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Minwu’s hands are warm and smooth, clean of any apparent marks or calluses. In the unit of Minwu’s training that focuses on the movements and positioning of the fingers in rodless spellcasting, Firion purposefully progresses at a slower pace than is his habit. Firion enjoys having an excuse to touch Minwu’s hands, and if Minwu is made uncomfortable by this, he neglects to show it in any way. “How are your hands so soft?” he finally asks, pulling his own hands away to make a glowing spark of healing light blossom between them. “You use a stave far more often than Guy does, but his hands are nearly as callused as Maria’s.”

“It is the nature of the spells we wield, Firion,” Minwu says, mirroring Firion’s movements to generate his own little star of softly glowing light. “Our hands in particular are affected in the moment between our casting and its effects on the person we target; if you need to spot a healer in the midst of a cadre of spellcasters, take a look at their hands.” Beneath his mask, Minwu smiles.

Most others are drawn to Minwu’s eyes when speaking with him, Firion knows, but his own eyes always drift toward the man’s mouth beneath the silk mask he wears. He wonders which might be softer, Minwu’s lips or the scrap of silk obscuring them. The thoughts make him feel like a lovestruck youth, horny and infatuated, and so he focuses on the magic, though the movements associated with a simple cure spell are so natural to him that he has awoken to find his mana reserves drained from subconscious movements of his hands as he dreamed.

Perhaps sensing Firion’s distraction — but hopefully not its source — Minwu begins to drill him once again, fingers dancing in intricate patterns. “Tell me what spell I’m casting before I can finish,” he says.

The first is simple — “Cure,” Firion says, eyes fixed on the precise twitching of the older man’s thumbs. “And this,“ he starts, focusing, “is raise -”

“Unfortunately, no,” Minwu says, halting his hands’ movements. “Though the mistake is easier to make. No, it is arise — a more potent variation of the same spell. Many of the movements are very similiar, but the spell’s potency requires a great alteration in the patterns of its casting.”

He executes the spell again, and at Firion’s questioning look, nods for him to try and mimic the casting. As he does so, Firion looks more at Minwu’s hands than at his own, imagining how it would feel as it cradled his face, how Minwu’s thumb would feel as it caressed his bottom lip. Minwu’s eyebrow quirks at Firion’s sudden lapse into vague finger wiggles, and Firion flushes, as much from embarrassment as from the path his thoughts had been taking.

Before this journey began, Firion had always associated white magic with an elderly man in the temple at the north of town; now, he could not summon the light of healing magic without the sound of Minwu’s voice or the touch of his hands surfacing in his mind. The healing arts were said to grant miracles, but for Firion, the truer miracle would be for him to focus on his studies rather than on the man teaching him.