Wow. This chapter had such huge ups and downs for me. It was truly amazing to see Ron eagerly reintegrating with magic and horribly sad to see Hermione trying and failing. To me, it all comes back to one of the things I admire most about your story: the pacing. For every thing you do that pulls Ron and Hermione closer together, there seems to be something else pushing a wedge of some sort in between them. The result is that they don't just fall into one another's arms -- not that I wouldn't cheer for that, mind you -- but they're also both in constant need of one another's support. It's a lovely way to keep the story moving forward at a nice, gradual rate. And even though it makes me want to scream sometimes, the story is much better for it.
Oh, my! It seems that Ron is trashing Molly's kitchen, not that she seems overly put out by it. I love how he can't get past his giddy excitement at being able to do little bits of magic again while she seems to be channeling all of her frustration into sniping at him for not listening to Harry and the others. It's cute and instantly recognizable.
Awesome! Professor McGonagall is here! I really enjoyed her attempt to teach them. Having Teddy and Victoire trying to take part was just precious. I love those two, especially together! But it all sounds so horribly difficult for Hermione. The part of her that just knows how things are supposed to be must be in a complete tizzy over the fact that Ron is picking up things at an incredibly fast rate while she can't even do the basic things. I feel terrible for her.
I need to take a moment here to stop and speculate just a bit. Whatever caused Ron and Hermione to lose their memories -- or lose access to their memories I guess is a better way to put it. It seems as though their memories still exist subconsciously -- has obviously affected each of them differently. The effects on Hermione seem much stronger for some reason. I've been pondering this in relation to one other detail: the fact that her wand was found intact while Ron's was destroyed. It makes me wonder whether perhaps Ron fought very hard against their abductors while Hermione gave up willingly. That certainly doesn't sound like her, unless maybe she did it to keep them from hurting Ron after he was already incapacitated? If he fought against this "memory dust" while she accepted her fate willingly, perhaps the effects are stronger on her? Just guessing out loud here.
I absolutely adore the little quote of Flitwick's that you popped out in here, by the way. All these little touches of canon add so much to the story for me!
Wow! Ron and Hermione have finally had a proper row! And the subject matter was classic Ron and Hermione. You did a truly awesome job with the fight. As usual, he was being an insensitive jerk, but there was more than just a grain of truth to what he was saying to her. And she was being overly defensive to compensate for something that she felt very insecure about. Like I said, perfect characterization for both of them! And after Ron walks away, he can't help but realize that his feelings for her are getting even stronger. I love how every fight they have eventually brings them closer together!
Ron is going to work with George? That's awesome! I have to imagine that the arrangement is going to be good for both of them. The relentless way that George ribs Ron, and the way that Ron knows how to take it and dish a little back out, was really great.
Oops! Ginny nearly spills the beans... again. I'm really impressed with how well you've managed to engineer the circumstances to keep Ron and Hermione from finding out. It would have been easy to put them into so many situations where it would have been well-nigh impossible for their engagement not to have come up. Instead, you've carefully kept them out of those sorts of situations so it doesn't really feel all that out of place. "'Do we share a friendship vault with Ron, too?' Hermione asked briskly..." All that said, it seems like she's getting pretty close to working things out on her own. Oh, and did you mean to say "I share a friendship vault with Ron" there?
The argument in Ludwig's office was beautifully written. I love how Ludwig has to work to get a word in to restore order! And when Ron spills the glass of water all over Hermione because he's trying to show off... genius!
OK, I know I gush far too much where this story is concerned, but I'm going to do it just a bit more. You're crafting a masterpiece here. I enjoy each and every chapter for the strong feelings it's able to evoke inside my head, and it just gets better and better. Can't wait to see what the two of them dream about!
Author's Response: Your comments on my pacing send me to the moon and back. This is one of my topmost worries. When I write a story, I'm so confused as to what to add and when and how. I never really figure it out, too. I guess it just comes as I write. My chapter plans almost never work out, and the pacing is usually totally different than I initially plan, so than God for that instinct, hah. I was worried a few times whether it wasn't moving too slow, so I'm glad you don't think so. I would love to have them jump into each other's arms, too, but it wouldn't be as natural and they need their development and drama. And it's so much fun, I'll be really sad when this ends.
As for the magic, I really wanted to give Ron an ability that was usually overlooked in books. Hermione was the smartest witch of her age, Harry was very powerful from the beginning, and Ron was just Ron. He's gone through a lot alongside the both of them, so I believe he can do some great magic, too, and I wanted to show that he's really capable. Hermione is blocked and I like your theory and we've talked about it in PMs, so I won't say more. :) But it's great you noticed how she tends to take out her frustration on Ron with her bossiness. Hermione can be very difficult once she's really annoyed, but no wonder...it's as if she can feel the greatness but cannot reach it and it really depresses her. Aaand it built up the way for their true bickering! That was one of those 'can't wait to write it' points of the story, so yay!
Having Ron work with George seems really natural. Even JKR said he helped him out a great lot after the war. I'm sure he moved on to become an Auror, but hanging around the joke shop, helping George run it before he got back on his feet seems like a thing Ron would do.
Yeah, Ludwig's not used to them as others, so he's a bit frightened and has to step in. Ginny keeps almost spilling the beans because subconsciously she really wants them to know, but something holds her back. Hermione is really close to finding out, though, so watch out for that. :)
Your words mean so much to me, all these reviews, they're unlike any others I've ever received. I never know what to say and I'm sorry about my lousy replies. I just grin stupidly when I read these reviews and I cherish them so much! Thank you a thousand times and I really hope you'll like the rest of the story. :)