History of Floo
Anya had returned from her two hour lunch, so Giles was free to return to his research. “Willow?”
“Wha … ?” The redhead jumped out of her seat. “Oh, it’s you.”
“Of course it’s me. Have you found anything?”
“Yeah, I’ve found a lot of things. Where to start, where to start.” The redhead began scrolling through the book marks she had added to Giles’ favorites list.
“How about with the gribles?”
“Okay. Gribles are attracted to magic.” Willow began, “So, I was wondering, what kind of magic, because hello, magical convergence. I mean, if it was any old magic, you’d think they’d be swarming. Of course, maybe they are swarming since they normally like dark places where we don’t look, sort of like roaches, only fuzzy…”
“Yes?” Giles leaned against the desk, tiredly. It appeared Willow had only found out what he already knew.
“So, I was reading up on it, but some of this stuff isn’t really covered in the normal magic texts. What’s ‘transmogrificatory pulsations’ mean?”
“It means…” Giles froze. He should know this; it was on his transfiguration OWLs. “Well, I don’t suppose it’s really important, is it?”
“I don’t know. Here we go.” Willow pulled up a webpage that was shimmering in a way Giles didn’t think webpages were supposed to act. He wondered if the Wizarding World had finally caught on to the internet. “While gribles are relatively unaffected by transmogrificatory pulsations, they seem hyper sensitive to prognostic augurifications.” Willow frowned. “Which I guess means, huh?”
“Scrying.” Giles adjusted his glasses. “The gribles are sensitive to scrying spells.” Which was just as he feared. He only hoped the Hellmouth had interfered with anyone’s scrying abilities or else he might not find just Severus at the hospital tonight.
“Oh no!” Willow blanched. “I’m so sorry.”
“Well,” Willow’s pale cheeks began turning a bright pink. “I sort of lost a shirt borrowed from Buffy last month, and she asked for it back, so Tara suggested we try a simple scrying spell to find it again, and well.” The redhead shrugged and looked the other way.
“Willow, I highly doubt…”
“Well, alright, it wasn’t all Tara’s idea. If I had known we would have attracted magical thingies, I wouldn’t have done it….”
“Willow? It wasn’t that sort of scrying. I doubt you and Tara would attempt a real augurification on the Hellmouth; at least, I’d hope you’d know better.”
“So what else did you learn?”
“Um, about gribles?”
“Nothing really.” She winced. “Oh, but floo powder, I found some stuff on that.”
“Yes. Did you know that it’s reactive in fireplaces?”
“You don’t say.” Giles sighed.
“Yeah, evidently there are all sorts of international regulations about it in Europe. I couldn’t find out much about it in the United States, but the EU is all hyped up about it. They’ve got a huge trading market for it over there.”
“Was there any information about floo powder on this continent?”
“There’s a little shop in Boston that sells it, but nothing else.”
“Boston or Salem?”
“Salem. That’s close to Boston, right?” Willow clicked on the mouse and a new page came up. “Here we go, this is the place that’s selling floo powder.”
“Oh that’s no good. I’ve already ordered some from them.” Giles sighed.
“Oh. Do you need any of the cites about it in Europe?”
“Were there any that discussed theory or perhaps applications, or were they all trade related?”
“They seemed more trade-y, although why, I don’t know.”
“Well, the only quarries for it are in Wales and Denmark, so there are issues with monopolies.” Giles offered offhandedly.
“So in other words, you know all about this stuff, and I haven’t told you anything new.” Willow frowned.
“I’m sorry, Willow. I rather suspected that would be the case, but it was worth a try. Ah well, back to the books.” Giles settled into his desk chair and picked up a book on communication charms.
“Okay.” Willow turned away from the computer to grab a book from the table. She reached from one with a black leather cover and some sort of family crest on the front. “Dragon sleeping never… what does titilandus mean?”
Giles glanced over at the book in Willow’s hands. “That’s ‘Never tickle a sleeping dragon.’” He easily answered. He was just about to return to his book when he froze. “Don’t look in that book!”
“Huh?” Willow muttered in surprise, her fingers curling around the front cover.
“Um, perhaps you should try this one?” He offered Willow one of the texts on magical creatures that he’d already looked through.
“What’s wrong with this one?”
“It’s not a good book to read. Really, I must insist you put that book down.” Giles face took on a deadly serious tone.
“What is it, Giles?” Willow carefully set the book down. Giles snatched it up and quickly locked it in the bottom desk drawer. “Is it like the book Moloch was in? Is there a dragon in it?”
“No.” Giles blushed. “It’s my school yearbook.”
“There were many social, political, economic, and cultural causes of the Goblin Rebellions.” Binn began his lecture with the same sentence that began every lecture. “Today we will look at the Goblin Rebellions of 1322.”
Rupert glanced around the room to see if anyone was paying attention. Severus was trying valiantly to stay awake by writing potion formulas in the margins of his notes. Most of the Slytherins had their heads on their desks by the time Binn got to the word “Goblin”. The Hufflepuffs hadn’t even lasted that long. Turning back to his notes, Rupert began doodling.
“The most important invention of the 1320s was floo powder, which was not so much of an invention as a discovery. Floo powder was discovered by the wizard Ignatia Wildsmith in 1314, although it was only after his death in 1320 that floo powder reached the form we know it as today.” Rupert felt his eyes begin to drift closed and realized he needed some sort of distraction soon. He glanced again at Severus, but his step-brother was fixated on whatever he was writing.
“Floo powder can be in two forms- fast acting and slow acting. The original discovery of floo was by a Dane wizard with the name Hans Flooenhaufer. However, this was the slow acting variety, which is created from flooide ore. Flooide ore is still mined in Denmark.” Rupert jotted down the important words and couldn’t help but wonder if Binns would ever get to the part of the Goblin Rebellions that actually involved Goblins before his class graduated.
“Ignatia Wildsmith was a Welsh wizard that owned several bauxite mines, an ore important to muggles. In his explorations of his mines, he came across a rock that resembled flooide with compression striations that are common signs of tectonic shifting or compressed magical resonances. He called this rock flooitite. Like flooide, flooitite transformed fires to the typical green color we see with floo powder and transmit images to other flooed fires. However, powder from flooitite could also be used to transfer objects between fires.” A sudden movement to Rupert’s left attracted his attention.
One of the Hufflepuff girls in his study group had jerked herself awake. She glanced around to see if class was over. Catching Rupert’s eyes, she mouthed “What have I missed?”
Rupert muttered the replication charm Lily Evans had taught them last week, and handed the copied parchment to the girl. She read over it quickly, scribbled something on the bottom corner, ripped off the end and passed it back to Rupert. “What does floo powder have to do with the Goblin Rebellions?”
“Most authorities cite Wildsmith as the inventor of the floo powder because of his discovery of the fast acting floo powder variety, which is what is commonly used today. Until Ignatia Wildsmith’s discovery of floo powder, all wizards were dependent on flooide mined in Denmark, which gave Denmark a monopoly on long distance communication.” Binn droned on.
Rupert added a few sentences to his notes then wrote a response to Beatrice. “Actually, the real question is what kind of parent is cruel enough to name a boy Ignatia.” He carefully tore off the bottom of his parchment, folded it in half, and handed it to the Hufflepuff.
The girl opened the note, and let out a snort. Severus turned around and shot Rupert a glare. He stuck his tongue out, and Severus sneered in response before turning back to the lecture. Professor Binns missed the entire exchange, caught up in his monotone lecture. “The Welsh floo market became the primary source of floo powder for the British Isles. The Welsh floo market increased trade to all of the British Isle but primarily influenced the development of wizarding communities in Caerphilly and Tutshill. The price of floo powder before Wildsmith’s discovery was roughly…”
Rupert was distracted by a quiet cough to his left. Beatrice sneaked a note to him. As he unrolled it, he could see that there was a stick picture of his step-brother with little devil horns. “Severus Snape is such a snit!” The note proclaimed. Rupert frowned. He was all for making fun of his step-brother when the opportunity presented itself, but it was wrong for other people, especially a Hufflepuff, to start at it. After all, Sev was a Slytherin, and a Giles, even if he wouldn’t admit it.
“He’s not so bad.” Rupert scribbled, and tossed back at Beatrice.
Beatrice turned around in her seat, and scrunched up her nose at Rupert. “How could he be worse?” She muttered. Rupert glanced to the front of the class, where Severus was yet again, glaring at him.
Rolling his eyes, Rupert went back to his notes, copying every other word from Binn’s lecture, while working on a reply.
Beatrice was nearly asleep when she felt the wadded note hit her in the head. She glanced back. “Sorry,” Rupert muttered and pointed to the note on the floor. She picked it up and straightened it a bit.
“He could be blonde…” was written underneath a stick figure that was enchanted to flick its hair back every time it turned around and stuck its tongue out.
Beatrice turned around and grinned at Rupert, then quickly wrote a reply and tossed it to Rupert. There was an arrow pointing to the stick figure. “Snape and Malfoy’s love child!” was the caption.
Rupert glanced at Lucius, who was trying to sleep sitting up. At that moment, Lucius’ head drooped sideways, and landed on Severus’ shoulder. Severus was quick to shove Lucius back to his side of the desk, but it was too late. Rupert cracked up laughing. On a scale of one to ten on the Snape glare-o-death-ometer, Rupert would have rated the look he got a six. In fact his laughter was loud enough that some of the Hufflepuffs around him woke up. Realizing class was still going, they quickly went back to sleep.
Feeling slightly guilty, Rupert returned to taking notes. “The international floo market was one of the main impetuses for England to adopt a uniform wizarding currency, which we still use today. In 1523, Wilifred Juxtapuzzle tried to instigate a new currency standard based on a base ten system, but it never caught on with floo merchants, which is why we still use the currency system designed in 1328.”
“I can’t believe Binns didn’t hear that.” Beatrice sent the note to Rupert’s desk.
“He’s pretty blind.”
“I wonder if he’d notice the Snape-Malfoy love child.” Beatric sent back with a giggle. Rupert rolled his eyes when he noticed Beatrice drew little hearts over all the “i”s. He wondered if that was a girl thing or a Hufflepuff thing, finally deciding it had to be a bit of both.
“I bet he wouldn’t notice if you were to run around class, starkers. Wanna try it?” He sent the note back.
Beatrice turned around in her seat, face aghast. Just then the bell rang, waking up the rest of the class. “You are such a pig!” She whispered in a horrified voice.
Rupert shrugged. “Well, I just thought I’d suggest it.”
“You’re such a Slytherin, Rupert Giles!” She scowled.
“Oh, well in that case.” Rupert brought out his wand, and muttered a quick spell. The parchments they had been writing their notes on vanished in a puff of smoke.
“What did you do that for?!”
“I’m just destroying the evidence, as any good Slytherin would do.”
“No, I’m a Slytherin, but hey, at least you stayed awake through class.” The Hufflepuff rolled her eyes and followed her friends out of the classroom.
“Just what did you two find so hilarious?” Severus hissed at his step-brother.
“Oh, it was nothing.” Rupert shrugged, trying hard not to blush.
“What was nothing?” Lucius asked, intruding on their conversation.
“Ru here spent the entire class passing notes with a Hufflepuff.”
“Which Hufflepuff? Was she cute?” Evan interjected.
“Was she a pure blood?” Lucius added.
“Sort of, and yes.” Rupert answered the questions. “At least I think Beatrice Botts is pure enough for you.”
“What were you talking about?” Severus continued.
“I tell you it was nothing.” Rupert insisted. He received three pointed stares that let him know it was time to start coming up with excuses. “Alright, so we were giggling about how any witch would actually name her son Ignatia.”
“That’s why she snorted?” Severus obviously didn’t believe him.
“That’s not even funny. My great uncle is named Ignatia.” Lucius sneered.
“What can I say, there’s no accounting for a Hufflepuff’s sense of humor.”
“Then why was she so mad at you after class?”
“Oh… um, maybe because I suggested she run around the room starkers to get Binn’s attention.”
“She didn’t like that idea? Pity.” Evan sighed.
Lucius rolled his eyes. “Oh well it doesn’t matter. Severus, come on, you promised to show me that thing of yours before potions class.” Luckily none of the Slytherins noticed Rupert walking straight into the door frame as Severus led Lucius to the basement to show him the new sneak-o-scope he had gotten for Yule.