Disclaimer: I own none of the characters within.

Author's Notes: This is a story in three parts, each part having little reference to the first but all being part of the same theme. The first is depressing, the second is moody, and the third is much more uplifting. The trio, therefore, makes efforts to balance itself out. Each interlude is told from a different characters' point of view.

Please enjoy.

Red

I'm seeing the world through rose-colored glasses.

Or maybe I'm so angry I'm seeing red.

I've heard them a million times.

For some reason, I've never found them very funny.

Still, if I had to pick one, I'd go for the latter. 'Seeing the world through rose-colored glasses' is usually associated with people being overly optimistic, and no one could call me even remotely optimistic.

Think about it; in Greek mythology, the Cyclops was a huge, hulking, scary, grumpy monster.

Is it any surprise people flee in terror when I wake up on the wrong side of the bed?

But the term 'seeing red' really works for me sometimes.

'If looks could kill' does, too.

I'm so angry. Angry at Jean for getting out of the Jet, angry at the Professor for not saving her, angry at Stryker for starting this whole mess, angry at myself for being angry.

It's a wonder I haven't had a meltdown already.

But I'm made of sterner stuff than that. And I'm too damn stubborn to let go of life just yet.

I'll just have to stew in my own juice.

And I'll just keep seeing red.

All right, so I'm not really mad at Jean. I'm just hurt. Didn't she think of me? Or maybe she did.

I realize that I would have done the same thing if I could have.

So I'll just take all of that anger, all of that rage, and turn it on a world that hates me. The world that hated her. The world that hates us.

Today is Independence Day.

Time to celebrate diversity. Time to give thanks for the rights to live free. Time to rejoice in our blessedly American way of accepting all those who are different from us.

Excuse me while I do a dance of joy.

What went wrong?

Sure, Martin Luther King has a dream and the world flocks to his side, barriers are knocked down, and the African-American people are granted a chance to live normal lives, to prosper and grow in the delightful soil of the U. S. of A.

One mutant has a dream and the world panics, fortresses are erected, and every mutant alive is branded as a threat to society.

I don't get it.

The Professor tells me again and again that 'people are bound to mistrust things they don't understand', but by now I've heard it so many times that it's just gibberish to my ears.

I wonder what George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and all the rest of them would say if they could see the sorry state their country's slipped into. They wanted to create a land of peace, tolerance, and goodwill. What they got was a mainstream, commercialized, and worst of all, segregated disaster.

Disgusting.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like. A world where mutants were just as tolerated as 'normal' people. A world where people like Kurt could go walking down the street without having to worry about getting shot in the back or beat up by a gang.

I have a dream.

A dream that I see through rose-colored glasses, a hazy ruby world where everyone smiles and children with blonde hair and green eyes play with children that have forked tongues and telepathic powers. In this misty crimson reality, there's no need to lower my eyes in shame and fear when the humans go by.

Mutant Registration Act? What's that?

Rose-colored, indeed.

And here I am in a world that seems painfully colorblind.

I'll bet Benjamin Franklin would never have suggested a Registration Act.

But Adolf Hitler would have.

Is this what we've come to? A country that wants to brand and corral its' own people? What next: concentration camps? How long until I have to watch my loved ones herded into gas chambers and shot into oblivion?

Seeing red again.

I find comfort only in the fact that one day it will all be mended. Just like the slaves found the Underground Railroad, we'll find our way through the storm and make it through more or less in one piece.

That day has been taunting me for years, and it has yet to dawn.

It is the day that Jean died for. She died so I could live to see the rising of the sun on that unforgettable day, whenever it may be. She died so I could step into the sunlight with the rest of the mutants on that miraculous day, if ever it may come.

I'm still waiting.

And I'll keep on waiting till I'm old and grey, or till I perish in some mutant prison, or till I'm slain fighting in some glorious battle for independence.

In the meantime, I think I'll go outside and help Bobby and Rogue light off fireworks.

I think I'll go in the backyard and heckle Logan about his barbecue skills.

I think I'll go into the Professor's office and help him unfold his full-sized American flag, and I'll even put it up on the pole.

Then I'll stand out under the red sky, watching the red clouds drift along, listening to a red bird singing in a red tree, and I'll sing the national anthem.

Oh, say, can you see?

I can't really see anything.

Still, I think we're doing okay on 'the home of the brave'.

But what about 'the land of the free'?