud. "Bobby must have been bored today...'Dear Cosmo, Help me, I'm a victim of fashion -- what do you recommend for someone who's flat chested, has a yellow complexion, and has certain patches of skin that are sticky?' ... 'You got peanut butter in my chocolate' ... 'You got chocolate in my peanut butter' ... 'FYI, It's springtime for Hitler and Germany...' ... 'Do you like Pina Coladas?' ... 'And getting caught in the rain?' ... 'Hank, will be gone too--'" Hank looked up to the television as his show went off and a news bulletin came in.

"About five minutes ago, a Boeing 707 exploded in mid-air and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. Officials say that they don't expect there to be any survivors who were on board this plane that was destined for various spots in the Caribbean. We plan to cover--"

Hank turned off the television. "I suppose watching television is out of the picture tonight..." Hank left the remainder of his messages on the coffee table and went up to Bobby's room. "Are you in there, Robert?" No answer. Hank sighed. "Must be visiting his parents again..."

The End.

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