Yay! So many awesome things happened in this chapter. I don't know where to start, so I'll just start at the beginning.
You're doing such a great job of allowing Ron and Hermione's personalities to slowly bleed through the new lives that have been superimposed on top of who they really are. It feels so gradual and natural. I can't complement you enough on the way you've paced this story.
I like when you delve into Ron's thoughts on some of the more complicated, psychological parts of the story. You do a really great job of adding complexity to his character so he doesn't come off too goofy or one-dimensional. He really is very introspective and he has legitimate doubts about what they're doing. But he's also infatuated with her in a way that he can't quite explain to himself. Beautiful characterization.
You did an awesome job of letting the ghosts of his past weigh on Harry's mind as he makes his way through Diagon Alley. And you even take a little time to explain how the wizarding world has recovered from the war, which I really appreciated. I love getting a peek inside an author's personal head canon about how things played out in the intervening 19 years. One thing that I noticed -- and it's so rare that I have an off reaction to anything in this story that it really jumped out at me -- was this line: "As one of the most promising Aurors of his age, he had managed to catch all the remaining Death Eaters and lock them up in cells in Azkaban, which was no longer guarded by the dementors." This might be nit-picky, but I feel like that's giving Harry an awful lot of personal credit. I'm sure the capture of the Death Eaters was a team effort on the part of all of the remaining Aurors. Again, it's not a big thing, but it jumped out at me.
I thought Ludwig was a great little addition. He offered a nice opportunity for Harry to put some feelings into words and receive a bit of wise counsel in return. It made Harry's ensuing thoughts seem a lot less like they came out of nowhere, which in turn helps to maintain his doubts that are so key to the way he's been interacting with Ginny.
The scene where Hermione chastises Ron about talking with his mouth full was brief, but it was perfectly executed. You have these two characters down pat!
Gah! I just wanted to stand up and cheer when they arrive at the Leaky Cauldron. They're almost home, they just don't realize it yet. You did a superb job of capturing how incredible strange the inside of the pub must have looked to someone who, as far as they can remember, is a muggle. Every little detail of magic and mystery was written in such a way as not to make it too overt. It allowed the scene to play out at a much nicer pace as Ron and then Hermione try to decide whether to believe their eyes. I was cracking up at the image of Ron running around with the Jarvey clinging to his head. You did an amazing job with this from beginning to end.
And Hannah saw them! Oh, that seriously made me want to jump for joy. First, though, I liked the way that Ginny allowed herself just a bit of time to be happy. It felt good and it felt right on the heels of her agreeing to Harry's proposal. Then Hannah's letter arrives. I loved the way that she restrains herself, not flying at Harry the moment she sees him. Following such a happy moment in her life and knowing how torn Harry is, her reluctance felt perfectly natural. Again, the brilliance of this story is so tightly related to the pacing of events. But she finally tells him and he relents. Perhaps even a bit eagerly. I just can't wait to see what's next!
Author's Response: You're right about that line being wrong. I'll change it right away. I guess I just didn't realize what I was saying when I wrote that. Of course it wasn't all only his doing.
Yay, Ron and Hermione and their first contact with the magical world. The Jarvey/Ron incident just jumped into my mind as I was writing that scene, and I simply couldn't resist. It was inspired by Ron being somewhat attacked by Crookshanks in PoA, haha.
I really enjoy writing Ron and his inner feelings, especially the ones concerning Hermione. I just love how he secretly adores her and everything, how she affects him etc. It makes me so happy JKR created such amazing characters for me to write and enjoy even after the books are finished. That's what makes this world so special to me.
Harry had some moments to think and Ludwig will make another appearance!
So, Ron and Hermione got really close now and Hannah saw them, so there are bound to be some consequences! :D I have to say again how happy I am that you're enjoying this. Thank you for all the reviews. I know I'm just repeating myself here, but they really mean so much to me. I think you're an amazing writer and it's such an honor that you are reading this and leaving such great, great reviews.
I really hope that if you keep reading you'll also keep enjoying the story.