Jim’s eyes widened as if he’d seen something amazing.
“Did it work?” I asked.
“Not how I’d expected,” he answered.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“I still can’t see you, but I can see your magic,” he said. “It’s like glowing sigils floating in the air forming your shape.”
I deactivated the invisibility spell. “Are they still there?”
“Yeah,” he said. He let go of my arms and blinked a few times. “Now they’re gone.”
“Let me try?” I requested.
“Okay,” he agreed with a nod.
I handed him my pocket watch. “What were you thinking about when the glowing started?”
“The feeling I get whenever we touch, and our magic interacts,” he said.
“Okay,” I said. “The caster hand is already set. All you have to do is activate it.”
He disappeared, but when I held my hand up, he laced his fingers through mine. My skin warmed with the contact. I focused on the sigils I felt and thought about them glowing like Jim said. He didn’t reappear. Light spread from our clasped hands down our arms until we both glowed. Jim’s magic flowed over him in a beautiful, twisting pattern. I wanted to trace the continuous lines all over his body. Familiar symbols covered my skin as if every enchantment I’d placed on a watch embedded itself in my skin. I also saw some I’d never cast before. What would they do if I cast them?
I gave in to the safer temptation and ran my finger along a line on Jim’s shoulder. My finger brushed across the cotton of the shirt I couldn’t see. When my touch reached the bare skin on his neck, I heard a sharp inhale, and the magic vines glowed brighter. I followed the line up his neck to his jaw. Wherever my fingers went, new spirals shot off from the existing cord, lighting up the sensation he felt and fading again. Questions bombarded me. I pulled my hand back, knowing that if I kept going, we’d be too distracted to figure this out.
I went to Benjamin’s work table and grabbed a pencil. Flipping to an empty page in the notebook the late WatchCaster left behind, I wrote down every thought as quickly as possible. I’d already been curious about the connection between our magic, but seeing it made it impossible to ignore the stream of inquiries. As I wrote, the glow of my magic faded from sight. That sparked a new thought air balloon, and I followed it through my mind, writing the whole way. Jim stepped up behind me but didn’t say anything, as if he knew any noise would blow me off course. When I finally ran out of new questions and topics to explore, I realized I’d filled three pages.
“We have a lot of ground to cover,” Jim said as I put the pencil aside.
“We don’t have to dig into all of this today. I just didn’t want to forget any of it,” I told him, caught between wanting to finish our current task and a desire to chase these questions as far as I could.
“I’m okay with whatever you want to do,” Jim said, smirking. “Honestly, I think you were more excited about seeing through the invisibility spell than I was.”
“I just want you to be safe. What if Daniel gives Patrick one of the watches I’m making for him? Do you trust him enough to go undetected?” I asked. I’d only met Patrick once, but the yellow-eyed man scared me. He didn’t have any reason to come after me. I’d be delivering Daniel’s order two weeks early. Still, finding a way to see through my invisibility spell felt like a reasonable precaution when I thought of him using the spell.
“Good point,” Jim agreed.
“First thing, we should try to detect each other without the physical connection,” I suggested.
“All right,” Jim said.
I took the watch back from him and engaged the invisibility spell. I didn’t move around the room this time. It had been fun the first time, but I grew more serious now that we’d made progress. Jim squinted as if trying to see through a haze. He smiled, and I knew that he’d succeeded. I handed the watch off to him, and he disappeared. I thought about the lines of power covering Jim’s skin and called my magic to me. They lit up, forming a Jim-shaped outline in front of me.
If this only worked with Jim because of the correction we’d formed, it wouldn’t do him much good in the way of protection. I stopped focusing on Jim’s magic. Instead, I visualized my own magic. The sigils came to life on my skin. I wanted to sketch the symbols I didn’t recognize so badly. But I needed to solve this first. I’d powered the watch enchantments with my energy. As I thought about the connection my magic forged, the air where Jim stood seconds ago shimmered. The sigil I’d created for the invisibility spell repeatedly overlapped, forming a tight-knit pattern around Jim. It didn’t make the sharp silhouette I’d seen seconds before. Instead, the pattern looked a little like a cloak that settled over Jim.
“That’s it!” I said.
“You figured it out?” he asked. The glowing cloak cut off, and he reappeared.
“It’s similar to seeing my magic like you did before. Instead of focusing on me, though, concentrate on my magic within the enchantment,” I told him.
Jim handed me my pocket watch, and I activated the spell one more time. After a few seconds, he said, “It’s like someone threw a blanket of light over you.”
“And it’s all the same pattern instead of the variety you saw on me before?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he confirmed.
“Perfect! Now we know. Scan a room for my magic when we enter, assuming Daniel gives Daniel a copy of the thief’s gambit,” I said.
“I’ll let you know if he does. Not that you have anything to worry about. Daniel wants you around,” he said. I’d figured as much between not allowing me to pay for his doctor’s work and offering to help me find a storefront.
“I’ll still rest easier having figured this out,” I told him.
I didn’t mention that I worried more about what Patrick might do to him. I still didn’t understand what Jim and his coworkers actually did. It felt safer not to ask. I had no intention of giving Daniel a reason to send someone after me. Patrick didn’t need an order from Daniel to want to hurt Jim, though. If he thought Jim threatened his position, he’d deal with that threat. I didn’t want anything happening to Jim. So, finding a way to detect the invisibility spell felt like safeguarding our potential future together.