*This is a work of FanFiction and is intended as such. Any claims to ownership fall to Matt Groening and the gang*
A/N: First off, I would like to dedicate this story to the memory of my grandmother, Ellen, who passed away about a week after I finished writing this story the first time and was one of the many reasons I fell in love with the written word.
I have decided to rewrite this story based on all the feedback I have recieved from the various sites this is posted at. Everyone who reviewed it the first time around- you haven't been forgotten so thank you so much for all the positive support! I think the story will flow a little smoother this time now that I have a clearer idea of exactly where it is headed and how I will get there. That means additional scenes and details have been included that I did not have the time or ability to write at the time of the original posting. It will also take a little more time for me to put the whole story up as it just wouldn't do to give you the entire thing upfront, now, would it?
Anyway; please read and review this first chapter which is divided into two sections; (the only one to be done like this), the Prologue and Collision...
Death of a Simpson
'Sideshow' Bob Terwilliger was perfectly aware that he'd lost his mind. In fact, that was one of the few things in his life he could actually accept. Seven years was a long time to spend constantly in fear of capture, after all. It brought a wane grimace to Bob's face every time he thought back to his days as a sidekick to that idiotic, self-absorbed clown. The humiliating things he'd been forced to suffer would forever haunt him but, he admitted in his darkest hours, it was the interference of a ten-year-old child that brought him to this meager existance.
He smiled as he let his mind play with the innumerable ways he would make the boy pay. Why did that brat squeal? Why had he chosen to unmask his plot on national television? These questions and countless others plagued Bob's weary mind and paved the way to this madness he was currently enthralled to.
But these were mere distractions and time would see to it that vengence was struck upon. No... it was the clown, above all else, that filthy, disgusting clown he couldn't stand, couldn't forget.
"Bob!" rasped a voice from the empty passenger seat of his stolen Oldsmobile. He ignored it and instead focused on the large brick building in front of him. The early morning dew, mixed with the rain from the storm that passed over the night before, lent an ironically angelic glow to the grass stretched out in front of it. As he watched, hundreds of students loitered outside of the high school that was to become their prison for the next nine months.
'They want to taste that last hint of freedom that lingers in the air.' Bob sighed dramatically at the realization and found he could respect that, if nothing else, about them. The scent of rebellion and post-rain purity helped to clear his head.
"Hey! Sideshow Bob! Ya yutz! What're you waiting for? We gonna do this thing, or not?" the voice persisted.
With a groan, Bob turned his head to face the personification of all his demons. He detested everything about this man. The splotchy, blue-white makeup was cracked and peeling in places, which only served to accent the depraved look in Krusty the Clown's eyes as he lit yet another of his endless supply of cigarettes.
"Please, Krusty... will you just SHUT UP?! I'm thinking!"
The dirty old clown hacked and coughed up a wad of brownish spittle, shifting slightly to expel it out the window.
"Well I don't see the problem, kid," he smirked and took another long drag.
Bob sighed again, it was going to be a very long day. This 'clown' had single-handedly worn him down over the last few years. True, he was Bob's only companion in an otherwise unforgiving world, but how cruel were the fates to thrust this burden onto him on top of everything else? These days he barely had the strength left to argue with him, much less win. But that didn't mean he wouldn't at least try.
"It's not that easy," he snorted. "I can't just walk in there. Being a wanted criminal does have it's limitations you idiot."
"Ya know what your real problem is, Sideshow?"
Bob growled, he really loathed that title. Krusty ignored him and continued.
"You're doing it all wrong! You call yourself an evil genius? Use your head for once then and think! What's this kid got that you ain't?" he emphasized the question by waving his foul-smelling cigarette in Bob's face. "Eh? Why does he always, always, always win?"
Now, really! I fail to see what that..." Bob's temper disappeared as quickly as it had surfaced. Why did he always lose? Surely the boy wasn't smarter than him? Impossible, from what he'd observed. It couldn't be luck, either. Not that many times. He thought back to all of his encounters with the boy and finally noticed something he'd overlooked for all these years. A common thread he could trace down through each defeat all the way back to the first. How could he have been so blind? It was so obvious now.
"Mmm... now that you mention it..." he mused outloud.
"There ya go. See? No problems, since now you know what needs to happen. Now can we get on with things, please? My back is killing me today." Krusty hacked again and snuffed the cigarette out on the tip of his tongue.
From the rear seats came a rustling sound that caused Bob to start.
"Yeah, man! You wanna kill me? You gotta do it right! Show 'im Krusty!" A small, spiky, blond-haired head popped up between the seats and Bob's eyes widened. "Oh baby! This is gonna be sweet!"
'This has never happened before.' Bob's rational side squeaked, then he smiled in spite of himself at the boy's enthusiasm.
The clown grunted and groaned as he twisted, a knife appearing in his tar-stained glove.
"Sure thing, kid. Just hold still so he can see!"
In a blur of motion, the knife flew from the clown's hand and sunk itself, hilt-deep, into the boy's throat. Bob watched with morbid fascination as the youngster thrashed and kicked, peppering the seats and windows with violently crimsom streaks. Finally he stopped, laying face down and very still.
"That's how ya do it. Nice, quick and easy. Puts on quite a display, if you're into that sorta thing. Now stop stalling and let's get this show on the road!" Krusty reached down, rolled the corpse halfway over and yanked the spattered knife from it's victim.
Off in the distance the bell rang, signaling the start of the first day of school. Bob's attention was drawn in the other direction suddenly as a young girl ran past, obviously late. There was something vaguely familiar about her, but he couldn't immediately place the face. Abruptly, the clown pointed at the girl and started laughing riotously.
"Bob, you are one lucky son of a bitch!"
His mind clicked into gear and he recognised the girl for who she was. He couldn't hold back any longer and Bob erupted into a bout of insane laughter, fully appreciating the twist this new development had dumped conveniently into his lap.
"Oh this is too perfect! Prepare yourself Bart Simpson!" Bob hissed as his eyes narrowed into a predatory glare. "For today, you lose everything you hold dear!"
Chapter One: Collision
12 hours earlier...
It would never be said that Bart Simpson was much of a planner. The bigger picture was secondary to living in the moment and to hell with the consequences! At sixteen years of age, Bart hated to admit that he could already see his father's influences on his personality. Every time that thought crossed his mind an involuntary shiver ran up his spine. He would be nothing like his father if he had anything to say about it. He was just... Bart. Deal with it.
To be fair, it wasn't greed or maliciousness that filled his heart as he stared blankly at the television while sitting next to his father, Homer. It was simple jealousy. Earlier that day his sister, Lisa, had recieved a letter from their school. 'During summer break, even!' he fumed privately. It informed her that, due to her 'stunning academic performance' and 'stellar application essay', she would be eligible for what they called the A.L.P. or Accelerated Learning Program.
'But she's smart enough already!' Bart had wanted to scream at the entire family while she'd boasted at dinner earlier. She spent all of her free time either at the library or figuring out complicated mathematical equations that made his head spin just looking at them. What kind of person does that? Hell, even Einstein sucked at math while he was still in school! How was that any fun when she could be out having the time of her life at the parties she never tried to get invited to? He huffed and glanced at Homer, who yawned and grabbed the remote to switch the channel as another commercial interrupted 'Survivor: Are you suckers still watching this?!'
It quickly blurted 'Buy Duff!' before he could do so.
"Grab me another Duff, boy." Homer broke from his stupor when Bart got up.
"Get it yourself, Homeboy. You know Mom's rule: 'You want it bad enough, you have to get up.'" He grinned at his terrible impression and at Homer's anguished moan. As he walked away the bald man lamented for at least the hundreth time.
"Aww... why must everything be so hard? When are they gonna invent robots for this sorta thing? Marge?! Rosie? Anybody...?"
Bart lost himself in his desire to take Lisa down a peg or two. It wasn't bad enough she succeeded at whatever she tried and had consistently beaten him at everything not socially related. No, she also had to rub his face in it. Not directly, of course. But he could take a hint when she dropped stinging comments about graduating before he ever did. That hurt more than he'd bothered to admit, even to himself. He couldn't let that happen, he'd never live it down.
His thoughts turned to one of the few things he still had on his overachieving sister. Something he frequently used as leverage in their long-running rivalry, which was; no matter how well she did, Bart was still two years her senior and no amount of studying would change that. Today, with the arrival of that letter, the rules had changed and aparantly he was dead wrong. He gritted his teeth while remembering the smug smirk he could swear he saw cross her face as she read the letter to everyone.
But Bart wasn't licked yet. Oh no, not while he still had his best edge on Lisa. 'Yes', he thought, 'I still know her weakness.' Bart looked up to the second floor of the house from the base of the stairs and cackled with childish glee.
Lisa scrambled through her room for what seemed the millionth time that day, checking and rechecking her school supplies. In just a few short hours her entire future had changed! Suddenly she was faced with the possibility, no, the opportunity to advance much faster into the adult world. She was only thirteen, but that didn't stop people graduating from high school or even college early before. Look at Doogie Howser- wait, bad example. But there were plenty of others and she was sure they all had the last minute jitters before starting down their roads to success. This was normal, she kept telling herself.
On the bed in the middle of the room sat her eight-year-old sister, Maggie, who maintained a cheerful, if silent, presence that Lisa found reassuring. Next to her were scattered a few miscellaneous items left over from when her mother, Marge, brought up all the school supplies they'd spent hours at the department stores purchasing the week before. She paused momentarily and picked up her new prized possesion. A TI-92 series graphing calculator which she begged for the entire shopping trip. She felt slightly less guilty for making Marge pay over $200 for it now that she had a way to justify spending that much money. One of the classes her new program was reputed to offer was an advanced, college level Calculus course.
Lisa ran her index finger over the hardened plastic casing and reluctantly placed the expensive device into one of the easily accessible front pockets of her backpack. She gathered the rest of what lay on her bed and dumped them in the corner along with the backpack; the last of the packing could wait. With a deep purr of satisfaction she turned, smiled at Maggie, and took inventory of her room. It was unnecessarily tidy to the point of obsessiveness, a testament to Lisa's stir-crazy mood regarding school over the last few weeks. Her bed was made and perfectly squared with the wall, the drapes straightened and ironed with help from her mother the other day, her desk was cleared of mostly everything but her diary and lamp. Even the mirror that stood above it was polished and reflected exactly what she was proud of. On the wall between the door and the desk, near the foot of her bed was a crude set of shelves she and her father had set up years ago for all her awards and trophies. Each one gleamed with the telltale shine of success and effort, even the second place ones.
"Everything's gotta be perfect," she mumbled, more to herself than anyone in particular as she adjusted the position of one of the awards.
"Oh, it'll be more than perfect," Bart's sarcastic reply echoed from the hallway outside her open door. Lisa grimaced. She secretly dreaded her brother's reaction to her 'happy' news.
"What do you mean?" Maggie asked as Bart came into view at the doorway.
"Nothing. It's nothing."
Lisa took another deep breath, this time to help vent the pent up anxiety, and turned to face her intruding brother. 'Bart must feel like milking this' she reasoned.
"Out with it, Bart. I'm not in the mood for games."
"What? Can't a guy just be happy about his kid sister's success? Shouldn't we all be content to bask in your shining radiance, Queen Lisa?" His exaggerated motions and tone clearly suggested the opposite to be true, however.
"I don't have time for this. Grow up, Bart. Can't you just let this one go?"
He smirked devilishly.
"What do your friend's think?" Bart said, suddenly switching tactics. "You... have told them, right? At least tell me you ran up here and called Allison right after."
That hurt. Allison had been excluded from consideration for the program several weeks ago because she had missed so much school the year before. Her father's job recently allowed for travel all over the world and he'd opted to bring his daughter along for what he'd described as 'the biggest cultural events in her life'. Lisa remembered comforting her friend the day Allison realized she was only four days shy of meeting the expected attendance requirements and, although she wasn't technically in trouble because the absences had been approved by Principal Dondelinger, Allison couldn't be made an exception because then the school would have to 'start letting all sorts of things slide'. Or at least, that was how the secretary of the school had explained it to them when they'd tracked down her home phone number. Bart was out of line, and he knew it.
"No, I haven't. Why would you even bring that up?" she growled back.
"Well, I just wanted to know. Have you considered the possibility that after school starts you aren't going to have any friends?" Bart watched her carefully and could see she hadn't liked that at all.
"That's ridiculous! Of course I will. I've known Janey since the first grade. Alex is still a good friend and Allison is a bigger person than that!" she stuck her tongue out at him.
"But you won't have any classes with them. Your stupid 'Alf' classes are seperate," he let the bomb drop.
It was true, Lisa realized. She was so worked up about the good side of advancing faster that she hadn't considered the downsides. They might understand, but Lisa was realistic. This would definately affect their relationships. Hours of watching trashy primetime dramas with her family had taught her that much, at least.
"Stop it, you guys!" Maggie shouted, standing up on the bed. She was visibly upset from the subtle power struggle, but Bart, having smelt blood, continued.
"How good of friend's can you be? Look at this place! No pictures? No memories of happy times? None? Just a few trophies of how 'awesome' you are? C'mon Lis, this room is about as welcoming as a hospital room! You really need to get a life." He took a breath and continued mockingly, "You might not understand this now, but there's a difference between people who don't know you and people who don't give a damn. That's called High School. Enjoy."
He looked at Lisa and saw the beginnings of tears forming in her eyes as she struggled to keep together what little semblance of calm she had left. Bart recognised that maybe, just maybe he'd gone too far.
With no hesitation he about-faced and made his way downstairs to the front door, purposely slamming it behind him as he headed out into the approaching summer dusk.
Moments later Lisa and Maggie heard the front door open and close quickly. Maggie looked up at her sister and saw that Lisa was standing very still.
"Lisa?" she probed gently, her voice barely above a whisper.
"Sorry, Maggie. Could I have some time... by myself?" Lisa's shoulders gently bobbed with silent sobs. Her voice portrayed all of her recent hair-trigger mood swings as openly as anything could.
She'd always looked up to her older sister as a role model, an example of how to balance her mischief with good studies and habits. But now, looking at her sister's fragile emotional state, Maggie was led to wonder why Lisa didn't do the obvious thing and just make some more friends.
That was one big difference between Lisa and herself that she couldn't figure out how to bridge. Maggie had always made friends easily. It wasn't that hard, was it? Lisa was smart and pretty, so why didn't she help herself?
Sometimes the simplest answers are the hardest to find and Maggie simply didn't understand where to find the solution to this one. This was something only her sister could do for herself, she realized.
"Okay, Lisa," she answered, finally. Maggie hopped down from the bed and walked to the door, still deep in her private thoughts.
With regret in her eyes, Maggie slowly closed the door on one of the few people in her life that she still respected, accepting that her way was not always best for others.
A/N: As stated back at the top, please take a few moments and leave me a comment on how you think the story is progressing. If you read the original, let me know if you think this is any better and what might still need some fixing. Please avoid flames, they make baby Jesus cry. Just like lies.