I've come back to write a proper review - I would say 'now I've calmed down', but that would be a lie. Nevertheless things have had time to sink in, and so I think I'm capable of a review which contains more than serious ninja threats.
I'm not revoking the threat though.
A couple of smaller things to comment on, before we reach The Big One. Firstly, love that Albus is the voice of reassurance in the middle of the forest. He really WAS the person to take the reins when Nat was AWOL, because he has all the right attributes. And the others listen to him and do as he says whether they want to or not (here's looking at you, Selena).
And that the simple thought of Albus and Rose was enough for Scorpius to conjure a Patronus just says it all. I love that in such a short space of time, Rose has come to mean just as much to Scorp as Al has. His 'goodbye' words to Methuselah regarding them were heartbreaking.
But not as heartbreaking as what then happened. And I loved Rose's thought that Scorpius would have sacrificed himself without sense and reason, but that Methuselah did it BECAUSE of that. It says all that needs to be said about the characters of the two of them. The fact that Methuselah made that sacrifice for them all is just ... beyond words. His parting words to Scorp were so HIM, too. No mushy words for Selena, just that he'd be 'thinking of her'. And as for Selena ... oh, the poor poor girl.
I think this is honestly the most cut up I've been over ANY fanfic character's death, let alone any of yours. Even Toby. But then, I think that was partly because we saw most of the aftermath from Tanith's point of view and she was so completely NUMBED by it that it almost had the same effect on me ... and also because in the back of my mind I just could not bring myself to believe that you would ACTUALLY do such a thing. As it turned out, you didn't. But THIS ... it's like you've just stabbed me in the stomach. It's come completely out of nowhere, I honestly didn't think you'd kill any of the Six, especially after you'd already disposed of Tim. And I'd come to love Methuselah so much; I almost hate myself for thinking he was a bit of a pillock in the scene on the train, because he is such a wonderful character, and his relationship with Selena was so beautiful. And now this. WHY.
I should warn you, more ninjas will be on the way regardless of what happens in the next chapter. Because if he remains stone-cold dead, I will remain upset. And if he miraculously turns out to be alive, I will not be amused at this emotional rollercoaster you've put me through. So be prepared.
I will say though, the last bit in particular - the bit from Rose's perspective - is so wonderfully written. The worst part of it all was just waiting, waiting, for Selena to turn up and realise what had happened ... ugh so heartbreaking. And I can't think about this any more, I'm getting too emotional. AWFUL CHAPTER BRO.
Author's Response: From this point I will ALWAYS expect ninjas.
Albus is, truly, the leader. He's stepped up, he's been tested and succeeded, tested and failed - but he's still here. I've enjoyed exploring how he's a hero in his own right and a very different hero to Harry. Albus could lead men who never knew who he was and never knew his story, and they would follow him to hell. Or, that's what he's growing into.
Scorpius did need him for a patronus (because friendship matters as much as romance, damn it!), too. It's like inspiration and stability - Rose provides the former, Albus the latter. Rose makes him soar - Albus keeps him sane.
Methuselah did, indeed, do it because it was logical. He came a long way from the guy whose instinct was to run away and leave Scorpius when face to face with Dementors. And, in some ways, the words for Selena are even mushier. He needed a patronus to cast, and he thought of her. Ironically he couldn't have sacrificed himself without her, as without her he couldn't have cast the patronus to get in.
Christ, I just depressed myself.
I couched Toby's "death" in different terms. No body, for starters. And yes, it came to Tanith, who just completely shut down, and I'm not surprised that, deep down, readers didn't believe I'd killed him. It would have been Odd, dramatically (though I suppose that has merit, a death nobody expects - this, at least, is a classic self-sacrifice at the end).
I was so anxious when people REALLY didn't like Methuselah at first!! I didn't expect him to be loved originally, but he got such negative feedback! I thought I'd end up killing the guy nobody liked! But I admit he completely got away from me as a character, and I adored writing him and ADORED writing him and Selena, and I'm gutted I can never explore their relationship fully.
Originally the chapter ended on Scorpius' POV. But I figured I wanted the audience to see the discovery, the realisation, the horror. And, to an extent, go "yes, there is a body".
This IS an awful chapter, you're right.