Summary: Severus is publishing a book and his editor, Emma, notices his connection with Harry and offers to help Severus with his relationship with Harry, his best friend. But will Harry and Severus's feelings for each other be what tears them apart? And will Severus's personal life affect his life as a newly-published author?
Genre(s): Romance, Drama, Friendship
Pairing(s): Harry Potter/Severus Snape, Ron Weasley/Hermione Granger
Warning(s): Some angst and fighting
Disclaimer: Emma is an OC but all the other characters belong to J.K. Rowling
Harry could tell that Severus was different from the moment he walked into his office one afternoon. First of all, Severus was laughing. And second of all, there was a woman in his office.
"That's horrible," Severus was saying. "I wouldn't be that rude to someone on their first day at a new job."
"I know! Some people..." The dark haired woman noticed Harry before Severus did, and Severus followed her gaze.
"Harry, come in. I want you to meet my editor, Emma," Severus said.
Severus was going to publish a book, and he was at his editing stage. He had been telling Harry that his editor was staying at Hogwarts while she edited Severus's book. At the time, Harry hadn't minded, but now seeing how beautiful Emma was, his heart gave a painful twist. "Nice to meet you," Harry said, attempting a smile.
She smiled back with perfect white teeth. "It's an honor to meet you, Mr. Potter." She shook Harry's hand. "Severus has told me so much about you."
"Really?" Harry looked at his best friend.
The corner of Severus's mouth twitched. "I told Emma you have been reading my book and helping me a bit." Severus stood and gave Emma a stack of papers. "This is my manuscript."
"Alright, thanks," Emma said. She put in in her bag and said, casually, "So how long have you and Harry been dating?"
Harry froze and looked up at Severus to find a stunned expression on his face. "What?" Severus spluttered.
Harry felt his face burning. "Severus and I - we aren't like that," he stammered awkwardly.
"We are just friends," Severus added.
"Best friends. And nothing more," finished Harry quickly, refusing to meet Severus's gaze. When Harry and his friends had graduated school, Ron and Hermione married that summer and moved in together. Their relationship took off fast and Harry never got to see them as much as he saw them in school. He'd see them maybe once a month. They still hung out and Ron and Hermione invited Harry over and asked him to babysit occasionally, but Harry felt a wall between them that hadn't been there before.
They had begun to drift apart around the same time Harry and Severus began talking and eventually spending more time together. He was there for Harry when his best friends weren't, and Severus listened to him. He gave Harry advice and, one day, said that he wanted to be friends with Harry. Harry felt closer to Severus than anyone else and over the past few months, his feelings had begun deepening. Harry began feeling terrified of Severus again, not daring to tell him how he felt for fear that he would lose Severus's friendship. He cherished Severus's companionship and didn't want to lose it over some silly, childish crush.
"Best friends," Severus agreed. "Oh - Harry, could you stop by my lab and check on that potion we were making earlier?"
"Of course," said Harry, his heart fluttering when he felt Severus's hand on his shoulder. His touch lingered and Harry's knees grew weak. "I'll go do that right now." He said good bye to Emma and left the room, wishing he would stop getting so nervous around Severus.
"Harry seems like a nice bloke," Emma commented after Harry had left.
Severus tried to act normal, but found his thoughts wandering off to her comment about them. "Yes he is," Severus said.
"So, you don't like him then?" Emma asked.
Severus hesitated. Was it time to tell another person about his love for Harry? He knew it wasn't normal, to love your best friend in that way, and he didn't want the news getting back to Harry. "No, I do not."
He tried to put up his mask, the same one he used to use around Harry, but Emma saw right through him. "Oh please, Severus, I know that look." She rolled her eyes. "You're in love with him, aren't you?"
"Er...perhaps a bit." To his horror, Severus felt his cheeks burning. "How did you know?"
She laughed. "It's the way you act around him," she said. "The way you touched him, looked at him. And trust me Severus, Harry fancies you just as much as you fancy him."
"Harry? Fancy me?" Severus shook his head. "He could have any girl he wants. He's Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, the savior of the Wizarding World. He defeated Voldemort. What would he want with his forty year old former professor?"
"You never know, Severus, sometimes people can surprise you." Emma grinned. "If you want, I can help you out with him."
"How?" Severus asked.
"Well, as I like to say, jealousy is the best weapon." She smirked.
Severus shook his head, reluctant. "I couldn't do that to Harry," he said. "I don't want to make him jealous. And I especially don't want to lose him. That's...that's my worst fear. Emma, I really care about him, more than I've ever cared about anyone in my life."
"But if you want to be safe, and really know that Harry fancies you before you confess your feelings, you should make sure," Emma pointed out. "If you want, I could help you make him jealous."
"I'm not sure," Severus said. But he saw no other option. How else could he know for sure whether or not Harry returned his feelings before he confessed his own feelings? He didn't want to lose Harry's friendship, and this seemed the safest way. "Alright," Severus agreed after a long moment. "So what are we going to do?"
After Harry went to check on Severus's potion, he went out to the Quidditch field to fly with Draco. He and Draco had also become friends and since he was also a Hogwarts professor, they saw each other almost every day.
Harry told Draco about meeting Emma, and about her comment. Draco laughed and said, "That must have been awkward, knowing my godfather. How did he react?"
"He said that we're just friends," Harry said, getting that sinking feeling again like he did every time he thought about it. "And he looked really uncomfortable. He wouldn't even look at me."
"He was probably just surprised," Draco said.
"I know, but I wouldn't want to do anything to make him uncomfortable-" Harry started.
"You didn't. Emma did," Draco reminded him.
"But still..." Harry shook his head. "Do you think that Severus suspects anything? I mean, had he ever talked to you about me, about what he thinks of me?"
"Nothing beyond admiration and respect," Draco said. "And friendship, I guess." He shrugged. "Maybe give it time?"
"Time Emma will have to get closer to Severus," Harry grumbled. "She's gorgeous. How could I ever compete with that? And you know what Severus was doing when I walked in on them? He was laughing! It took Emma less than a day to make him laugh while it took me nearly a decade." Harry shook his head.
"Look, Harry...you know that my godfather has never been the most extroverted person," Draco pointed out. "To be quite honest, apart from you and me, he isn't very close with anyone. He's never even had a girlfriend, and if Severus found a girl, well...good for him."
"But he's never shown any interest in girls," Harry protested.
"Maybe it's that girls never showed any interest in him," Draco said. "If you're so jealous, then maybe you should just tell Severus how you feel about him. It's about time, really."
"I don't know," Harry said. "I don't want to lose him..."
"You will lose him if you don't tell him," Draco said. "He'll start dating Emma and then he won't be interested. Besides, you have no idea if he's interested in you now."
"I'm pretty sure I know," Harry said. "He wouldn't want an irresponsible, reckless child like me."
Draco rolled his eyes. "Well, I tried. If you're not going to listen to me, want to go flying? Race you."
"You're on." Harry grinned and took off after his friend.
After it got dark, Harry parted ways with Draco and went to Severus's quarters. Severus had told him he had an evening planned for them, but when he got there, guess who was already there?
Harry stood in the doorway of Severus's rooms gawking at the pair. "Sev?"
Severus turned to him and he smiled. "Harry, come in. We've been playing chess," he said. "I invited Emma to join us."
"Last I checked, chess was for two people." Harry folded his arms. "Severus, can I please have a word with you in private?"
"Of course Harry." Severus closed the door to his rooms behind him and joined Harry out in the corridor. "You seem hurt."
"I am hurt!" Harry exclaimed. "I wanted to spend my evening with you. Just you."
"I wanted to make Emma feel welcome," Severus said. "Today is her first day of work. I'm sorry that I hurt you. Can you forgive me?"
"You're forgiven. But I want to reschedule our evening," Harry insisted.
"I'll take you to Hogsmeade on Friday night," Severus promised. "Harry, I don't want you to feel left out. If you ever want to talk to me about anything, you know you can come to me."
"I know," Harry said. "That's why you're my best friend." He smiled and his heart leapt when Severus pulled him into a hug. His arms wrapped around Harry's waist and the younger man melted against his best friend, sighing happily.
Severus pulled back slightly to look at him, and Harry's breath caught in his throat. "Harry, I know you may not be used to sharing me, but I want you to know that even if I make other friends, you will always be my best friend. Always."
Their gazes locked and Harry suddenly found it hard to breathe. Severus's hands gently squeezed his hips, and Harry's mind spun. "Promise?" Harry asked.
Severus smiled. "I promise." He pulled Harry close again, and Harry rested against him, savoring the moment. After a while, Severus let go of him. "Will you still join us for a game of chess?"
"Alright," Harry agreed, and followed his best friend back into his rooms.
AN: How was the first chapter? I admit it was centered around drama but that's the point of the story, and there are a few lessons I want to reflect in this particular story. Anyways I hope you all liked it! Should I continue?