Chapter 65: Borrowed Time

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Lex had thought the couple of months they had before they had to go would have seemed longer, but each day had seemed to fly by like moments. She hadn't quite felt she could share her fears with Rolf, since she didn't have anything to pin them on except for her own dread, so she hadn't. Instead, she'd busied her thoughts with ways to get out of going.

Her first idea had her going to talk to Riss. It had been hard to find her, even on weekends, since she'd been spending almost all her time in the lab, so Lex had picked one of the evenings she'd been having trouble sleeping. The howling wind had woken her up sometime after two and she hadn't been able to rest again, so she'd wrapped up in her robe and slippers and made her way up to the lab.

She'd half expected to see Victor and maybe Derek there, as well, so it had surprised her to see only Riss. Her friend had seemed to be concentrating on something inside the top of Art's skull, which she'd turned upside down and sat on a small table beside his body, but it remained connected to the body by numerous wires. Other than that, his body had seemed to be complete, covered by only a towel wrapped around his waist. Lex had blinked a few times as she looked at him. From the neck down he'd looked like any other man who might have just stepped out of the shower. Lex had almost expected him to take in a breath at any moment.

"Wow," she'd said in a quiet voice, wanting to reach out and touch but holding herself back.

Riss had sighed then as she'd reached into the skull with a pair of tweezers and a scalpel and brought out a computer chip a few moments later. She'd looked up as she put the chip on the table. "I'm guessing you're not just here to look."

Lex had frowned at her friend's abrupt tone. "Is everything going all right? Can I help at all?"

Scrubbing at her forehead with one hand, Riss had shaken her head after a moment. "No, I'm just frustrated because I'm still trying to perfect Art's brain while Victor's already finished with his body. What's up?"

Sighing herself, Lex had replied, "Well, I just wanted to hedge our bets, to be sure we're taking the best course of action, so I wondered if you could get a hold of the information from those warrants that William was waving around the other day."

Looking up with a raised eyebrow, Riss had said, "I can try, but there's no guarantee. Have you talked to anyone else about this?"

"No, I haven't," Lex had replied, shaking her head. "I didn't want to give anyone false hopes if there isn't anything we can do."

With another sigh, Riss had looked back up from the table in front of her again, her eyes piercing Lex's with a sharp understanding that had made Lex look away. "You don't always have to take all of this on yourself, you know."

"I know, I know," Lex had said, focusing on the floor. "I just thought I could take care of this."

"I'm pretty sure you'll need money if you want to talk to a lawyer, so we'll need to get approval from everyone if it's coming from our general expenses," Riss had pointed out, her voice low and even.

"Could we take it out of my earnings?" Lex had asked, glancing up at Riss and then away. "I think we all have the right to spend what we earn, don't we?"

"Yes, all right," Riss had replied, her attention back to the skull in front of her. She hadn't picked up any tools, however, and after a long moment she added, "I just hope you know what you're doing, Lex."

"Thanks, Riss," Lex had replied too fast, turning away as she did, not wanting to think any more about how the look Riss had given her said that her friend had started to figure out what she'd been thinking.

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