To all my loyal fans: this has been a fun ride. I have loved getting to explore the Crucible and Natalia's character development. I dont know if this is what you were expecting, but I decided I didn't want to put this off any longer. I found that this was the right decision in the end. I hope you are pleased, and not disappointed. If you are, feel free to complain, I'd like to hear what people would have thought would happen or would have liked. It's a small ending, but a good way to end this journey.

And I hope with this that there will be more Crucible fanfiction, and that I have inspired you all to give it a go. Because Hale is hot. End of story.


Chapter Eighteen

It was the spring, the flowers had begun to bloom and the grass had greened and birds flew once more over the now cultivating fields. Farmers tended to their livestock, women to their children; friends gathered together to share gossip. The old went to church, the young frolicked around the sun. Giggles escaped the lips of children everywhere.

There was a loud bang, and a small giggle carried after it. Reverend John Hale frowned, putting down his book and looking around for the culprit. A flash of golden hair and two small feet didn't escape the corners of his eyes, and he got from his seat with a heavy sigh.

"What was that?" said an exasperated voice, and he looked over to see his beautiful young wife smiling up at him, her large brown eyes gazed adoringly up at him as usual. He smiled and walked over to her, taking the basket of clothes from her hands and setting it on the table. Hale kissed her forehead.

"Natalia," he said out loud, "what are you talking about?"

Natalia glared over at him, and pushed him off of her. She ran her hands through her dark thick mane of hair. Her days were often spent in chaos; while her husband preached at church and went to nearby prisons to pray with the prisoners, she had her life full with three ridiculous little blessings.

After the deaths of Rebecca Nurse, Martha Corey, and John Proctor on that day, the whole town, as predicted, went up in uproar. Reverend Parris had nightly death threats and Danforth had no better luck. Even John Hale found himself flagged after, until his friends Peter and Buffy vouched that he took no part in condemning them. It took several months, but when Elizabeth Proctor was due to have her baby, they let her go, as well as Natalia. It was a day filled with sadness for the ones they lost, but sweet vengeance that the Salem courts had lost all credibility, and that at least two innocent lives had been saved.

Elizabeth gave birth to a small, but healthy little girl. Natalia and Buffy served as her midwives and helped deliver a baby for the first time. It was a thrilling, yet scary experience.

When Natalia was released, Reverend Hale kept his promise to her and asked for her hand in marriage for real this time. Peter gave his blessing, and the two married within months. They left Salem, like Natalia wanted, and the two moved back into Andover, away from all of the painful memories the town afflicted on them.

And so here they were, eight years and three children afterwards. Natalia heard another soft giggle, and ran to find their youngest running into the garden, a pile of books thrown across the floor, obviously carelessly knocked over. She frowned, ready to yell when her husband ran past her, jolting towards the small fiend and picking the child up and spinning around.

The little girl laughed as her father twirled her until she got dizzy. She cried throughout bits of laughter to get him to stop, but he pretended to not hear her.

"What was that Rebecca?" he asked, and the child laughed, "You want me to spin you faster?"

"No!" she giggled, her long, untamed blonde hair flowing in the wind, "I'm getting dizzy! Stop it papa!"

"John," Natalia scolded, as her youngest's face was turning bright red, "Just put her down." He grinned and her but acquiesced, and the child was dropped unceremoniously to the ground in fits of laughter. Her ivory dress was tarnished with grass stains and dirt from her grubby little hands.

Her mother tsked, "Rebecca Grace Hale, what am I going to do with you?"

She grinned goofily, her bright green eyes shining like that of her father's, "I don't know," she laughed, and it only got louder when the oldest came through the door, covered in grime. He sighed, wiping sweat off his forehead and nodding to his parents.

"Good day, mother," he nodded, "Father."

Her husband looked at the boy and smiled, "Did Uncle Peter work like a slave driver again?"

The boy laughed, "Aye," he answered, and looked around the house, "Where is Miles?"

His mother went to boy with a damp towel and started cleaning his face, which he protested, "Miles should be around here somewhere, John. Your brother is probably studying in the den. Why don't I fix you a bath?" And with a peck on the cheek, a growl from her son, and a giggle from her daughter, she left her chaotic family to make her son a bath.

While the Salem Witch Trials took away some of her dearest friends, as well as some of her faith in humanity, she found that the presence of God could be seen in the hearts of her family. Hale resumed his clergy in Andover, and whenever she found time from her busy life she would go down to Salem, where Buffy and Peter lived (they had gotten married a couple years ago and now had one baby girl. Her eldest son John went down to Salem to help his uncle with the farm) and visited Elizabeth Proctor as often as she could.

The children were the lights of her life. Her eldest John reminded her so much of his namesake, John Proctor. He looked like his mother in most regards; he had black curls and hazel eyes, and was the mischievous one of the family. He was hard working though, and found himself happier working in the fields then studying. He was her simple farm boy.

The middle child, Miles, was named after Giles Corey, and was much like his father. He had the black hair of his mother, but his eyes were the exact shade of brilliant green like his father. He was a quiet boy, often closed up in his room studying books. Her little scholar, she imagined that he would grow up like her Hale some day and become a preacher.

And the youngest was the star of the family, Rebecca. She was a golden haired rascal who spent her days running around the house barefoot and causing her mother much grief, playing with the cats and 'accidently' breaking stuff. She had the spirit of her mother in every way possible, and was going to be quite the beauty when she grew up.

She smiled fondly as the hot water dribbled to the tub, and felt a presence behind her. Her husband was watching her from the door frame, and walked and captured her mouth in his. They kissed lazily for a little bit, and he worked his way down to her neck. He stopped and sighed.

"My love, you have bewitched my heart."

They laughed heartily, and she gazed into his eyes adoringly, "Guilty."

Was it what you expected? Better? Worse? Let me know! I hope you are at least happy that Natalia lived. I ALMOST killed her, after all. It was a very weighty decision, which is why it took so long for me to update. I didn't know what I wanted to do. In the end, I wanted happiness, considering all the sadness and darkness that this story created due to Abigail Bloody Williams.

Love you all.

Soldier of Passion