A/N: Hello, everybody! I hope you are all enjoying a wonderful evening (or morning/afternoon, depending on where in the world you are).

So this is my very first try at a Harry Potter fanfiction, which is surprising seeing as I have been absolutely obsessed with the books from the time I was eight years old. But I have recently been reading quite a few Snape/Harry mentor/adoption fics and knew I would have to write one myself.

I know that there are a million of these stories out there already, but I just love them so much. Now there are a million and one :)

Harry peeked cautiously around the corner, his eyes taking in the sight of the pristine kitchen. He had tried to hold off as long as he could, but he couldn't stand it any longer. His head was pounding, and he felt incredibly weak. He had to eat something. Anything.

"What are you doing standing there?" a shrill voice broke through the silence of the house. Harry flinched and, recognizing the voice of his aunt, immediately turned his gaze towards the floor. He mentally kicked himself for not noticing her before, sitting at the dining table. He had been too focused on the refrigerator, trying to imagine what he could possibly take from inside that the Dursleys wouldn't notice. "Well," he thought to himself. "At least it isn't Uncle Vernon."

"Well?" Petunia bit out sharply when no reply was immediately forthcoming.

Harry allowed his eyes to travel upwards by a fraction. His aunt seemed to be going through several boxes of old pictures. They were all spread out across one side of the table, and the woman currently held a small stack of the old photographs in her hands as she glared at her nephew.

Normally, Harry wouldn't bother asking. The Dursleys hated questions, and he could usually predict what their answers were going to be anyways.

But he was starting to feel desperate.

"Please, Aunt Petunia. I was wondering if I could...have something to eat?"

"You heard Vernon. No meals for the rest of the week," Petunia practically spat. "How dare you even ask, after what you did to Dudley?"

Harry hadn't done anything to Dudley. Dudley had just gotten upset when he and his gang had been unable to catch Harry in a game of "Harry Hunting" earlier in the week. Convinced that Harry must be using "the m-word" to avoid getting caught, Dudley had made up some story about Harry shouting nonsense words and trying to curse him and his friends.

Of course, Vernon and Petunia believed him. And Uncle Vernon had never been so terrifying as he had been directly after that incident. Harry tried not to think about it too much, but he couldn't help but to bring a hand up to his cheek at the memory. A bruise was still visible there. Thankfully, it was the only one Harry had to see when he looked in a mirror.

Harry swallowed hard. "I'm sorry. I'm just so hungry. Please—"

Harry was suddenly interrupted by a long, low grumbling sound coming from his stomach. Embarrassed, he wrapped an arm around his middle and fell silent, his eyes falling back to the floor.

It was silent in the kitchen for the next few seconds. Harry was afraid to even breathe too loudly. But then he heard the scraping of a chair as his aunt stood from the table. He cringed slightly as Petunia neared him, but she passed him without a word and continued to the refrigerator.

Harry waited nervously, not really believing that his aunt was getting him something to eat. She was probably getting a snack for herself. Or for Uncle Vernon, who would likely be home from work very soon.

He looked up as he heard the refrigerator door close, and found himself surprised when, in the next second, Aunt Petunia was thrusting a thin slice of cheese into his hand.

"That's all you get, so don't you dare ask for more."

It took a second for Harry to get over his shock. But when he finally opened his mouth to murmur a quick "thank you", he snapped it shut immediately at the look of pure loathing on his aunt's face.

"You better finish that before Vernon gets home," she said simply, brushing past her nephew. "He will not be happy if he catches you with food."

It was of course exactly at that moment that the front door banged open, and Uncle Vernon's booming voice could be heard from down the hall.

"Petunia, come see the new car the company gave me," the man called out, clearly excited.

With one last glare at Harry, Petunia swept out of the kitchen to go meet her husband outside.

Wasting no more time, Harry shoved the entire slice of cheese into his mouth and turned, intending to be back upstairs in his bedroom before his uncle came back inside.

But a sight out of the corner of Harry's eye momentarily distracted him. Instead of leaving the kitchen, he turned towards the table, where all of those pictures were still strewn across its surface. A quick glance told Harry that most of them were of Dudley, in various stages of the boy's life. Birthdays, holidays, hanging out with friends...Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia appeared in some of the photos as well. There were even a few of Aunt Marge and her evil dog Ripper. But Harry didn't appear in a single one.

The boy sighed as he glanced down into one of the boxes that Petunia did not appear to have gone through yet. He suspected that this whole project likely had something to do with what Aunt Petunia had been going on and on about the last time she had come home from having tea with the neighbors. Apparently Mrs. Something or Other and Mrs. What's-her-name had been showing off a bunch of pictures of their children, and Aunt Petunia, upon searching through her purse, had realized that she did not have any of her own pictures of Dudley to share.

Harry doubted that she was going to allow that to happen again.

Shaking his head as he caught a glimpse of a particularly horrible picture of a two-year old Dudley throwing a temper tantrum, Harry was nearly ready to turn away from the box when he caught sight of the wooden edge of a picture frame at the very bottom, underneath several stacks of pictures.

Not exactly sure why he was so curious (it was probably just another picture of his cousin after all) Harry reached down into the box, and carefully extracted the frame from its place at the bottom of the pile, doing his best not to make a mess of his aunt's perfectly stacked photographs.

And when he finally held the small frame in his hands, Harry couldn't help but to let out a little gasp of surprise at the picture inside the frame.

It was a family portrait, although Vernon and Dudley were nowhere to be seen. Aunt Petunia was there though. A much younger Petunia. She was probably no more than ten years of age, but Harry knew it was her. She had the same long neck and pointed nose as her adult counterpart had, although her eyes weren't nearly so narrow and menacing in the picture. It was strange to see her like this.

Harry's gaze didn't linger too long on his aunt, however. He quickly moved on to the other occupants in the frame. There was a man and a woman, his grandparents he realized, and before he could study them any further, his eyes quickly found the young girl on their other side. A red-haired girl with green eyes exactly like his own.

His mother.

Without another thought, Harry tore out of the kitchen, the picture clutched firmly against his chest, and ran up the stairs, his head spinning with dizziness from his lack of proper food. He was not about to let the Dursleys catch him with this picture. They would surely take it from him, probably burn it or tear it to shreds just because his mother was in it. How the portrait had managed to survive until now was a mystery, but Harry was not going to let anything happen to it.

He heard the front door open just as he crossed the threshold of his bedroom, and a second later, Uncle Vernon was yelling up the stairs.

"Boy! Get down here now! We have some things to go over before the Masons arrive!"

Harry sighed. He had almost forgotten about the Masons. He quickly shoved the picture frame under his pillow and left his room again, slowly making his way back down the stairs.

He supposed the night couldn't be too bad. He was likely just going to be spending the evening in his room, which, at the very least, meant that the Dursleys would be leaving him alone.

The more he thought about it, the more appealing the idea became, and he had to be sure to wipe the smile off his face as he met his aunt and uncle in the living room.

"Now Dudley will be home in a few minutes," Aunt Petunia was saying to Vernon. "I want the boy to be upstairs before then. You know how upset Dudley gets when he sees him these days."

Harry really had to fight hard not to smile, then. He didn't even have to deal with Dudley for the rest of the day?

It was definitely going to be a good night.

A/N: Alright guys, first chapter done. So what do you think? I love getting feedback. Any and all reviews are greatly appreciated.