Alright, I've read a couple of these, and I just HAD to do one! So yeah… on with the story!

Disclaimer: I do not own The Mentalist. I do not own Patrick Jane, however much I wish I did… -dreamy eyes-

Lisbon marched into the office, dropping a thick file onto Van Pelt's desk with a loud smack, making her jump.

"New case, guys," she said, feeling glad to have something interested to do, then feeling guilty for feeling that. Rigby and Cho got up from their card game and came over.

"Seventeen-year-old girl was stabbed in one of the conference rooms in a hotel. Her name was Jessie. We're bringing her sister in for questioning. She's really smart. Cho, during the interrogation, you should work with-," she suddenly noticed someone was missing. "with… Jane…" she trailed off, looking to the couch where he usually was sprawled.

"He's not here," Cho said helpfully, discerning the cause of her pause.

"He's not…? I can't believe him! He's usually late, but this…" she stopped, shaking her head with frustration. She snatched the phone from its cradle and hammered in his phone number. It rang… rang… rang again… kept ringing…

Lisbon's fingers drummed an impatient staccato on Van Pelt's desk. Rigby opened his mouth to voice his complaints on the irritating sound, but Cho inconspicuously elbowed him, and gave him a tiny shake of his head.

He finally answered after the seventh ring. He sounded slightly out of breath, as if he'd run to the phone, and his voice was oddly hoarse. "Patrick Jane," his customary answer sounded in her ear.

"Jane? Where are you?" she said incredulously.

"At my house. I'm sorry, I slept through my alarm. The phone just woke me up, actually," he apologized.

"Well, hurry up. We've got a case, and we need you to do your… thing," she said, trying and giving up on finding a word to describe what it was that he did.

"Alright. I'll be there in a half hour," he said. Lisbon frowned. Is it just me or does he sound a bit raspy? she thought. The idea was instantly dismissed. It was Jane, for goodness sakes.

"Good. Hurry up, we've got a suspect waiting, and she's not the only one who's impatient," Lisbon said.

"Can do, boss," he replied, humorously. Just before he hung up, she thought she heard a loud, rough bout of coughing. Once again, she put it out of her mind.

"Moving on… Van Pelt, I want you to look up everything on this girl's family. The last name is Vann, with two 'n's. Rigby, Cho, tomorrow you'll go check out her house and her car. We can't do her locker yet. We'll do that tomorrow night," Lisbon said, letting the familiar orders slip from her mouth.

"Why not today?" Rigby asked, shuffling the cards.

"It's Thursday," Lisbon stated, as if it was obvious. Rigby gave her a blank look.

"So?"

Lisbon groaned, exasperated. "It's a school. There's students there."

"What about tonight?"

"Rigby, did you ever go to school? Thursday is game night. Basketball games, five of them. JV2 boys, JV boys, JV girls, Varsity boys, Varsity girls. The school is going to be packed," Van Pelt pointed out reasonably. Lisbon nodded.

"Oh. Ohhh," Rigby said, finally understanding. "What about the interrogation?"

"Wait for Jane. I don't like this girl, she's too confident. He should shake her up a bit, get under the surface. He's good at that," Lisbon smirked.

"Alright," Rigby sighed, starting to deal.

"I'm in," Lisbon said, sitting down and resigning herself to a half hour of cards.

-.-.-.-

Forty-five minutes later, Jane practically fell in the door, his breaths short and fast, despite his attempt to slow it and regain his normal aloof composure.

Lisbon's green eyes smoldered. "Where have you been?" she said, getting up furiously. He gave her a bashful grin, his usual effect of sunshine and boyish cleverness somewhat dampened by the feverish red of his cheeks.

"Traffic was terrible. I couldn't find my other shoe. My toaster caught on fire. I ran out of gas. The usual excuses," he said cheerily, despite the croaky edge to his voice. Van Pelt's head shot up, and she met his eyes with an expectant look. His smile widened innocently as he made a beeline to his couch.

Lisbon's arm shot out and blocked his path. "Hey, nuh-uh. We've got an interrogation that's almost an hour late." Jane's smile faded, and he reluctantly turned around, heading for the door again with the agents close behind.

After retrieving the sister from where she'd been sitting patiently, playing Phase on her iPod, they proceeded to the interrogation room.

"My name is Kimball Cho," Cho said to the girl. Lisbon, Rigby, Van Pelt, and Jane stood outside the interrogation room, watching intently. The agents were watching intently, at least. Jane leaned against the wall, nodding off.

"I'm Sam, but you already know that. Yes, I'm fifteen. A sophomore in high school. No, I didn't kill my sister. Yes, I know a few people who might've had the motives to. Yes, I'm sure I didn't kill her," she said, rolling her eyes.

Cho's eyes narrowed, and he rotated his jaw angrily. "Who might've had the motives, then?"

She shrugged. "I'm done with questions. My sister just died- I don't care who did it. I just want this to be over with. Go back to my life." Her voice turned bitter and angry.

Outside the room, Lisbon watched, her eyebrows furrowing. "Jane, go see what you can do," she commanded him without looking. A moment passed while Cho and Sam had a stare-off.

Lisbon realized Jane hadn't moved, and spun to face him. He was leaned against the wall, head lolling on his shoulder, eyes closed, practically asleep on his feet.

"Jane!" she exclaimed disbelievingly. His eyes opened, and stared at her for a second.

"Yes, I agree," he said in a brilliant save. She groaned.

"Do you have any clue what I just said?" she snapped.

"N-," he broke off, coughing raggedly. Van Pelt winced sympathetically, and gave Lisbon an expectant look. She ignored it and waited. Faker, she silently accused. It was just like him to pretend to be sick to cover up for coming in late, or to get sympathy from others.

"No," he finally got out, smiling sheepishly.

"I said get in there and do your thing," she repeated angrily.

"Oh. I'll go do that, then." He slipped into the room quickly, putting a door between himself and Lisbon's withering impatience. Sam glanced carelessly at him, almost looking away again, but her eyes couldn't quite complete the motion.

"Hello," he said pleasantly, grinning. She gave him a hesitant half-grin back as he loitered discreetly in the corner, watching with quick, clever eyes.

"Sam, there is someone out there who just killed your sister. They might kill someone else. Do you want them to walk free after doing such a thing? Live happily after their crime?" Cho asserted.

"I don't care. I'm counting on karma, or that they'll feel guilty," she bit back, her hazel eyes practically glowing in the dim room.

"Sam, we need this person. They could kill someone else."

"What part of I don't care do you not understand?" Sam shouted, waving her hands angrily. Jane noticed small, red half-moons dug into the palms of her hands, just before his head bobbed with a loud sneeze.

Sam and Cho jumped, having forgotten that he was there. He proceeded to pull a handkerchief and blow his nose loudly. Both of the other room occupants watched him with raised eyebrows, and exchanged a glance.

"Sorry," he said stuffily, rubbing his reddish nose. "Carry on."

Sam appraised him for a moment before turning back to Cho. "I'm not going to talk about this. I want it over. Done. Plus, I might give you the wrong names. Or they might be right, and if they find out, I'll be their next victim. There's a chance they aren't going to kill anyone else, too."

"Sam, please. We're going to find out eventually, anyway," Cho pressed. She pursed her lips and shook her head. Cho gave Jane a look, indicating for him to step in.

However the consultant had his eyes closed again and was dozing, somehow still standing up. Again. Cho bit back a growl, and gave the glass a meaningful glance.

On the other side, Lisbon ground her teeth. She leaned forward and pushed the intercom button.

"Jane, Cho, can you come here for a minute?" she said, fighting to keep her tone even and cool. Cho all but smashed through the door, with Jane meekly trailing behind.

"Jane!" she barked. He coughed into his handkerchief. She waited for him to stop before continuing. "Jane, pay attention. This is an important case, could you at least try to help?"

"Of course. Apologies," he said, sniffling. He and Cho went back into the room. This time, Jane didn't stay off to the side. He went straight up to the table and grinned at the girl. She warily eyed him.

"I'm Patrick Jane," he said cheerfully.

"Ohh-kayyy," Sam said as if she didn't care.

"I'm sorry your sister died."

"That makes two of us. I didn't-," she started.

"I know you didn't kill her," Jane cut in. She stopped, blinked, and relaxed.

"Good. At least one of you does."

Jane sat down opposite of her, stifling a cough. "I used to have a daughter," he said unexpectedly. Sam just stared at him, waiting for him to get to the point. "She died." Once again, he paused, but she said nothing. "Actually, she didn't just die. She was brutally murdered. My wife, too. The man who killed them used their blood to paint a smiley face on the wall. Do you know why?"

Sam said nothing, but looked a bit apprehensive, as if she expected him to suddenly go insane and attack her.

"Because I killed them. I gave the man a reason to kill me, but he killed them instead."

Sam's brazen look of aloofness faltered as she looked at the consultant. He stared defiantly back. Firey hazel and icy blue eyes met. In the dim atmosphere of the room, the entire effect was chilling and enchanting, what with the story and the intense stare. Lisbon was a bit awed at how Jane had taken his weaknesses, threw them out in the open, and somehow, instead of breaking him, it seemed to make him stronger. Strong enough to break through the teen's shell.

Of course, the entire scene was ruined when Jane sneezed loudly, then dissolved into a coughing fit.

Lisbon folded her arms and pinched the bridge of her nose, closing her eyes. She silently counted to ten slowly, willing herself not to barge in and kick Jane in the shins for his insolence. Faker, she thought furiously.

Hee hee. We all love Jane. We all love making him suffer. xD Poor guy… I run off reviews and Rise Against!