Authors Notes: Death of a Simpson began as a small segment in a much broader storyline that I really liked and decided to go back and flesh out. This is my first attempt at Fan Fiction so forgive me for the length. I don't know any better. I found Homer the most difficult to write for; I went for canon circa Seasons 4-6, this was a conscious decision. Otherwise it rapidly would've degenerated into the more recent "Shrieking Homer" and I think the overall quality of the story is better for it. Maggie was definitely the most interesting to write for, however, because she's pretty much left blank (exempting the future-centric episodes and her occasional affinity for firearms...). I was satisfied with the direction her characterization took and being the oldest of three boys, I'm about as far from being in her situation as possible. The rest of the characters were pretty easy to fall into because I either felt close to them emotionally or I knew someone in my life to base them off of. Watching 3-4 hours of the show almost daily might've had some influence too.
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Lisa felt herself being shaken lightly and opened her eyes with a weary groan. "Why am I still so tired?"
Nurse Jenny returned an equally tired smile when Lisa recognized her.
"Morning..." She stretched, then her eyes snapped open wide. "Is Bart...?!"
"He's fine. The surgery was a complete success!"
"Really? Oh, thank you! Thank you so much! But why are you still here?"
"I volunteered for a double shift. Silly me!" Jenny responded flippantly.
"Oh." Lisa recalled her half-hearted promise to Maggie from last night. "Jenny?"
"Yes?" The nurse sat down in the chair next to Lisa.
"How did they know about Bart on the news last night?"
"Oh, that? Let's just say, the good Reverend should've known better than to tell his wife why he was needed here in the middle of the night. Or rather, for whom." She added with another friendly grin.
Lisa glanced at her mother and father, curled uncomfortably together in one chair as the slept. Their hands were clasped in each other's lovingly. She nodded her acceptance of Jenny's explanation and noticed Maggie was nowhere in sight.
"Where's my sister?" Lisa asked.
"She wasn't here when I arrived..." Jenny took a brief look around and shrugged. "Maybe she had to go to the bathroom?"
"Well, I'd better find her. I know mom, she'll pull her hair out worrying about her." Lisa stood and shook the final vestiges of her fitful slumber away.
"When they ask, I'll tell them you two went for a walk to clear your heads before visiting your brother. Just meet us at his room."
"Thank you, Jenny, really! I know we only met last night, and under such terrible circumstances, but you've been simply wonderful through this entire ordeal."
The woman beamed at Lisa's heartfelt compliment and couldn't stop herself from drawing the girl into a tight embrace.
"Hurry back, okay?"
Maggie watched the reflected sun slowly rising towards her upon the surface of the pool she sat in front of. She'd found the glass-walled atrium deserted, not surprising this early in the morning, shortly after waking up. Not wanting to awaken the others, Maggie had slipped out, quietly as a mouse, and made her way down to the first floor.
Her right index finger twitched slightly.
"What's happening to me?" She wondered. "Am I losing my mind? Why can't I get the image of Bob's body out of my head?"
"That is easily answered, child." A deep voice echoed from deep within. Maggie's mood darkened when she placed Bob's voice. "You're as crazy as I was."
"Why is this happening?" Maggie started to shake slightly.
"You want to be different, yes? Step out of your sister's shadow?" Bob's voice preyed on her deepest fears and desires. "Then be different!"
"Stop it!" Maggie shouted out loud. "You aren't real!"
"I'm real enough to know what's best for you, Maggie dearest." It replied slyly.
"Leave me alone!" She returned to speaking mentally.
"Why? So you can go back to your button-down, hum-drum... unsatisfactory life?" Bob's imagined words cut into her cruelly. He continued, unabated.
"I can help you to do great things, Maggie."
Maggie cast her sight back down to the water, but instead of seeing her own fair, sunflower-blonde hair and soulfully blue eyes, a blot of vivid ginger assaulted her.
"I said NO!" She screamed, while hideously sinister laughter seemed to taunt her from all sides.
"Maggie?" Lisa's voice abruptly came from behind her and the laughter faded away. Maggie spun and spotted the dark red T-shirt she remembered packing for her sister the night before. "Oh, thank god..."
"Lisa!" She said in feigned surprise and tried to change the subject. "Has there been any word on Bart?"
"Is he...?" Maggie stood up.
"Fine? Yes, thankfully!" Lisa smiled a little but still showed signs of unease at her sister's outburst moments earlier.
"They got it all? They're sure?" Maggie asked.
"Nurse Jenny seems pretty sure of it."
Maggie cocked an eyebrow.
"If you're still wondering about last night, it was Helen Lovejoy, the Reverend's wife, who told the reporters. I told you Jenny wouldn't have done something like that."
"Okay... okay, you win, Lisa. You were right. Sorry." Maggie stared at the floor, ashamed for having doubted both her sister and the friendly woman.
"So, why'd you come all the way down here?" Lisa inquired, glancing around the steadily brightening room.
"I didn't want to wake you guys and I couldn't sleep anymore. Bad dreams." Maggie admitted. "It's kinda nice down here in the light, isn't it?"
"Yeah..." Lisa regarded the reflecting pool and moved closer. The rays of new sunlight danced across it's surface, casting random colors in all different directions. Maggie turned and silently stood next to Lisa for a few moments. She absently put her hand into her pocket, out of habit, and felt a folded piece of paper within. Maggie started and pulled it out.
"Oh...yeah. This is yours, Lisa." She offered it to her sister. "It was under your pillow, sorry for taking it."
Lisa accepted the faded note gratefully, unfolding it with a sigh.
"Have I ever told you where this came from?" Lisa said wistfully, without taking her eyes off of it. "It was a very special someone..."
"A boyfriend?" Maggie asked meekly.
"What? No! He was a substitute teacher I once had. The best I've ever seen."
"Oh... I don't like teachers." Maggie frowned. "Miss. Hoover, especially."
"Miss. Hoover, eh? Yeah, I remember her. A real character, that one. I can sympathize." Lisa reminisced, "One time I hid all of the Teacher's Editions just to see what would happen... I guess you could say it didn't go well."
"Though, in the end, it was Bart who saved me from continuing down his path." She finished privately, a warm feeling filled her mind as the memory played itself out.
"I'm so tired of everyone comparing me to you, Lisa." Maggie uttered, sounding slightly upset. Lisa jerked herself out of her revere to stare at her sister in surprise. The bitterness she detected causing her to respond sharper than she'd intended.
"Do you think so little of me?" Lisa looked into her eyes.
Maggie scowled and broke their brief eye contact. Lisa leaned in with a softer expression and gently directed her sister's chin back until Maggie was forced to reestablish it.
"That's not what I meant, and you know it. Did you know, when I was your age, everyone wanted me to be more like Bart?"
Maggie didn't move or make a sound.
"It's true. There was even a short time when I actually talked myself into believing I would end up just like him and Dad.
"Maggie, I don't want you to be me..." Lisa withdrew her hand but Maggie still didn't budge. "What's most important is that you hold onto what you believe in. Don't let anyone take that away from you!"
The small girl's eyes filled with tears as her calm façade crumbled. She wiped them away and looked to Lisa in desperation.
"What have I done, Lisa? I killed a man yesterday!"
Maggie suddenly calmed once more.
"Am I a monster?"
" You have to be strong, Lis! Make it right, please!" The final words from Lisa's surreal dream the day before flashed through her head, taking on new meaning.
"No, Maggie. How can you even say... even think that?" Lisa stepped closer, placing her hands consolingly on Maggie's shoulders. The frightened girl looked up at her.
"How am I any better than Bob? If anything, I'm worse... I actually got the job done..." She trailed off.
"You're wrong, Maggie! Bob was a monster. He killed out of spite and malice. He killed because he enjoyed it... I... can't justify what you did, but you're still human enough to suffer because of your choices and actions. That's the difference."
Lisa saw that her words did little to bolster Maggie's temperament. "Okay, time for Plan B." She searched the room while Maggie turned to stare at the water once again. Chained to a table nearby, Lisa spotted a pen and she took a few steps away to retrieve it. Lisa carefully scribbled on the note, still in her hand, before refolding it and returning to her sister's side.
"I want you to have this, Maggie." She handed it back to her somber sister.
"But... why? It's yours... you said it yourself." Maggie squeaked as she tentatively the brittle paper. Lisa shrugged with a brave smile.
"I don't need it anymore. I know who I am in this world, and at the moment part of that seems to be helping you to do the same."
"Who I am...?" Maggie repeated Lisa's words, staring hard at the note before taking and fearfully unfolding it. She trembled as she read the four simple words that spelled out her fate.
You are Lisa Simpson.
"You are Margaret Simpson!"
The impact of those words crashed into Maggie's mind, assaulting all of the negative emotions she'd been trying to suppress. The held such a pure, powerful truth for her at that moment, Maggie could actually feel a part of herself wither and die. The deepest recesses of her psyche, parts that were beginning to blacken and fester, screamed in futile protest as they were wiped from existence by what her sister's sacrifice suddenly came to mean to Maggie.
New feelings, ones she didn't fully understand, blossomed in the void and quickly filled it to brimming. This was reflected on her face as Maggie's eyes welled up joy and a sense of joy and optimism overtook her. Feeling better than she'd felt in ages, Maggie flung herself into Lisa's arms.
"Oh, Lisa!" She cried. "That's more than enough for me! Thank you!"
Lisa returned the unexpected embrace, the second one she'd received that morning so far and answered emotionally.
"I'm so happy to hear that!" She separated from Maggie and grabbed her hand. "Now then, lets go see that troublesome brother of ours."
Lisa and Maggie arrived outside the room labeled "#5" in no time at all. Lisa threw a hearty wave to the half asleep Nurse Jenny on the way past. The woman started awake and she spotted the sisters in front of her. With a wink, Jenny pursed her lips and slid her right index finger over her mouth vertically before closing her eyes again and slumping down in her chair, already asleep.
"I don't think she's on duty, you know." Lisa whispered to her grinning sister. Maggie nodded in agreement as she watched the expression on Jenny's face change from worried to content. Together they entered the room and saw their brother, propped up with pillows, in mid-conversation with Marge and Homer.
"Bart!" Maggie shouted happily after she closed the door. Both sisters ran across the small room to embrace the smiling boy.
"Hey! Maggie! Lisa!" Bart exclaimed.
"Where have you two been?" Marge asked suspiciously.
"About. Talking, mostly." Lisa replied as she sat on the edge of the bed.
"About?" Marge persisted.
"Sister stuff." Maggie spouted cryptically, with a laugh. Marge threw her hands up in frustration.
"Maggie, I wanted to tell you...thanks for all your help yesterday." Bart said seriously.
"Don't mention it. If I hadn't been there, what kind of person would I be?" She caught Lisa's eye and they shared a private moment of understanding and affection.
"We gonna tell him...about Bob?" Maggie leaned in towards Lisa subtly, whispering while their parent's attention returned to Bart.
"Already did, last night." Lisa whispered back, smiling at Maggie's confused look.
Marge and Homer got up and moved to the bed, gathering their three children into a loving embrace.
"Oh, my precious children! We're a family again!" Marge cried.
"Mooooommm!!!" Bart protested loudly.
"Oh!" Marge relented, looking a little alarmed. "Sorry, did I squeeze too hard?"
"No... worse! You're embarrassing us!"
The entire family, even Marge, broke into riotous laughter at the simple normality of his comment.
A click signaled the opening of the door behind them and they turned to see Dr. Hibbert poking his head inside.
"Glad to see we're all in good spirits! Ah, heh, heh, heh! Perhaps now would be a good time to discuss your medical bill?"
In unison, all five Simpsons shouted: