Summary: Raymond stops at Northpoint's local marketplace before heading home one night.
A/N: I was surprised, no, still am that there are hardly any stories on sleeping dogs. Before I knew there were only 2, I wrote this story. It's short, hope you enjoy.
Rated T for swearing.
Once upon a time Wei was undercover, prowling with his cool gang friends in the market. They were in search for some overdue money so they harassed some sellers.
Raymond, not privy to his younger colleague's location was in the market as well finding that his pork bun dinner wasn't very filling.
He was downing his dragon kick soda settling in the dark corners behind the food stands, people-watching when he spotted the gang surrounding a stand.
When he noted the circle of men with tattoos and airs of superiority-were a gang, his immediate action was to intervene. But then he saw Wei.
This was a surprise. He lowered his drink, this would be a good time to observe how undercover police work, worked... how Wei worked.
His friend walked past the bun stand he was behind as he backed himself closer into the locked door of an apartment. There was a group of Sun on yee following his footsteps.
They didn't look like they were doing anything suspicious.
He looked to Wei again, remembering the man in the front was actually a cop. the contradicting part were the tattoos laced on his arms and the gangster clothes similar to the boys behind.
As the group continued further down the market, Raymond decided it was time to take his chance. The green soda can condensated on the steps of the apartment waiting there, like him. And it was left there as he made his way back into the market streets.
"Pork bun good!" the pork bun owner yelled.
"Best price! unbeatable." the voices of other sellers called out.
It wasn't usual for Raymond to be around here, his apartment was in central Hong Kong but tonight's shift kept him late. Pendrew liked to get things done fast, it was how he worked. So he preferred to have reports finished, whether they were crappy to get onto the next case.
His focus was constantly on the gang. They were getting deeper into the market, further away from him. And he had to get home.
He eyed his colleague one more time. Wei was just like them.
An undercover cop. Something he himself was not. And when he thought about it-ever being in Wei's position, anger would bubble. He'd never admit it, but fear popped itself in there as well. Part of him was intimidated and the other was in fear.
He would never in a million years want to be an undercover cop. with the reports coming in sent by aforementioned undercover cop, the older man knew the type of work that was preformed; the type of mindset one would have to get into, the lying to save oneself from getting caught, and the risk you had to carry.
He was not that kind of man.
He looked down at his arm unconsciously forgetting there was no watch. The crowd made their way past him chatting loudly when he decided if he had a watch, he would've took the hook.
He scratched his fingers as he followed, concerned how far they were digging; each market area akin to the last.
At each stop they made, he'd linger at a stall, pretending to glance at products.
The gang stopped at a fish booth. Wei was part of the group as one guy stepped up to the table, strangely his friends not at his side. He made short talk with the owner and discreetly got something handed to him.
It was this gang running the area that had a small smile on the owners face.
That didn't make any sense to Raymond. Why pay for protection from the guys who are illegally collecting when police are around who protect with legal taxes? The gangs had fabricated lies into the heads of these people who've accepted it, and that made Raymond sick.
He eyed them from the tilt of his head while browsing at a watch stand, his hands rubbing one of the silky clean screens and feeling the fake material under. The leather felt fake, the screen too shiny, and the metal feeling light.
The name inscribed on the back said 'Cambria'. He allowed his mind to linger and imagine if it was real because he'd never own such luxury.
He chuckled at the price; a bit too low for luxury, but a bit too high for luxury. Ignorance was the key to seeing it as real. And facing reality was the key to seeing it both ways.
He glanced at the group.
Wei was on-looking the end of the deal, a guy at his side talking.
His arms were visible obviously for the tattoos. Raymond couldn't imagine him without them, maybe looking like a real cop. He also wore a loose tank top creating the tough façade like them all. But maybe Wei's was real.
Raymond's eyes were still on him as he saw something flicker across the younger man's face. Wei looked alerted and consequently eyed the ground, then right up at Raymond.
Raymond slightly jumped, Wei looking angry or furious. The message was unreadable because Raymond had flinched. Angry that he'd flinched from a mere glance, he looked back. But when he did Wei's focus was on the deal. None of the members seemed to have noticed.
Raymond regained the disguise of a customer, peering down at the watches.
He began to feel like he was playing the role of an undercover cop, well more like private investigator and the person he had followed caught him dead in the act. Though it made his heart race, his adrenaline had kick started, a feeling he'd felt many years ago. That feeling had him reminiscing to the past, when he was a real cop. A real cop with a criminal staring him down and it played in his mind as it dawned on him that Wei was not a criminal.
It worried him that for Wei to play the role of Sun on yee, most of the time he'd be exactly that-a Sun on yee. And for the remainder, he'd remember he was a cop.
Raymond had a tendency to remind Wei that he was blending the lines a thousand times. He knew Wei hated it but he also knew the repetition was needed, because Wei feared it as well. He knew there'd be problems after Wei started the sting because he'd read every report on Wei Shen; every damn report that allowed him to memorize the whole 27 year olds life.
He focused his attention back to the 27 year old looking down the street.
The gang moved as he did down the path.
The watch in Raymond's hand slipped and he placed it back down. A man who happened to be the owner snapped his attention to Raymond and offered an encouraging smile.
Raymond caught the look. "Thank you I will think about it."
He left the shop, something like "Great Discount Can't Miss!" was mumbled from behind.
The next 4 shops that had been collected from flew by in 8 minutes.
Every time Raymond would glance at Wei, he'd see a gangster blending in. It made him alert and had him thinking. At collections his posture changed. When somebody gave him trouble, the air around him stifled to dead serious. He looked open and willing to any kind of confrontation.
Raymond told himself his colleague's acting was on spot. And to the underworld gang, Wei Shen was just a good liar.
He continually passed by stalls, each one he browsed the products were more fake, none real. And in his peripheral at every stall he'd see Wei. And there'd be more fake than real.
He began to wonder who was seeing it? Who was the fool? Was it him or the gangsters catching the difference?
They were at shop number 9. One member with a mohawk took the job of speaking to the man selling light up rings. A teenager was also at the shop, sitting behind the wooden counter, ignoring the gang and talking to some kids.
Unlike the other shops the gang's approach was different. The shop man looked feeble and unsure as words were exchanged. And the Mohawk man oozed with subtle violent body language hints.
After a few moments of no exchange, Mohawk yelled to encourage the father who then sputtered into action and rummaged through his pockets. It went just like routine.
The son watched, his audience of little kids looking up at the scene and slowly scattering away.
The father handed over whatever it was, just like the rest of the vendors, but as he did this, he backed slightly to his son, watching the gangster evaluate what was in his hand.
Wei didn't do anything, Raymond figuring it was under control.
He weighed it in his head, his eyes on Wei. The younger man stood a few feet away from the shop, leaning against a wall, on-looking the deal with no change from usual expression, arms crossed.
Raymond wondered if Wei knew he was here, even though he already knew himself that Wei did. It proved the undercover cop exceeded his skill in his profession. And now Raymond felt stupid, standing there, being obvious with Wei knowing he was there.
There was more yelling coming from the ring stall. The father took the abuse like he expected it looking worried, his son behind him now. Mohawk now mimicked his leader, a dead serious approach in everything he said with a mindset of doing whatever was necessary.
Raymond's thoughts twitched and angled itself to focus on him not making a move. His instincts told him he should but… He couldn't, and he wouldn't. As a cop his body was unconsciously ready, but he knew he had to trust Wei.
He thought about the heated night Wei told off Raymond's profession, making it fact that their professions were nothing like each other. In the moment as he watched the scene, he forced himself to acknowledge it and help release the tension in his instincts.
When he glanced to the shop, the gang leader's gaze fell on him. That same face as always, tense, stubborn. This time more tense and this time he didn't flinch. And then the gaze ended, now by Wei's doing whose attention was back to the usual.
With a few more shouts, Mohawk now walked around the table that blocked him from the vendor and up to him. It didn't look like it would turn out friendly.
Before Raymond could react, which he considered whether he would, or how he would, Wei intervened. He was behind Mohawk, grabbing one of his arms and pulling him back slightly.
Raymond who had actually unconsciously taken a few steps from his booth, looked down to the market floor and took small steps back. Nobody noticed his preparation, but he didn't look up to check for a few moments feeling stupid. When he did, the father was shaking his hands in front of him with worry and seemed to be pleading. He was pulled up by Wei and then pushed to the side. He landed safely on the market ground as Wei aimed for the teenager, gripping the boy's shoulders and forcing him up.
The boy didn't utter a word, but froze. His eyes flew to his father and then back at Wei.
Raymond didn't know what, but he had expected Wei's intervention to be positive. As Wei's right hand fisted itself high, ready to punch, the memory of the wedding and the boat harbor flickered in between Raymond's thoughts.
He couldn't help imaging Wei having allowed himself to get too attached as Sun on yee. In order for this operation to happen, Wei really had to be a gangster in order to perform as they needed. Not saying that every cop had to be the target they needed, but Wei did. Raymond knew, from the reports on this man, that Wei Shen was not the undercover cop they needed… he wasn't ready.
Quickly, the father had then got down on his knees in desperation pleading, quite loudly. "Here I have it!" his frantic voice spilled out. And once again he rummaged through his pockets.
The whole market seemed to be watching.
Now Raymond couldn't hear, but he saw a sinister smile grace Wei's face as he spoke down. It had Raymond taken aback. He didn't flinch when the smile aimed itself at him.
For the split second before it was gone, he saw the emotion and how clearly real it had been.
In the instant it was gone, so was the grip on the son.
There was a short chat before the gangsters left the area for peace.
He realized he had been standing there for the whole scene, unmoving.
If he was a private investigator taught in stealth he would have been noticed at that point. He was sure some of the gang members had seen him, but then the rest of the audience was frozen, staring just like him. And they wouldn't know he was a cop.
The confrontation was over; the gang on their way to leave and he felt like doing the same. He didn't even want to think about what happened… He didn't want to over-analyze every little detail into Wei's actions, the damn performance he put on and whether it was real or fake. It tired him, and it tired Wei to hear him voice concerns.
Raymond knew he would do exactly that if he got a glimmer of emotion on his colleague, enough to allow him to read more of the puzzle Wei was, even if the glimmer of emotion was just one more glance he figured he could decipher, it would be in vain.
Perhaps he was in luck because Wei didn't spare him another glance. The last thing Raymond decided to observe Wei on that night was the man handing something to one of the little children who had been talking to the vendor's son.
He handed her something in a balled fist. Something. Something. Raymond would never know. He mouthed something to her too, before turning back to his shift with the gangsters.
Raymond shook his head, tired and facing a wall of bright shirts. His focus was on anything but hip clothing. He turned to leave and this time, the vendor said nothing.
He was looking in every direction for some familiar mark out of the market maze when he was tugged lightly on his jacket sleeve.
He turned, sleep having pulled its weight on him though fully alert, and ended up swiveling around quite frantically.
The girl who had been tugging his jacket had jumped back slightly. He lowered his gaze down to her and sighed.
It was the little girl Wei spoke with. She now looked up to Raymond. He offered a smile nervously and asked her if she was okay.
Why was she speaking with him now?
She had nodded back timidly at first then shot her hand out. Her voice was small. "The bad man who is in a gang told me this secret stuff is for you."
Her tiny fist was gripping a bunch of shiny coins and some crumbled paper. Raymond nodded and took a look around before complying and taking everything in her hand.
Money? Wei was also nowhere to be seen, nor the gang.
"Uh thank you." He said but she was already skipping away back to the other children.
He opened his palm, counting; $450 and a paper folded once. It was a flyer for a curry shop but cut in half and marked on.
Scribbled above the pictures in red ink said-
'Asshole get the fuck away!'
At first he didn't know what to make of it. No, the note made perfect sense, but $450?
In a higher up gangsters eyes, this wasn't much. And Wei's reports proved his earnings higher than Raymond's and Pendrew's salaries put together. He remembered the little messenger who gave it to him and concluded the money was probably for her. He shook his head. Half a thousand to a kid?
She must've thought the money was for Raymond.
He didn't want to think about this anymore. The girl was gone-so the money was for him. After finding a path back to the entrance he considered buying something along the way.
The original pork bun stand was in the distance. As he made his way to it, he passed a watch stand. It was similar to the previous watch shop. There was an employee he took notice to. Raymond noted this man because he looked like Sun on yee. His shirt sleeves too short revealed tattoos. But he didn't look like the type to be dangerous or head up in rank.
The kid like vendor offered the same great discount on the watches, claiming they were real, and if Raymond wanted, he could've decided to make a case on him and bust him for fake watches.
But he didn't want to.
He found himself eyeing the same watch from before.
The most fakest luxurious one. Exactly $450 with an ignorant fake like real 40% discount.
And he bought it.