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You’re not who I thought you were

Chapter Text

Tang Yi still remembered what it was like four years ago, after Boss Tang died.

As soon as he woke up from surgery, a cop with messy hair and big ears stormed into his hospital room and started asking him all kinds of questions. He wanted answers about what had happened, but Tang Yi provided none.

The cop was soon dragged out by security, and Tang Yi thought that was that.

It wasn’t.

On many more occasions did the police officer, apparently named Meng Shao Fei, visit Tang Yi. And every time he did, Tang Yi filed a complaint for harassment. After three months, he’d probably filed over a 100 complaints and had 3 lawsuits against the man going on. Yet, Meng Shao Fei continued to bother him.

In a way, Tang Yi admired his determination. Meng Shao Fei had something that he’d never seen before. It wasn’t just his sense of justice or his determination. Meng Shao Fei was special. Every time they met, he shouted some things about how justice always wins, making Tang Yi shake his head.

That was exactly why it came at such a shock when he heard that Meng Shao Fei had killed someone. Not as part of his job, but due to a personal reason. At first, he simply didn’t believe it. Although the man was annoying, he was incredibly righteous and would stop at nothing to get justice for Li Chen.

He managed to get his hands on a copy of the case file.

There had been three eyewitnesses, one of which was a 6-year old girl. They all claimed to have seen Meng Shao Fei. Meng Shao Fei also had no alibi and the investigating officer soon came to her conclusion: Officer Meng Shao Fei had turned to the dark path.

To them, it wasn’t hard to believe, as internal affairs already had been dealing with him for a long time due to Tang Yi.

Still, Tang Yi gave no faith to the investigating officer. She must’ve been wrong, he thought. There was something they were missing here.

Then he read the eyewitness statements.

The six year old girl turned out to be the daughter of the victim. She had been forced to watch as Meng Shao Fei tortured, and eventually killed her father. The other two witnesses were also family.

What was even worse, was that one of them knew Meng Shao Fei. She described how she hadn’t been able to believe it, and how she’d never felt such betrayal before. Tang Yi felt his heart break for her.

It was said that Meng Shao Fei’s motive to torture and kill this man, was a claim that Tang Yi had given the victim information about the shooting Meng Shao Fei desperately investigated. The claim had been a lie. Tang Yi had never even heard of the man.

At the time he’d found solace in the fact that Meng Shao Fei was going to go to jail, probably for the rest of his life. It wasn’t enough to him, but it was an outcome he could make peace with.

Except... all three of the witnesses were murdered. Their heads were delivered at the crime division Meng Shao Fei used to work at, with a note saying ‘surprise’.

The woman who received the package had to be quit the force.

Now that the three witnesses couldn’t give their testimony, the lawsuit had no real evidence anymore and Meng Shao Fei was declared innocent.

Tang Yi felt disgusted. Betrayed, even. Meng Shao Fei had lied to his face about who he was, about what he believed and about so much more. And yet, when the ex-policeman was released from custody and could go and stand wherever he wanted, the first thing he did was visit Tang Yi.

Tang Yi couldn’t believe it, and he wanted nothing more than to attack the man and beat him to pulp. But he didn’t.

Instead, he didn’t even look at Meng Shao Fei once. He only watched him from the corner of his eye, but even like that he could see that Meng Shao Fei wanted to say something, so, so desperately. He never opened his mouth.

Right now, that was over four years ago. A lot had changed, Tang Yi thought. For the better if you asked him.

Tang Yi had joined the police academy less than half a year after Meng Shao Fei’s arrest. He wanted to do something. He wanted to make sure no one could ever do what Meng Shao Fei did, ever again.

The academy was extremely hesitant about letting him in, but not only did Tang Yi not have a criminal record, he was also an extremely intelligent and talented man. So, after many long discussions of the board, he was let it.

Naturally they watched him very carefully. Still, he graduated the police academy after six months. Now they were forced to provide him with a job. They hadn’t expected him to pull through, but he turned out to be a good asset to their team and they needed more people.

It was also revealed, after investigation, that Tang Yi had no contact with anyone still involved in the underworld. He’d abandoned everything of that darker world, now attempting to live in the light.

All that still connected him to his old way of life were his visits to Boss Tang’s grave every Sunday.

-

Like Tang Yi switched from dark to light, Meng Shao Fei switched from light to dark.

After Tang Yi left the gang behind, someone named Zhe De took over. He swore to take revenge on Tang Yi, threatening him countless times over. Although he never physically assaulted him, he was arrested a bunch of times. Regretfully he had good lawyers who always managed to get him out.

That was, until Zhe De managed to get Meng Shao Fei to join their gang. He invited the ex-police officer to join them because he knew how angry Tang Yi would be after he heard this. Meng Shao Fei knew he was being used, but still agreed.

But he quickly became a well-loved gang member. He had a bound with almost everyone and like that, he made it to right-hand in no time.

Then Zhe De was found dead in his apartment.

Everyone in the underworld knew there was only one person who could’ve done this: Meng Shao Fei. But when the police investigated, he turned out to have an alibi for the time of death. It was not only confirmed by multiple eyewitnesses, but also by video footage. He was no longer a suspect.

Who did become a suspect, was Zhao Li An, also known as Zhao Zi. Zhao Li An was a childhood friend of Meng Shao Fei. It turned out he had been following Zhe De around for quite some time now. When they looked deeper into him, he seemed to have been connected to multiple murders.

These murders were all investigated by Meng Shao Fei.

Although there was not enough evidence to prosecute Zhao Li An, he was still a suspect in over 80 murder cases and over 120 other crimes. It’s believed that he’s one of the most successful and dangerous hitman of all time.

No sane man provoked him.

Not even a week after they found out about his existence, and only two weeks after Meng Shao Fei took over the gang, Zhao Li An was made the next right-hand man of Xin Tian Meng.

That was the life Meng Shao Fei lived now, a dark life he might never be able to escape from.

Chapter Text

“Tang Yi, hey!” And there was Meng Shao Fei, like every day, standing outside of Tang Yi’s gate. Tang Yi sighed and attempted to walk past him.

In the beginning he’d attempt to get Meng Shao Fei to leave, but after multiple months of him just coming back as soon as he could Tang Yi gave up and accepted his fate.

“Don’t ignore me, I’m talking to you!” Tang Yi didn’t respond despite Meng Shao Fei’s request and kept walking. For a brief second he considered getting his car and just driving him over, but he figured that wasn’t exactly a legal solution.

Meng Shao Fei jumped in front of him, like he did almost every day. Tang Yi stopped.

“Tang Yi! Stop ignoring me.” He really couldn’t now anymore.

“Yes, Meng Shao Fei, what is it?” He asked with a bored and at the same time annoyed expression. Meng Shao Fei wasn’t impressed by that. Honestly, he’d probably gotten used to it by now.

“Tell me! Who shot you, sir Tang and Li Chen four years ago!?” Tang Yi just sighed. He did this everyday, and Tang Yi refused to answer every day.

At first, he didn’t tell anyone who he’d seen because he wanted his own revenge. But when he joined the police force, that changed. He told them, truthfully, who’d he seen pull the trigger.

Chen Wen Hao.

It still haunted him in his nightmares, yet he wasn’t willing to tell a Meng Shao Fei. He knew what would happen to Chen Wen Hao, were Tang Yi to expose him. In the old days he’d gladly help anyone that was willing to assist in his death, but he learned. He didn’t want the man death anymore.

He wanted him to rot in jail, and to suffer the consequences of his actions through legal means.

So he kept silent, just staring at Meng Shao Fei with that same bored and annoyed expression he always had every morning.

“Fine then! I’ll see you again tomorrow.” Meng Shao Fei announced, and Tang Yi rolled his eyes as the gang leader stormed off angrily. This was what it was like every day, and had been like every day, for almost three years now. Tang Yi had gotten used to it.

By the time he arrived at the station, he’d already forgotten about this mornings encounter. He felt quite relaxed as he walked into the division, but when he sat down at his desk that feeling immediately disappeared.

Not only were there already three new cases to handle on his desk, Jack was approaching him with a smile and that was never good news.

“Ah Yi, hey!” Jack greeted and he leaned on Tang Yi’s desk. “How are you?”

“What did you do this time, Jack?” Tang Yi asked, not making conversation.

“No need to be so rude, it wasn’t my fault. I acted out of self defense!” Tang Yi rolled his eyes. Ofcourse it was. “Really! He had a knife, we fought and he fell into it. Not my fault.” Jack always did things like this. It’s why he wasn’t allowed in the field anymore. Yet, somehow, he always got away with it.

“Can you help me tell chief?” Jack asked Tang Yi, and he leaned in a little closer while also showing one of his most charming smiles.

“Why me? I had nothing to do with this.” Tang Yi immediately protested, but he knew he wouldn’t last long. Jack was pretty much his only friend, as everyone else was either afraid of him or suspected he’d betray them sooner or later.

“Chief likes you and I’m pretty sure he’ll kill me if I tell him myself.” You’d deserve it, Tang Yi thought, but he kept that to himself.

“Fine. But you’re not dragging me into this next time.” Jack definitely was.

Jack didn’t thank him with words, but just smiled at him instead. Tang Yi got up, and started to head off towards Chief’s office.

He knocked on the door, and opened it after being told to come in. When he did, he saw Chief leaning over multiple case files, while also on the phone. Tang Yi waited for the phone call to be over.

“Yes, yes, I know he used to be part of- No! No, how dare you. Keep quiet. Who do you think you are? God!?” Chief Shi started yelling and Tang Yi felt very awkward to just stand there, but it was too late to leave.

“Then walk up the mountain and rot on there!” Chief Shi yelled into the phone, and then hung up. He turned to Tang Yi, clearly in a bad mood and he internally cursed Jack. That man caused trouble all over, now for him, too.

“What is it?” Tang Yi was a bit startled by Chief’s tone, but quickly regained his posture and stood confidently again.

“It’s Jack, he-“ before he could even finish his sentence, Chief Shi already had put his head on the table and sat there with his hands on his head. Tang Yi felt sorry for him.

“He stabbed someone. He said it was self defe-“ Chief Shi groaned and then yelled as he raised his head again.

“God damnit! Can’t that cop do anything? Does he think we’re gangsters? Does he believe, because we make others follow the law, we don’t have to?! Does he think he’s king?! Should I go to him in my knees and beg for a quiet day!?” Tang Yi stayed silent through Chief’s complaints, thinking it was better not to get more involved.

Chief Shi walked out of his office angrily, heading towards the direction of Jack’s desk. Tang Yi was considering calling an ambulance ahead of time, but figured he shouldn’t bother. Jack wasn’t going to survive this encounter anyway.

He walked back to his own desk and ignored the loud yelling coming from his boss, and the explanations and smiles coming from Jack. He grabbed a file and attempted to read it.

Then Jack decided he wasn’t going down alone, and ran towards his senior. He put an arm around Tang Yi while standing behind him, still smiling at Chief Shi. He was using Tang Yi as a shield.

“Oh, but Chief! It really wasn’t my fault. He was mugging someone.” Jack moved Tang Yi around on his desk chair, using him to keep a distance between Chief and himself.

“HE NEARLY DIED!” Captain Shi yelled. It seemed like everyone but Tang Yi had left the precinct. He should’ve done the same. Now he was in this all alone.

“Yes, I know that, but he’s alive and well. He’s only missing a finger or two.” Even Tang Yi wanted to give Jack a good smack after he sat that. ‘Only’ my ass! That’s enough to go to jail for! He looked up at Jack, who was still holding his calm facial expression. He might as well be telling a story about a damn pinguin.

Chief Shi had given up by now. He let his shoulders slouch, had his eyes to the ground in disappointment and then raised his hands in defeat.

“Fine! You win. You win! It was self defense. Self defense, as always.” He let his hand fall down. “Just self defense!” Chief Shi turned around and walked back to his office, muttering the words ‘self defense’ over and over again.

“I think you broke him.” Tang Yi told Jack after Chief’s office door was closed.

“He’s fine.” Jack said. Then, a loud, frustrated yell came from Chief Shi’s office.

“See? Nothing unusual.” Jack said with the sound still ongoing. It lasted almost 5 minutes.

Tang Yi shook his head, then freed himself from Jack and rolled back to his desk.

Time to get some work done.

Chapter Text

If you asked Tang Yi why he and Jack were friends, he wouldn’t be able to give you a proper answer. Their personalities didn’t match, even a little bit. It was as if they were polar opposites: Jack was cheery and charismatic, Tang Yi was professional and stoic. Jack was a rebel and only followed the rules he liked, Tang Yi could recite every protocol out of the top of his head and respected authority like no other. Jack had been mistaken for a perp, on more than one occasion, while no one would even guess about Tang Yi’s past if they hadn’t already known.

They had one thing in common, though. They were avoided.

When Tang Yi first joined the police department, it was because of his past that people didn’t trust him. No one in the department was willing to work with him. He didn’t have a partner, no matter who was asked. They all avoided him like their lives depended on it.

And then Jack joined.

Just like Tang Yi, he was avoided by the rest of their colleagues. They avoided Jack because of things in his past, too, but they were different. He’d been deep undercover for three years. That on its own wasn’t a problem, but in those three years, he had been so deep undercover people struggled to believe he wasn’t just a criminal betraying his old gang mates. Before his true identity was revealed, he was known at the precinct as ‘the Monster’. It even became his alias.

Everyone was shocked when they found out the truth - that Jack had been a policemen, gathering evidence against the people he worked for. But even when people knew this, they didn’t want to work with him. His reputation stayed the same, even if not all things he was accused of were true. Their view of him stayed.

So, he was partnered up with Tang Yi.

At first, they didn’t get along. Tang Yi found Jack too smiley and happy, and thought he should take his job more seriously. While he still believed that last comment to be true, he’d learned to get used Jack’s smile and his personality. He still annoyed Tang Yi sometimes, but it wasn’t an angry kind of annoyance anymore. More a playful version of the feeling.

Jack didn’t like Tang Yi at first, either. He worked with him, because he had to, but that was it. Yet, eventually, he got so used to Tang Yi’s stoic expression and eye rolls he even learned how to read that face of stone. He realized Tang Yi wasn’t as much of a heartless asshole he’d thought he’d been, and started to voluntarily spend more time with him.

Their transition from disliking each other to being friends had gone so gradually, Tang Yi almost hadn’t realized. It wasn’t until Meng Shao Fei mentioned Jack that it hit Tang Yi.

Like every morning, Meng Shao Fei had greeted him with the question if Tang Yi was willing to tell him what happened yet. Tang Yi rolled his eyes and continued walking, also like every morning.

But then Meng Shao Fei asked him why he kept hanging out with that ‘red-haired gangster’, because hadn’t he gone straight? He shouldn’t be friends with bad people if he wanted to be a cop, Meng Shao Fei had said. It had surprised Tang Yi. Not that Meng Shao Fei knew so much of his personal life (he wasn’t very good at hiding when he followed him) or that he dared to comment on Tang Yi’s morality, but that he’d referred to Jack as a friend.

Friends? He thought. He hadn’t called Jack a friend before. He kinda always figured they were enemies forced to be around each other. But, he thought, it wasn’t because they were forced to anymore. They’d chosen it now.

He liked Jack, he realized, in that moment. He liked him as a friend. And he was quite certain Jack thought the same of him.

So he smiled, thinking that for the first time since he left the gang life behind, he had a friend. And he ignored Meng Shao Fei, who didn’t ask his intrusive question again. Maybe he had enough of an answer already.

-

Jack and Tang Yi walked home together. They did that every day. Although Jack had a motorcycle, when he found out Tang Yi always walked home, he decided to walk with him.

At first, Tang Yi hadn’t know what to think of it. He wasn’t one to be social, and especially not when he was heading home after a long day. But Jack understood that. In the beginning their walks were met with complete silence, apart from their goodbyes when they split. However, when Tang Yi got more used to it, he began conversations himself. It wasn’t every evening, and they weren't long conversations, but it was nice. It made Tang Yi feel comfortable, and less exhausted when he got home.

The more they did it, though, the more they started to talk. Eventually, almost every second of their walk was filled by conversation. It was usually Jack talking, but Tang Yi didn’t mind. Not only had he gotten used to it, he’d grown fond of those moments. They were a way to relax at the end of the day, let the stress and worry of being a policemen slowly fade away before he got home. He knew Jack felt the same.

Right now, as they were walking, Jack was explaining the mugging situation.

“-so I followed him. I wasn’t being a creepy stalker, I swear! But I knew the alley was really dark and I could just smell the danger, you know? It smelled like danger.” Tang Yi huffed. Sure it did. “And I was right. He went around a corner, and the moment I followed him around it, I found a man holding up a knife.” Jack moved his hand forward as if he held the weapon himself. “He was threatening shorty! Telling him to hand off his wallet. I went to stand in front of him and told him to stop.” Jack flattened his hand, singing stop in front of himself as if he was a uniformed officer regulating traffic.

“I said I was a cop, but he didn’t care and stormed at me. We shortly struggled, but he had a butterfly knife. I don’t think he had experience with it, because the knife clapped shut and cut off two of his fingers.” He motioned to his hand, pretending like he was cutting of two of his own fingers. “Really stupid move. I didn’t even know that was even possible. He didn’t stop, though. He clapped the knife open again and stormed at me, but he really wasn’t that bright. He had the blade pointed to himself. I didn’t notice, and pushed his hand back to him. That’s how he ended up stabbing himself.”

“Sounds like you were responsible, still.” Tang Yi said. He also thought the criminal was an idiot, but he decided not to give Jack the satisfaction of agreement.

“I wasn’t, it’s not my fault if someone’s stupid.” He rolled his eyes like that was the most obvious thing in the world. “Anyway, that shorty I saved is coming to the precinct tomorrow to give his statement. I’m glad I get to see him again. He’s really cute.” Jack said, and Tang Yi swore he could see hearts in his eyes. Or in his smile.

“You’ve never talked about someone like that.” He pointed out. Jack had never said anything about liking someone before, or even just wanting to see someone again. Not even someone in the past, from before they met.

“Well, I guess it’s been a while,” he grinned. “let’s hope i'm not rusty!”

Tang Yi laughed. “I’m sure you’ll be fine.” He said, before stopping at the road split. While Jack had to go straight ahead and cross the road, Tang Yi had to go left.

“See you tomorrow.” Tang Yi said, adjusting the bag that he was carrying with him.

“Yeah, see you tomorrow.” Jack waved him goodbye before going straight ahead and crossing the road. Tang Yi waved back, and then turned left.

He was heading home, going to enjoy his evening before going to bed. He deserved it.

Chapter Text

“I did it! I told you, I’m the best at this.” Jack waved a piece of paper in front of Tang Yi’s face, who furrowed his brows in annoyance.

“No way. You went in there ten minutes ago, you can’t have cracked him that fast,” Tang Yi replied. Instead of saying anything back, Jack handed the paper over, like it was a religious artifact, for him to read.

Although Tang Yi didn’t say anything, it was obvious to Jack that he was impressed. Even though Tang Yi had spent four hours with the criminal, he hadn’t gotten even close to a confession, but all Jack had needed were ten minutes and that great smile of his.

“He even signed it...” Just as Jack was about to say something that undoubtedly would annoying Tang Yi, his name was called.

He turned around and saw a short, dark-haired man smiling at him, while waving adorably. It was Zhao Zi!

Jack waved back and walked towards him, ignoring Tang Yi completely. “Shorty, you came. I’m so happy to see you!”

Just a few days ago, Jack saved Zhao Zi form a mugger. He’d asked him to come by the station to give his statement, since he’d need it to build the case against the attacker. However, he had another reason to invite him: he wanted to see Zhao Zi again.

From the minute they met, he had been intrigued by the man’s peculiar behavior. While it was normal for a civilian to thank the police men that just saved them, he’d never met someone like Zhao Zi before.

Instead of expressing his gratitude in words, Zhao Zi had immediately hugged him as soon as the criminal was cuffed. After that, he’d gone on to feel Jack’s chest and compliment his physique, while talking about how he’d never be able to get such a body, even if he never stopped working out. Then, he’d suggested they’d go and get some ice-cream together. “It’ll be fun!” Zhao Zi had said.

Jack agreed.

What made all of it even more peculiar, was that Zhao Zi was an alleged criminal. He was a suspect in more criminal cases than Jack had solved, but somehow still didn’t have a criminal record. He’d never even gotten a speeding ticket.

Despite never being arrested, he had a reputation of being malicious and merciless. They said his bullets never missed and his knife always twisted; where he went, death followed.

Yet, his smile melted Jack’s heart and he carried innocence with him in every way. He didn’t understand how someone like that could ever fire a gun, let alone kill someone. And he decided he wanted to understand.

Something else very surprising about him, was that Zhao Zi hadn’t taken any reaction to his status as a police men whatsoever. Everybody always had an opinion on his profession, whether good or bad. Some thought it was honorable, others called him a slave of the government.

But Zhao Zi? There was no judgement from him. Not disgust when he talked about criminals he arrested, not anger when he mentioned he’d done undercover work, nothing.

They talked for long; Jack even cooked for him, at his house. He told about his grandma, who had passed away a few years ago. He also told about his best friend, Meng Shao Fei, the gangleader. It had felt weird to hear someone talk positively about him, but refreshing, too.

It reminded him that he became a cop not only to arrest those breaking the law, but so that the violence of police men towards others could stop. So that he could show others that even the worst of beings had humanity to them.

Jack had felt something strange he’d never felt before that night, when he was at home and laid in bed. It was a form of calmth and happiness he couldn’t quite place. He had looked forward to seeing Zhao Zi again.

“Didn’t you say you’d be here at 1 PM?” Jack asked, starting a conversation. “It’s not that late already, or is it?” He had made sure he had at least half an hour left when he started the interrogation, and quickly checked his watch. It showed the time as 15 before 1, but when he looked at clock on the wall in the department, he realized his watch was wrong. It was 1 PM, exact.

“Silly, did you forget the time?” Zhao Zi said, teasingly pushing him with a smile. Jack grinned and let himself get pushed, then moving closer and putting an arm around Zhao Zi’s shoulder.

“I’d never forget the time if it’s concerning you!” He flirted, “but my watch was wrong. I’ll have t-”

“Jack, what the fuck!?” Tang Yi interrupted them. He stared at Jack with wide eyes and anger. Oh, shit, Jack thought.

Tang Yi’s loud voice had startled Zhao Zi, who leaned closer to Jack for protection.

“Stop it, you’re scaring him!” Jack looked at Tang Yi with furrowed brows, not happy about the way he was treating his friend, hiding his light fear of his friend's anger.

“Scare him? Are you fucking-” Tang Yi broke off his own sentence, staring at Jack with angry eyes. He pointed at Jack’s friend, seemingly wanting to say something, but no words came out.

“We’re talking. Now.” He said after dropping his hand. He turned around and started walking towards the hall.

“I’m sorry, shorty. I’ll be back in a few minutes, I promise.” Jack said while slowly letting go of shorty’s shoulder and following Tang Yi. He waved and smiled apologetically, but that dropped and was replaced by an almost teasing smile as soon as they turned around the corner.

When they were out of sight, Tang Yi shoved Jack. It wasn’t an aggressive push, but it still surprised him.

“Jack! Have you gone insane?!” Tang Yi yelled. Jack looked back, hoping Zhao Zi wouldn’t hear them.

“Ah Yi, calm down, calm down! He’s the one I saved the other day. He’s my friend now,” Jack stated, as if it was up for no discussion. He knew Tang Yi’s anger was nothing to play with, but he refused to give in to it.

“He can’t be your friend, you damn idiot!” He scolded Jack, “That’s Zhao Li An! THE Zhao Li An! Right hand man of Xin Tian Meng, he’s a suspect in over 80 murders! He’s the most feared hitman of all time! He’s-”

“Absolutely adorable,” Jack interjected, and as a response Tang Yi hit him on the back of his head. This time, Jack expected it, and just smiled. That only made Tang Yi more frustrated.

“Adorable? Adorable!? He’s dangerous! He’s terrifying! He could probably kill you with a toothpick!” Jack chuckled. Tang Yi was exaggerating, and they both knew it.

“Ah Yi, he didn’t even fight off that mugger when we met,” he smiled with calmth, asif he had it all figured out. “He’s a good person. I can see it in his eyes.” Tang Yi took a moment to breath before trying to say something, but Jack already continued. “I want to spend more time with him. And I won’t let you stop me.” Although his smile didn’t falter, there was something unsettling behind his eyes.

For a while, Tang Yi stayed silent. They stared at each other.

Then, he sighed. “Fine. It’s your life you’re ending.”

Tang Yi looked at Jack, but his eyes didn’t truly meet him. A
It was as if he didn’t even register Jack, not as his friend, at least.

Jack knew, if he walked away now, their relationship would forever be over.

“Tang Yi, you’re not just worried I’ll get hurt, are you?” His smile wasn’t there anymore, but had been replaced by a look of concern. Tang Yi didn’t answer, but turned away from Jack.

“You’re worried I’ll switch. You’re worried I’ll do what Meng Shao Fei did.” Jack voiced the fears he didn’t want to face. Tang Yi flinched at the mention of the ex-police men, turning back to look at Jack with his lips curled in disgust.

He knew of Tang Yi’s past, having both heard it from him and from others. He hadn’t been part of the team when Meng Shao Fei betrayed it, but he could feel how it affected everyone to this day. You didn’t get over something like that, not easily. He could barely imagine how much it must’ve hurt them.

And although Tang Yi never gave away much about the nature of his relationship with Meng Shao Fei, he’d said enough for Jack to understand that he was hurt at the time, too.

Tang Yi still didn’t speak, but he nodded lightly, with a tense jaw and balled firsts. That was enough for Jack.

“I won’t. I promise you, I’ll stay on the right side of the law till my dying breath.” He put his hand on his heart.

He could see Tang Yi was looking for something inside of Jack’s eyes. Maybe it was for a sign that he was lying, maybe the opposite. Whatever it was, he stopped looking and let his shoulders drop.

“Okay,” Tang Yi said, taking a deep breath. His face relaxed, and his shoulders dropped. “I believe you.” Jack could see in Tang Yi’s eyes how much it cost for him to say those words, how hard it was to mean them. But he knew he did.

“Thank you.” A silence followed his words, but air between them, which was previously filled with tension, felt light and kind.

“You should get back to Zhao Li An,” Tang Yi interrupted their silence. Jack smiled and nodded.

Jack opened his mouth, but closed it again. Instead talking, he hugged Tang Yi. It was a short hug, but Tang Yi still looked surprised. Jack patted him on the back, and then walked away towards where he’d left Zhao Zi behind.

When he got over his initial shock, Tang Yi yelled, “be careful!” after him. He could hear Jack yell “never!” back.

He’d be fine, Tang Yi thought. It was Jack, after all.