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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It read, "A.L.P.- For higher education, look no further!" Bart had to suppress a belly laugh at the corny greeting.
"Where is she?" He wondered out loud. Bart had decided to apologize to Lisa for skipping out on her ride earlier. At the time he thought it best because of their argument the night before, but all awkwardness aside, now he wasn't so sure. "She couldn't be that upset, could she?" Bart peeked into the A.L.P classroom just to be sure Lisa wasn't hiding. He turned back sharply to see his old friend, Milhouse Van Houten, standing right behind him.
"Uhh... what'cha doin, Bart?" Milhouse asked sheepishly.
"Looking for Lisa." He answered, regretting it almost immediately as an all too familiar look came into his old friend's eyes.
"Is she in there?" Milhouse asked hopefully, though perhaps a little too loudly for Bart's comfort. He winced, well aware of Milhouse's attraction to his sister.
"Cut it out, man, jeez. Seriously." Bart said irritably, his hackles raised by an uneasiness he couldn't quite put his finger on.
"What? What'd I do?" Milhouse complained before trailing off, "Just asking... sheesh..."
Overhead the intercom kicked on with a loud static-filled hiss.
"Attention, please. Bort Simpstone please report to the main office. Eh? Excuse me, Bart Simpson, to the main office, please." Came the voice of the kindly old lady that made the morning announcements. Bart had never bothered to learn her name. Apparently the feeling was mutual, but it still irritated him. "She calls me up there how many times a year? Get it right!"
"Already?" Milhouse mused as he fiddled with his red, horn-rimmed, coke bottle glasses.
"I'unno," Bart shrugged. He hadn't had time to do anything yet, it was only a few hours into the school year after all. "You don't think they're still mad about that pig in the heating duct, do you?"
Milhouse chortled but shook his head emphatically.
"I heard they blamed that on Nelson! It took three weeks to find it!"
Bart smiled weakly, that uneasy feeling returned in full.
"Well, I'd better go face the music." And he quickly broke away through the thinning crowd, hoping Milhouse hadn't thought to follow him. Even ten years of friendship wasn't worth the damage to his reputation if he was seen going everywhere with that walking faux pas! "Damn it, Lisa!" Bart cursed his sister as the unnatural words passed through his head.
Having trodden this path often over the past two years Bart made his way to the office in no time. As Bart rounded the corner he spotted an unlikely figure standing rigidly by one of the office's large panoramic windows, his expression even grimmer than usual.
"What the hell is Skinner, doing here?" Bart wondered. "This day just keeps getting weirder and weirder."
"Have fun, little dudette!" Otto, the school bus driver, wheezed as he pulled up in front of Springfield Elementary. "Give 'em one for Otto!" He gave Maggie a vacant grin and thumbs up.
Maggie rolled her eyes and laughed at the strange man as she passed him to jump down to the pavement outside of the bus. She looked up at the school and wondered if this year would go as smoothly as her first. Her reluctance soon passed, however, when she spotted a girl she recognized as her best friend chatting with a boy she also knew from her class up near the entrance.
"Hey, Sarah!" Maggie called out, running fast to greet her friend. "Hey, Stew. You guys have a good summer?"
The girl looked at Maggie for a few seconds as if she didn't remember her, but when realization hit she squealed childishly and ran over to hug her friend.
"Hey, Maggie." Stew remarked, rather coldly, as he turned and quickly disappeared inside.
"What's his problem?" Maggie wondered out loud, intending the question to be rhetorical.
"Who?" Sarah asked, not catching her inflection.
"That boy, Stew. Mr. McStuffypants." She answered, hoping that further explanation wouldn't be necessary. Sarah giggled shrilly.
"I think he likes you!" She took a step back, enjoying the sight of Maggie blush. A rare occurrence.
"He does not! Take that back!" Maggie playfully swatted her friend on the shoulder. "C'mon, school's about to start!" She let the worries of the previous day melt away as she fell into the joyful bliss of being around other eight-year-olds. Together they rushed through the doors, nearly knocking over Willie, the groundskeeper, in the process as he tried to keep the children milling about from destroying his entire summer's worth of hard work.
"Ach! Wee'uns! You'd better not let Willie catch you messin up his halls or he'll get the hoose!" He soon gave up, though, and fell into a defeated posture.
"Sorry, Willie!" Maggie cried from down the hall.
Sarah got to the door of their new classroom first and casually tossed "Rotten egg!" over her shoulder with a grin.
"Whatever!" Maggie darted around her friend and into the room before she could react.
"Hey! No fair!" Sarah giggled again as she settled into a seat adjacent to Maggie. Looking around, Maggie saw a lot of familiar faces, including that boy from outside, Stew, who seemed to be glancing everywhere but at her. Maggie then turned her attention to the front of the room, spotting her new teacher. "Miss. Hoover", claimed the rectangular plaque on the desk.
"My sister had her, I think..." She whispered to Sarah, though the girl didn't appear to be listening anymore. Maggie continued to study the woman, giving up on her friend's short attention span. So thiswas the person who was expected to impart a year's worth of knowledge on them? Maggie wasn't impressed. "She looks like a broken toy!"
Constantly abused over the years, Miss. Hoover sat slumped haphazardly in her seat. Dark circles under her bloodshot eyes betrayed a long-term drinking problem which was only highlighted by the large, angry, blue veins that ran the length of her too-thin neck. The tips of her sharply clawed, brownish-yellow fingers were a permanent hallmark from years of chain smoking. Overall the effect was disturbing to Maggie, who worried that the slightest push would send the woman over the edge of sanity.
Finally the secondary bell rang and drew Maggie from her dark observations. Miss. Hoover got up and put on a practiced smile. "Not a good sign." Maggie thought.
"Good morning, class." She said with a note of sarcasm only Maggie seemed to catch. "Let's get started. First, role call. Who isn't here?"
A few students waved their hands enthusiastically and the whole class snickered. Ms Hoover ignored them, focusing instead on her seating chart.
"Says twenty-three... okay, twenty-three. Good enough." She muttered.
As the day got underway Maggie began suspecting that she wasn't going to be very happy with this new teacher. Every subject blended together under her monotonic instruction. Nearly two hours later Maggie had lost interest, along with the rest of her class, in what was being taught. "This is ridiculous! I could do it better than this!" she privately boasted.
Up front Miss. Hoover was writing a few basic math problems on the dry-erase board that Maggie hoped sincerely were a joke. Instead, Miss. Hoover turned and fixed a disinterested gaze on the class.
"Any volunteers?" Predictably no one wanted to so she pointed absently at Maggie. "How about you?"
Maggie's gut instinct was to comply, regardless of how pointless it seemed. But some part of her, still upset about the previous night's events, interfered and told her enough was enough!
"No, Ma'am." She responded rather sharply.
"Excuse me?" Miss. Hoover focused for what seemed like the first time all day and glared at her. She glanced at her seating chart once again, but to no avail. No one was seated properly, though one name stood out. "You are... Maggie Simpson? Lisa's little sister, right?"
Maggie bristled, the discontented part of her psyche latched onto that comment.
"So what if I am?" She didn't break eye contact.
"Yes, I see it now. You look just like her!" Miss. Hoover's eyes glinted at the thought of her former prized pupil. "Now, tell me, why don't you want to solve the problem?"
Her condescending tone dug into Maggie like nails on a chalkboard.
"Because..." She said evenly, trying to suppress her rising temper. "...the problem on the board isn't relevant."
"What do you mean?" Miss. Hoover finally broke eye contact, glancing around the room, where more and more eyes were turning to fix upon her. students sensed something was wrong as Maggie began to lose control.
"What I mean is, why are you wasting our time like this? This is the same stuff they forced down our throats last year! I hoped this would be more challenging but I can see that I was wrong."
"Your sister..." Miss. Hoover tried to change the subject, but succeeded only in riling her further. "Uh-oh... another independent thinker. Should I trip the alarm?"
"I'm... not... HER!" Maggie shouted as loud as she could, startling everyone in the room as she stood abruptly.
"That is enough, young lady!" Miss. Hoover took a step forward, gathering what little courage she had left. "There is no yelling in the classroom! Take your seat!"
"I know why you're angry." Maggie's eyes hardened into a raptor-like glare. "You hate this just as much as I do." She, in turn, took a step towards her quickly crumbling teacher.
"What are you saying?" The shaking woman paled, fearing the answer.
"I'm saying you've failed, Miss. Hoover. You've failed us, you've failed the profession of teaching, but most of all you've failed yourself. You are just a tired old drunk who lost passion for the job she pretended to enjoy years ago." She completed her slow walk to the front of the room, aware of the nearly two dozen pairs of eyes boring into her back. "I've had enough of this. I'll be back when they put a realteacher in here. Don't know about you, ma'am, but I can't fake it anymore."
Leaving a scene of total shock in her wake, Maggie stormed out of the classroom.
"You can't speak to me like that you little bitch! Go to the principal's office!" Miss. Hoover, having recovered slightly, called after her. More out of spite than any real conviction.
Maggie paused and looked back over her shoulder with a frown.
"Funny. I think I just did." She remarked, as sweet as sugar, then continued down the deserted corridor. As for where she was going, Maggie didn't have to be told to go to the principal. She'd already decided that for herself.
When her temper cooled, a twinge of regret entered Maggie's mind. "Perhaps that was a bit much." She admitted privately. But as she approached the door to Principal Skinner's office, Miss. Hoover's condescending tone echoed through her head. "No. I'm not backing down on this!" Steeling her resolve, Maggie pushed open the door and found the stern disciplinarian sitting at his obsessively tidy desk.
As Maggie entered, Seymour Skinner hung up his phone and noticed her standing right in front of him.
"That was fast. Very good."
"What was fast?" Maggie was thrown not only by the answer, but it's lack of context.
"There will be time for questions soon enough, I'm afraid. Gather your belongings; I need to bring you to the High School as quickly as possible. Your parents will meet us there."
"What's going on? Tell me!" Maggie slammed her hand on his desk, sending several pencils (which Skinner seemed to have great difficulty ignoring) rolling off the edge. He appeared confused for a moment before a hint of sadness cracked his usually indifferent façade.
"You don't know? I just told Miss. Hoover..." Seymour sighed, letting the thought drop off. "I'm sorry I have to tell you like this, Maggie. But your sister, Lisa, never made it to school this morning. No one knows what happened."