Believe it or not, yes - that is, if you're talking about under the exceptions in Windows Firewall; both are allowing for File and Printer Sharing. Also, if it's any use, there is no other firewall available on the machines - all that's being used for Antivirus is AVG Free; we like playing it dangerous, I guess.
But other than that, with all settings completely and utterly identical, LAPTOP 1 may enter into LAPTOP 2's Public folder, but not vise versa still. I'm completely and utterly stumped, and I'm not really thrilled about calling M$'s $59.00 support line just to share Public Folders.
I've done some more deepsea fishing for any information for this unusual and seemingly simple mishap, but as of yet, no use. I HAVE, though, pinged both IP addresses and found that both hold a solid connection; so it's not so much a connectivity issue as it is just an Error=5 problem. I'm up for anything!
Thanks all for your help!