“You, too?” Anssi shook his head and grinned back at her, weakly. “Thanks, I guess. I’ll pretend that was reassuring.” He was normally not deterred easily and would try as many times as it took to get something right, but after the many times he already had, a part of him felt defeated to know that she was struggling too. He’d never asked to compare grades or anything like that - that didn’t just feel like a violation of privacy, but opened the door to more comparisons than he thought were necessary - but working strictly off assumptions, he figured she had to be among the top in the entire school. Anssi wasn’t in the bottom half, but he wasn’t exactly soaring over it, either. Realistically he was likely somewhere just above the middle. So if even Remy couldn’t do this, what hope was there for him?
He couldn’t hold back a laugh at her suggestion that they might just be working too much. “Not possible. Other people can do this without even trying, it seems. Do you really think someone like… like my brother,” he offered the example a bit reluctantly; after so many years idolizing Ruben it was still hard to break himself from the habit of turning to his brother first in his thoughts, especially when he was the only obvious answer, “put half this amount of work into changing his environment with only his thoughts?”
Honestly, he had no idea what Ruben did to perfect his wandless and nonverbal casting. All that he knew was that the last time he tagged along to one of Ruben’s practice duels, he had flicked his fingers, made a wall unroll itself like a croissant, punched it, and sent a stream of fluid concrete at his opponent. Maybe if his brother wasn’t the world’s biggest moron (or at least apologized for it like the man he claimed to be) Anssi could ask him for help. Until then, all he could do was judge his poor life decisions… er, that is, judge his lack of studying, and ask how in all the worlds he’d managed to be a competent spellcaster. But also judge his poor life decisions. That just came with the territory.
Letting his chin thunk down on the desk, he frowned again, blue eyes narrowing at the wood grain. “Maybe it has to do with our motivation,” he suggested. Whether Ruben practiced in a conventional way or not, his motivation to destroy things was obviously pretty strong. Maybe the how mattered less than the why. “If my only reason to want to do this-” he nodded vaguely at the pen “-is as a step to being an Animagus, and my only reason to want to be an Animagus is just to show I can do something unique… Maybe that’s not good enough to inspire me to, I don’t know, actually do it. Does that make sense?” Or maybe he was just crazy on top of already sucking, but it couldn’t hurt to consider another option. Whether it made sense or not, Anssi was curious, so followed up with another question. “Why are you doing any of this?”