Response to an opening sentence challenge, many moons ago.

Very much Wolverine/Rogue, so if you don't approve, don't read. This was written a long time ago.

Disclaimer: Characters not mine. As if you didn't know.

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His blood dripped from the counter like spilled milk. Rogue mopped at it, and then looked blankly at the sodden tea-towel. She was just smearing the red across a wider area, soaking into the edge of a magazine and a couple of letters that lay there, gathering under the base of a coffee cup. More tea-towels. She should have bought some more tea-towels. She'd seen some on offer in that hardware shop the other day. Why hadn't she bought some? The ones she had were mostly nylon, and spread more than they absorbed.

The blood was slowly seeping towards the far edge. In a few more moments it would be dripping on to the floor on the other side, too. Rogue threw the soaking tea-towel into the sink, and looked through her cupboards for more. She couldn't remember which cupboard she usually put them in. Ah. She found one, and dropped it on to the blood, but this created more movement towards the edge, and a thin trickle began to run down, pooling on the floor. It would get under the lino where it was cut off at the skirting, and then she'd never clear it up. Her movements jerky, she pulled at the kitchen roll, unravelling half of it before she managed to tear the perforations. She dropped a heap of the expansive white stuff on to the floor, to catch the rest of the drips, and ran a handful vertically up the melamine, creating still more mess. It just wouldn't seem to go. It would be stained forever. She'd never get it cleaned. Who'd have thought he could bleed so much? It was like the time she'd squeezed the milk carton too much, and it burst, all over the cereal bowl, and the table, and the cutlery, and all over her school clothes.

"Rogue?"

Oh, god, she'd got some on her hands. She scrubbed at them with the kitchen roll, unaware that it was already soaked in scarlet. She was just making it worse. She had to clear it all up, but it was just getting worse. She couldn't leave the kitchen in a mess like this.

"Rogue, oh Christ."

It was drying on her hands. The blood was staining her hands, turning them brownish-red. It had even got into the whorls of her skin, making her fingerprints clear. She wasn't aware when she sank to her knees.

"Rogue, are you hurt?"

The blood flaked off if she rubbed her fingers together, but then the dried crumbs were on her trousers, and on the floor.

Hands took her shoulders, and shook her gently. "Rogue? Talk to me. Are you hurt? What happened?"

She blinked, and looked up, confused. "I - I..." It was Scott. Hello, Scott, said her brain. She gave him a bewildered smile, but he didn't smile back. He just looked more worried. Worried Scott.

"Where's Logan?"

She gave an involuntary giggle, and suppressed it, putting her bloodstained hands to her mouth. She mustn't giggle. It was inappropriate. Scott wouldn't be pleased. He would know what was appropriate. He was the Fearless Leader. He always knew what to do.

"What should I do?" she asked.

"Rogue?" He looked puzzled, and even more concerned. No, no, she told him mentally, you can't be puzzled. I don't know what to do. You have to tell me. "Rogue, where did all the blood come from?"

She looked around, startled. Wow. There was so much of it. She saw it from Scott's perspective, suddenly, and realised how shocking it must look. "It's all right," she said, vaguely, soothingly. Oh, look, there was Jean. She looked very pale. She had just come out of the bathroom. Scott looked at her. 'Ro came out of the bedroom. She looked shaken, too. Both the women looked at her. Oh. 'Ro had tears on her cheeks.

"Scott -" said Jean, and held out a hand, and then Scott got that slightly distant look that meant she was talking to him telepathically. Rogue had always wondered what that was like. If she touched Jean or the Professor she'd find out. But she mustn't do that. She couldn't touch anyone. Not ever again. Her hands were stained. She had to wash them.

She stood up, and saw the front door. Scott and Jean and 'Ro must have just stepped through it, when they saw the state it was in.

"Sabretooth," breathed Scott.

Yes, that was right. Scott was right. He'd crashed in through the door; he'd broken the door. Would the landlord fix that? Would he throw her out? They'd only just moved in, but he might have a problem with the kind of visitors they got. Most of Sabretooth was in the bathroom now, although some of him was around elsewhere, scattered around their first apartment. Their first...

'Ro had put her arms about her, and Rogue felt herself swaying. She couldn't hold on to this. She had to hold on, she couldn't... She couldn't think... She couldn't stop the thoughts. She hiccupped. He'd broken down the door, and they'd been having breakfast. In their new apartment. And then... And then... Her mind shied away.

"Logan's in the bedroom," 'Ro was whispering to someone. She sounded choked. Choked because Logan was in the bedroom. That was where the bloodstains led. Well, some of them. She'd had to help him, because he was tired. He was lying on the bed. Their bed. The bloodstains would never wash out of those covers. He'd closed his eyes. The fight had been... He must have been exhausted. He'd closed his eyes, and she'd kissed his bloodied forehead, and stroked back the hair that sweat had stuck to his brow. She'd held his hands, and the pull hadn't come. His hands were covered in blood. He'd always protected her. He'd always...

She sensed the thoughts on the edge of her mind, and fought against them. Her ears thundered, and she felt the world tilt to the left and up, and a bloody darkness flooded her sight. So much blood. She was drowning in it. She'd never clean it up. She'd never...

She passed out.

END.