I have no idea what inspired this. I just suddenly decided, hey, I wanna write about Patrick and Angela's first date. And then this was born.

I confess, there are some incontinuities. After I was mostly done, I realized that Patrick is from Iowa. In this, I made like he's always been from California. I'm not sure where Angela hails from, but I decided to make her opposite of him. That part is made up. There may be other errors- mentions of the Ruskin family are few and far between, as well as mentions of Patrick's childhood. I tried to stay in character as much as I could while compensating for things that hadn't happened yet (for example, Patrick hadn't had his family killed yet, so he's slightly less jaded).

And, for the record, it was really hard to refer to him as 'Patrick' rather than 'Jane'.

He'd just finished unpacking, and was walking around to get a sense of the place. It was like all other carnivals- stinky, loud, messy, but through it all, enjoyable and welcoming. He never quite understood how that worked, how the dirty, sweaty carnies and rusty, smoking rides appealed to the general public. He was certain that, if he was a normal boy, then he wouldn't like the carnival.

Of course, he acknowledged his bias. As a carnie kid himself, the carnival lost its mystery and thrill very quickly. They were all the same tricks and shows and rides, just done with different voice acting and costumes.

This carnival was a bit better than the last one, though. Slightly cleaner, a little less greasy. Not as nice as the second place, but after the incident with the crystal, just looking at the place made him depressed. This was the fourth carnival they'd been to. Moving wasn't as frequent as it was for some, but it was still more than what a normal child would go through. The only times they moved was when someone saw through their act or became suspicious, or, like the first, went out of business.

However, at sixteen, he thought it was four more carnivals than he'd ever like to be at. As he'd matured and became smarter, he began to see through his father, from the powerful, awe-inspiring mastermind he'd once seen, to now: a money-grubbing, conniving, con-man thief.

"Are you afraid of fire, boy?" a voice asked him, interrupting his thoughts. He turned to face who'd spoken to him. It was a girl, a few inches shorter than him, with sleek wavy brown hair, one angular eyebrow cocked, and a small, child-like hand planted on her hip. It looked like she was trying to strike a challenging pose. Then he fully registered her eyes, and they pulled the look together so she looked fierce indeed.

"Uh… no…" he replied, staring back blank-faced. She lifted her chin, and suddenly it seemed as if she was looking down on him rather than the other way around. He was thoroughly thrown off by her, still dazzled by her elegant hair… and those eyes.

"Would you put that to the test?" she said. He blinked twice, recovering his composure, and realized she didn't know he was part of the carnival.

"What, do you want me to walk on coals or something?" he asked, adding a nervous edge to his voice. All the while, he was doing the observations he usually did on a mark, noting small details and committing them to memory.

"As if you could. Only an heir of the Ruskin can do such a feat. There is a show tonight, beginning at eight, at the palace tent. Attend, and be inthralled," she intoned.

"En-thralled," he said automatically. She blinked. "Not 'inthralled'. It's 'enthralled'." The corners of her mouth twitched- she was fighting back laughter. At what? Him?

"The Ruskin have transcended the concerns of words and the average life. We are beings of fire," she responded in a brilliant save. He suddenly realized she was trying not to laugh at herself, when he noticed the faintest blush on her cheekbones.

Beings of fire, he repeated silently, trying it out. He was caught in her eyes again for a second. Yes, you certainly are.

"I'd love to see that!" he said enthusiastically. "Can you really walk on fire?"

She laughed haughtily. "And more." She brought her face close to his, staring into his eyes boldly. "See for yourself tonight." And, with one last shocking glance, she turned and left, slipping into the crowd and disappearing. Likely searching for another victim to lure to her show tonight.

He continued his walk, though he wasn't absorbing much of his surrounding anymore. He found himself looking around for a color he could compare to her eyes.

They were amber-gold-hazel. He wished there was a name for such a color for a moment, then decided he was glad there wasn't, because then it wouldn't be so striking.

Her iris had the normal darker, thin, outer ring that divided the colored part from the whites. Just inside that, where the majority of the color resides, he'd seen gold shot through with darker and lighter flecks, like half-mixed honey. Then, around the pupil itself, was a sort of sunburst layer. Most eyes had that part, but hers was… green. It wasn't a fluorescent, bright green, but a mossy, pine-like shade.

The overall effect was stunning.

He wondered for a moment if they were contacts, then dismissed the thought. As unusual as they were, it was unlikely that they were contacts. They seemed natural, even though he'd never seen eyes like them. And if they were contacts, then he didn't want to know. He wanted to pretend they were her real eyes.

Oh, yes. He was most definitely going to that show.

I apologize that this first chapter is so short- I just want to get a feel for the interest level in this kind of thing. Usually I write whump fics, so this is a new experience. Also, usually I write Doctor Who fics, so changing to a very different show was a challenge.

I do not own The Mentalist- rights to CBS. I'll continue with this after 3 review.