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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The past few hours were a blur. After arriving at the High School with Principal Skinner, Maggie spotted her parents waiting outside for her. Even though Marge embraced her youngest daughter with all the tenderness and love she could impart in the gesture, Maggie noticed that her mother kept looking over her own shoulder at the same spot down the street. Maggie later learned that spot was where police discovered Lisa's backpack stuffed underneath a parked car. The officers managed to turn up only one eyewitness; the Kwik-E-Mart clerk, Apu, who had seen her that morning walking briskly towards the school.
Back inside the school her brother, Bart, arrived and quickly fell into a foul mood when he learned of Lisa's disappearance. He refused to speak to anyone who tried to question or console him, but Maggie could see his pain as clear as day.
When news of an "Amber Alert" hit the local media the situation spiraled out of control. It came to a head when Homer brutally punched the Channel Six Action News anchorman, Kent Brockman, in the mouth for repeatedly badgering Marge to do an interview. Maggie had silently pumped her fist into the air in support of her father's actions even as officers dragged him away to spend the night in jail. As Homer disappeared into the crowd he called out helplessly.
"Save me, Marge! Use the savings and bail me out! I'll never last inside, I'm too pretty!"
At that point Marge decided she couldn't bear the public scrutiny any further and herded her children outside, through the rapidly gathering media circus and curious onlookers.
The drive home was very quiet, with Marge and Maggie in the family's light pink station wagon and Bart following closely in his beater. Upon arrival, Marge excused herself and retreated to her bedroom. Presumably, Maggie thought, to begin the process of getting her Dad out of jail, yet again. Bart choose to sit in the living room, not even bothering to turn on the T.V.
Presently, Maggie reached up to the top of Lisa's bed and grabbed a pillow to put over her head. As the soft fabric touched her expressionless face she realized there was something else in her hand.
Maggie sat up and soured when she recognized the note for what it was. Holding it up in front of her, Maggie asked it bitterly. "Why do you keep coming back to haunt me?"
"You are Lisa Simpson." Was it's only reply. Maggie shifted her attention to the mirror above the desk where only last night her sister sat in the throes of emotional turmoil.
"How many times will I hear that now, Lisa?" Maggie wondered out loud. "You can't be gone, you just can't! I... I can't do this!" The tears came freely now. Her sorrow and torment unleashed themselves in full, nearly crushing Maggie's now fragile spirit.
"Maggie?" Bart's voice echoed down the hall. She panicked and tucked the note into a pocket as he appeared outside Lisa's bedroom door, just like he had the day before.
Bart saw the tears in his sister's eyes even as she tried to wipe them from existence. "I don't think I've seen her cry like that since she was a baby!" He was then forced to admit he hadn't seen much of her at all since then. Maggie was usually so quiet that Bart simply forgot she was even there. In fact, the only time they spent together these days was because of Lisa, their only common ground. This was a regret he would have to atone for now as best he could.
"You alright?" He crossed the room and sat next to her, wincing at the awkwardness. The small girl hiccupped but didn't answer. Bart decided to wait as long as it took, thinking that maybe all she wanted was someone to open up to.
Eventually Maggie turned and faced her older brother, looking like some horrendously tear-jerking poster.
"Who would do this to her?" Maggie asked softly. "I can't figure it out, Bart."
Bart considered her words carefully, and his response was sincere.
"I don't know either, Maggie. Maybe they didn't have a reason. But we shouldn't give up hope, they could still find her..." Bart's eyes unexpectedly burned with shameful tears as his guilt overtook him. "It's all my fault! If I had just given her a ride to school she'd still be here! Now I'll never see her again! Never get to tell her I'm... sorry."
Bart became caught up in his personal memories. To him it was as if experiencing them for the first time all over again. The hockey rink where they competed seriously for the first time...the Thanksgiving centerpiece he accidentally smashed... reuniting Krusty with his estranged father... on and on until Bart could stand it no longer. But they kept coming.
Bart was ten-years-old again, watching from a beachfront porch as Lisa laughed with a group of people she had only just met. It annoyed him to no end that his sister was finding people to hang out with while he was stuck with his friend, Milhouse. A boy who, Bart had come to understand, was going nowhere fast. That night Lisa got permission to stay out late so she could play with her new friends and Bart was left to seethe and stew back at the cabin. He absently began pawing through random drawers and shelves to distract himself until he happened across... the yearbook! "This oughta fix her good!" Bart couldn't stop himself as he ran full-bore out the front door and started laughing at what he had in store for his lofty sister.
"Enough!" Bart began to sob uncontrollably. He couldn't hide from his past, and he had always been his own worst judge, after all. Faced with this new perspective, Bart was unable to deny one fact about his sister. "I really treated her horribly!" Over the years his pranks and jokes had driven them further and further apart, to the point that Lisa simply stopped arguing back or caring what he was up to. Then he entered High School and the distance seemed to expand exponentially.
His actions from the previous day ran through his head briefly and Bart understood that even to this day he was making things worse. They were two very different people, and Bart accepted this. It was painfully obvious now that the past couldn't be undone. Instead Bart refocused on what he could do to make up for it. Here, right now, in the present.
"I will find her!" Bart vowed, more resolute and confident than he had ever been before.
Maggie watched helplessly, unsure of how to react to Bart's emotional confession. So she kept quiet and held his hand in hers, playing silent witness. The distraught boy fell into a violent series of racking sobs before regaining his composure with a curious glint in his eye.
"Wait..." He wiped his eyes and screwed up his face, thinking hard. "It couldn't be... Sideshow Bob?"
Bart's expression settled on one of general uneasiness.
"Sideshow Bob? Isn't he dead?" Maggie's gut instinct told her Bart was onto something but felt she had to ask.
"No... you're thinking of... Krusty!" Bart went rigid with inspiration. "Oh man, if he did this we are in big trouble! Bob is crazy! I'm pretty sure he's the one who killed Krusty!"
"What makes you so sure he's involved?" Maggie prodded, trying to direct her brother's sudden brainstorm.
He... wait, you don't know?" Bart turned to her.
"I've heard stories, yeah. He wants you dead, right?" She frowned.
"Do you know why?" His voice shook ever so slightly.
"No..." She admitted.
"Seven years ago... he tried to set Krusty up to be killed. Krusty was in big trouble with the mob and Bob found out. He blackmailed Krusty for a lot of money to keep silent about where he was hiding. But then Bob framed him for a convenience store robbery and phoned in Krusty's location anonymously. It happened at the Kwik-E-Mart just up the road, actually. That's how we found out about it. Anyways, Bob just wanted to get Krusty sent to jail where the mob could get to him."
"What went wrong?" Maggie asked, enthralled by the brief story.
"Lis and I stopped him. She noticed all sorts of stuff that was wrong with the video surveillance of the robbery. Not only that but both of us could tell it wasn't really Krusty on the tape. When we showed what we found to the police, they dug deeper and found enough evidence to place Bob at the Kwik-E-Mart. But they made us testify anyway, just to be sure he got put away. Unfortunately that meant he knew who ratted him out."
"Wow... I had no idea Lisa actually helped catch Sideshow Bob." She sounded very impressed with the idea.
"But don't you see? That makes her a target, too! He's the only one with the motive to want to kidnap Lisa! We have to stop him!" Bart's eyes moistened again at the affirmation of his fears.
Maggie hopped off the bed and began pacing the room aimlessly. After a long silence she turned to Bart from the bookcase.
"So where is Bob? He escaped from prison a long time ago and kept coming after you, didn't he?"
"I haven't seen him since Krusty died. That's what made me think he did it!"
"Well I believe you. I'm pretty sure Bob killed Krusty and now has Lisa hidden away somewhere. But where would he hide? It can't be too far from the school, at least still in Springfield. If he is alone then she would slow him down, so he needs a secluded hideaway. Some place he could feel secure and not have to worry about intrusion."
Bart's head slumped as his shoulders shrugged, at a loss for an answer. Maggie sighed and turned her head to the side. She spotted something that seemed out of place on one of the shelves of the bookcase.
"What's this?" She reached out and withdrew a large, dusty square from a corner of the bookcase. Wiping it slightly cleaner, Maggie read the large print now visible.
"Sax on the Beach?" She cocked an eyebrow and looked back at Bart. "Who's Bleeding Gums Murphy?" Her face showed a hint of disgust at the odd name.
"Woah....really?" Bart jumped up and extended his hand. "I remember this... haven't seen it in years... cost me five-hundred bucks!"
"You bought it?" Maggie looked surprised at Bart's unusually kind gesture as she handed it to him.
"Yeah." Bart gently wiped the remaining dust off of the vinyl's cover. "Lisa was really sad because this man, here, on the cover died after she visited him in the hospital. I had a little money left over from a lawsuit against Krusty."
Maggie's questioning expression prompted him to elaborate.
"What? It's a long story and the point is she didn't have enough to buy it. So I surprised her."
"That was really nice of you!" Maggie said sincerely. She never thought Bart was capable of such a selfless act.
Bart shrugged again, a little red in the face, and moved to hand the record back to Maggie. As he did, several small pieces of paper fell out onto the carpet. Maggie gathered them up and looked at each one in turn.
"That's odd. These are newspaper clippings." She mumbled, concentrating on this strange development. "They're all about Sideshow Bob!"
"Lemme see those!" Bart replaced the album on the bookshelf and bent down to look closer. The articles all made some mention of the crazy escaped killer, everything from last sightings to older reports of his trial.
"She was keeping track of Bob, it seems." Maggie postulated.
"Sure does look like it. This is unbelievable! She never told me she was doing all this!" Bart whispered seriously, then pointed at one of the clips that appeared to be out of place. "This one's about Krusty, though, look."
"Former T.V. clown's media production facility up for grabs." Maggie read the headline and quickly skimmed the article. "It talks about Krusty's old show sets being auctioned off to cover his remaining debts."
She looked at the next one, noticing that there was only one left under it.
"Here's a short notice of the completion of the auction. It doesn't say who won, only that it did get sold."
"That's really interesting and all, but why would Lisa save those? It doesn't make any sense!"
"It makes perfect sense, think about it! You said Bob got a lot of money out of Krusty before betraying him, right? What if Lisa suspected Bob was trying to come after you again and had purchased the lot? He would need somewhere close, remember? A whole complex to himself? It would be perfect!"
"Hang on, look at those dates. These are more than a year old! If it was Sideshow Bob, then he's been back for at least that long! Why hasn't he already tried to get me? Why would he make his move now? And more importantly, why would he kidnap Lisa instead of me?"
Maggie hesitated, at a loss for words. She suspected that Bob must have a very good reason for going after her sister but she couldn't put her finger on it. Moving on to the final article in Lisa's hidden collection she read the first few lines and immediately smiled.
"At least we know why he's making his move now. This is why! It's a notice of foreclosure on the studio due to "non-payment"! This is only a few months old, Bob must not have had enough to cover whatever he bid to get the place! They scheduled the eviction for next week so he has no choice!" Her eyes were a blur as she sped-read the entirety of the story. "It fits! All of it!"
Then she realized the implications of this discovery. "He's desperate. That only makes him more dangerous!"
"Bart! We have to go, right now! It could already be too late!" Maggie nearly shouted at her brother.
"Too late for what?!" Bart looked positively alarmed at her growing intensity.
"I think he's going to kill her!" She cried with enough conviction to convince him.
"Omigod! You're right! I'll be right back!" He ran from the room and headed into his own. Bart grabbed his old Louisville Slugger and returned to Lisa's room. "Gonna need something to use against him... let's go, Lis! Oh..." Bart faltered at the slip of tongue. "Oops, sorry."
"It's alright! Forget about it!" Maggie knew for certain, if they were correct, that they had to make every minute count. "I'll meet you outside, go!"
Bart nodded and dashed off again to get his car started while Maggie paused for a short moment, gathered herself in the mirror over her sister's desk, then followed him downstairs. Her heart was pumping furiously with adrenaline as she hit every step.
Marge's purse lay on the table next to the open front door, catching her eye. Maggie stopped and considered her options. "Do I dare?" She thought before deciding firmly, "It's better to be safe, than sorry!" After digging through the purse frantically for a few seconds Maggie found the object she sought and stuffed it securely inside her autumn coat as she threw it over her shoulders.
"Come on, Maggie!" Bart yelled impatiently.
"Hang on!" Maggie turned briefly, looking back upstairs. "Forgive us, mom. Please?"
Then she ran out the door and towards fate.