(1937-09-27) Physics Lesson
Details for Physics Lesson
Summary: Phae teaches Josie a lesson about physics in the process of teaching her how to skip stones on water.
Date: September 27th, 1937
Location: Lake Shore, Hogwarts
Related: None

It is not long after classes have let out, and Hephaesta walks along the misty lake shore, occasionally pausing to pick up a stone and examine it. When she finds a suitable one, she arcs her arm, and sends it skipping across the water's surface until it vanishes into the fog.

Skirting the edge of the crowd at the courtyard, Josie makes her way down towards the lake shore. She's holding a quill like a wand, practicing wand movements from Charms class as she goes. She stops as she sees the stone go skipping along the water, and runs down to where Phae is, "Wow, how'd you do that?" To a city kid, a skipping stone is as much magic as anything else they do here.

Hephaesta turns in surprise that anyone else is here. But it's Josie! Any trepidation about having her privacy invaded vanishes. She gives a weak smile, "Oh…hey Josie." She gives another demonstration, skipping the stone one…two…three times before it goes PLUNK! "It's all physics," she explains, trying not to let the melancholy show through in her voice. "The flat side of the stone strikes the surface of the water at a parralel angle, so the water becomes more like a solid plane. But it's got enough resiliency to sort of bounce the stone." Physics. That may as well be magic to wizards, who violate its laws daily.

Josie blinks at the explanation and says, "What are physics?" Some of the other words seem to go over head too, but then after a moment of puzzling through what she did understand, she says, "Oh, flat on flat, it bounces like it hit the ground?"

Hephaesta's smile improves a bit, finding a touch of happiness that she's imparted knowledge on her little friend. "Right…but like the ground was a little bit bouncy and slick. Water has a whole lot less friction than dirt. Ah…friction," she realizes she may have to explain that concept, too. "Friction is how much resistance something gives to other moving objects that touch it. So…here. Rub your finger over this smooth stone, then this rough one." She presents the rocks for the experiment. "Which one is easier to slide your finger on?"

Josie is just opening her mouth to ask about 'friction when Phae starts to explain, and she grins a bit. She listens attentively, though, and obediently runs her finger along each stone as they're presented, and she points to the smooth stone, "That one."

Hephaesta grins. "Right! Since it's smoother, there's less bumps and edges for your finger to catch on, so it has less friction. That's why it skips better than the rough rock. Watch." She flings the smooth stone over the lake, and it gets several bounces before submerging. But when she throws the rougher one, it plunks right into the water with a little splash, and not a single skip. "The friction sort of 'grabs' the water and stops the stone. But the other stone slides right over the water, just like your finger."

Josie grins brighter as she gets it and says, "Brilliant! So, if you threw a piece of ice, bet it'd *really* skip." She starts looking for a smooth stone herself then, pocketing her quill finally.

Hephaesta ponders that, then nods. "If it was the right shape, and smooth. I suppose it would." Once Josie has found an appropriate stone, Phae demonstrates another skip for her. "You have to throw it sideways. Arc your arm like this, and let it roll off of your fingers, so it spins. That will help to keep it flat while it flies." For the first time in days, Hephaesta has completely forgotten about her romantic troubles. The simple joy of teaching her young friend about one of her passions has given her a period of peace from her own teenage emotions.

Josie picks up three stones, pocketting two. She looks back to Phae then and watches her closely. She imitates the movement a few times in slow motion, then gives it a try. Plop, it drops right into the water. There's not a trace of frustration on her face, though, she just pulls the next one from her pocket and asks, "Show me that again?" Her second try gets a bounce, and she cheers, jumping a little. Maturity isn't *always* her thing.

Hephaesta claps excitedly for Josie. "You did it! Here, now try it again. Flick with your wrist at the last second." Phae might make a good professor, someday! Well, if Hogwarts ever offered classes in physics or mechanics…which is about as likely as a Muggle school teaching Divination.

Josie grins up to Phae and nods quickly. She pulls her third stone from her pocket and once again goes through the motions first. "Like this?" Once she has it right, she tries it full-speed, throwing the stone. This time, it skips twice before plopping into the water, "Yes!"

Hephaesta applauds again. "Well done! You learn quickly. See, this is something most wizards don't understand. Science is in everything. It's only magic that breaks the rules of science. But when magic isn't being used, there are other laws that govern the universe."

Josie grins, and steps quickly to hug Phae, "Thanks! This is brilliant." She steps back again and shrugs at the 'learn quickly', "I'm good with learning movements. And I just keep trying until I get it right. Helps in Charms and Transfiguration, but in Potions I don't learn fast at all." She listens curiously though as Phae explains science, and says, "So, it's like the rules in how guns work? Mr. Bates explained it once, they work with powder that explodes, but they don't work at all when they're wet." She giggles, "When Jimmy and a couple of his guys aimed guns at us, Mr. Bates made water pour out of the guns."

Hephaesta smiles, nodding. "Exactly. A gun works because when a spark is introduced to the gunpowder behind the bullet, the powder explodes. The sudden expansion of air creates a huge amount of pressure that has nowhere to go, so it forces the bullet out at incredible speed." Josie might be one of the only students that likely won't be a little scared that Phae understands how guns work. "But that's why water ruins it. The spark can't ignite wet powder." After her mini-lecture, she tilts her head, Josie's words catching up to her. "Who's Mr. Bates?"

Josie nods and grins, "So that's why Jimmy never allowed anything too hot near boxes of bullets." She then sits down on the grass as she answers, "He's an auror." There is a rather famous auror named Bannon Bates appearing in the paper quite often. "He's brilliant, not scared of anything. He even tap-danced with a bogart. He's a friend of the wizard who came to find me with my letter. He took over teaching me about the magic world and everything, and taught me to read, and he's the one who talked with Camilla and got it so I could stay with her."

Hephaesta nods, smiling. "Wow, you know a real Auror? And Camilla, that's pretty woman who was with you at the Leaky Cauldron the day we met, right?"

Josie nods quickly with a smile, "Uh-huh. Mr. Bates is amazing. Kind of stuffy, big on rules and manners and stuff, but really really nice too. And yeah, Camilla's the one who was with me that day. She runs the Grey Farm, right over there," and she points across the lake. "That's where I lived all summer. That's why Godric knew me at the sorting. Had to do chores, but they were lots more fun than working for Jimmy. I even got a special job looking after the Thestrals, because only me and her can see them, of the people working there."

Hephaesta blinks in confusion. "What are Thestrals? And why can only you see them?" Josie has the key to seeing something invisible? This could be the breakthough in properly calibrating her Site-Rite Goggles!

Josie smiles, apparently happy to be able to know something her friend doesn't for a change, and says, "They're really smart winged horses that eat meat. And have fangs. And look kinda like they're starving all the time, but they're not. And their wings look like bat wings. You can only see them if you've seen someone die."

Hephaesta looks a little bit fearful at the description, at first. But then the realization of why Josie can see them dawns upon her. "Only if…oh, Josie…I'm sorry. Who…who was it?" She bites her lip, knowing that maybe she shouldn't ask. But her curiosity is insatiable.

Josie seems to lose some of her energy at that question, and she looks down at the grass, absently picking a blade out of the ground, "My mum. We were being robbed." She doesn't give any more detail than that, not yet anyway.

Hephaesta manages to suppress her desire to ask more, and just reaches out to hug Josie. "You're an incredible girl. Do you know that? It's no wonder the hat sorted you into Gryffindor. You must be the bravest person I've ever met."

Josie leans into the hug, turning a little to return it and holding on a little longer than normal. "I am?" She isn't going to argue about being brave, but the other part, "I don't really know how to be a girl. Been pretending to be a boy so long."

Hephaesta shrugs. "You are a girl. What else do you need to know? I don't think it matters what you act like. You're an incredible Josie. How about that?"

Josie smiles again at that, hugging Phae once more, "Thanks." Glancing up to the school, and noticing those outside going in, she says, "Oh, it's almost dinner! Good, I'm *starving*." She climbs quickly back to her feet.

Hephaesta nods, rising with Josie. "Go on ahead. I'll catch up." There's no question that Josie can move a lot faster than Phae can. Besides, she needs to mentally prepare herself in case she sees certain people. Any time spent with Josie seems to put her in a better head-space, so she by the time she reaches the castle, she even manages to keep a small smile on her lips.

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