--OK, this is my first shot at a Mentalist fic so go easy on me!--

Baby in Red



CBI Headquarters, Sacramento, CA

"Good morning everyone." Patrick said, walking brusquely into the quiet office and heading directly for his couch.

"There is no such thing as a good Monday morning." Rigsby said. Patrick chuckled.

"Don't get comfortable," Lisbon said, entering the room. "Just got the call, a man and a woman were killed last night in Fairfield."

"Isn't it a little early?" Rigsby whined.

"Oh, don't be such a baby." Patrick said, standing.

"I told Social Services what's going on," Van Pelt said, hanging up the phone. "They said they'd be at the crime scene in a few hours."

"Social services?" Cho inquired. Lisbon frowned and sighed.

"Mr. and Mrs. Wesson were foster parents."

Wesson residence, Fairfield, CA

Patrick gazed around the crime scene, not looking particularly interested in anything. He was trying to find out anything he could about the people that lived here, the people that were killed, and the killer himself. He walked around the perimeter of the house while Lisbon spoke to the officer that had first arrived at the scene. He looked to see where the killer got in, how they got in. How they killed Mr. and Mrs. Wesson; that was highly important. What he needed right now, though, was a suspect.

"I told you and everybody else that has asked me today, I…didn't…see…anything." Patrick turned and saw a young girl talking to a police officer.

"Miss Wesson-"

"My last name is Joyce, thank you." She said shortly.

"Miss Joyce," The officer corrected. "Your foster parents were murdered in your house last night and you're telling me you didn't see or hear anything?" The girl sighed.

"Considering I've said that ten times now, yes. I heard nothing and I saw nothing.

"And how is that possible?" The officer asked. The girl folded her arms and glared at him.

"I don't think you have the right to interrogate a minor without a legal guardian present, correct?" She said. Patrick stifled a laugh.

"Miss, you're guardians are deceased." The officer said pointedly. The girl grinned mischievously.

"Exactly. So, I think we're done here." She said, turning and almost hitting Lisbon, who smiled.

"You must be Caroline." She said, her voice border-line baby talk. Caroline raised her brows in an as if expression.

"Yes, I am. And I'm also fifteen, not seven." She said. Lisbon frowned. Patrick grinned.

"Well, Caroline," Lisbon said, changing her tone. "Social services will be here in an hour to relocate you somewhere." Caroline swallowed and looked at the ground, almost looking fearful.

"Uh, Lisbon," Patrick said, stepping forward. "I don't think that's a good idea."

"Why not?" She asked, confused.

"She was the only one in the house last night that lived. Don't you think we should ask her some questions?" Patrick asked.

"At least he pays attention." Caroline said.

"Fine," Lisbon said. "She can go with Social Services from the station."

"So, that means I gotta get my stuff." Caroline said. Lisbon nodded. She turned and headed for the house.

"Don you think-"

"Someone should go with her?" Patrick finished. She smiled.

"Smart guy." She said, continuing into the house. Patrick followed her.

"Oh, no you don't," Lisbon said. "Van Pelt, you go with her." Grace nodded and followed Caroline into the house. She looked around the empty living room, trying not to stare at the puddles of blood on the couch and the floor.

"Up here!" Caroline called. Van Pelt walked up the stairs finding Caroline in the smallest bedroom at the back of the house.

The walls were stark white and bare. The bed spread was bland. The belongings in the room were beyond sparse.

Caroline grabbed a duffel bag from under her bed and threw it on the bed. She opened the dresser and piled the few items of clothing that resided there in the bag.

"Um, how long have you lived here?" Van Pelt asked.

"About a year," She said. Van Pelt tried not to look concerned. Caroline chuckled. "Yeah I know. Pathetic, isn't it?" She tossed a few very tattered paperbacks into the bag. "The really sad thing is the guest room is bigger than my room." She chuckled again.

"I…I, um…" Grace was at a loss.

"Don't worry about it," Caroline said. "By the way, that's motive." Van Pelt jumped at her words. The girl sighed and gently placed the most beat up, worn CD player Van Pelt had ever seen into her bag and zipped it up. The bag wasn't even half full.

"Alright, off to interrogation." She said, throwing the bag over her shoulder and tossing her blonde curls. Van Pelt bit her lip.

"She reminds me of someone." She thought. She shook her head and followed the teenager out.

CBI Headquarters, Sacramento, CA

"What are they doing in there?" Lisbon asked, growing impatient. "I mean, how long could it possibly take to interrogate a teenager?" Patrick smiled, amused by her growing frustration.

"Maybe Cho and Rigsby can't handle a child." Van Pelt suggested.

"Nah," Patrick said. "Rigsby's great with kids." He smiled wryly at Van Pelt, who looked away from him.

"Then what's the problem?" Lisbon asked, throwing up her arms. Before Patrick could answer there was a loud slam of a door.

Cho came around the corner, shaking his head but looking as collected as ever. Rigsby, on the other hand, was red faced and furious. His breath heavy, brows joined, jaw clenched.

"What's wrong?" Lisbon said.

"That girl!" Rigsby exclaimed.

"Are you telling me that the two of you can't handle a little girl?" Lisbon asked. Rigsby shook his head.

"That is not a little girl! She, she plays these mind games. And she talks in riddles. And she thinks it's funny to confuse us! She's, she's…him!" He pointed at Patrick. Lisbon looked from Patrick to Rigsby.

"What?" She asked. Patrick grinned.

"Really?" He said.

"Yeah," Cho nodded. "She's like your female mini-me." Patrick stood.

"Oh, I have to go talk to her." He said.

"Did she say anything about her foster parents?" Lisbon asked.

"Hell if I know, Boss," Rigsby said. "I told you, I couldn't understand half of what she said." Patrick was already walked toward the interrogation room.

"Hey!" Lisbon yelled. "Wait! You're crazy if you think you're going in there alone!" Patrick ignored her and walked into the interrogation room.

Caroline was sitting back in the chair, humming leisurely and staring into space. She sat up when he entered, smiling in a friendly matter.

"You must be Jane," She said. "Though I would think you'd have different parts." Patrick smiled.

"My name is Patrick Jane." He said, extending his hand. She shook it.

"Caroline Joyce. Do you want to question me too?" She asked. Lisbon entered the room.

"Yes, I do," He said. "Why did you terrorize my coworkers?" She smiled.

"Because it's easy. And very fun to do. That Rigsby's very easy to frustrate." She said. Patrick smiled.

"I'll give you that." He said.

"I know you've messed with him the same way before. He kept yelling at Agent Cho that I was doing the same things you do." She folded her arms and looked at him expectantly.

"Very true," He admitted. "So, you enjoy toying with people as much as I do."

"Oh yes, very much so." She grinned.

"Jane, you're supposed to be interrogating her." Lisbon snapped.

"Right. Did you kill your foster parents?"

"Caroline, don't you say another word." A stiff, balding man in glasses entered the room, looking agitated and determined. He sat down next to Caroline, setting his briefcase on the table.

"You must be from Social Services." Caroline and Patrick said in unison.

"Yes," The man said, nervously glancing at them. "I'm Alan Glenn. And as of right now I am Caroline's legal guardian." He said. Caroline rolled her eyes.

"Like I need you." She mumbled.

"What?" Alan asked.

"She thinks you think she's just a stupid child and you're actually the idiot." Patrick explained, smiling. Alan looked at her.

"Yeah," She nodded. "Right on the nose." He frowned and turned his attention back to Patrick.

"Now, you were saying?" He said stiffly. Patrick looked at Caroline.

"Did you kill your foster parents?" He repeated.

"No, I didn't." She said honestly. He nodded.

"But you didn't like them, did you?" He asked.

"Absolutely not." She said. He leaned forward.

"And why is that?" He asked.

"What does that have to do with anything?" Alan barked.

"Oh, butt out, Al," Caroline snapped. "They didn't like me much. In fact, they pretended I wasn't even there."

"So, they ignored you?" He pried.

"They locked me in my room for days on end." She said calmly.

"That's not possible," Alan chided. "Walter and Vanessa were very good people."

"Are you saying I'm lying?" Caroline asked, eyes fiery.

"Caroline, we look into our foster parents very thoroughly to avoid abuse." He said.

"You're doing a really crappy job." She muttered.

"You're wrong about them Caroline."

"So you are calling her a liar." Patrick stated.

"Do you have more questions for her or can we leave?" Alan huffed.

"Caroline, were your foster parents abusive?" Patrick asked.

"Don't answer that." Alan snapped.

"Why, because you think you know what's 'best' for me? I met you ten minutes ago. You don't know me, or anything about me. I am perfectly capable of speaking for myself. I've been on my own since I was three years old with no one to protect me or care about me. I don't need you telling me what to do, Al!" She spat. Patrick giggled. She smiled back at him.

"Yes, they were Mr. Jane." She said.

"Please, Patrick." He said.

"Alright, Patrick, can we hurry this along, we're in a rush." Alan said.

"Oh, no, you have to call him Mr. Jane." Caroline said. Patrick nodded.

"Actually, you aren't taking her anywhere," He said. "She's a suspect in this investigation and we'd like to keep her here," Caroline's eyes lit up. "Besides, foster homes are overcrowded. Another girl could make some people's lives very difficult. Especially one with a brilliant mind like hers." Caroline nodded. Alan frowned.

"I don't think it would be in her best interest to-"

"Didn't you hear me, you pencil pushing buffoon? The only person that gives a damn about my best interests is me, so don't pretend you do. I'll stay here." Alan frowned.

"You can call and check on her if you'd like." Patrick defended. Alan stood, realizing he was being outnumbered.

"Fine, keep her!" He threw up his arms in defeat and stormed out of the room. Caroline smiled at Patrick.

"Thank you," She said. "You don't know how long it's been since I've been around a person of intellect." She grabbed her bag and stood.

"I feel your pain." He said. Her grin broadened.

"So, where do I go now?" She asked. Patrick opened the door and steered her in the right direction.

"Jane!" Lisbon called. He gestured for Caroline to keep walking. "Are you sure about this?"

"Absolutely, she'll be fun to have around." He said cheerfully.

"She's your responsibility then." She said.

"Oh God, there's two of them!" Rigsby exclaimed. Patrick smiled.

"Oh yes, she'll be a lot of fun."

--What'd you think? Please tell me!!--