"It's about innocence," Jennifer said.
Kel frowned in thought, strategizing. "So, what, you lose your magic the first time you have se--"
"It's not about virginity," Jennifer bit out. She'd had this conversation before, it seems. "It's about innocence. And no matter what strange ideas people keep confusing, virginity and innocence are not directly related. Someone who'd just been grabbed into a dark alley would probably have more difficulty casting a spell than someone who'd just slept with someone they love."
"Huh," Kel said. "Any idea why that is?"
Jen rubbed the bridge of her nose. "Theories. What magic feels like is...like you're climbing a rock wall, and there's a handhold you aren't quite tall enough to reach, but you could jump for it. But it's difficult, because if you hesitate, if you put anything less than all your strength into that jump, then you won't make it."
"And jumping means letting go of what you know is solid, for what might work," Kel finished.
"So I have to trust...what?"
Jen spread her arms. "Trust that you are built for the world, and the world is built for you. Trust that you are made to fit, designed specifically to be able to make that leap. Trust the universe, trust your body, trust yourself. And"--she closed her eyes and took the sort of deep breaths that Kel had seen Anne take when she had a panic attack. Jennifer flattened her palm and pointed all her fingers forward--"focus." Fire shot from her fingertips in a straight line.
Jen looked to Kel. "You try."
Kel looked at Jen's hands, then her own. I am made for the world. This is nearly indistinguishable from the world being made for me. I am a being of leaps and bounds and energy. I survive. I can do this.
Kel held her palm as Jen had, then paused. I have no need of fire. My survival does not depend upon it at this moment. What do I need?
This was gentler, and so Kel softened the line of her palm into curves, then swept a motion through the air. A sphere of water floated where she had gestured.
"Interesting," said Kel.