Author's Notes: Much work with Anney on this, and got much help too! It's starting to develop nicely. and many thanks to laughingwolf for doing the beta and giving me more side story notes!

Ultimate Magic

Side Story: Edea

By Hecate's Brat

I stand watching Seifer learn basic magic skills from one of the Balamb Garden Instructors.

I feel as if I have cheated him in some way. I probably have, and I feel guilty for it. I know I should be the one teaching him how to use his magic, but I'm not, in my stead an Instructor is doing it. I feel bitter and torn, wanting to push him away and tell him, 'no, you can't teach him. I'm supposed to do that, that's my job. I'm his mo-'... no, I'm not his mother. I mustn't forget that. I am not his mother. I am his teacher.

I should have taught him the basics at least, but I was too busy teaching him all my knowledge of how to become a herbalist. The complexities of the different plants and growing environments and how to tend to them; that's what I was teaching him, not what he really needed to know. I raised him, but I should have taught him more, so much more.

I look around at the surrounding area. Thick with foliage and greenery, I can feel energy in the place. It's his energy really... the magic of the planet.

I close my eyes and feel my mind take me back to when things were simple... before the Sorceress War, before everything happened. To a time of innocence.

"Now that we planted the seeds, Seifer, we need to make sure that its protected and taken care of." I want to teach him so much. He is my hope, my dream of the future. He will be a beacon that others will look too. Those large green eyes look up at me. Hope, wonder, mischief and a whole world of life are in those eyes.

"Protected? I can do that. I'll make sure that nothing hurts it!" Seifer stood, holding the little pot carefully to his chest, an air of protection around him.

He looked at it, the dirt loosely packed down, then back to me. "Am I strong enough to protect it Lady Edea?"

The hope and trepidation scared me. Such a question, from someone so small. "Yes, of course Seifer. Together, we will help it grow. Together, we will protect it."

His blonde head lowered towards the orange pot, "I will make you grow strong. You will grow up healthy, and loved."

With those words, he walked to the potholder by the window and carefully, oh so carefully placed the pot next to its colourful twins.

"I'm going to go play with the plants for a bit before dinner!" His voice carried across the yard to me. I nodded, feeling emotions choke my throat. So young and so innocent, things will change one day for him.

I walked towards the house, the breeze playing through his hair, ruffling it as he played in the herb garden.

If I could protect him against everything that would happen: if I could protect him with the knowledge I have now, I would change everything. If I could protect him against that change... if only...

Change it so Rinoa could never hurt him. Change it so Rinoa would never live with us, never have her here.

But I can't. That's not my magic to use; it's not my place to change that for him.

I walk to the plant holders, looking down at the previous potted sprouts, their tender shoots peeking through the dirt; the whitish green of the buds pushing through the chocolate brown earth.

My eyes caress over them, a smile on my lips, and the thoughts of Seifer carefully caring for each one.

My eyes rest on the last planter. The one he just put down. I look closely at it, noting that there's already a green shoot poking through the dirt, reaching for the sun.

I smile slightly. His magic is strong for one so young. I should have taught him...

A voice pulls me from my thoughts. "Lady Edea. It's time to go in now... "

I blink out of my reverie and nod at the Instructor.

"Thank you."

I look at Seifer, the tall blonde standing in the sunlight streaming down. He's just like the little plant. He grew up well.

He opens his eyes and looks at me. "There is energy here my Lady. It is untapped, and strong... "

His voice trails off and he follows the Instructor at a leisurely pace.

Seifer is right. There is untapped energy here, and it is strong. He is untapped and strong, and loved.

Maybe love does make things grow strong.

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