Disclaimer:

I don't own Ranger's Apprentice, John Flanagan does. Disclaimer for whole story.


Author's Note:

Hello my readers!

First, I apologise to those who have me on author alert, and notice that I haven't updated one of my stories, but instead created a new one. Don't kill me, please :) I have half chapters done for Majesty, WMH, True Path, Defining Moments and Anarchy, so updates for most of these can be expected in 5 days. BUT, it's me, so don't hold me to it.

I've wanted to do a 'what if' story for a while, but have been stumped to choose points of the story to change. I was thinking of Will's ceremony, but then I couldn't give up Tug, so I chose this moment. It might change his personality and complex a bit, but I plan for him to be a Ranger. It'll be fun to mix him in with characters like Horace, Alyss and Cassie though :)

Anyway, that's my explanation.

The title was named in honour of the Sword of Truth series, in which the idea came from. Basically it means that instead of being a Ward child, Will's new found childhood (the pebble) will ultimately affect everything that's in the books (the pond).

Hope you like it!

No flames. Reviews appreciated. Constructive criticism is accepted where relevant :)


Pebble in the Pond

Chapter 1:

|| Miracle ||

xxx


A deeply cowled figure arrived at the doorstep of the small home. He didn't hesitate in knocking; raising his fist to the door in hopes that he wasn't too late.

There were a few strained moments of silence, before the door was opened cautiously.

A woman's face peered out, with slightly flushed cheeks and unkempt hair. She was a pretty woman, but her face was mostly shadowed by the closed door.

"What? Who are you?" She asked quietly.

The figure in green raised his hands and removed his cowl, flashing her, what he thought was a reassuring smile. It didn't last long before his expression grew grim.

"My name is Ranger Halt, and I have come to see you." The man told her.

If anything, she grew more fearful, closing the door the slightest bit more as if to give her more comfort.

"A Ranger?"

Halt nodded, patiently waiting for her to accept his presence. His promise to Daniel still held, but he was grateful that the woman, who looked to be his wife, was healthy enough to open the door. He gave an inward sigh of relief.

Rangers were feared by villagers, and this woman was a farmwife. Besides that, the recent war had shaken people's trust. Halt hadn't expected a warm invitation inside, instead preparing himself for the wariness this woman now presented.

"You're Emma, aren't you?" He asked.

The woman nodded, and stray hairs of brown fell across her face.

"I have some grave news, I came before the soldiers did." He explained.

"What news? Is it my husband?"

Halt kept his face neutral, but he could practically feel the tension building in the woman. After another moment of hesitation, she cautiously opened the door to him.

Nodding his thanks, he walked inside the small cottage, taking in the rough furniture but homely feel to the place. It reminded him of his cabin.

Emma passed him, directing him to the kitchen table, where he could sit.

As she went to brew some tea, he noticed that she was indeed ready to expect a child any day.

He could see her struggle lifting the small pot to the fire, so he called her back and told her not to worry.

Gratefully, she sunk into a chair that he pulled out for her.

"Now Ranger, please, tell me your news." Emma asked him, after she had settled herself.

Halt swallowed. He was a Ranger, and not used to conversations and situations such as these.

So, with her prompting, Halt told her of Daniel's brave stand, and his battle which saved his life. He explained his promise to him that he came to make sure she was in good health and cared for regarding their child.

As expected, by the end of it, Emma was sobbing uncontrollably, one hand supporting her head, while the other pressed reassuringly against her swollen abdomen.

Halt was at a loss.

He now knew that since Emma was stable, he could go and prepare a fund to support her. In addition to Baron Arald's generous compensation for families affected by the war, he had personally made it his task to take care of the young woman.

But he was reluctant to leave her in such a state.

She cried for a long time, while he sat there, feeling uncomfortable and useless at the same time.

Eventually, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a clean white cloth, to offer to her.

She took it with quiet thanks, her tears finally beginning to ebb.

"I'm sorry Emma." He said, feeling silly as he did. The soft words seemed to work, she gave the slightest hint of a smile in his direction.

"Well, I'm not surprised, just very disappointed. I knew it was wrong to let him fight in the war."

The Ranger didn't utter a word. He didn't feel it was his place to add his own thoughts to the recruitment of the war.

"I... I guess I should thank you for coming to see me." Emma began.

Halt raised a hand. "I told you, it was my promise to Daniel. I'm sorry I can't do much for you, but I can supply funds for you, as well as organise a midwife to stay here and take care of you until the baby is born." He told her.

"That would be very welcome, thankyou Ranger."

"You can call me Halt, all my friends do." He didn't quite know why he said that, but her face lit up, offering such a genuine smile that he was glad he made it on time.

"Well, Halt, I can't say I'm happy at your news," she said, tears unconsciously springing to her eyes. "But, I'm glad that Daniel was able to save someone. At least he died nobly."

The Ranger nodded solemnly.

He hadn't known what to expect from Daniel's wife, the fact that she was whole and healthy surprised him after the desperation in Daniel's voice. Perhaps it was the emotional turmoil of losing her husband, as well as her pregnancy that gave her an air of calm.

With a few more words of apologies and thanks, Halt left Emma.

As he drew away from the farm, he felt as if a weight had been lifted from his shoulders.


It was late at night when Emma went into labour.

A day after Halt had visited, she was eternally grateful that an old midwife was stationed at her house. The woman knew basic herb lore as well as having delivered many children in her life.

Emma struggled through the birth. The woman said she was too weak and was unlikely to survive.

It was the sheer thought of her child growing up alone that prevented her from giving up.

After hours of pain and discomfort, she was handed a healthy boy.

Then the midwife had practically thrown herbs into her mouth and ordered her to eat them if she didn't want to bleed to death.

Feeling utterly exhausted and aching all over, Emma was able to admire her son, who was curled into her, wrapped in a dark cloth. Emma wished Daniel was there to see him.

"Well, miss, do you have a name for him?" The older woman asked as she brewed a tonic for Emma to take and hopefully regain some of her strength.

She gazed down at the small child. She couldn't see his eye colour, but he had a small tuft of brown hair on his head. Emma wondered if it would be soft and straight like hers, or unruly and wild like Daniel's.

After a moment's pause, in which she chews her lip thoughtfully, she whispered, "Will. His name is Will."


A/N:

So there you have it. Any suggestions for Will's last name since he will be able to have one?

Also, no there won't be a romance between his mum and Halt, in case anyone asks. Halt was merely being friendly-ish.

- Mae.