Ho, ho, ho, and Happy Holidays! This is your Holiday Review Swap Extravanganza Thingee review! Also, frankly, a good chance for me to get back into your story.
For Arthur and Harry's section in the demolished shop in Knockturn Alley, I was of two minds. First off, I really liked what you had. I don't know why more fan fic writers don't think of Arthur as a wizard who's very capable of stepping up and being part of solving a mystery. He's a high Ministry official and a very experienced member of the Order. His contribution to exploring the shop seemed very valuable. Hold on one second while I say something to Harry...
NO! HARRY, DON'T GET THAT POWDER IN YOUR NOSE!!
Sorry, where was I? Right, back to Arthur. I thought his reaction to finding the Malfoy signet ring in the shop made perfect sense. He's probably never going to forgive Draco's family for all of the horrible things that Lucius tried to do to him over the years. It would be one thing if it all just affected Arthur, but it also had an effect on his family, and I don't see Arthur ever completely getting over that.
I really wished that the scene in the shop had been longer and more involved. Harry and Arthur were going into a potentially very dangerous situation. Also, any little thing -- a scrap of paper, a footprint, a curse burn -- could have been a clue to Ron and Hermione's disappearance and memory loss. I would have expected both of them to be on high alert. Lots of tension and small details and making their way very slowly and gradually through the shop. Harry should have been using all of his super-groovy Auror crime scene analysis spells. I realize the main point of the scene was for them to find the ring, but I felt like you could have added a lot more drama and made it all much more real.
Sigh. And then comes the aftermath of the phone conversation between Hermione and Jonas that poor Ron overheard. You brought a lot of powerful emotion to this scene. I loved Ron's desperate need to keep her near and Hermione's heart-breaking confusion and internal conflict. He makes every argument -- passionately -- that she's already having with herself. The loss of her parents, one of her anchors in her old life, weighed really heavily on her, but Ron isn't letting her off that easily. Then comes...
THE KISS! Yesss! And this time it's him! And she knows it's right. She feels it and if there was any doubt, I think what happens next removes it:
"The sudden loss of Ron from beside her felt like a giant glitch in gravity, and her head was spinning" - I'm a physics geek by training, but I don't think that has anything to do with why I love this line so much. It was brilliant!
The way their scene ends is just amazing, too. He puts her to bed. It's so sweet! When she snuggles up to him and falls asleep, everything feels right in the world.
But everything is not right. Oh, no. Far from it. Pacing, pacing, pacing. Three steps forward and two steps back. Ordinarily, I think I would have had a hard time buying into the idea of Hermione snapping at Molly the way that she did. It seemed so far out of character. But you sold it so well, playing up all of her internal conflict and how disgusted she feels with herself for not having the courage to be honest with Ron. It all turns into venom and Molly is unfortunately the closest available target. I wonder whether she was telling Hermione to be careful with Ron for Ron's benefit or Hermione's benefit? We'll never find out, I suppose.
Poor Ron. His reaction was brilliantly in character for him. This is the Ron I remember from his younger days in the books. The Ron who doesn't handly adversity well at all. The Ron who's paranoid about finding himself on the outside looking in. And he lashes out with all of the hurt and insecurity he's been feeling. It's sad, but it makes sense.
So many highs and lows in this chapter! You're killing me, you know that? Absolutely killing me! But I love it and I wouldn't trade it for all the premature happy endings in the world. Very nicely done!