Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter.

A/N: I'm back! I'm sorry I've been gone for so long. I've had a lot going on and it's been hard to find time to write. To those of who who've been waiting for ages for this, THANK YOU for waiting for me! I truly appreciate you guys still waiting on my story.

So here it is, the long-awaited Chapter 9!

Chapter 9

Severus Snape was stunned. Possibly he was flabbergasted. He couldn't be certain, however, as neither of these emotions were ones that he was familiar with. At this moment, though, he found himself becoming increasingly well-acquainted with the feeling of shocked into silence. The normally quick-witted, snarky potions master was have a difficult time remembering the last time he had been at a loss for words.

For about two weeks now, things with the Order had been frustratingly quiet. Little whispers about the Potter brat could be heard all over headquarters – as if he really cared what that insufferable boy had gotten into now. He was probably upset that Dumbledore wasn't inviting him to be part of the Order and personally plan every move that was made. Before the meeting began, Severus had the opportunity to speak with the Headmaster about the entire situation and why his attendance was necessary if had nothing to contribute.

"Patience, my boy," was the only answer Albus afforded him, with that damned infuriating twinkle that always meant trouble for him.

However, Albus dispelled any of Severus' previous thoughts when he gave his report. About two weeks ago, Potter had been removed from his relatives' care, as they had been abusing him, and he was only lucky to have survived long enough to get to Poppy to be healed. The abuse had been going on as long as the boy had been there, according to Poppy.

There was a collective gasp around the room. Molly Weasley was crying. The wolf and the mutt shared a look, the latter looking both on the verge of tears himself and contemplating murder.

But still, Snape had wondered, would that be enough to explain their change of venue for tonight?

The old headmaster continued to prattle on. Severus still wasn't sure why it was so imperative that he attend this meeting. He had no Death Eater report to give. If it had been to learn of the brat's home life, Albus could've told him that in a staff meeting with all of the boy's other teachers. Then he caught a few words of what the old wizard was saying and he began to pay attention again.

"It seems that when Harry met Voldemort in June, something odd happened. He told me that their wands 'connected,' and his spell forced Voldemort's wand to show the last spells performed. This is called Priori Incantantem.

"Voldemort used Harry's blood in a ritual to come back, and in doing this, set up a chain of events I'm not sure even he foresaw happening. Two of the last spells performed with Voldemort's wand were the Potter's murders. Harry saw some…imprint of his parents that night."

"Lily," Severus whispered breathlessly.

"That was about two months ago. What we've gone on since then is guesswork, because then on Harry's birthday, something else odd happened. Visitors showed up at the castle. Everyone, please welcome, Lily and James Potter, back."

"The door at the back of the enlarged living room suddenly opened and everyone turned to look in its direction. Almost everyone gasped. And that was how Severus found himself now. Shocked.

It was like his greatest dream and his worst nightmare come true. Lily was alive. But was she the same Lily? Did she hate him? Did Potter's spawn ruin her image of him even more? Certainly, he must have. If not, Black would have seen to it. He was rooted to the spot, staring at her; he pinched himself once for good measure. It wasn't a dream – Lily was alive again (and, regrettably, so was the elder Potter), and she was right there smiling. Then she turned and they had caught one another's eye. Her smile faded, replaced by an uncertain frown. Hadn't he seen that look on the younger Potter's face? In those same green eyes? Her frown deepened to a look of hurt, then one of distrust; Severus had seen those same looks on her son's face. Damn it. Now he could see that he was Lily's son.

Severus extracted himself from his one-time friend's intense gaze; he had had enough of this little party. He silently swept out of the room and down the corridor of the manor, passing the library on his way to the floo. He paused, supposing this was as good a place as any to leave a message for his friend – if she still wanted to be friends, anyway.

Severus hastily scribbled his note on some spare parchment, then charmed it so only Lily could read it. He left it on the coffee table and took the floo back to his quarters at the school.

Lily Potter was overwhelmed at all the attention she and James were attracting from Order members. Many of these people she didn't recognize, but they certainly seemed glad of her return. It had been odd, seeing Severus after so long; she could tell that time had hardened him even more than before. If they were to talk, as she wished to do, it would be difficult for them both. Lily had a lot to think about.


Ron, Hermione, Ginny, and the twins had all taken sanctuary in Harry's room during the Order meeting. The whole corridor was warded, so they couldn't sneak down to listen for any information, so Harry's room seemed as good a place as any to wait.

"Harry, why exactly are you grounded again?" asked Ron. "You weren't very specific in your letter."

"Er," stammered Harry awkwardly, "I-er-broke into my dad's study accidentally and tried to get something back, and I got in trouble for it."

"You 'accidentally' broke into his study?" Hermione snorted. "That doesn't sound like an accident."

"Well, I didn't know how private it was and how dangerous it could be," Harry retorted. "It was pointless anyway, because apparently it's charmed to keep whatever you're seeking from you unless Dad is there."

"Wait, let's get this straight," interjected Fred.

"You've been in a Marauder's private study?" asked George in awe.

"We are so jealous," said Fred.

"I may cry," sniffed George.

"Yeah, and now I don't have my cloak or wand, and I'm grounded, can't owl anyone, and can only have visitors during Order meetings," said Harry bitterly. "And I still didn't get what I was looking for."

"Worth it," the twins said together.

"What were you looking for, anyway?" asked Hermione nonchalantly.

"Nothing," said Harry quickly. "It wasn't that important. I was nosing around."

Ron and Hermione exchanged a disbelieving look that was not missed by Harry. He knew he would have to tell them eventually, so he decided to get it over with.

"Fine. I was looking for the diagnostic scan Madam Pomfrey did. I don't know what's on it, and I wanted to look at it before my parents did. Then I would know how much they'll have to deal with. My dad said there might be stuff from my past that we have to do something about now or in the future, and I don't know what he meant. I just wanted to have an idea of everything."

The mood in the room immediately dampened.

"Oh," said Hermione quietly. "I'm so sorry, Harry."

Harry merely shrugged.

"S'alright. Mum said we'd look at it later. So I'll find out soon enough."

Just then, there was a knock at the door and Lily poked her head in.

"The meeting's over, kids," she said. "We're about to have dinner in a few minutes, so I suggest you all head down."

"Thank you, Mrs. Potter!" said Ginny and Hermione together.

"Girls, please, call me Lily," Lily said with a shiver. "'Mrs. Potter' makes me sound so old and stiff."

Everyone went downstairs to the dining room and chatted and ate until it was time for the Weasleys to leave. As they were staying with Sirius, they left when he and Remus did, but not without protest from the kids. It would be a week or more until they saw each other next, depending on the date of the next Order meeting.

As everyone was leaving and Lily, James, and Harry were about to settle themselves in the sitting room, Lily noticed a piece of parchment folded and halfway hidden on the table just inside the library. She was certain it hadn't been there before, and when she picked it up, she recognized the cramped, curly writing and decided she would look at it later.

The family sat down in the sitting room and James gave Lily a pointed look. Lily signed and nodded in understanding, knowing that this wasn't something they could put off, no matter how unpleasant it was.

"Harry, darling," said Lily cautiously, "we need to talk about your diagnostic scan."

Well, everyone, there it is. I'm working on Chapter 10, but it's proving to be difficult just because of content. I'm not promising I'll have it out in a week, but it will definitely be out sooner than it took the last one. Thank you all again for staying with the story. Let me know what you thought, and I'm very interested in any ideas you all have for the diagnostic scan or the letter. The next chapter will be full of interesting stuff!