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By the Tips of my Fingers

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“You could help me, you know.”

The sleek, ginger cat gave every indication of pointedly ignoring Obigail as she struggled to keep the crystal orb aloft. She could feel her power slipping past the surface without catching hold. The wooden figurine she was practicing on earlier had something to grip but this was much more difficult. The wand jerked in her hand as it dropped nearly six inches before stabilizing.

“Any advice at all would be appreciated.”

Boaeri, ever the helpful mentor, responded with a twitch of the end of her tail and began to groom a front paw. 

The stained glass set into the ceiling painted the walls and floor with color and warmth despite the lateness of the year. Cushions piled in various places along the floor not only offered protection to falling objects but had an insulating effect on the space. The sweater she had donned against the early morning chill was starting to be a bit much. Obigail blew the bangs from her eyes and wished she’d thought to pull her hair off the back of her neck before starting. Her teachers made magic seem fluid and effortless but in less than ten minutes she had already worked up a sweat.

She lowered the crystal to a cushion of blue velvet embroidered with purple flowers so lifelike she could almost smell them. It slipped from her grasp and fell the last two inches. Obigail brushed her hands along the front of her patchwork skirt to chase away the residual tingle or released magic. It wasn’t painful exactly, more... uncomfortable. Reminding her of a cross between static and sensation returning after numbness from a bitter cold.

“You dropped it.” Boaeri was suddenly at her side, still grooming with delicate swipes across her ear.

Obigail caught herself nervously tracing the orange stitching where it joined two irregular swathes of red fabric and deliberately put her hands to her sides. “But did you see how high it got! Nearly twice what I managed the last time.”

“I didn’t ask for height, I simply asked you to lift the crystal ball and hold it. You’re pushing yourself too fast, Obigail.” Green eyes flicked to her fingers and narrowed.

She pulled a floral hair clip from her bag and began the process of twisting her hair into a loose bun. “The tingling means it’s working.” 

“'The tingling' means you’re channeling too much too soon.” She sighed at the well tread argument. “You have to go more slowly or you’ll damage your nerves. Witch or not, you still have basic human anatomy to deal with.”

She bent down to scratch behind her ears. Boaeri grumbled at first but leaned into the touch with closed eyes. “Only for now.”

A rumble built up Boaeri’s throat into a loud purr. She flopped on her side in a pile of cushions, still rubbing her face along Obigail’s hand. The cream fur on her stomach was a tempting lure but she held back. Using too much magic may burn her from time to time but running her fingers along Boaeri’s belly always ended with sharp consequences. That was a lesson Obigail had learned early.

Maybe just this once…

Pet one.

Pet two. She's so soft.

Pet thr-- “Ow!”

Boaeri thrashed her tail in annoyance twice before releasing Obigail's hand. "Will you never learn?"

She sucked at the blood welling from the scratches across her index finger. "Some lessons need to be learned the hard way."

"And what lesson is that?" 

"Despite the magic, I can still feel my fingers."