~A Small Grey Stone~
Summary: At Fred's funeral, a small child gives the grieving Molly a grey stone. Soon after, Molly discovers that she is pregnant. But there is something very strange about the youngest Weasley child... Happy (belated!) Halloween!
Rating: T for creepiness
"Why are you crying?" The tiny girl looked up at Molly Weasley, a puzzled look on her face.
"Hush, Marina," Angelina Johnson put her arms around her little sister and pulled her close. "I'm so sorry, Mrs. Weasley. Marina doesn't understand about funerals yet; she is so little..."
"Oh, don't worry about it, love," whispered Molly, her voice breaking. "Of course she doesn't understand; nor should she, the little angel." She sobbed into her handkerchief.
Marina gazed up at Molly in wonder. "Is she sad?" she whispered to her sister.
Angelina stroked the little girl's hair. "Yes, she is sad. We all are, because we are here to say goodbye to someone we loved very much." Her voice caught, and she paused for a moment before continuing: "But Mrs. Weasley is more sad than anyone because she has lost her son." She buried her face in her sister's hair and wept.
"Oh." The little girl stood still for a moment, looking at the ground. Then she wriggled herself free from her sister's arms. She bent down and picked up a small grey stone that was lying in the grass. It was a plain and ordinary stone, but it had a nice round shape to it.
"Here." She reached up and put the stone into Mrs. Weasley's hand. "This is for you."
"What are you doing, Marina? Why are you giving her a stone? Put that back where you found it." Angelina muttered a protest through her tears. "Hush, now, Marina, let's be quiet and listen to the speeches."
But Molly looked down at the small stone in her hand, and she whispered: "Oh, no, it's fine, Angelina dear. The little one means to be kind to me, and there is great comfort in that, on a day like this." Her hand closed around the stone, and she managed a small smile through her tears. "Thank you, Marina. I will keep this stone with me always."
"Another child? After all these years?" Arthur Weasley stared at his wife in wonder. "That's wonderful, but... Are you quite, quite sure, Molly? I mean, I thought it was too late for us..."
Molly flushed and smiled. "So did I, but it seems I was mistaken. Imagine, Arthur - we are going to be parents again! I know it's a boy; I already cast the Revealing charm. He will be born in March." She ran her hand slowly over her stomach. "How very strange, to feel new life growing after all the horror and all the deaths."
Arthur placed his hand over Molly's. "I suppose life will always find a way." A tear ran down his face. "Do you... Do you think we should name him after Fred?"
Molly thought about it for a moment, then shook her head firmly. "No. I am sure one of our other children will want to do that eventually, name a son of theirs Fred. But I can't bear to do so. He wouldn't be the same Fred; it would just feel too strange to have another son by that name. But perhaps Fabian, after my brother? Fabian is the one Fred was named after in the first place. Fabian and Gideon. Fred and George. Two pairs of twins, each as mischievous as the other..."
Arthur smiled. "Do you think our little Fabian will be prankster as well, then?"
Molly laughed. "I wouldn't be surprised."
But little Fabian turned out to be very different from both Fred and his long-dead uncle Fabian. The baby had red hair, of course, as all the Weasleys did, but his eyes were neither blue like Fred's nor brown like his uncle Fabian's; they were a curious silver-grey color, as bright as glass. And whereas both Molly and Arthur were willing to swear that Fred had laughed within an hour of being born, little Fabian neither laughed nor cried; he merely stared at people with his strange quicksilver eyes.
As Fabian grew older, both Molly and Arthur were puzzled by his serious disposition. Whoever heard of a baby who didn't want to play? All his older brothers and his sister - and a growing flock of little red-haired nieces and nephews - wanted to play with him, but little Fabian didn't respond to their attempted silliness. He sat quiet and still in his mother's arms, regarding the playful antics of his relatives with a slight frown.
But he loved books - oh, how he loved books! Molly sometimes wondered if Fabian wasn't going to turn out to be even more clever than little Rose, Ron and Hermione's child. At the age of two, Fabian turned the pages of his books as seriously as if he were actually reading them, rather than merely pretending, and he always repeated any spells that he heard people use around him, as if committing them to memory. Molly, who was used to children laughing and crying and acting out, sometimes looked at her quiet, beautiful young son in wonder: where did his strangely grown-up airs come from? Perhaps it was the lack of brothers and sisters his own age that had made him so serious?
But Fabian never caused his mother the slightest worry - except for once, when he swallowed a stone. Molly had always been so watchful around the other children when they were little, knowing full well that they would cause themselves and each other unintentional harm if she didn't watch them like a hawk, but Fabian was so perfectly well behaved that she sometimes forgot to watch him as carefully as she should. But one day, she saw something startling out of the corner of her eye: The little boy reached for the small grey stone that was lying on his mother's bedside table, and then he brought it to his mouth.
"Fabian!" Molly dropped her dust rag and rushed over to the child. "Oh, sweet Merlin, what did you do? Did you swallow that? Anapneo!"
But Fabian wasn't choking; he merely looked up at her with bright eyes that seemed far too old for his cherubic face. Molly opened his mouth and peered inside, but there was nothing to be seen. She picked the child up and held him, but he was breathing normally.
"You mustn't swallow stones, Fabian," she said in a trembling voice and stroked his hair over and over. "It's dangerous - you can die."
"Mine," said Fabian simply and wriggled free of her embrace.
If he had indeed swallowed the little stone, it didn't seem to have done him any harm. Molly watched Fabian much more closely after that, but she never saw him do anything dangerous again.
"He's a serious little fellow, isn't he?" said George once, returning the little boy to the floor after a wild piggy-back ride. "For some reason, nothing I do ever seems to make him laugh. Maybe he'll work for the ministry one day, like Percy."
Percy laughed at that and reached for the little boy, but Fabian just looked coldly at Percy and walked away.
But Fabian did seem quite obsessed with one of his relatives; he followed Harry around whenever he came to visit, staring up at his sister's husband with bright grey eyes. When he grew older, he made Harry tell him the story of his defeat of the Dark Lord, over and over again.
"He's quite smitten with you, Harry dear," laughed Ginny and stroked Fabian's flaming hair. "Perhaps he is going to be another Gryffindor hero when he gets older, just like you."
Harry laughed and handed Fabian a toy broomstick. "Here, let's see you practice your flying, buddy."
But Fabian just stared at the broomstick and walked off and got a book.
Arthur Weasley smiled. "I'm not so sure he will be a Gryffindor, Ginny. Perhaps little Fabian will be the first Weasley ever sorted into Ravenclaw! He is certainly clever enough, the little tyke! I even found him rifling through Hermione's books yesterday. It almost looked as if he was reading the old French Grimoire - at age four, can you imagine!"
Fabian climbed up on the couch with his book and pressed himself into the spot next to Harry. "Tell me again how you destroyed his horcruxes." Harry shook his head and laughed. "All right, Fabian. See, Tom Riddle had this diary, and when I was in my second year and Ginny in her first..."
Later that night, when Molly was putting Fabian to bed, he whispered sleepily to his mother: "Why did he hide his soul in all those strange things, Mum? That Dark Lord Harry defeated?"
Molly tucked the quilt more tightly around her young son and kissed him on the forehead. "Because he was a very wicked man, love, and he wanted to make himself live forever."
Fabian stared ahead of him for a moment, and then he murmured: "I think he must also have been a very silly man, Mum."
"Silly?" Molly was a little startled. "Why, yes, I suppose it was silly of him to be that wicked, when he could have chosen to be good."
"Oh, that's not what I mean, Mum." The little boy lifted his eyes and looked at her now, and his grey eyes were as bright as the silvery moonlight. "It was silly of him to hide his soul in those special things that people would notice, like his own diary, a ring set with a precious stone, and a diamond diadem. If I were the Dark Lord, I would have been much cleverer than that. I would have hidden a piece of my soul away in something so plain and small that no one would ever pay any attention to it. I would not hide my soul in a serpent, or in a silver locket. I would hide my soul in something tiny and ordinary, like a small grey stone..."
"What?" Molly sat completely still for a moment, her skin brushed with ice. She touched her son's soft cheek, hesitantly: "What... what did you just say, Fabian?"
The child looked up at her with bright eyes. "I would hide the last piece of my soul in a small grey stone, one that no one would ever notice, and then I would live forever..."
Molly sat immovable for a long breath of time. Then she gathered Fabian up in her arms, and she whispered: "Oh, what are you saying? My child... My child!" She kissed Fabian's little face frantically. "Hush, Fabian. You love me, don't you?"
Fabian nodded solemnly.
"Then promise me..." whispered Molly, her voice hoarse. "Promise me you will never repeat to Harry or Ginny or Dad or... or anyone... what you have just told me. They just won't understand... Harry is a Gryffindor through and through; he never hesitated to sacrifice himself to destroy the Dark Lord, and neither Ron nor Hermione nor Ginny ever thought to stop him, much as they loved him. Oh, who knows what they would do to you, if they knew..." She hugged the child close to her chest. "Just don't ever speak of this again, love. Don't ever say anything to any of them."
Fabian closed his eyes and nodded sleepily.
"Good." Molly drew a deep shuddering breath, and then she kissed her son again. She sat there for a long time, watching him as he fell asleep.
"I don't care what you are," she whispered into the gathering darkness. "You are my child; that's all that matters." She stroked a strand of soft hair away from the boy's face. "Life will always find a way..."