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Lavender Brown, Matchmaker Extraordinaire

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Sitting at her new desk, Lavender straightens her cup of brightly coloured quills. Breathe in. Breathe out. She can do this. She can be a goddamn professional.

Tapping her fingernails against the desk, she checks the clock. Twenty minutes left until anyone else is likely to show up. Perhaps there is such a thing as too punctual. In fairness, she is working for Hermione. And Lavender lost three out of four of her most recent failed jobs due to her ability to sleep through several alarm clocks. Best not to risk it.

Warm Italian sunshine floods the spacious office. Lavender tilts her face up to meet it. There are worse places than Tuscany to spend her time before she gets sacked again.

No. None of that. Positive thoughts. She will succeed at this job. She is manifesting it.

The front door swings open. Lavender straightens her quills again.

A witch with bleach blonde hair, a wide smile, and an armload of parchments enters the office. Lavender jumps up to help her.

"Grazie," the witch says.

Oh, Merlin. Lavender really should have brushed up on her Italian before coming here. The only things she bothered to learn for a long ago holiday were sì, no, per favore, grazie, dov'è il bar, and il condom. Only some of that is likely to be useful in an office setting.

"Err," Lavender says, placing a hand on her chest. "I'm Lavender. Sorry, my Italian is rubbish. And now you are probably thinking I'm one of those rude British people who expect people to speak English everywhere they go, but I promise I'm not. I'm just not great at the whole… being prepared thing."

Dropping the parchments on the other desk, the witch gives her a bemused chuckle. "Cinzia," she says, placing a hand on her chest.

Right. Snape's assistant. Hermione mentioned that. On Lavender's lunch break, she is definitely going to go out and find an Italian phrasebook. What will she do all day if she can't gossip with her nearest coworker? She especially wants to ask Cinzia how on earth Hermione and Snape ended up sharing an office.

"I'm just saying." Hermione's voice enters the office before she does. "His research isn't entirely without merit."

Snape holds the door open for her. "Certainly. It is quite useful for lining birdcages."

"Oh, honestly, Severus. His work on Fluxweed…"

Lavender tunes out a little. She has zero interest in whatever it is they do with potions here. Or herbology? She should find out. Hermione mentioned something about magical plants; Lavender is almost certain.

Her attention snaps back to Snape and Hermione as she notices how close they stand to each other. Practically toe to toe, taking turns giving impassioned lectures about why the other is utterly wrong. A smirk from Snape seems to end the argument. Hermione's cheeks go pink as her lips turn up at the corners.


"Good morning, Lavender," Hermione says, losing the staring contest with Snape by being the first to look away. "Would you mind getting me a coffee, please? I need to be caffeinated to continue this conversation."

"Being awake won't make you any less wrong," Snape says.

Hermione laughs. "No, but you should also have a coffee, anyway."

While Lavender battles with a very fancy looking coffee machine that she is in no way qualified to operate, Snape says something to Cinzia in rapid-fire Italian. Maybe it's help Miss Brown before she breaks something, because Cinzia leaps to Lavender's rescue as soon as Snape and Hermione disappear into their respective offices.

"Grazie," Lavender says, copying the steps Cinzia demonstrates. Glancing at the closed office doors, she adds in a whisper, "Is there always that much sexual tension between them?"

Smiling, Cinzia shrugs.

Lavender needs that phrasebook.

Lavender keeps showing up twenty minutes early every day, just to watch Snape and Hermione's entrance. Snape always holds the door open for Hermione. A few times, Lavender spots his hand hovering, as if he wants to place it on the small of Hermione's back as he ushers her into the room.

Lavender widens her eyes dramatically at Cinzia when that happens. Some things don't need language to be communicated.

The actual job is nothing exciting. It turns out she is expected to assist Snape as well as Hermione. Lavender is in charge of all English correspondence, while Cinzia handles the Italian. Cinzia is kept far busier, so more often than not, it falls on Lavender to have daily battles with the coffee machine.

It all suits Lavender down to the ground. Well, except the coffee thing. She's convinced the machine can smell her fear. But even that isn't so bad, because it gives her a prime view of Hermione's office. Snape often goes in there to talk to her.

Today (Lavender's tenth at the job, with not one single warning; she is killing this), Hermione sits on the edge of her desk. Snape smiles—smiles—at Hermione. His entire face lights up with it, like she is the most marvellous person he has ever met.

"Cinzia," Lavender whispers, waving her over. Digging her English to Italian dictionary out of her pocket, Lavender flips through the pages. "Erm. Let's see here. Sono… Sono innamorati. Is that right? I'm trying to say they are in love."

Laughing, Cinzia nods.

"Oh, good. You see it too. I wonder if either of them have realised it yet. Gosh. The way they look at each other when they think no one is watching. We'll be attending their wedding before much longer, I bet. And, well, I don't fancy him in the slightest, but even I get a little tingle when he speaks Italian."

Cinzia takes that as her cue to return to her desk. Fair enough. Lavender would have struggled to translate all of that with her pocket dictionary, anyway.

On her third week there (still arriving early every day, thank you very much), Lavender enrolls in an Italian class. Cinzia smiles in approval when Lavender shows her the brochure, and says it's very good (Lavender can understand that much, now).

"I'm starting to think those two need a little nudge," Lavender says. "They keep making eyes at each other and never acting on it. I reckon if I learn enough Italian, we can work together to very subtly make them realise they are soulmates."

Crossing to the coffee station, Lavender peeks into Hermione's office. Snape is in there again, and Hermione is perched on the desk. Honestly, sometimes it's like Cinzia is the only one who does any work around here. Hermione gestures widely, saying something that makes Snape laugh. Catching her hand in his, he beams at her.

"Oh my god, Cinzia. Just you wait until I can tell you about this. We have hand holding! Coming from Snape, that's practically a proposal. Oh, this is all so romantic."

Three months officially marks the longest Lavender has ever held a job. Summer is winding down, and her mood is as bright as the late August sunshine. She skips into the office, smiling at the coffee machine (no longer her nemesis; she has made it her bitch). Sitting at her desk, she decides to get a head start on her work.

She gets so absorbed in the task that she forgets to watch Hermione and Snape's arrival. She doesn't notice them at all until Hermione requests a coffee.

Snape better not have finally touched Hermione's back on the one morning Lavender didn't look. She will riot.

Maybe it is slightly unhealthy to have such an intense fascination with her employer's love life. Hmm.

Nah. Lavender just loves love, and Hermione is the best boss she has ever had. It is perfectly reasonable and normal to want Hermione to be happy. Even if that extends to sending flowers to Hermione from a secret admirer in an attempt to make Snape jealous.

Not that it worked. It didn't goad him into action at all. The only thing it accomplished was mildly creeping Hermione out. But it isn't as if Lavender has done anything else like that. Yet.

It's almost lunch time when it happens. Lavender gets up to place a bundle of letters in the to-be-owled tray, and she happens to glance at Hermione's office. Snape and Hermione stand close together. Very close.

Lavender freezes, letters still in hand. This is it. This is it. She can sense it.

Snape sweeps a lock of hair out of Hermione's face. Lavender holds her breath. His hand continues its path down to Hermione's jaw, his thumb brushing her cheek. Lavender drops the letters and covers her own mouth with both hands as Snape bends down and touches his lips to Hermione's.

Oh. My. GOD.

"Cinzia!" Lavender whisper-shouts, reaching for the pocket dictionary.

The sound of the front door opening cuts off Lavender's frantic search for the Italian word for kiss. A familiar redheaded man strides into the office.

"Ron?" Lavender says.

She didn't know he was visiting. Forgetting about Hermione and Snape and their true love for a moment, Lavender lets her gaze travel up and down Ron's body. Merlin. How long is he staying? He's looking fit.

"Hey, Lav," he says, opening his arms for a brief hug. "I'm a bit early, sorry. Don't bother Hermione; I can wait till she's ready to head out for lunch. How have you been?"

Hermione. Right. Focus, Lavender.

"Ron," Lavender says, grabbing his arm. Ooh. He didn't have those muscles when they were dating. "Did you know that Snape and Hermione are in love?"

Ron exhales a disbelieving breath of laughter.

"I'm serious," Lavender says. "Cinzia and I have been watching them dance around each other for months. And now… Ron. I saw them kissing. Can you believe it?"

"Well, yeah."

What? Why does he look so calm?

"Lav," he says, and not even the distraction of his muscled arm wrapping around her again can prepare Lavender for his next words. "They've been married for ten years."

Ten years. Married. Sweet Merlin.

"Cinzia," Lavender says. "Dov'è il bar?"