theo tate &. henry lee
feb 07 2021
Theo had heard of the shop before, mostly thanks to Molly, and he'd wanted to visit it just - to visit it, because it seemed interesting and educational and Theo was all about that. He'd have never thought that he was going to the shop for some kind of help with something that seemed a little bit magical and way outside his realm of understanding. Theo was smart - he always had been. Book smart, great at taking tests, skilled in multiple different disciplines.

He was not, of course, socially smart or anything else like that, and aside from his deep historical, mathematical, literature and scientific knowledge, Theo was a complete moron. He also had no understanding of magic, but just a week with this item had made it very clear to him that that was what it was, and he absolutely needed some help.

Mostly because - well. It wouldn't leave him alone. He'd found it at the Exploratorium, and it had simply - attached itself to him. And then he'd taken it back, and tried to slip it in the spot he'd seen it first, and then after leaving he found it, once again, in his bag. So he tried multiple times, over and over again, trying to find a spot for it that it would stay, and it simply did not seem to have any interest in it. As an artifact, it was incredible, and interesting, and Theo wondered if maybe another historian or an archaologist would have a better idea of it - but the magical aspect of it had him heading first to Arcana in the hopes that they could at least tell him what it was. And if it was bad. (Please, god, let it not be bad.)

Theo stepped inside, hesitating just inside the door and then beginning the careful search around for someone working there. "Um, hi?" Theo called out, at least a little relieved to find there were no other customers inside (yet). "Hi, I just have a question?"

Since it’s formation - something to do with a goat and a sacrifice and a boss looking more like a demonic satyr than her usual self - Arcana had become a second home, presuming there had really been one otherwise. It was nothing bad to say about his apartment which went extremely unused since it’s eventually gutting of personal possessions and being thrown back onto the market or the Hargreeves Mansion which, he supposed, he could always return to given the considerable vacancy; it was just that Arcana felt right and accessibility to other places not so readily know was easy. He could live his mornings in comfortable silence with Faline snoring away the rest nearby while he poured through books and practiced reading cards and, at times, helped out customers when they came in.

Like now, Henry looking up curiously from the iron bound book - one volume of a few Hyborian Age texts he had in his possession on the whims of the powers that be - from where he sat at the front counter, more or less hidden away amiss the rest of the magic findings and tools that graced the front shelves of the establishment. They were your standards, the inner workings of Arcana and the staff that manned it perhaps the more magical part of it all. The book was shut in short order, Henry setting it aside before he zeroed in on Theo to meet him somewhere amiss the crystals.

“Hey, welcome,” he said, casually enough. The resident bookish being, perhaps customer greetings could have been better, but it also hadn’t served him wrong. He regarded Theo a moment, perhaps in question of just what might have brought him in, before speaking up again. “What can I help you with today?”

Theo was tenser than he needed to be, bracing and careful and a little concerned he'd have another of his sticky situations and end up attached to something in the store if he touched too many things. So he kept his hands to himself and inspected the shelves, glanced this way and that, searched for someone - until Henry appeared, and Theo reacted by swinging around like he'd been caught doing something wrong, which he was absolutely not doing and couldn't quite comprehend why he felt like he was being secretive or suspicious. But, well, he was, and with the necklace sitting tucked away in his backpack, Theo was a little worried about what it might even do.

But, after the initial surprise, Theo let out a sigh and aimed a bright smile Henry's way - and one of recognition. "Hey." He said, glad it was someone he knew, at least a little - and he wasn't going to bring up the hair thing even if his first instinct was to ask after it. Theo tugged his backpack around to his front and patted at the cover of it, though he didn't want to open it up in the middle of the store, so he just fidgeted with the zipper and glanced around to make sure no other customers had entered.

"Um, so, I found a thing. Or - I think, a thing found me. And it's... acting a bit strangely, so I thought, maybe, you guys here, might - know. About it. Or what it is. Or what I should do with it." He cringed at his inability to get one sentence out without a stammer, and flashed Henry an apologetic smile. "Is that okay?"

He felt the tension was to be expected: New business, new environment, uncertainty in everything about it aside from what he was sure was a good word from Mally, and something to do with the contents of his backpack which Henry dropped his eyes to when it came to the front of Theo’s body for some fidgeting with the zipper. In a normal sense of living, it might’ve been nothing; some other magic shop wouldn’t have know what to do with the potential item when there hadn’t been that otherworldly phenomenon of the shifts to deal with, but he had some certainty that whatever it was - valid or otherwise - they’d be able to figure it out.

“Come on,” he said, motioning back towards the counter where he had been sitting before, rounding the backside of it before settling up where he had once been reading. There were more private avenues to venture into should the doorways have been cooperating - there had been that magical freak out prior when Hecate had come bowling through - but it also wasn’t that hard to give the door a far away lock, a simple spell that would make sure no one else would impede on their investigation for something as terribly mediocre as a love potion made of simple sugar and food coloring - tis’ the season, he supposed.

“Where’d you find it? Or where’d it find you,” he corrected himself while he waited for Theo to fish it out, only a means of lightening up the potential tension that might have still been swimming about. There were a lot of strange places that items (and people, if he had to be honest) turned up, so while it wouldn’t give him any answers, it would at least beckon conversation that hopefully wasn’t so nervous. “You didn’t steal it from a bear in fairy wings, did you?” He asked as a joke, popping his head up to look at Theo. “Is this a mauling in the works?”

Theo laughed, relieved for Henry's joke and the way it eased the tension in his shoulders. He couldn't exactly explain why he felt so tense, so unsure - maybe because it felt like this thing really didn't belong to him, even though it seemed to have attached itself to him for now and had no intention of leaving. "No, no, no bears in fairy wings." He joked back, grinned and focused on digging through his bag. "If this was a mauling, I'd give you a heads up. You'd be able to see the teeth coming, at least." He smiled again, even though his attention was directed downwards into his bag, and then he let out a soft ah as he discovered the thing that he'd been looking for.

When he pulled it out, it was wrapped in an old band t-shirt, because Theo hadn't been sure how to transport it carefully - definitely didn't want to accidentally break open what appeared to be a magical necklace. "Here." He held it out to Henry, and swung his backpack around onto his back, moving so he had both hands free and could unwrap the t-shirt enough so he could, instead, hold the heavy gold eye-shaped pendant in one hand. It was quiet for now, no green glow like it had done the times it delivered itself back to him, and Theo tilted it back and forth to show him.

"It found me at the Exploratorium. I was there with a friend, and it just - popped onto me. And then into my bag. And when I try to return it, it just... shows up again, like it doesn't want to leave."

On best guesses without yet seeing the object in question, Henry figured it didn't belong to Theo, Henry not without his fair share of items that didn't belong to him either. Even if he had wanted to throw the Darkhold into a deep abyss somewhere after the trouble opening it had caused, even if he wanted to burn the mysterious set of tarot cards more recently found in his possession, he couldn't, but he had at least managed to keep them on safe grounds within the walls of Arcana - not that many others knew which doorway one would have to go through to get to them. A mystical object showing up out of the blue was believable though the reasons they picked the people they did was something Henry had no answer to. "Good, because you're right: Those things do look creepy," he assured, nodding slightly as his attention fell to the bag and the object that had come out of it.

"Oh," was the single syllable that fell out of his mouth once the weight of the amulet had fallen into his hands, his head taking a curious tilt to the side as he checked out the metalwork and let his mind buzz with research sources - some a bit more valid than he supposed others would be, but there had been plenty learned from the pages of comic books that hadn't been so forthcoming elsewhere.

"My guess is that it doesn't," Henry said, setting the amulet down carefully on the counter, peering over it a bit. "The book that comes to mind isn't one that I have," he said, "but I can give you a general enough run down. You ever hear of the Sorcerer Surpreme Agamotto? He's said to be the first, born of the Elder God Oshtur, who defended the planet against threats like Dormammu and the Fallen. This is his eye - not his eye, but he created it. I've heard there are three others out there, but I'm pretty sure I've never seen any of them in person. Asgard and the City of Sickles aren't exactly on the BART lines." He popped his head up once he realized he had rambled, arms crossing on the counter in front of him. "Which all sounds like a load of hogwash unless you consider all of San Francisco's stranger occurences."

Henry's oh had Theo's gaze flying up at him, and the litany of questions that flooded through his head at the noise needed to be corralled into something less urgent and panicked. Oh, that's bad? Oh, that's good? Oh, that's just some costume jewelry, Theo, and you're kind of an idiot for thinking it was anything else? He kept all of those questions to himself, though, simply watching as Henry observed it, took it in, and offered him some more information. And boy was that information both more than Theo had expected and - about as much as he'd been waiting for. Sorcerer Supreme and everything. Asgard. Jesus Christ. What had he gotten himself into now?

"Yeah." Theo let out a soft chuff of laughter at the comment about San Francisco - because Henry was right, and at this point this necklace wasn't even the strangest thing that had come across Theo's path, or would, he assumed. He set the amulet carefully down on the counter, still spooned inside his soft t-shirt, and removed his hands from it. It made a faint little humming sound, as if in displeasure, but Theo was focusing on Henry instead. "Okay, so. I haven't heard of the guy, but - I mean, that's somewhere to start, right? If I Google..." He squinted his eyes and wrinkled his nose and glanced down at the pendant again, then back up at Henry.

"What does it do, do you know? Should I be worried? Is it gonna blow... something up? I have no idea how to work it and it's not like my actual -" Theo flexed his fingers. "My new abilities aren't exactly magic related."

“That’s where I’m a little uncertain,” Henry said, shaking his head a little bit since it was a peculiar item to have simply drop out of the sky - so to speak, but the trite line of ‘stranger things had happened’ easily made itself known as he thought over just why the Eye of Agamotto would have picked someone who didn’t have magical inclination. “The eyes each have their own theme, I guess, like a purpose - power, truth, and prescience,” he said, popping a finger up for each until there were three outstretched, “and I would assume it would pick someone it deemed worth of owning it which really actually explains nothing unless you’ve got some innate magical ability that no one knows about yet. That could be possible.”

“Has it done anything since you got it?” Henry asked, sitting back so he could go the route of least resistance when it came to looking it up, thumbs tapping at the screen of his phone while he waited for an answer. There were resources for this sort of thing and while he could just as well break into the books and spend all of his time mulling over ancient texts which on the best of days could be difficult to read, the internet would get him an answer sooner as to what it could do in the right hands.

“Assuming this is the one more readily known,” he said, “it can reveal the truth of illusions, banish demons and other malevolent entities, levitate objects, recent event playback - it’s kind of like a fun twist on telepathy without the insane headaches and nosebleeds.” Did he expect Theo would have been able to do anything with that information? Maybe, but he’d actually have to figure out how to activate it first - something Henry was sure his own brand of magic ability wouldn’t have allowed him to do without consequence. “Maybe some time manipulation, but we’re starting to get into some deep black holes,” Henry said, flipping his phone around so Theo could look it over. “I wouldn’t go trying to conjure up anything though - just in case you read into the Dark Dimension or somewhere just as foul. There’s not too many good things in there.”

Innate magical ability that no one knows about yet. That seemed - unlikely, but Theo wasn't going to entirely discount it, not when this thing had seemingly decided he was going to be its keeper now. And, truly, he was more than happy to let it sit comfortably in the bedroom of his new apartment if that's what it would be content doing, but he wasn't exactly sure that would be all it was content with. "No, nothing really. It's just - every time I try to give it back, or give it to someone else, it just pops back into my things. Mostly just that. Sometimes it glows, but it never leads to anything, it more seems like it's trying to tell me off for trying to get rid of it."

Theo cast a scrutinizing glance down at the object, which responded with a little green pulse, and then he sighed and spread his hands out towards it. "See?" But then Henry was digging into the various different things this Eye could do, possibly, and Theo's skin nearly went as white as a sheet the moment he mentioned time manipulation. Color flooded back quickly when Theo realized that maybe, maybe that meant it would help him if he ever did get lost in time again, and he curled a finger around the band of the pendant and considered it carefully for a moment.

"Oh, jesus, no, I won't try to conjure anything." He reassured immediately, wincing at Henry. "I'd... you know. Like to know how it works, maybe practice enough to get good with it, just in case I ever need to turn it off."

The green lighting didn't go unnoticed, caught in the peripheral of his vision as it splashed over the countertop and illuminated a few things in a similar green. A few more taps, some more information, and Henry resigned his phone to the counter, fingers lacing themselves together while his elbows propped on the hard surface. While he had wanted to help with that part of things and may have still had intention to, it wouldn't be so readily as direct instruction since he couldn't use it - not without some serious detriment to himself and he was sure that Mally would have shunned him in Limbo if he shuffled off the mortal coil again.

"Sassy thing," he commented, lips smoothing out into a thin line as he gave it more thought. Of course, Theo would want to figure out how to use it. If it was going to stay with him, wasn't going to go off to find someone else to be its guardian, why not? There were far worse people out there, sorcerers with less than pleasant intentions, who would have had no issue coveting it for themselves only to find out that the Eye would just return to its perceived rightful owner - presumably. There was still one talisman with a questionable owner, but as far as he knew, Kulan Gath wasn't going to be raising Jhoatun Lau any time soon.

"I might be able to help, but, I guess, the first thing I want to say is just promise me you won't freak out?" he said, tapping his fingers on the counter lightly since it was a risk, but what wasn't when dealing with magic? All it would take was a doorway and some open space, Henry not about to rip open a dimensional portal in the middle of a stocked magic shop when he had done his due diligence to make sure it was operational. "And maybe trust that if anything goes sideways, I can take care of it - you know, because that screams safety, right?"

Promise me you won't freak out was usually a prelude to, well. Freaking out. But Theo did want the help, and there'd been more than a few unusual things happening around and to him lately, so what was a little more 'trying not to freak out' in the grand scheme of things? He did, of course, look a little momentarily trepidatious, but it dissolved quickly enough and was replaced with something more steeled and prepared.

He nodded, the resolve clear. "I won't freak out. Don't worry about me." Theo gave Henry his most reassuring grin - he trusted him, which wasn't exactly a rare thing since Theo trusted basically everybody, but Henry had never given him any reason to doubt him, and besides, he knew better than Theo did in this particular situation, so he was more than willing to hand over the reins and hope for the best.

"It screams this is gonna be something that freaks Theo out," he laughed right back, but straightened and wrapped his hands around the soft shirt and the amulet within it and drew it up against his chest. "But I can handle that. And I trust you can take care of - sideways things. And maybe I can... help. If you need me to." He shrugged, a little shyly, and fidgeted with the Eye where it lay wrapped in his t-shirt. "Just let me know if I should do anything with this, or if I should put it in my backpack, or... give it to you, or whatever." He nodded, squaring his shoulders and waiting to do whatever Henry asked. "I'm ready when you are."

“I mean,” Henry said, grinning as he held up his shoulders in a prolonged shrug, hands outstretched at the sides of his body, “it might.” There was some clear amusement about it, but as far as realms of freakish and terrifying things, Henry was all too familiar - be it the family of his better half, all with their own particular oddities to them that didn’t entirely fit the mold of comic book personas, or the niche he had carved himself out in San Francisco that had seen the worst of ghosts, goblins, and demons - oh my! The apprehension was expected, Henry studying Theo a moment as it seemed to pass, but he was almost certain it was still waiting, lingering under the surface for something foul to render its ugly head; it was, unfortunately, the only thing he could think of to actually help Theo tap into what the Eye was all about.

“Come on,” he said, motioning around the corner as he headed towards the expanse of doors that made up the deeper recesses of Arcana, looking over quite a few of them that hadn’t been in the same spot the last time he had passed through. It was something he was far more used to now, certain ones channeling certain energies or decorated just so that he would be able to recognize it with what was only growing familiarity the longer he stayed. “Keep it out,” he said, tapping a few fingers against his own chin as he kept his eyes on the doors. “You’re going to need it and well,” Henry said, gabbing what looked to be the cage for an old timey elevator, pulling it open only to wait for the doors to slide open. He stepped in, standing by the floor buttons as he tapped them in a particular order, “I can’t use it as much as I would be happy to.”

It was only when Theo was actually inside the supposed elevator that he hit the last button, nothing of particular interest occurring except for a surge of electrical energy which ended with the simple ding of the elevator as if they had gone somewhere; and when the doors open, the landscape stretched out far and wide, craggy hillsides of deep red containing nothing but some cacti and abandon. The only sign that there might have been life was an equally abandoned hotel, roof and top floors peering over the high points of the landscape. “Welcome to Oblivion,” he said, canting his head to the side as he stepped out, hands dipping into his pockets, “which is where I’m going to give you a shot to use that thing since I can’t very well conjure up beings in the middle of the shop. Molly might actually kill me if I did. Nothing big - not kaiju big, but that thing should be able to weaken something drawn up from somewhere else.” He was already flexing and twisting his fingers, shadows churning up in time around them as if coming to life.

Theo sucked in a deep breath, filled his lungs completely, and followed Henry. It was now or never - and Theo, despite the apprehension and the anxiety, was nothing if not determined. He'd found this thing - it was important to know how to use it, and this was his best bet at understanding it, especially coming from a life filled with facts and science and not even a spark of magic. At least, not beyond the books he liked to read, so this was thrilling in that way. He followed close to Henry, stuck near him in the elevator, and stared, wide-eyed, when it opened out into Oblivion.

"Holy moly." Theo said, the words coming out in an exhale. He was holding tight to the Eye, fingers wrapped around it, and it pulsed warmly in his grip as they stepped out into this new world. Something told him to wear it - he did so without hesitation, almost on autopilot. It felt safer, he thought, to have the surprising firm weight around his neck, not too heavy and not too light, a constant pressure there against his sternum.

And then he squeaked out a, "Wait, use that thing - against something? You mean me? Use it? Against a thing?" Theo backed off a little, watching as the shadows formed and wrapped themselves around, and the Eye pulsed a little louder and a little brighter. "Oh, Jesus Christ. Okay. I can do this."

“I’m sure there are worse things that you could have said than ‘holy moly’,” Henry said with an air of nonchalance towards the situation as a whole, but it wasn’t his first rodeo by a longshot. It was just the first time he actually made use of it to help someone figure something magical out as compared to conjuring creatures for the sake of horror, to take out old crone witches, or wrecking havoc on mutant nations. Perhaps there was something to it, some ulterior motive to see what the Eye was capable of against someone who dipped so much further away from the Vishanti magic that had created it, but it was something to touch on later when he had some time to himself and could perhaps obtain a copy of the book himself - presuming it was anywhere in San Francisco.

“A thing, something,” he assured with a nod, hands extending apart from each other which just seemed to cause the shadows to bubble up like pools, misshapen creatures dragging themselves out and into the starlight of Oblivion. “I’m not entirely sure what thing because I’ve been known to conjure a few, but for the sake of this, I don’t think form matters so much,” Henry commented, the inky, tar-like being taking on a form more familiar to the Darkforce: A nightgaunt. “And you should, theoretically, be able to handle it with that,” he said, pointing at the Eye that hummed with magic as if it had decided to wake up being in new surroundings and under unfamiliar danger.

“And like I said,” Henry said as it took off into the air, his own arms crossing in front of his chest while he took on a more slackened posture in his role as observer, “if anything happens or it gets too dicey, just say the word. If that thing is as sentient as I think it might be to magical forces, who knows - it just might need a little wake up call.”

Theo was still looking at Henry like a deer caught in the headlights. He swallowed, thick and heavy, as the creature formed before them. Jesus Christ, he thought, his brain working on hyperdrive. He had his web-shooters on, at least - he could dive out of the way, he could use his own new skill against it, but - well. The point was to figure out what he Eye would do, and right then it was still humming and pulsing gently against his chest. "Right. A wake up call. I've got it. I can handle this." It was a little like Theo was saying that last part mostly to himself - but he would try.

And, still, would try, even when the nightgaunt stretched its wings and lunged with a screech at him. He yelped immediately and dove out of the way - flipped, unintentionally, which was just natural now. "Jesus Christ it seems so real." He half sobbed, the fear strangling at his chest - but this was fine, it'd be fine, Henry was there, Henry had made the thing, or conjured it, or whatever.

"Come on, come on," he insisted, wrapping a hand around the Eye. It merely pulsed in response, uninterested, until the nightgaunt suddenly swept close enough to knock Theo hard in the shoulder, sending him sprawling backwards in the dirt. Fuck, it felt real, and another surge of fear shot through him - but this time it was accompanied by a bright light emitting from the Eye itself, between his fingers, and the nightgaunt shrieked and backed away.

He gestured - a pop of his brow and shrug of his hands - while Theo was staring at him as if to suggest him to get a move on, to attack the nightgaunt instead of staring at him, but the creature would take care of it as it whipped through the air. Henry couldn’t be sure what else Theo might have had on hand, but that hasn’t been the focal point so much as the Eye had. They would just come in handy to avoid getting in significant trouble prior to any intervention; but while the nightgaunt had swooped and knocked Theo back, the Eye had taken to action on account of it and Henry too, perhaps out of view or perhaps not, shielded his face from it.

“Now try to destroy it!” Henry called out amiss the shriek of the nightgaunt, carefully not to feel some sort of empathy for the creature made from his magical benefactor. They were a dime a dozen as far as Henry was concerned and with a tap into the living abyss, perhaps even more so when they could be ripped up from seemingly nothing. Regardless, it was real and even taking such a hit, it ripped back towards Theo in another large arc through the sky.

“And without taking another solid hit,” he added, knowing injury response would get somewhere as would fear response, but tapping into a more conscious reaction was something Henry couldn’t be sure of. If it was anything like the yellow ring on his finger, emotional response would have done the trick and the Eye would react to whatever Theo willed. “That thing is real,” he called out, “though I can’t say I have seen them eat anyone. Just make sure it doesn’t do that.”

Just make sure it doesn't do that. Christ, thought Theo. Was he actually going to get a chunk taken out of him by a nightgaunt today? But - no. Henry had said destroy it, without taking another solid hit. Theo had to focus, even if his heart was racing and he very much wanted out of this impromptu training session. He clutched the Eye closer to his chest. Its light had faded again, pulsing away, and Theo sucked in a sharp breath. "No, no, come back," he muttered down at it. It didn't seem to be listening, and he glanced up, panicked, as the nightgaunt circled back around at him. It was seconds away, claws outstretched, and Theo froze in place.

He clutched the Eye tighter, squeezed his eyes shut, and focused. Or - well, focused as best he could, with his mind racing. It felt like it wouldn't work - it took too long, the nightgaunt grew closer and closer, and then with what felt like a woosh but couldn't have been anything, any movement, the Eye lit up, bright green and white, and exploded out between Theo's fingers. He released it enough for the light to glow brighter, widening his own eyes with enough time to catch sight of the nightgaunt only a couple of inches from him - disintegrating into the Eye's glow with a shriek.

It disappeared back into the dirt, dust and smoke, and the Eye hovered in front of him, the necklace still wrapped around his neck. Theo stared at it, held his hands out, palms up - and it sank pleasantly into him and grew still and quiet again. Theo turned his wide-eyed gaze at Henry and said, with his voice a few pitches too high, "Did you see that?!"

It had been a close call, Henry just watching nonchalantly from the sidelines while the nightgaunt toyed around with its would-be prey and, as expected, the Eye reacted - at first not at all and then in an almost blinding flash of light that disintegrated the shadowed creature. It wasn’t entirely unlike getting popped with Dazzler’s abilities, just based in magic versus a mutant ability to transmute sound into light; and though he remained rather unmoved by the sudden explosion other than a canted brow, Henry couldn’t say he was too keen on it.

But as it stood, this wasn’t to make an enemy so much as it was help Theo figure things out, Henry waiting for the illuminated thrum of the Eye to simmer down before he walked over to peer over the ashy remnants. His hands sat on his hips, lips pursing in a thin line as if he wasn’t sure what he had expected before he looked over to Theo. Only he’d really know what he had felt when the Eye activated and how to eventually use it to his advantage.

“You did good,” he said with a bit of a laugh at Theo’s surprise or excitement - whatever it had been. “And I don’t know if that thing is reacting to the danger or you exactly, but it might’ve given you something to grasp onto for understanding - at least when there’s a giant shadowy demon creature after you.” It was probably too loose to say ‘point it at anything weird’, but that might have been the best way to figure it out. “May just be trial and error from this point onward.”

As the Eye pressed into his sternum, Theo flattened a hand against it. It felt warm, pulsating through his body - nice, reassuring even. He let out a long, low breath, and at Henry's laugh he smiled, too. It was relief driven, now - the thing was - no longer around. Hopefully not dead. Maybe just transported elsewhere, Theo hoped, as he frowned down at the space where the nightgaunt had been. But either way, the Eye hadn't done anything bad to him when he'd used it, or to Henry. That was reassuring. It was helpful, at least, and Theo appreciated having more things around that could actually help keep him alive.

"I sort of felt - like. A thread." He answered, brow furrowed. "It's hard to explain, but I could grab onto it, when I focused. It was only a small one, though. Maybe because I'm not... like. Magic." He shrugged, feeling a little useless despite what he'd just been able to achieve with the Eye. But Theo was plucky no matter what, and perked up a second later to shoot a beaming smile Henry's way. "That was cool. And - what you can do. Summoning that thing, or inviting it here, and this place. This is amazing, Henry. Thank you for showing me, and helping me. I'll keep practicing and do my best not to completely wipe out San Francisco."

He made a face, quickly. "That's a joke, by the way. I'm not gonna mess with it that much."

One nightgaunt was nothing. There were more where it had come from and its departure from the plains of Oblivion wasn't something he nor the legitimate creator of such a creature would have mourned when more could be created or conjured on a whim through one portal or another out of the dark. The Eye had done what it should have given the magic involved in its creation, keeping the one wielding it alive in anticipation of Theo perhaps saving the world from dark magical forces, a stark contrast to the cold of his own; but thankfully, no, it hadn't done anything to him and Henry would have rather kept it that way.

"If you want me to sound like a cheesy magic book, magic is everywhere," he said with a hint of sarcasm despite the truth in the matter. Not everyone did have a natural proclivity toward magic, Henry included, but San Francisco was an extremely strange place when one found themselves teetering the line of comic book existence and real life while it all bled together. "So, you might not exactly feel magic, but that just means you've got to practice and maybe that thread becomes a much larger rope you can get a more solid grasp on," he said with a light air, laughing again when Theo beamed a smile, genuine in the amusement. It hadn't been so exciting to find himself on the other side of the magical fence.

"Its at least a little cool," he said with a bit of a grimace, a hand going to the back of his head as if there was some reservation about dipping into a fount of darkness for power, especially when in one universe, he laid waste to the city and in another, it had led to his death, but he supposed that was what he signed up for. "No problem and if you need a magical sparring partner, just swing on by again. You know, just in case white magic destruction is actually a real thing."

Theo listened to everything Henry had to say with a deep kind of thoughtful seriousness. Despite his role as a teacher now, Theo was a student at heart - he loved learning new things, loved introducing himself to new concepts that he had to understand and conceptualize. This was just another of those things - magic, which - maybe if he looked at it like a science, he would understand it better than if not. That would take some doing, though, some practice, and Theo was more than prepared to do that. Once he set his mind to something, it was impossible to shake it - he'd been practicing regularly with his web-shooters already, so what was adding a little extra magic into that?

"A magical sparring partner?" Theo brightened obviously at that, and flashed Henry a grin that brightened his whole face. "I'm definitely taking you up on that. I'll need it. I don't want to risk it by taking it out anywhere until - until, you know, I really know how to use it, and it's not just last minute desperation. So I'm gonna practice, and then I'm gonna come back and bother you."

Theo beamed blissfully up at Henry, and leaned forward to nudge him playfully with his shoulder. "Thanks, Henry. Now... can we get out of here? I'll buy you lunch, as thanks."