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1. Chapter


 

“Okay, let me get this right.” Zhao Zi raised his chopsticks to point at Shao Fei and made a face as if he had to solve a very complicated math problem. Knowing how good he actually was at math made Shao Fei roll his eyes. Around them, the noise in the restaurant was deafening. They had been lucky to get a grill for the two of them. Next to their little table a bunch of businessmen celebrated the successful conclusion of a business deal and one of them already had his tie around his head.

Shao Fei shook his head smiling and poured himself the rest of his beer.

“So you say that you are going to stop chasing Tang Yi because it will make him want to chase you?” Zhao Zi squinted at him and tilted his head. “I don’t get it.”

“Look,” Shao Fei said and made a sign to the waiter for another round of beer. “It’s psychological warfare.”

“Is it because Yu Qi did that seminar on profiling? Did she put that idea in your head?”

Shao Fei frowned. He was no longer sure about all of the thought processes that had him led to the conclusion to stop chasing Tang Yi. It may have been that Yu Qi had talked to him? It may have been too many beers already.

He decided to shook his head vigorously.

“No… no, no, no. I thought about it myself. It makes sense!” He emphasized sense and almost knocked over the waiter who brought them their beer.

“Sorry, sorry!” Shao Fei jumped up and felt a wave of dizziness. He had to hold onto the man to not topple over. The waiter seemed unfaced and helped him sit back properly on his chair.

Shao Fei bowed in apology and turned back to Zhao Zi.

“It totally makes sense.”

“But… wouldn’t he feel relieved? Those lawsuits aren’t love-letters.”

“No… no, no, no. It’s about his feelings!”

“Yeah, I said that…”

“Because he cares.” Shao Fei tried to take a piece of meat from the grill but lost it before he could put it in his mouth. He stared at the pork on the table and then looked back at Zhao Zi.

“He has caring feelings.”

“He cares?”

“Yes.” He turned his concentration back on the meat on the table.

“About what?”

“About me.”

He felt Zhao Zi’s eyes on him but wanted to concentrate on picking up the meat. It was strangely difficult.

“Okay… wow,” he heard Zhao Zi mutter. “I’m too sober for this.”

Shao Fei nodded. Being sober was bad. Being sober meant he felt an ache in his chest whenever he thought of Tang Yi. If he was drunk it was funny thinking about him. The suits… who wore suits all the time? Also the word! Suit… suit.

“Suit,” he whispered and giggled. A funny word. Maybe Tang Yi even slept in a pyjama which looked like a suit…

“I don’t think so,” Zhao Zi said and Shao Fei realized he had said his last words out loud.

“It’s time for Sake,” he declared and left the table on the search for the waiter, high-fiving one of the businessmen on his way. He didn’t hear Zhao Zi who called his name.

+++

Someone was going to be charged with poisoning him. Shao Fei groaned and tried to roll around because he laid on his side and it hurt him. He was going to arrest whoever had put some drug in his beer, this was torture, this was attempted murder… this…

“You talk out loud again.”

Shao Fei whimpered and hid his head under his pillow.

“What are you doing here?”, he croaked and felt the dip of the mattress as if he was on a tiny little boat at sea in the midst of a storm.

“I have to say, it has been a long time since you got so drunk.”

“Please stop yelling,” Shao Fei begged. The pain was a constant hammering in the back of his head, his throat hurt, his mouth hurt, his eyelids hurt. He was never going to be able to do his job again, because he would die a miserable death here, today, right this minute.

“I forgot how melodramatic you can get. Here… drink this.”

Shao Fei felt something cold on his naked upper arm and tried to remember how moving worked. He lifted the pillow a bit and his eyes focused on a glass that Zhao Zi held out to him.

“Is this the hangover cure form your grandma?”

“Strictly after her recipe.”

“Thank you,” Shao Fei whispered. Maybe he didn’t have to die after all. It took a few attempts to sit up and he was going to promote Zhao Zi to an angel because he put several pillows behind his back so he could lean against them.

He knew grandma Zhao’s hangover cure and had to muster all his courage to down the drink in one go. He coughed and made a face but the drink stayed in his stomach.

“Why didn’t you stop me yesterday?”, he asked and frowned at Zhao Zi who looked chipper and not miserable at all. He remembered that he hadn’t been the only one drinking Sake after Sake. Why was he the only one suffering?

“You know me. I don’t get a hangover that quickly. It’s the genes.”

Fuck my genes, Shao Fei thought and looked around. He was in his bedroom.

“You brought me home?”

Zhao Zi nodded.

“Thank you.”

“I also took your phone even tho you chased me around this bed to get it back.”

Shao Fei couldn’t remember a thing from the night before and frowned. “Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why did I chase you?”

“You wanted to call Tang Yi,” Zhao Zi answered and Shao Fei had the sudden urge to throw up. Panic raised inside him and he put a hand on Zhao Zi’s arm, digging his fingers into his skin.

“Please tell me I didn’t!”

“Nope, I took your phone before you could do it.”

Archangel, Shao Fei decided. Or god, he was going to promote Zhao Zi to a god.

“Thank you.”

“Yeah, I thought it would be weird to tell Tang Yi about your plan to not chase him any longer so that he would chase you instead because I think the point of the plan is to not tell him about the plan?”

Shao Fei blinked.

“I… what? I wanted to do what?”

Zhao Zi nodded solemnly.

“You explained it to me very detailed. No wonder you graduated on the top of the police academy when you think your plans…” Shao Fei put his hands over Zhao Zi’s mouth and tried to breathe. In and out. An icy fist pressed his lungs together.

He remembered. He remembered why he got so drunk the day before. Why he thought of that stupid play.

He put his hand down, leaned back against his pillows and felt as if his heart was going to burst out of his chest. Not because of happiness. Because of fear.

“Ah Fei?”

Shao Fei stared into the empty space and all the feelings he had tried to suppress through alcohol came back to the surface, accompanied by a headache, a sore throat and a queasy stomach.

He looked at Zhao Zi and swallowed.

“I’m in love with Tang Yi,” he said. The same words he had said to his reflection in the police station bathroom mirror after he had searched through the files to find another excuse to visit Tang Yi. His hands started to shake. The same way they had shaken the day before.

“You… what?” Zhao Zi looked at him like he had confessed a murder.

Shao Fei slid down the bed to stare at his ceiling and repeated himself: “I’m in love with Tang Yi.”

The words felt as painful as the first time. As if he had to drag each letter through shards of glass and they cut his skin again and again.

He felt Zhao Zi’s stare, and the words he wanted to say, and the questions he wanted to ask but instead, he laid down beside him. He was thankful for that but knew that Zhao Zi couldn’t be silent for long.  

“Are you sure? Or do you confuse love with obsession? You’re kinda obsessed with him”, he finally asked and Shao Fei turned his head. Zhao Zi held his hands up. “I’m not the only one who thinks that. Just look at your board.... ohhhh.”

Yeah… maybe he wasn’t as good as a cop as he thought. Or at least he wasn’t very good at reading himself as reading criminals.

“I realized it yesterday.” And what a realization it had been. It had left him shaking.

“That’s tough.”

Shao Fei nodded. It hurt. At first, he had smiled, because he was in love. Because he felt good things when he thought of Tang Yi, but then...

“I want to get drunk again.”

“That’s not a good idea. Drunk you wants to call Tang Yi and confess his love.”

Shao Fei groaned and hid his face behind his hands.

“I’ll be no longer able to be around him! I’ll be so obvious. He is so observant he will notice it the moment he will see me next.”

“I don’t think it will be that bad.”

“You remember the barista two years ago?”

There was silence from Zhao Zi and Shao Fei peeked through his fingers to see that Zhao Zi tried to hide his laughter.

“Yeah. It was bad. We had to change coffee shops. The poor guy had no idea how to handle your affection.”

Shao Fei groaned. He wasn’t able to hide his feelings! It burst from every seam, from the core of his being, and normally he liked it that way. As a police officer, he was used to people lying to him, for them to try to trick him, trying to see if they could take him for a fool. He had never been able to be that way. Some superiors were even frustrated with him because he didn’t lie to suspects, didn’t try to spin a web to get them to confess. They were even more frustrated because his way of interrogation worked and made him one of the best in the force.

“Maybe I could become a police officer in the country. Protect the hard-working folk from thieves and drunk husbands.”

“With your luck, you would uncover a human trafficking ring within two weeks.”

“With my luck, I would fall in love with the culprit.”

Zhao Zi laughed and punched him lightly against the arm. “Oh please, Tang Yi is not comparable with someone like that. You weren’t able to link him to a serious crime in four years. No indications that he deals with drugs or kills people. All we can say is that he makes suspicious much money with his suit shop.”

“He’s still the boss of Xing Tian Meng.”

Zhao Zi turned to his side to face Shao Fei fully. “Nevertheless, you weren’t able to pin something on him. Which makes it easier to avoid him, right? If you don’t actively seek him out, your paths won’t cross.”

“Yeah.” Yeah . Tang Yi wouldn’t chase him. Because he didn’t matter to him. He was just the annoying police officer who collected lawsuits. He rubbed the skin above his heart and made a face.

“What about senior Li Chen?” He needed to know what happened four years ago, he couldn’t just stop.

“You already are emotionally compromised with this case. What do you think will happen now? With your feelings the way they are? Are you sure you can see this case objectively at all?”

Shao Fei felt the words like needles.

“Look at you being the voice of wisdom,” he said weakly.

Zhao Zi winked. “It’s my grandma’s influence.”

Shao Fei snorted. “Your grandma really was the best.”

+++

Shao Fei had the case files inside a box under his desk. He looked through them and felt the same rage and helplessness he always felt when he looked at the pictures, saw the dead body of his mentor. But maybe Captain Shi and everyone else in the division was right. Maybe he needed to take a break and start to think about other cases, maybe then he would have the breakthrough he needed.

Without bothering Tang Yi.

He closed the box with more force than necessary and asked Zhao Zi to hide it somewhere he wouldn’t find it.

Lucky for his body, alone the thought of alcohol made him sick so he hadn’t had the desire to drink himself stupid that day.

“You should also think about taking down the board in your flat,” Zhao Zi whispered as he took the box and dodged Shao Fei’s kick. “They say cold turkey works best.”

“I’m not that obsessed,” Shao Fei whispered back and tried to kick him again.

“Who is not obsessed?”, Captain Shi asked suddenly and they broke apart.

“Have to go!”, Zhao Zi yelled and power walked away from them. Captain Shi looked at Zhao Zi’s retreating back and sipped at his tea. Then he frowned at Shao Fei who tried to look as innocently as possible.

He made a few steps back. “I’m obsessed with solving cases,” he said. “I have to go and look through files, investigate crime, protect people.” He turned and felt Captain Shi’s eyes like laser beams against his neck. He didn’t tell Captain Shi that he would stop investigating Li Chen’s case because then he would have to tell him why and he didn’t want to get killed by Captain Shi’s daughter because he was the cause of his heart attack.

It was hard. The moment he realized his feelings it had opened a flood-gate of new thoughts and desires. He wanted to draw more pictures of Tang Yi, he wanted to go inside his suit shop to just look at him. He was stupidly pleased about Tang Yi’s desire to reform his gang.

“Of course I should be pleased. I’m a police officer! Gangsters are bad!”

“What are you saying?”

Shao Fei looked up in Yu Qi’s smiling face. He should really try to stop speaking to himself out loud.

“I need something to drink,” he improvised and both of them looked down at his full water glass. “Something sweet. I want to drink something sweet.” He laughed and stood up to go to their kitchen counter.

It was hard. Almost a week was over and he ran into the bathroom every time the desire to chase after Tang Yi became too overwhelming. Every time he looked at the clock he was reminded that he knew Tang Yi’s schedule, that he could tell someone where he was. Nobody asked of course. And every time he caught Zhao Zi’s eyes he gave him two thumbs up. After three days he wanted to throttle his best friend.

Work helped, but no amount of night shifts or overworking himself helped him the moment he closed the door behind himself and stood in his apartment, just his thoughts and feelings laid bare.

+++

“Next case,” Captain Shi announced and shoved a pile of papers in the middle of the table. “Crime division team 5 asked for help. They caught some little fish named Jin Jie Yong. He sold drugs around Wanhua. He doesn’t seem to be connected to a gang, so he’s lucky we got him first.”

“Why does team 5 need help?” Jun Wei asked and Shao Fei picked up the report from their colleagues. The picture of Jin Jie Yong showed a guy in his forties, retreating hairline, and a stubborn look in his eyes.

“After a night in the cell, he wanted to make a deal. Immunity from prosecution and he would make a statement against Xing Tian Meng…”

Shao Fei’s mind went blank. He raised his head. Everyone had turned his way. He felt a kick from Zhao Zi, who sat next to him and forced out a weak smile.

“That’s funny huh? We all know that Tang Yi doesn’t do drugs… It seems like… It seems like this Jin Jie Yong needs a scapegoat for his crimes.“

Captain Shi frowned and squinted his eyes at Shao Fei as if he waited for him to jump up. He wanted to. He had to force his feet to stay on the ground but everything inside him screamed to go and confront Tang Yi with the accusations.  

“Yes… Team 5 asked us to investigate Xing Tian Meng since we know the most about them. They don’t believe Jin Jie Yong and are going to find out who his real associates are. His telephone data don’t show any connections to known members of Xing Tian Meng, maybe if some could get a hold of Tang Yi...” Captain Shi paused and everyone turned towards Shao Fei again.

He raised his finger to point at himself.

“Me? That’s not possible, boss! You know there are three complaints still processing, I don’t want another.”

Pure disbelief was shown on his boss’s face.

“You don’t want another? Since when? Since when don’t you grab the first chance to run towards that guy?” Captain Shi had jumped up and almost crawled over the table to yell at Shao Fei. “What is going on here?”

“Yu Qi should do it,” Shao Fei said and Captain Shi turned his frown to her. She stared at them with an open mouth.

“It’s a good way to gather experience about questioning someone outside of an investigation,” Shao Fei babbled on. His heart rate was through the roof. “Moreover Tang Yi doesn’t know her and will maybe be more cooperative if it isn’t me who asks the questions.”

“That actually makes sense,” Zhao Zi whispered next to him.

“You really never had to speak with Tang Yi?”, Captain Shi asked Yu Qi and sat back on his chair. She shook her head. She looked spooked but only for a second then straightened herself. “I’m the right one for the job boss. I will make a formal request for him to come to the precinct and if he’s going to come with his lawyer we steal his thunder since we’re going to question him in a conference room instead of an interrogation room. It may confuse him enough to be honest with us.”

Shao Fei stared at Yu Qi because that was a perfect plan.

“That’s actually not a bad idea,” Captain Shi mused. “Partner up with someone and contact Tang Yi…”

“I’ll do it!”, Zhao Zi leaned forward eagerly and even raised his hand. Shao Fei made a face at him. “I’m going to partner up with Yu Qi. We’re the perfect team!” He held his fist towards her and she bumped it with confusion written all over her face.

“Why are you doing this?” Shao Fei asked after the meeting was over. He pulled Zhao Zi away from the others and looked around.

“It’s perfect! You know she was going to ask you to be her partner because you know the most about Tang Yi. That way I can distract her from running to you and you can continue to avoid him.”

Shao Fei didn’t like it. He didn’t like it at all. It prickled along his skin and he actually was jealous of Zhao Zi who was going to speak to Tang Yi and…

“Tell me when you schedule the meeting! I need to be out of the office when he arrives.” Zhao Zi nodded and Shao Fei stomped away.

“Why do I care?”, he asked himself and grabbed his jacket. “Who cares if they are going to talk to him. It has nothing to do with me.” He put his jacket on and walked out of the office. “It doesn’t have to do anything with Li Chen’s case, it’s about a little drug dealer, a little fish. Stupid.”

He stopped and realized in which direction he was walking. It was the way to Tang Yi’s suit shop. “Stupid,” he said again with a lot of feeling and turned around.

“Stupid, stupid, stupid.”

 

Chapter Text

2. Chapter


“We should head out.”

Jun Wei nodded, and Shao Fei grabbed the file before he stood up. He wanted to take his jacket but a movement in the corner of his eyes made him stop. 

“Ah Fei!” 

Shao Fei turned and saw Zhao Zi lurking around the corner to the office entrance, shout-whispering his name with big eyes.

“He’s not very subtle, mhm?”, Jun Wei commented and at least five other detectives were looking over to Zhao Zi who made weird gestures towards Shao Fei. Jun Wei raised an eyebrow. 

“I’m going to ask him what he wants, we’ll meet at the car, okay?” He gave Jun Wei the file who just waved with it. They were about to go for another round of interviews for the Jin Jie Yong case and Shao Fei looked forward to the noodle stand which they would pass on their way to their destination. 

“What’s going on?”, he wanted to ask but was only able to say ‘Whaaa’ as Zhao Zi pulled him close. 

“You should go!”, he whispered urgently, and Shao Fei looked at the fingers around his upper arm. 

“I was about to go,” he pointed out, “you’re holding me back, literally.” Zhao Zi, however, didn’t listen to him and instead stared at something behind Shao Fei. 

Shao Fei rolled his eyes and pulled Zhao Zi’s fingers away. 

“What is going on? Aren’t you supposed to go through some paperwork with the Captain?”

Zhao Zi didn’t seem to care or hear what Shao Fei said because he spotted something and dug his fingers in Shao Fei’s upper arms again.   

“I’m so sorry,” Zhao Zi whispered, and Shao Fei was about to turn around when…

“Officer Meng.”

Everything inside him froze. 

“He changed the date five minutes ago,” Zhao Zi stage-whispered and Shao Fei tried to tell him with his eyes that he couldn’t turn around. He really couldn’t. His body was frozen to the spot.  

Zhao Zi continued to stare at him with big eyes while Shao Fei prayed for a wonder to make him disappear. It was obvious that they couldn’t stay like this, so he slowly turned around. 

His heart beat so loud it drowned almost every other noise out. He tried to point his eyes at something else other than Tang Yi’s face and ended up looking at his chest. He felt a rush of heat as he saw the blue suit Tang Yi wore today. Classic, it fitted Tang Yi like a glove and Shao Fei had never known this about himself, how a throat, hidden by the collar of a white button-down, could arouse him so much. He wasn’t sure if he liked that knowledge about himself and it confused him. 

And he knew it would be written in his eyes. He had never learned the art of being subtle, he just wasn’t and had no idea how he could learn it in the seconds he had to look Tang Yi in the eyes if he didn’t want to come across as impolite. 

He thanked every god who might float around in the precinct for Tang Yi’s lawyer who stood behind him. A little flicker of his eyes to the general area of Tang Yi’s nose should be enough, he decided.

“Tang Yi,” he said and suppressed a twitch because his voice sounded rough and out-of-breath and not like his own. He quickly turned his attention to Tang Yi’s lawyer, a woman with bright red lips and a quirky smile as if she knew every thought of Shao Fei. He tried not to flinch. 

“I’m here for the ‘questioning’”, Tang Yi said and even without looking at his face Shao Fei knew that there would be a sarcastic smirk around his lips, always on the thin line between polite and insulting. Shao Fei reached behind him and got hold of Zhao Zi. He pulled him in front of his body and they clearly made a pitiful picture: Zhao Zi, trying to climb into Shao Fei’s body to get away from Tang Yi and Shao Fei, looking everywhere but in Tang Yi’s face holding his colleague in front of him like a shield. 

“Officer Zhao is responsible for this case and…” The police gods had heard him praying and Shao Fei pointed at Yu Qi who had come closer with a notebook and an expression on her face he had never seen before. It was a mixture of intention and stubbornness and Shao Fei knew that if Tang Yi made the mistake and underestimated her, she would get all the answers they wanted. 

“Officer Zhao and Officer Huang, I’m about to go. Crimes to solve.” He gave Zhao Zi’s shoulders a hard squeeze and turned around and if the precinct wouldn’t already know who he was they would attempt to catch him because he was on the run.

“What happened?”, Jun Wei asked the moment Shao Fei appeared in the parking lot.  

“Zhao Zi just…” Shao Fei had no idea how to answer the question and waved vaguely with his hand. Jun Wei nodded as if he knew exactly what Shao Fei wanted to say, and maybe he did. Team 3 worked together for a long time now and everyone knew how Zhao Zi could get sometimes. 

“You’re driving?”, Shao Fei asked and threw the keys towards Jun Wei. His whole body felt… weak and he knew he wouldn’t be able to concentrate on the traffic or the navigation system. 

For the first ten minutes of their ride, he just stared out of the window not able to comprehend what had happened back in the department, then, the embarrassment kicked in. 

How stupid had he behaved? What kind of picture had he and Zhao Zi displayed sprawled against the wall like some idiots? He, who had looked down guns and wielding knives, hadn’t been able to look Tang Yi in the face! Pathetic! 

He suppressed the urge to knock his head against the window of the car and fisted his hands in his trousers instead. The pain cleared his head a little bit. 

“You okay?”, Jun Wei asked, and Shao Fei nodded. He grabbed the file from the backseat to have something to do with his hands. 

“Ah Zhi is still sick?” 

“He caught a stomach bug after his cold was over. The guy has nothing but bad luck currently,” Jun Wei snorted, and Shao Fei smiled. 

“We’re going to question the residents of Jin Jie Yong apartment complex again?”, he asked and groaned when he saw how many apartments they had to cover. 

“I’m not sure if Team 5 isn’t messing with us. As if they still remember something. I’m a police officer and I wouldn’t know what my neighbour did at the weekend.” 

Jun Wei continued, but Shao Fei's thoughts travelled back to Tang Yi and that he wanted to know how his questioning was going and… he snapped the file shut. Damn, why had he admitted his feelings? The moment he had spoken them out loud they had broken a dam. Or as if they had summoned the Jin Jie Yong case to bring Tang Yi closer when he had decided to stop chasing him. 

Maybe he needed a curse-breaker…

He opened his mouth but remembered that he didn’t have Zhao Zi next to him, who would play along with his plans. Jun Wei wouldn’t know a curse-breaker anyway, Zhao Zi was the one who was friends with old ladies who had ‘interesting’ hobbies. 

“Seriously, I don’t even know how many residents live in my house… do you?”

Shao Fei stared at Jun Wei and tried to remember what they had been talking about. 

“We have a residents party every six months,” he said, and Jun Wei just stared at him for a minute. They were lucky the lights were red. 


As predicted, most of the people the questioned were either not home, had no idea who Jin Jie Yong was or what he did most of the time. Shao Fei leaned against the car and ate some of the noodles he had bought as a reward because he was already through with his part of the questioning. 

“Officer!” He startled and almost poured the noodles down his shirt. An older woman stood in front of him and he had no idea where she had come from. 

“Yes?”

She held out a piece of paper and he took it bewildered while balancing his noodles with one arm. 

“Jin Jie Yong got picked up a couple of times in the middle of the night. I wait for a call from my niece some nights because she lives in Europe, so I saw them. They acted very suspiciously.”

“Suspicious?”

“Who doesn’t have his car lights on in the middle of the night? I wrote down the licence plate, my eyes are very good.”

“Oh… that’s helpful, what’s your name so we can…”

“I don’t trust tall men”, she interrupted him. “Like your colleague. Jin Jie Yong was also very tall.” She turned her nose up and walked back to the building as Jun Wei came out of it. 

“Hey, that’s the lady from 12B, what did she want?”

“She saw Jin Jie Yong getting into a car some nights.”

“She told me she didn’t see anything!”

Shao Fei grinned at him. “She doesn’t trust tall men.”

Jun Wei threw his hands up. 


Shao Fei sent Jun Wei off to investigate the licence plate number and report to Team 5 before he would tackle down Zhao Zi who had made the mistake and had asked how their investigation had been going. 

“What’s going on with him?”, Zhao Zi asked and made a face towards Jun Wei’s back. 

Shao Fei just shrugged and looked at Zhao Zi who looked back. 

“So.”

“So?” Shao Fei squinted at Zhao Zi and shook his head vigorously. “I don’t want to know,” he decided and went to his desk. 

“Why not? I stayed in the department to wait for you. You could act a little bit more interested.” 

“And you could support me more in my… emotional distress.”

Zhao Zi snorted at that. “Yu Qi was good though, she handled him well.”

“Yeah?” Shao Fei tried to remember his password to unlock his computer, but he couldn’t concentrate. 

“His lawyer was there for show, obviously, but it was pretty interesting that he didn’t really care about this Jin Jie Yong guy.”

“No?”

“He looked at the door as if he expected someone crashing through it at any moment.”

“I did that occasionally,” Shao Fei admitted. “He thought I would come and take over the questioning?”

“It seemed like it. He got more and more irritated as the time went by and then he gave his lawyer a sign and she ended the conversation. Something about coming as a gesture of goodwill but they can’t waste their time chatting with the police.”

“So, he either knew we would ask about Jin Jie Yong or he really has no idea who he is.” 

“We have to dig up a connection otherwise he won’t talk to us again I think.”

Shao Fei nodded and leaned back in his chair. It had been surprisingly enough that Tang Yi had come to the interview in the first place. It had been nice of him to… 

“No,” Shao Fei said to himself and shook his body to get rid of the fond feeling about Tang Yi. 

“No?”, Zhao Zi asked but Shao Fei waved his question away.

“Nothing. We have to wait for what the licence plate will bring and if Team 5 even informs us.” It looked like the entanglement with Tang Yi was over. It was the case of another team and he had avoided being in one room with Tang Yi if everything went according to his plan, he would… he wouldn’t see him for a long time. 

Which was for the better. 

“We have enough cases to solve, we need to focus on them,” he said and pointed towards the tower of files on the edge of their desk. Zhao Zi grimaced but nodded and when Shao Fei went home that night, he drank a glass of water and leaned against his tiny kitchen table. He had put away Li Zhen’s case files, but the board still stood in his flat. 

His eyes travelled over the pictures, the connection he had made, the interview of Tang Yi in the hospital and he had to laugh when he looked at the painting. He really wasn’t good. 

He took a shower and let the heat and pressure of the water wash away the day. If they really found a connection between Jin Jie Yong and Tang Yi it wouldn’t be his case anyway. Another team would investigate, and he would just hear through the police grapevine about it. Maybe this had been the last time he had seen Tang Yi and…

Why him? Why now? Why couldn’t he fall in love with a fellow police officer or someone who wasn’t connected to Taipei’s underworld? It didn’t matter if Xing Tian Meng stopped with drug dealing, they probably did enough other illegal stuff to make them a sore spot in the eye of the law. 

Clad in comfy clothes Shao Fei began to put everything on the board in a box. Zhao Zi had been right. He couldn’t find justice for Li Zhen if he was clouded by these feelings. He wanted Tang Yi to be the good guy, to change, to not be a gangster boss. But he was. 

The last piece he folded was the drawing of Tang Yi and maybe he should tear it apart and toss it away but if he ever opened that box again it was better to be confronted with his non-existing artistic skills. He slid the box under his bed and the irony of it feeling as if he was putting away stuff of an ex wasn’t lost on him. 

He rubbed his head dry when his phone rang. 

“Officer Meng?” It was a voice he didn’t recognize but he said “Yes?” anyway. 

“There was a robbery at the Metro Business Hotel, your presence would be greatly appreciated.”

Shao Fei took the phone away to look at the caller information in confusion. What?


“Officer Meng?”

Maybe he had landed in a parallel universe, Shao Fei thought and frowned at the secretary who picked him up at the foyer of the Metro Business Hotel. He had expected the building to be swarmed with police because more than one big business with connection to the mayor or other politicians of Taiwan had their offices in this hotel. It was almost midnight and he wondered who worked at this hour? 

“If there is a robbery you should call the police,” he said to her when they entered the lift and he saw how she smiled through the reflection of the elevator door. 

“Aren’t you the police?”, she asked and when the door opened again, and he saw on which floor they were he knew from whom she had that sarcastic cheek. 

Oh no.

“I don’t think this is a good idea,” he said to her and searched in his pockets for his phone. He was going to call the department… he wasn’t going to deal with him alone.

“Please refrain from any unnecessary actions until you speak to my boss,” the secretary said, and Shao Fei might be a police officer but her posture made it perfectly clear that he would be the loser in any kind of fight. Why did Tang Yi only hire terrifying woman? He put the phone away and even though he knew he would find Tang Yi in the office the secretary opened for him his heart nonetheless made a leap. 

Tang Yi stood on the side of his desk and went through what seemed like a bunch of contracts. Only two lamps, one on his desk, one on a sideboard illuminated the office and maybe Shao Fei dreamed all of this because it looked surreal. 

“Officer Meng,” Tang Yi said, put the papers on the desk and Shao Fei was embarrassed about the tiny sound which escaped him when the door closed behind him. 

“I was informed there was a robbery?” Stick to the facts, Shao Fei said to himself and crossed his arms in front of his chest. This was good, it was better than fidgeting with his fingers because Tang Yi had changed from his suit to a turtleneck sweater and the sight made things to Shao Fei’s insides which weren’t normal. 

“There was, but that’s not what is important right now.”

Shao Fei blinked. 

“And what is important right now?”

Tang Yi leaned back against his desk and the material of his sweater highlighted his broad shoulders which made Shao Fei to stare resolutely on something behind Tang Yi. 

“By now, or I suppose it depends on how fast your lovely police procedures are, but the investigators of the Jin Jie Yong case will find out that the license plate belongs to a car registered to one of the members of Xing Tian Meng.”

“What?” It felt like someone had pulled a carpet out from under his feet. “The car belongs to Xing Tian Meng?” 

But Tang Yi wasn’t even acknowledging Shao Fei’s agitation. He raised a hand to stop Shao Fei’s onslaught of questions and said: “No worries, Officer Meng. The car was reported stolen six months ago, this is about the implication that someone tries to frame me and Xing Tian Meng for crimes we didn’t commit.”

“Okay… wait—”

“And I need your help to find out who it is.”

Shao Fei stared at Tang Yi and a horrifying thought occurred to him. Had Tang Yi figured out that Shao Fei was in love with him? Did he think he could use his feelings to make him help him, to investigate illegally? Why was he here in the middle of the night, and Tang Yi asked this kind of thing of him?

His fingers felt numb and he had the intense wish to sit down. 

“What you need to do is to report the robbery to the police,” he said slowly and then turned around to go. He couldn’t look at Tang Yi anymore. “You need to get in contact with the Captain of the investigation team and talk to him about—”

“For every hour of your time, I will tell you something about what happened four years ago.”

Shao Fei froze, and his hand slipped off the door handle. He only turned his head and stared Tang Yi directly into the eyes as he had come up behind him. 

This had to be a joke, right?

 

~+ to be continued +~