TITLE: Third-Party Perspective

AUTHOR: Jamieson

RATING: PG

DISCLAIMER: I don't own anything. I don't even own the words, only the order in which they were placed.

A/N: This is my present to Neesh…just a little something I came up with after our conversation the other day. A different perspective on the LiRay situation.

I noticed a few typos after posting it to the LiRay group, and I think I corrected most, but I have a feeling I missed a couple, so if I did, oops.

Anyway, enjoy! Takes place early Season 4.

Copyright Jamie Zimmerman, 2004

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Third-Party Perspective

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"Street!" The young techno whiz looked up at the sharp call, watching as Renee walked through the doors leading from elevator of the Resistance Lair, determined

Before she could get a word in, Renee had made it to her position near the bank of computer terminals, asking in a somewhat milder tone, but still obviously worked up, "What was so important that I had to cancel a meeting with a prospective client?"

Street gave her a questioning look and a raised eyebrow before turning her attention back to the display of one of the monitors. "Liam said for us to wait, he's got most of the info. I'm just the messenger on this one."

Renee sighed loudly in annoyance and began to wander around through the various equipment in the room.

Street tried her best not to be too obvious as she watched, keeping her gaze fixed toward the computer but keeping her eyes trained on her friend. Renee had made her way across the room near the area that had been transformed into one of a more relaxing atmosphere, complete with couch, chairs, and coffee table - a little out of place with the rest of the room, but, Street thought, certainly a necessity with their jobs. Besides, the somewhat outlandish designs of the furniture gave it more justice with the rest of the décor.

She wasn't sure what had gotten into Renee today, but something had certainly pissed her off. She was now staring into one of the back corners a few feet away, where various odds and ends had found their way to over the last few years. Street followed Renee's gaze toward the beat-up old punching bag tucked away, a thin coating of dust collecting on the surface.

This wasn't good. Augur had told her the only time that thing was ever trucked out was when one of them was having a really bad day. Street could only recall seeing it out of "storage", as Augur had called it, twice. Once was just after she'd come into the fold, when Lili Marquette had left to return to Jaridia with Vorjak and her baby. Liam had muttered something about Da'an, and she'd decided not to ask, instead leaving him to beat out whatever frustrations he had.

The second time had been after a piece of bad intel Renee had acquired had led to an ambush on one of the southern cells - that time the bag had stayed out for two or three days. And now Renee looked like she was seriously considering hauling it out for her own uses once more. But after a few seconds, she gave a slight shake of her head and slumped down on the couch with another sigh. Street rolled her eyes and turned toward her, grabbing the drink she'd placed on a nearby table as she walked over to the older woman.

Standing in front of the older woman, she took a sip from her cup before asking, "Alright, what's up?"

Renee didn't even look at her, and for a few moments said nothing. Finally, she managed, "Men, everywhere, suck!"

Street raised her eyebrows and mouthed a silent "Oh." Slumping down beside her friend, she asked, "You want to talk about it?"

The Door's executive turned to face the red-headed fringer, a slightly amused grin mixing with her earlier irritation. "I don't think so." Her gaze switched to the far wall.

"Why not?"

Renee tuned back to Street, opening her mouth to say something. She paused, however, and shook her head, shutting her mouth. "Never mind." Her eyes were once again trained on the wall.

It was now Street's turn to sigh. What was with these people? You had to drag everything out of them. She glanced around before her eyes landed on the cup in her hand. Acting impulsively, she pushed the cup in front of Renee's face, close. "Want some of my algae shake? It'll make you feel better, I guarantee it."

Renee cringed at what she was hesitant to call a beverage, and pushed it aside. "Oh no, no."

Street just looked at her. "Well the way I see it, you have two choices. Tell me what's wrong, or…." She waggled the cup in front of Renee's face once more.

Renee glared at her, then looked away, only to quickly look back, then down to the cup mere inches from her face. Once again looking into the eyes of her young friend. Street knew Renee saw determination staring back at her.

"Sean," came the mumble.

Suddenly, Street's mind clicked. "Ah. Yes…."

Sean Wells. Handsome, well-off, a businessman high in the ranks of TekCorp. And Renee's newest claim. As far as Street knew, they'd been involved for just over a month. She hadn't met the guy, but according to Renee they got on well. Liam, however, had filled her in on their competition issues. It appeared as though Doors International and TekCorp were rivals on just about every front, and this fact had come up numerous times between Renee and Sean in the past month.

When Renee was silent for awhile, Street realized her prompting duty wasn't finished. "Well? What's up?"

Renee forced air between her teeth and stood up, pacing. "I woke up early this morning and heard him downstairs," she began, irritation and anger coating her words. "Like any idiot would wonder, I was curious to find out what the hell he was doing."

Street raised an eyebrow. "I'm guessing he wasn't making you breakfast in bed." That earned her a cold chortle.

"No. Instead, I find him attempting to open the files on my computer that hold all my relevant Doors documents."

The young woman's eyes went wide and she looked to the floor, muttering, "Oh boy…."

Renee wasn't finished. "Yeah! And to think I actually thought this could go somewhere!"

Waiting until she knew the other woman was finished, Street told her, "I gotta say Renee, from what I've heard, you guys have a bit of a personality clash."

Renee resumed her pacing. "But I always thought we seemed right for each other. We're in the same line of work, we have a lot of the same interests…."

"You're both corporate big-shots with a ton of ambition…?" Street broke in with an inquisitive look.

That stopped Renee. She glanced at Street's face and realized her implication, and her face fell. "And we compete with each other like there's no tomorrow." Renee sighed and slumped back down on the couch, her anger gone, replaced by a sense of reluctant acceptance. In a voice barely above a whisper, she said simply, "I guess that's it then."

After a moment of silence, Renee looked over to Street, and her gaze fell on the cup still in her hand. Before Street could react, Renee had grabbed it and taken a swig. Almost instantly her expression screwed up into one of revulsion.

"Feel better?" Street asked, slightly amused.

"Hell no," Renee gagged, pushing the cup back into her hand. "I honestly don't know how you can drink that everyday."

The redhead shrugged. "Acquired taste." She looked over, and realized she'd never really seen Renee sad before - not that she looked particularly sad right now, but more so than Street had ever witnessed. "Don't worry, you can do better than a Corp." Renee could have sworn, when she looked at her, that the ghost of a mischievous smile graced her friend's face, but it was gone before she could be certain.

"You need someone…I don't know…a little less self-involved? Someone you know is loyal…." Well, Street thought, if I can't have him, she'd be his next best choice. She locked eyes with Renee, hoping she'd understand her meaning. "A guy who's willing to help out a friend at all costs, who doesn't have a hidden agenda…."

Renee just shook her head, obviously not getting it. "Good luck. If there are any guys remotely like that left in this world, they're already taken."

"Oh, I'm sure there are plenty of great guys out there." She gave her a cryptic look. "And I know for a fact there's several right here in DC."

Renee raised an eyebrow. "Right, because you're certainly raking them in. I haven't actually seen you with anyone in the months I've known you."

Street's lips molded into a sly grin. "Just because I don't bring them home to meet Mom and Dad doesn't mean they don't exist." Renee just shook her head, grinning.

Suddenly they heard a soft beeping, alerting them that someone was in the elevator leading down to the Lair. "Speaking of Dad…." Renee pushed herself up off the couch and went to turn the added security alarm, and didn't notice the chuckle her friend was trying - and failing - to suppress at her comment.

As Liam walked through the doors, Street stood up as well, saying "Hey Pops, what's up?"

Liam frowned momentarily before shaking his head in confused amusement. He tossed Street his global once the distance between them had diminished, smiling and saying, "Load it up, if you will."

"Will do." Street headed to the computer she'd been working at before Renee had arrived and began downloading the information from Liam's global.

He joined Renee at the opposite side of the terminals. "Afternoon."

"Hey," Renee replied, then adding, "Listen, did you still want to check out that warehouse in Portland tonight?"

Liam thought for a second before nodding and replying. "Sure. But I thought you had plans tonight?"

Renee looked up at him for a moment, then away. "Yeah, well, not anymore." At her tone, Liam gave her a questioning look and she clarified, "I think it's safe to say that Sean is out of the picture."

Street tried to mask her interested as she looked up at the two of them across the circular bank of computers. At Renee's comment, Liam had replied with what appeared to be an indifferent, "Oh, sorry to hear that." But when she looked at his eyes, she saw a faint look of relief, which Renee had missed as she glanced at her watch.

"So, should we leave around seven?"

Liam nodded, "Sounds good, I'll pick you up on the way to the shuttle."

They both turned to her, and Street quickly cast her eyes back at the computer, saying, "There ya go, we're all set."

She stepped aside as they came over to peer at the screen, Liam explaining to Renee what she was looking at. Street watched them from a few steps back, allowing the corners of her lips to turn in a small grin. They did good work together…hell, they were good together. She figured - hoped, more like it - they would see it themselves eventually.

And if not, she though with an evil grin as she finished her algae shake, I wouldn't mind banging their heads together a couple times to get it through their thick skulls.

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Mata'hele (End)

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