I do not own the X-men. I forgot to put that on the last chapter, oops.

A/N: This update is for you Crysala! :P I was impressed by how fast you reviewed, and I felt bad, because yeah, the last chapter was pretty short. The story is going to start picking up now. So, props to those of you that endeared the earlier chapters. The first chapter was to establish a background for the story, while the second was setting up the plot. The third chapter was mostly filler and advancing the storyline, establishing that Kitty hasn't joined the X-men yet (will she at all?), and Rogue got her bike.

Anyway, without further ado. . .

Nothing Is Black and White

She cut the engine on her bike and a deep sigh escaped her lips. It was late in the fall, so although it was only 5:00pm, the sun was quickly descending upon the horizon and the sky had already adopted a watercolor array of orange and pink. With her helmet now tied to her backpack she threw her pack over her shoulder and trudged toward the stairwell.

Rogue opened the door to find the dark penthouse exactly as she had left it. The apartment was cast into light shadow, only a few rays of the waning sunlight were visible through the heavy curtains of the large living room window. Rogue slowly made her way to the kitchen, not bothering to switch on the lights; her mood was very dark and preferred to be cast in darkness to accompany her mood. She grabbed a can of orange tea from the fridge. Her mood lightened a little and an expression of relaxation crossed her face as the sweet liquid slid down her throat.

Orange tea was Raven's favorite, and so it had also become Rogue's. Raven actually bought the canned drinks in bulk as she had them specially imported from Singapore. You wouldn't find the delicious drink at any of the local stores in Bayville.

After having spent a few weeks in Singapore on a covert assignment, Mystique had come to fall in love with the drink. Upon her arrival back in New York, she had scoured China Town for the heavenly drink, but with no success. So, she had begun having it imported specially. (A/N: Ya, I love heaven & earth orange tea. It was hard coping with the fact I couldn't find it in the states once I moved!)

Noticing her bowl she had clumsily left by the sink, she took another gulp of her drink and warily walked over to the sink to wash it. Seeking some comfort and tranquility, she picked up her tea and walked over to the stereo, turning on some vocal trance, and walked out onto the large balcony that extended from the living room.

The air was crisp and a slight breeze whipped some white strands of hair across her face. A soft, remorseful voice sang over a backdrop of electronic music just above a whisper as it played from the outside speakers. For the first time, Rogue fully realized just how alone she really was. She had never had any friends in her life. Hell, she had barely been around anyone her own age, and she had, she was fighting them.

At that moment she realized she hated her life and cursed her very existence. She choked back tears as her eyes moistened and glistened in the remaining light. She wasn't going to let herself sob. She had worked hard toughening herself and wasn't about to grow soft. As much as she told herself that, a few rogue tears escaped and ran down her cheeks.

The dreary weather from that morning had relented, and for once she was glad. The sky looked to be promising a beautiful sunset, and she had a perfect view from the 10th floor. It was just the view she needed to ease and nurture her aching emotions as she sunk into a lounge chair and reminisced on what was possibly the worst day of her entire life- not counting the day her curse surfaced of course, she bitterly thought.

She swung open the doors, standing at the threshold of an ominous building she did not want to enter. Her earlier high spirits and boldness were rapidly diminishing. The chill morning air licked her neck, as the dull gray outdoors beckoned her to turn and run. Before her, there was a sea of people swarming all around the hall. Groups were scattered throughout her view, some laughing, others deep in discussion of the latest gossip, while others were buried in their lockers or fiddling with the combination locks.

She immediately noticed red lockers lining the walls, adorned with red and black banners praising the football team. There were also several posters bashing freshman and praising seniors. Typical, she thought. Being a junior, she was glad her class seemed to be pretty neutral. Judging by the posters, she assumed the school colors were red and black. At least, she told herself, they had picked good colors.

The girl forcefully crossed the threshold as if penetrating some invisible barrier. Her presence seemed immediately acknowledged by many of her peers, which was no doubt surprising. Rogue stood amongst the sea of forbidden flesh, with a striking presence. Her mahogany hair fell to her shoulders with her white bangs framing the sides of her face. A silver studded choker collar clung to her neck. Her deep emerald eyes shone like fire, accented by her violet eye shadow and black eyeliner. Her thick, pouty lips conflicted with her exotic look as one of a childish and confused innocence, despite the silver stud that pierced her lower lip.

Her black high boots neatly laced and buckled up, but mostly covered by the tight, black bondage pants that hung low on her waist and were adorned with several straps, belts, and metal studs. A collared long-sleeved shirt buttoned to the very top, the color of midnight, hugged her figure and stopped just before the waistline of her pants. The emerald pendant she received as a birthday gift decorated her covered bosom. Of course, the black, biker gloves remained on her hands. She was a sight to reckon with, and one that would hardly go unnoticed.

Aware of the attention she was receiving, she shifted her glance to the ground and chewed her lower lip. She fumbled for the schedule she had stuffed in her pocket, absently stroking some white strands of hair behind her ear.

She uttered a sigh of disgust. Her first class was Calculus AP. How was she expected to work high-level math so early in the morning? She was definitely not a morning person. She made a mental note to herself to make it a habit of stopping by Starbucks on the way to school.

While searching for her classroom, she also made an effort to scan for members of the X-men; she was going to need to befriend them to effectively learn anything about them. She didn't have much time before the tardy bell, so she didn't go out of her way looking for them. She did happen to catch the Brotherhood members standing around near one of the water fountains. They quickly averted their gaze as she passed them, just as they had been ordered to do. Her spirits sunk; she wasn't going to have anyone to talk to until she got acquainted with someone.

Rogue walked into her class just as the bell started ringing. She was immediately greeted by stares as everyone's attention was fully shifted on her. Almost instantly, she heard giggling and whispers from a group of girls and two guys at the back of the classroom as they eyed her. Her cheeks flushed, no matter how hard she tried to fight it. She quickly took a seat at the front of the room and averted her gaze to the middle-aged woman at the front of the room.

She heard someone murmur 'freak' and was followed by snickering and suppressed laughter.

The older woman moved towards the center front of the room. The poor, gray-haired woman looked somewhat comical. Her long, denim skirt was blemished with chalky handprints where she had obviously wiped chalk from her hands after writing problems on the board.

She diverted the class's attention from Rogue to herself, "Alright class, social time is over. You have plenty of time to talk between classes. Go ahead and open your books to chapter twelve, and get out your homework. There's no excuses for not having it done; you had all weekend to do it."

"Oh!" She exclaimed, "How rude of me. I almost forgot to introduce our new student!"

Rogue cringed. She was really hoping she wasn't going to have to suffer an introduction. The aura of her presence had already radiated to anyone in her proximity.

"Class, this is Anna Raven, and she-"

Rogue ears burned at the mention of her name, "Ah go by Rogue."

Immediately, the class erupted with a roar of laughter. She slouched in her seat and absently traced pictures on her desk with her finger. Her face was scarlet. She had to admit, she had brought that on herself. She had never actually given that name to anyone her age before. The only people she ever associated with were acquaintances of her mother, who often used code names themselves.

The laughter finally subsided and turned into groans as the teacher walked around collecting homework; many of the students didn't have it. As the teacher began her lecture, and focused her attention to drawing out problems on the board, Rogue scanned the classroom. A familiar redhead, sitting next to a broad, blonde guy and a light brown-haired girl, both who had been snickering at her, caught her attention. She recalled her name: Jean Gray.

Her hair was a striking and captivating red. Rogue figured it had to have been dyed, doubting it was natural unless it was a manifestation of her powers. She sported a white, classy, long-sleeved Abercrombie shirt that exposed her navel, and wore a pastel pink vest over it. She wore hip hugging khakis that clung to her long and toned legs, which flared out at the bottoms.

According to her bio, she possessed limited telepathy and telekinesis. The bio noted that the full extent of power she possessed was unknown; she would have to figure that out herself.

"Great," she thought. "Ahm gonnah hafta watch what Ahm think'in bout. Best just pay ahtention to the lectshah."

As if aware of her distress, the redhead looked at her with what looked to Rogue was a hint of suspicion. Rogue quickly diverted her gaze and watched the chalkboard, beginning to take notes. She was expected to do well with her school work too.

The rest of her morning classes were a mirror of her first one. She was becoming numb to the constant barrage of snickering and insults. Sure, it chipped away at her self esteem, but she would never show it. She was too tough for that. She took the blunt force that besieged her and kept on going. Secretly, she wanted to crawl in a hole and die.

The 'new girl' was quickly becoming the talk of the school. By lunch, the entire school had at least heard something about the freak. Already reserved in nature because of the lack of contact with other people she would have found it hard to make friends and open up, but with the way people viewed her image, it was going to be impossible. How was she going to befriend the X-men when she was already becoming an outcast?

On the way to lunch, she decided to make a pit stop at the ladies room. She was not looking forward to the embarrassment of sitting alone in the crowded cafeteria. Entering the bathroom, she became aware of people talking inside. She stopped and eavesdropped on the conversation.

"Have you seen that new girl? She is a total freak. She needs to go back to whatever cave she crawled out of. I mean, have you seen her pants?"

Rogue's ears reddened and she bit her lip.

"Yeah, Taryn. Her fashion style doesn't really fit in here. I feel bad for her though, you know? She's really an introverted person; I don't think she's been around a lot of people much. She's terrified."

"How can you tell all that? You- you haven't actually spoken to her?! Jean?"

"I, umm. . . I can just tell by her expressions. You know. . ."

"Sometimes I wonder how you can read people so well; the girl is still a total freak," the girl sighed. "Anyways, we better hurry to lunch so we can get good seats next to the guys."

"Right, let's go." Jean responded cheerily.

Rogues eyes widened, and quickly backed out of the entrance, only to begin walking back in like she hadn't been there listening. The two girls walked out, guilty expressions covered their faces when they noticed Rogue walking in. Jean feigned a smile at her as she walked by.

Rogue braced herself against the sink, leaning over it, looking in the mirror. She wanted to cry. No. There was no way she was going to let herself crack, especially over something so trivial. Her mascara would only run, drawing more criticism.

She took a deep breath, preparing herself. With one last glance at the mirror, she put her barrier up and left to brave the cafeteria.

She grimaced at the sight of the cafeteria. It looked as if it were purposely set up to mock people that had no friends. Most of the round, six person tables were littered throughout the inside of the cafeteria. Several more round tables were situated outside in the courtyard. She realized she'd probably be sitting all alone at one of those tables.

The inside portion was already almost full, which suited her fine. She was quite happy to embrace the still gray sky and fresh air outside. She walked outside and flung her stuff on the farthest, empty table she could find, and pulled out her lunch.

There was no way she was going to eat the school food. As a matter of fact, Raven had recommended her not too. Raven had always cautioned Rogue on a healthy diet and consequently, she had become almost obsessive about maintaining a good diet. She pulled out a tuna sandwich, seasoned only with mustard, that she had prepared the night before, along with an apple, and orange tea.

As she ate, she looked around at her surroundings. She noticed Jean and her friend Taryn sit down at a table with two guys. She noted the boy next to Taryn was another member of the X-men. Picturing the profile she had read, she quietly thought aloud what she knew.

"Scott Summers, named Cyclops. He possesses optic blasts that shoot from his eyes anytime his eyes are unprotected. Only ruby red lenses can shield his power."

The strange, red shades he wore made him easy for her to recognize. Aside from the glasses, he had very strong and proper features. He reminded her of a pretty boy. His auburn hair was neatly combed and gelled. He was toned, but not real bulky. He wore a light blue turtleneck, with neat, ironed khakis, and matching belt and boots. She had to admit he was kind of cute. She smirked.

The clamoring of trays on her table diverted her attention. A group of varsity jacket sporting girls hovered over her. She noticed the cheerleader patches all over their jackets.

"Wonderful," she thought bitterly.

"Do you mind?" one girl sneered.

"You can't just hog this table all to yourself," she continued

Another chimed in, "And there's six of us, so there's no room for you. Sorry."

They all smiled at her with mock sweetness. Rogue got up, hanging her head in shame, muttering an apology, and walked away, leaving her trash on the table for them to clean up. She didn't feel like fighting with the jerks over something as trivial as a seat.

Staring at the ground as she walked away, she tried to avoid eye contact with anyone. She could feel the stares she received, as she was sure people took notice of her humiliation at being ejected from her table. She took refuge by a shady, ash tree at the edge of the courtyard. She produced a notebook and pen from her backpack, pretending to be writing while she continued to survey the crowd.

She observed that the blue, demon boy, who was now under his disguise, of course, had joined Jean's group and was standing up talking to them very animatedly. He seemed to be telling a joke; everyone laughed. Jean took notice of her and gave her a look of pity. Rogue quickly turned her glance away and fumed. She didn't need her pity.

As she moved her gaze across the area, something caught her attention, or more like someone. Merely a few yards from where she was sitting she took notice of a ruggedly handsome young man. He had that 'bad boy' look written all over him. He had disheveled, wavy hair that was a rich, brown color. He was tall, dark, and handsome. He was tall in her opinion anyway; she was only 5'6". He looked to be a little over six foot.

Even through his black collared shirt she could tell he was really muscular. His shoulders were broad and he boasted a thick chest. The sleeves were tight on his arms, his bulging biceps ripped with definition. She grinned at his direct violation of the dress code; he had a nice goatee growing on his chin. He had sex appeal written all over him.

The thing that drew her attention the most, were his eyes. His deep brown eyes intrigued her. There was something different about them, but she couldn't place what. She fantasized of being in his warm and muscular embrace. She wanted to trace his firm chest and six pack. She wanted him to hold her and whisper sweet nothings into her ear.

Then she took notice of the girls that surrounded him, gawking over him. He seemed to be enjoying his attention and was obviously used to it. He seemed overly confident. A flirtatious grin played at his lips. She sighed in disgust.

"Of course," she muttered. "He would be a playah." With that, she completely lost interest in him.

The presence of someone standing directly in front of her, startled her. Had she been that absorbed in that guy?

"Hi there, I'm Jean. Rogue, is it?" The redhead extended her hand with a genuinely sweet expression on her face.

Rogue recoiled in repulsion. Jean frowned by her response. Rogue felt horrible, she didn't mean to offend her. Just, she didn't like anyone getting very close to her, especially unexpected. She also couldn't risk alerting her to the fact that she was a mutant, so she had to be extra careful.

"Sorry," she replied. "Ahm just a lil' nervous is all." She smiled sheepishly.

Jean's smile returned, "Hey, it's okay. I understand totally. When I was new here, I had problems fitting in too."

Rogue wasn't stupid, she knew her last statement was a lie, but she understood she was just trying to be nice.

"So, um, I was just wondering if you would like to come and sit with me and my friends. I can't imagine it's much fun sitting alone." She jerked her head over towards the table her friends occupied.

Rogue looked too, seeing the blonde guy and Taryn, some of the people who had teased her, just reassured her about her already made decision.

"That's ohkay, really. Ah enjoy some quiet time, and ahm becom'in fond o' this tree here," she patted the trunk behind her. "Thank ya tho'."

Jean looked disappointed and a little hurt by her rejected offer. Before she could say anything else, a hand grabbed her shoulder.

"Hey Jeanie! Who be dis fine mademoiselle y' be associat'in wit?" The boy Rogue had been checking out was now standing adjacent to Jean with a toothy, flirtatious grin.

Jean smiled back at him, "Remy, this is Rogue. Rogue, Remy." She quickly added, "Hey, I'll see you guys later I need to finish prepping Duncan for a test. See you later, Rogue."

"Please'd tah meet y', petite," he cooed as he took her gloved hand in his and kissed it.

She blushed furiously, pulling her hand back as fast as lightening, she hissed, "Don't you evah, EVAH touch meh like that again.!"

She quickly gathered her belongings and tried to make a beeline for the doors, but a hand gripped her wrist.

"Petite, surely y' didn' mean dat jus' now? Especially, not da way y' were blush'in." He added, "Oh, there ya go blush'in again." He grinned at her and stroked her hair.

"Get- get away from me, cajun!" She slapped him hard across the face and ran towards the doors.

He winced and put his own gloved hand to his cheek, "I'm not sure I deserved that. . ."

The rest of the school day had been more or less the same as the morning. She had fifth period with demon boy. He seemed to be the class clown, and he actually made her life. He seemed to take pride in the fact that he could make her laugh. He was really sweet. Though, she figured he had to be. She could imagine having to deal with his appearance would be tough.

Her last class was just unbearable. The teacher had assigned seats in that class, and he had made her sit right next to none other than the over flirtatious boy from lunch. She wanted to hurl. Of course she was also the target of jealous glares and insults from the other girls, partly because of her 'luck' in getting to sit next to him.

She watched the clock the entire class, with the occasional interruption from Remy, whispering one of his lines into her ear, to which she always had some retort like, "Burn in hell."

She was overjoyed when the dismissal bell rang. She walked briskly out of the room before Remy had a chance to say anything to her. She made her way outside to her bike as quickly as possible. A paper wad beamed her right in the cheek as she passed a group of varsity jacket toting football players. She sniffed, fighting back tears, she shot them her trademarked death glare and kept walking, She heard someone call out 'bitch' behind her.

The sky had finally darkened, and Rogue was ashamed of herself. She had been sobbing. Tears streamed down her cheeks, her mascara running. She didn't care anymore; she couldn't help it. She prayed Raven wouldn't be home anytime soon; she needed time to regain her composure. She couldn't let Raven see her like this. She couldn't bear the thought of Raven thinking her as weak and fragile. The only thing she had to look forward to was her sparring session tonight.