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Flame Trees

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Gilly's POV

May 2009

I stared at the face of my sister, wondering if she was being mad or not. She had just given up her job at her law firm to take a job as one of the campaign managers on a governor's campaign trail to be president. It wasn't that she couldn't do it – my sister could do the job but it was the why I had to try and get my head around. She had only just recently made partner at her law firm – a position she had been working her arse off for and I couldn't understand why she would leave - I was trying but ultimately I was failing.

"So, let me get this straight. Our old lecturer, Professor Beene, has asked you onto the Grant campaign trail and help them raise/fix the campaign so that they rise up to the top. In other words, basically you're going to give up your life for some random guy who may or may not become President?" I uttered, my eyes squinting as I watched my sister Olivia pack her bags.

She sighed, her chocolate eyes giving me a look. "I know what you're thinking. Giving it all up without any guarantee? It's so unlike Olivia."

"Well, yes…but I mean, what did Charlie say? I mean, sure he's on the other side of the world but weren't you going to go and visit him in Romania?"

"Charlie said it was fine. In fact, he insisted. He said it would be a great opportunity and that he could one day picture himself the husband and soulmate of a black president…like it would ever happen but he was okay." Livy remarked, crossing her arms. "And besides, he's trying out a new breeding program, so he'll be busy."

I shrugged, not sure what to say. "I'm just…I don't know…What happens if it doesn't work out?"

She gave me a look, putting her hands on her hips. There was only three years between us, with her being the oldest. But I didn't care, I looked after and she looked after me, despite the skin colour difference. While she had beautiful chocolate coloured skin, small frame and hair that would make a hairdresser jealous, I was completely different. I had ivory skin, curvy frame and emerald green eyes, with messy black hair that hadn't been brushed in years, despite me brushing it every day. The things that we had in common was our love, loyalty and protection of each other. She was my sister in all but blood, but neither of us minded. She didn't care that I had been adopted, that I came from an abusive family who didn't care much about my life.

I was adopted by Eli and Maya Pope when I was seven years old, and Livy was ten years old. Eli, our father, had been on a business trip in London when he spotted my former biological family treating me wrongly in the busy streets of London, and had decided to interfere. Then, without so much of a blink of an eye, I had gone from being the scared little girl who was being abused by her aunt and uncle, to having a father and mother who cared, and a big sister who cared even more.

"Well, Cyrus didn't just ask me…He ask if he could have both the Pope sisters…he knows that two Pope sisters are better than one. And I've already cleared it with Hermione. After what's been happening lately, you've earned the time off." Livy stated.

I sighed, sitting down her bed. "Of course, you went to Hermione…I'm not saying that I need the break, and it would be nice to see Cyrus again but what happens if more appear? What happens if more appear here in the US, while we're on this campaign trail? The war ended years ago, and yet, somehow, I'm still fighting it. Only this time, I'm an Auror and not a scared seventeen-year-old kid who's only problem was how to destroy one of the greatest evil wizards of all time."

The day the Pope family found out about my magic, and my past with the British wizarding world, was the day the Pope family vowed to protect me. When I was adopted, my new parents kept my former name – Lillian Sienna and just hyphenated my last name to Potter-Pope. Changing my name meant it was harder for any magical beings to track me, but eventually they did but not before I showcased my magic. When I had first shown my magic, my parents and Livy was shocked to see a young girl magically levitate items around the house, but then thanks to my magical signature, two wizards were able to track me and explain a few things to my family and they finally understood. Then, tragedy hit our family – when I was ten, and Livy was thirteen, we lost our mother. Then my letter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry arrived, and my father, despite being reluctant, decided to send us both away. I went to Hogwarts, while Livy went to a boarding school nearby.

As the years went by, it had helped, knowing that Livy was just at another school in a neighboring country while I was attending Hogwarts. She knew of my friends I had made, even at one stage scared the living daylights out of Ron, but she knew Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley would be loyal and kind to me. Then, during my fourth year at Hogwarts, and Livy's last year at her boarding school, Voldemort had returned, and everything changed. Our father then got involved during my fifth year, as the British Wizarding world turned their back on me, stating that my claims that the Dark Lord had returned was ridiculous, and that they were only allowing me to attend Hogwarts as they wanted to keep an eye on me.

Eventually though, they got what was coming to them when Voldemort announced himself to the entire Wizarding World. Eli then took me and brought me back to the US. Albus Dumbledore, my old headmaster and master manipulator, tried to argue but considering my father's true profession, Albus allowed us to go. Then came the hard part – I had to fight. Sirius Black, my godfather and leader of the Order of the Phoenix, had informed me of a prophecy about Voldemort and myself. At first I didn't believe, but as more of the Wizarding world got destroyed, the more I had to give in and fight. Then I found out about the seven horcruxes that Voldemort had made to allow himself to live longer and I was even more scared but ready to fight.

By then, I was attending Illvermony School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a magical school in the US, and MACUSA – the Magical Congress of the United States, well they too were reluctant to fight, considering that Voldemort was originally Britain's problem. But when Voldemort attacked on US soil, MACUSA got involved, and so did my father's secret off-site government agency so elegantly named B613. It was unheard of, considering what the black ops agency was known to do, but as my father was Command, he could do what he wanted.

But in end, it was just myself and Livy, and when I had reunited with Hermione and Ron, they too had helped in the hunt to collect the horcruxes. And then, the big Battle or War to end all wars happened at the one place I never wanted to go back to – Hogwarts.

The war ended with me defeating Voldemort, killing him in the grand hall of my former school. Then, the backlash started with the British wizarding world wanting answers for the death of many of their loved ones, and why I hadn't dealt with the Dark Lord sooner. It became clear that the British Wizarding World were not grateful to the US magical and non-magical soldiers that helped aid in the war, that we were wrong to get a muggle agency involved and that I needed to pay for the deaths I had caused. And so, when I died, Lillian Sienna Potter-Pope died, and when I had been brought back to life, Gilligan Pope was created. I turned away from the magical community, as did Hermione, and Livy's soulmate Charlie Weasley, Ron's brother. Hermione and I managed to complete our schooling, and then we joined my sister into going to Harvard as an attempt to have a normal life.

But normal was overrated, and eventually, Hermione and I found our way back into the magical community – well, in the US we did. And it helped that we, along with Livy all studied the same thing, though we all had different areas we wanted to go into. Hermione went into criminal justice law, and then became the youngest President of MACUSA – the Magical Congress of the United States. It was because of her role in the Second Wizarding War, and a request demanded by my father, she had managed to obtain the role. At first she didn't want it, but Hermione then accepted it, after much persuasion from myself and her soulmate Stevie.

I had too, wanted a career in criminal justice, but Livy had another idea – to start her own firm, a 'fix-it' type firm where she would fix other people's problems. She asked me if I wanted to join, and be a fixer with her and handle the magical side of the business, but that dream was put on hold. Around that time, former deatheaters had been appearing on US soil and causing chaos, wanting revenge for the death of their leader, and Hermione had asked me to be the head of the joint magical taskforce between the US government agencies and MACUSA magical law officers. MACUSA had its own Auror unit, but no one to lead it and so, I became the youngest Command of my team, tracking and capturing wanted former deatheaters.

Which left Livy, and as I couldn't work with her, she had to make do until I was done. She was happy waiting for me, as she knew I had a big task. And so, she ended up joining a law firm in New York which was known for its ruthless system and mainly winning most, if not all their lawsuits. She started out as a junior before working her way up and finally becoming the youngest lawyer to make partner. While it helped that we all lived in the same city, it sucked that we couldn't work together. At least not now anyway. Now, she was taking a long absence leave to do our former professor, Cyrus Beene, a favour and apparently he wanted me as well.

I must have been deep in my thoughts as the sound of snapping fingers shook me out.

"Hello, earth to Gilly!"

"Sorry. Was thinking about the past." I muttered.

She sighed. "Well that's never a good thing."

"Do you think I made the right choice? Becoming an Auror and running my own task force instead of taking the bar and going into business with you?" I asked

She sat down on her bed. "Yes, and no. I would've liked to have had you by my side, but you needed this. You would have never rested fully until every single trace of Lord Dickhead was gone. And besides, I had Charlie. You know he and I wanted to do a bit travelling before settling down. And now he's taking up a new position in a new dragon breeding program. And here I thought it was dangerous just looking after them…breeding dragons. I love my soulmate but sometimes I wish he was just a simple man."

Soulmates…its bad enough that the world was magical and had the risk of terrible dangers lurking everywhere but every human, magical or non-magical, ever creature of magic – we all had a soulmark. Vary rarely was there someone who had no mark, but most soulmarks were words – an indication of what their soulmate's first words were going to be said to them. Those who had symbols meant that they belonged with someone quite different – an example would be Ron, one of my best friends who's soulmate, Dracia Malfoy is a veela. His mark was Dracia's family sigil, and hers were his first words he had spoken. It hadn't been an easy road for both Dracia and Ron, as Dracia's father Lucius was a former deatheater who had tried to kill Ron, but eventually love won out and they lived their days in a little farm off the coast of Scotland, away from magical Britain and isolated.

Livy's words, 'Oh great, another redhead hothead who thinks he knows what's best for everyone' was located on her ribcage, and was spoken to Charlie Weasley when we had met him for the first time during the war. Charlie's words 'And I supposed, you, miss bossy as many seem to be fond of calling you, would know of a better plan?' was located on his back and it was shocking to that somehow, amidst all the chaos we had been going through, that love managed to emerge. Charlie still trained with dragons in Romania, but now it seemed he was part of a new dragon breeding program that just screamed dangerous but we all knew he would be fine. Our father loved Charlie as well, and took a great interest in his work, considering Dad's other life. Dad's cover was paleontologist who worked at the Smithsonian and of course he would be interested in dragons, considering his love for dinosaurs. Livy often had to separate Charlie and Dad whenever we had family dinners as they would keep talking about the difference between the two great species.

Hermione had met one of Livy's best friends Stephan Finch during a study session at college. Her words, 'Well, well, have I died and gone to heaven?' made it hard, as it was a common thing to say. But she spoke the words that were located on Stephan's wrist, he smiled, and let her know he had been waiting for her for a long time. Of course, he still acted like the playboy he was but his heart and his love was for Hermione only. He too worked at the same lawyer firm as Livy, and knew about the magical world – took him awhile though but he came around and had been there every step of the way. They had yet to marry, but I knew that one day they would. For now, they focused on their career and their lives together.

And mine, well. It didn't say much – only that it indicated that whoever was my soulmate, well, his words sound angry or annoyed…one of the two. The words, 'And just who the hell are you, miss whatever your name is?' was marked on the inside of my thigh. The elegant script did nothing to tell me what he or she would be like, only that they're were good at writing. I also knew that I would have my work cut out for me if the person behind those words had an attitude like that.

"You're doing it again." Livy chuckled.

I groaned. "Sorry, my brain goes off into Lala land and I overthink."

"I know…you get it from me." She agreed. "You will meet them, your soulmate…one day. And if you come with me, you never know, you just might meet them on the trail."

I gave her a look. "A campaign trail? Oh no. I'd rather a prisoner than a political fan or whoever may be my soulmate."

"They're not called political fans. Just people working to help a man get elected president. And I think I would feel much better if you're with me." Livy murmured.

Very recently, Livy was attacked by a former deatheater who had figured out who I was. The deatheater, Antonin Dolohov, who had thought to have been dead, had emerged from the shadows, hell bent on tracking me down. When he did, he found my family. And when I found him, well, I didn't really leave much of him left to give to my father who had also wanted to punish him. Livy was okay, but she had been tortured with the Cruciatus curse by Dolohov in order to reveal my whereabouts. Thankfully, Livy had a gold gallon which when pressed activated a magical beacon and I managed to save her, and then punish Dolohov, before he was taken, stripped of his magic and given to our father. What happened then, I will never know but knowing my father, I didn't want to know.

Livy was strong, but she still had remnants of PTSD.

"I'm sorry. I should have come earlier…or maybe I shouldn't have left." I muttered.

She stood up and stared at me. "No. You do not get to do that. You did the best to your ability and even more. You saved me. Stop blaming yourself. I only ask because I worry for you. This task force has been draining you and you always look run down every time you come to see me. I want you with me so that I know you're resting. Sure, you'll be helping me but you will also be resting. Okay?"

I nodded. "Okay. Fine…tell Cyrus he will have the Pope Sisters."

She smiled. "Yes…Stevie owes me a twenty."

I frowned. "Wait you and Stevie betted that I would come?"

She bit her lip. "Maybe…that and a bottle of wine…okay, I betted that you would accept Cyrus's offer and he betted that you wouldn't and that I would beg you to come anyway…"

I blinked at her.

She scoffed. "Oh, come off it…you would have done the same thing."

"No, she wouldn't because she's not in the position to make that kind of bet. You however, are muggle, so you don't have to worry about fighting to help protect our country and the world." The deep voice of Charlie Weasley entered the room.

She grimaced, and turned around. "Baby! You're back! I thought you were supposed to be working on the new breeding program!"

Charlie smiled at her before giving me a wink. "I wanted to see you both before you left and I thought, well, I had a fireplace – why not floo in and see you both before you go?

He then leaned in to kiss Livy and I turned away, giving them privacy. They broke apart and Livy began packing again.

"So, dearest sister, you are going with Liv? Good. You need it. You both do. It's been too long since the Pope Sisters have teamed up and conquered the world…." Charlie spoke before realizing his words. "By conquering the world, I mean helping Governor Grant. Merlin forbid us all should you two decided to become dark lords and conquer the world. No offence Gilly."

I scoffed. "Me? More like Livy would possess me and I'll be at her beck and call."

"And you would love it." Livy protested.

I shrugged. "True…oh that reminds me, when does Abby get here?"

Abby Whelan, well formerly Abby Putney, but now had reverted back to her old name after divorcing her abusive husband, was coming to live in Livy's and Charlie's apartment. It worked out, the timing of it, with Charlie being in Romania – well heading back soon to Romania and now Livy and I were off to New Hampshire, Abby needed a place and we gave her one. I too had my own apartment in the same building as Livy's but I often found myself at Livy's…well almost all the time when I wasn't port-keying or flooing all over trying to capture rogue deatheaters.

Charlie laughed as Livy gave me a stare. "Abby gets here this afternoon. Charlie, maybe you should be here when she arrives. Just you know, be here to let her in and help her get settled. Lilly and I are leaving just as soon as she can make a port-key."

I frowned. "Really? You don't want to fly or whatnot? Do you remember the last time you tried to travel by port-key with me? It's not exactly made for muggles."

She nodded. "Yep. Well…sort of. I mean, I'm doing okay when I apparate with you. I may not be magical but magic loves me. I mean, those potions you make works wonders on me."

"That's because they're sleeping potions. They're supposed to be wonderful. And you shouldn't be having too many. They get addictive." I remarked.

"I know. And hey, aren't I'm the one that's supposed to tell you to be safe?"

I giggled. "Yeah, but out of the two of us, who is more magical?"

"Oh, I don't know. I work some pretty great magic in a courtroom." She shrugged, before putting her hands up. "I'm just saying…"

I laughed and Charlie joined in. "Maybe Gilly should pack and I'll make the port-key."

I stood up, picking up a small beaded bag that was on the bed. "Oh Charlie, do you not know me? I'm always prepared. Clothes and stuff for years, money, books and all wrapped up with a weightless charm, extendable charm and protection charm, should anyone decide to go through it and grab my wonderful Manolo pumps that someone got for my birthday."

Livy smiled. "I will get those pumps…I should have kept them for myself. That's my mistake."

"You have many pairs of shoes." I reasoned.

"Not the 2008 Nude Diamond Manolo pumps…that were a one of a kind and cost a lot. I should have given you the other ones but it was your birthday." Livy shrugged as Charlie chuckled

"Maybe if you're lucky, I'll let you wear them one day. Okay, well, the sooner we get to wherever we're going the sooner we can get on with this campaign fixing and elect ourselves a president." I reached into my beaded bag, pulling out a pair of shoes that I hardly wore.

Livy closed her suitcase, putting it on the floor as I prepared one of the shoes to be our portkey.

"The place we're going to?"

"Hilton Hotel, Manchester, New Hampshire. They have a campaign bus, so that's their office of sorts and they set up in every major city where they're campaigning. I'm not sure where the actual office is but I'm sure we will find out soon." Livy informed me, as well all made our way into the living room.

I pulled out my wand from the pocket inside my jacket and waved the Portus spell over the shoe as I walked. I had on a pair of tight navy-blue jeans, white blouse, a brown leather coat and knee-high black leather boots and my raven coloured hair was up in a messy bun. Livy was dressed more elegantly – a soft grey jacket, black blouse, black jeans and boots with a silver belt around her waist. Her hair was in a half up/half down hairdo. She looked more elegant than I did, but she had always been like that.

I placed the shoe down onto the table and smiled at the sight of Charlie and Livy. The two had their fair share of ups and downs, but I couldn't find a more suitable pair. Charlie was tough and manly, but would often go weak in the knees whenever Livy was being her bossy self. He was whipped, and so was she. They also had their fair share of other people giving their views on their relationship – it was a reason why Charlie wizarding world as well. Sure, he still worked with dragons, but at least his fellow dragon tamers/breeders and his dragons didn't judge him for having a soulmate who was a muggle and a black muggle as well.

Livy kissed Charlie, giggling at him and I rolled my eyes, shaking my head over their cuteness. I cleared my throat, letting them know I was still there. The shoe then started to shine a bright blue and I knew that it was ready to go.

Livy eyed me before giving Charlie another kiss and gave him a hug as well.

"You look after yourself please. I can't have my husband coming home with a missing limb due to pissing off a dragon. And please let Abby know I'm thinking of her." Livy said, grabbing the handle of her suitcase and walking over to stand next to me.

Charlie nodded. "You girls be safe too. I'm glad you'll be together – just be careful."

I winked at Charlie. "Don't worry dearest brother, your princess will be safe with me."

Livy slapped my shoulder as Charlie and I chuckled. I then grabbed Livy's suitcase, placing it into my beaded bag. I grimaced as the suitcase landed in my bag with a thud and Livy took a sharp breath but she knew it would be safe. Livy was also wearing her shoulder bag, so she didn't need to hold it with her hands. I then grabbed the shoe, indicating to Livy to wrap her arm with my arm, and hold onto the shoe with her other hand. I knew she could touch the shoe without needing to hold onto me, but by holding onto my arm as well, it would lesson the affects of being transported. Magical transportation was hellish on muggles, but Olivia handled it well.

The portkey shone a bright blue again, and I began to feel that pulling sensation in my stomach. With one last wave at Charlie, Livy and I were gone, ready to face our next adventure.


"Well, there's no way to sugarcoat it. We got our ass handed to us by Sally Langston in Iowa last night. So, does anyone have any great ideas?"

Fitzgerald Grant the Third was a handsome man. Tall, broad shoulders, greyish blue eyes and a deep voice that did things. What kind of things, I wasn't in the mood to find out but I could understand why there were some looking at him like sex on a stick – because that is what he was. He oozed charmed and intelligence, but since arriving here and hearing him talk about losing to the other presidential candidate, he also seemed a bit selfish.

We arrived to the hotel, the portkey landing us just behind the back alley. It wasn't hard to find out where the Grant campaign had been set up, with banners and posters on the walls of the hotel – saying 'Vote Grant for President'. Livy and I walked around the hotel a bit, before coming across a large conference room of sorts, and it was set up with computers. We knew that we had found the right place when most of the workers had on shirts that read 'Vote Grant!'. However, the man himself was also there, addressing the room with a speech. He didn't see us walking in, but another man did.

Cyrus Beene's face lit up like a Christmas tree the moment we both walked in. He smiled, and I winked back, as Livy smiled and gave a nod. As Governor Grant was addressing the room, we couldn't exactly just go up and say hi to Cyrus.

But listening the Governor's speech, I could help but feel a little annoyed. He was losing, tremendously, and not because people didn't like him but because on the outside, he looked like a man who was not approachable. Add into account his wife, its not wonder that the Grant Administration was not having much luck with winning the election. Livy managed to give a run down as we walked through the hotel over the pros and cons of the Grant Administration, and the man himself. It seemed the man had problems, many and one of them was his marriage, and yet he seemed to be taking out his problems on his staff – his staff who had done more for him than he knew.

Livy was standing next to me, her arms crossed. She gave me a look as Governor Grant addressed his staff and volunteers.

"So, again…any great ideas?" Grant was saying. "Anyone?"

"We had to swing farther right." A red headed lady spoke up after much silence. "We haven't said a thing about gay marriage, school prayer –"

Governor Grant scoffed. "Oh come on! It's not about our stances on the issues. We are not getting our message out there. People don't know where I stand. The problem is—"

I had enough…and so I decided to speak.

"The problem is, Governor, is your marriage." I spoke out loud.

Governor Grant stopped, his face going into a look that made me confused. It seemed everyone had heard me and all turned to the direction of my voice. Livy gave me assurance by pressing her hand into my arm but I continued, staring back. The look on the Governor's face was still there though and couldn't figure out why or why all of the sudden, there was a connection and I could feel a tingly feeling in my stomach.

"Ah, sorry. But your problem is that you look like you don't screw your wife." I started, ignoring the gasps. "Which would be fine, except that family values matter to Republicans. It's why they vote for who they vote for."

I began moving, taking my gaze off Governor Grant and waving my hands in the air. "And since Sally's got Jesus firmly on her side, that just leaves family…marriage."

I looked up at the Governor again, and saw that he looked to Cyrus, who was smiling at me. I then continued. "And yours, whatever the truth maybe – from the outside, it looks cold…distant. Dead. Where is your wife by the way?"

When no one answered and didn't speak up, I chuckled, looking to Livy. She nodded, walking over to me.

"My sister is right, Governor. For example, voters thought that Al Gore was a big stiff until he stuck his tongue down Tipper's throat. They put George W. in office because he and Laura seemed like a fun couple to have a beer with. People have to want to invite you in for dinner, and right now?" Livy remarked, walking closer. "Right now – you and your wife are standing in their doorway, three feet apart, not looking at each other, letting in the cold air."

"And that's why you lost Iowa. And it's also why you'll lose New Hampshire." I finished for her, walking past her as I looked at the Governor.

He gave me another look – a look of longing and I frowned, confused as to why this man was looking at me in that way. And then, I got my answer when he spoke for the first time since I had interrupted.

"And just who the hell are you, miss whatever your name is?" He spoke.

I froze, and I heard Livy gasped silently behind me as she knew that those were my words that I had marked on my thigh. I stared at the man that was apparently my soulmate. He too, seemed shocked and I now understood why he gave me those looks. And why he had problems with his marriage. To the rest of the world, the people thought that the Governor had already found his soulmate due to his marriage, but no. It was me.

The silence was deafening, and I couldn't tear my eyes away from the man. Livy, the fixer she was, came up behind me and wrapped her arm with mine.

"Olivia Weasley-Pope…and this is my sister, Gilligan Pope." She introduced us. I tore my gaze from my soulmate giving her a look before turning back to him.

Well…what do I do now?