In your question on if we found it amusing, unsettling, or bizarre -- can I choose all of the above? :P
I really loved that you wrote all this through the eyes of a nobody in a place that seems like a nowhere. It was so funny to be inside Rick's very confused brain as Neville yammered on about things he ought not be yammering on about.
You know, I really don't think Mr. Longbottom would be one to hold his liquor well, and after this I think it's a pretty safe bet that he certainly can't.
I love that they chose to take the trip together, even if maybe it was a bit more than Neville could handle ;). And Luna, sweet innocent Luna... well, let's not go there.
The sort of camaraderie Rick was offering Neville, surely having been in the 'too much too early in the day,' really made the story. Here he is, a good ol' down home boy off seeing the sites with his wife, and deciding to befriend and chat an odd looking fellow... and what does he end up with? Tales about things he obviously thinks is rubbish, a conversation with one of the wizarding world most famous people as of late, and obliviated all because he wanted to be nice and chat. HAHA.
Throughout I couldn't decide if I felt worse for Neville or Rick. Poor Rick is trying to decipher between Neville being off his rocker and just intoxicated, and poor Neville is just trying to blow off some steam, ahah!
I really, really enjoyed this, Dan. We haven't gotten a comedy from you since Snape, and I forgot how good at humor you are!
Author's Response: Hi!
You can certainly answer "all of the above". I'm still trying to sort that one out, myself.
Aside from the fact that Rick was such a huge cultural contrast to Neville, he was also a pretty easy character for me to write. I just thought to myself, "what would my redneck uncles say and do in this situation?" The ball rolled downhill from there. ;)
Like you said, Rick really does want to help Neville, at least at first. He has that "christian charity" thing going on in his mind, along with a modest dose of the mostly harmless conceit of believing that he knows enough to fix another person's troubles. Boy, does he get more than he bargained for, though. Aside from Neville confusing the daylights out of him, he gets his brains rearranged at the end.
I'm still kind of torn about the way that Luna comes off in this. The thing is, I really can see her behaving in a way close enough to how Neville describes her that it would only amount to a small amount of drunken embellishment on his part. She tends to be emotionally disconnected enough that I think it's all just biology to her. I did really enjoy her appearance at the end.
I wish I could write more comedy. Honestly, it's harder for me to write than the angsty stuff because it's so rare that I come up with a genuinely funny thought that is both compatible with HP characters *and* ToS-compliant. You're familiar with a lot of the non-compliant thoughts and I'm sure you'll agree, nothing good could come of those. ;)
I'm really pleased that you enjoyed it! Thanks for the lovely review.