Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and considered by some to be the Greatest Wizard Of All Time, smiled to himself and reached for a lemon drop. Nearly all the time he had a bowel filled with lemon drops on his desk, ready for anyone to partake of them. Of course few people rarely did and unless they were Severus Snape Albus did not push them. With Severus it was interesting to see his attempt at polite refusals before he finally snapped and left in a flurry of robes with a murmered 'miserable old codger' It was rather bad form on Albus' part but in these dark times everyone needed an indulgance. The teasing of Severus Snape was one of Albus' indulgances, another was his annual party. This time he had decided it would be a Halloween Masquerade, by invitation only. He had just finished writing out the invitations and they were stacked neatly in front of him. All staff members were invited, Severus was ordered because Albus knew that that was the only way he would get his spy's attendance. It was a well known fact by everyone in the school that Severus Snape detested any social event. So the only way he would attend would be an order from Albus. Albus knew that Severus would resent him for the order but it was for his beneift.
Also invited were Albus' favourite students and their friends, they would certainly help to liven up the atmosphere and bring that youth, that life and soul to the party, that teachers could not bring even when they were as drunk as a skunk and singing 'Auld Lang Syne', mistaking the party to be a new years party. Albus secretly hoped Minerva McGonogal would provide them with that rendition again. Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Ginny Weasley, Luna Lovegood, Neville Longbottom, Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks. Albus' guest list was not merely because he liked the people and thought they would bring a vibrance desperatly needed to his parties. The main reason if Albus was being honest with himself, was the exciting prospect of matchmaking. It was his secret, final indulgance and Albus adored seeing his matchmaking working. He was a firm believer that love would save the Wizarding World, and that it's power could not be underestimated. He had evidence of this in the protection Lily Potter had given her only son by dying to save him from Tom Riddle.
Albus had the couples in mind already and he was looking forward to seeing the relationships form or start to form at the party. Harry Potter would go with Ginny Weasley, it was inevitable. Everyone could see it, the staff didn't even bother betting on it in the staff room as was their habit. Luna Lovegood would go with Neville Longbottom, it didn't take much to see that they both had some attraction to the other. Remus Lupin would be with Nymphadora Tonks. He cared for her deeply, that much was clear to everyone it appeared but Nymphadora herself. She was taking too much on face value and Albus was going to change that. They definatly would be together, despite Remus' belly aching, it was just being stubborn for being stubborn's sake although he tried to mask that with good intentions. That left only Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley. Albus furrowed his brow in concentration at the problem they presented to him
Albus kept a carefuly eye on the dubbed 'Goldon Trio' and their associates. There were two reasons for this. He cared for their well being, not just in his role as Headmaster but as an almost grandfather like figure. He also watched them carefully from a strategic point of view. They would be important in the Final Battle against Voldemort, this had only been reaffirmed to him from the incident at the Department of Mysteries. Harry Potter was not the only young player in the fight. This observation of his, no matter what the reason, had showed him something that the other facultly members had not seen. Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley could not be together. Their interests did not merge meaning they had very little common ground. They argued with each other with disturbing regularity over things neither of them could change. Opposites attracted and this was proven by their fantastic friendship, but that was all that could be between them. They were too opposite in some regards and they would be unable to suffer each other. If they embarked upon a relationship, Albus could see it destroying their friendship. For both their sakes, there could not be anything more than friendship between them, no matter how much both or either party wished for it.
That left Albus with a problem. It was easy enough to partner Ronald Weasley, he had noticed that the young Gryffindor Lavender Brown had developed an interest in the Weasley boy. He was not reciprocating this interest but he wasn't dismissing her and her fancy for him. This seemed perfect to Albus' eyes. Except, that left Hermione Granger on her own. Albus thought long and hard, composing an invitation to Lavender Brown as he did so. When finished with the invitation he added it to the stack on his desk then leaned back in his chair. He continued to think, sucking on the lemon drop still in his mouth. He could see no obvious solution to this. Partnering Hermione Granger was beginning to prove as problomatic as attempting to partner Severus. Then it hit him
Albus straightened up in his seat and narrowly avoided choking on the small lemon drop. He could hardly believe that he had never thought of this potential partnership before. As he thought more and more about it, and them together, it made more and more sense. They both did not suffer fools gladly, although Hermione hid it better. They both had an outstanding intelligence that it would be a struggle to eclipse and they had a lot in common. They would be able to bounce their creative ideas off each other and together they would be able to raise to even more spectacular heights than they would be able to on their own. Severus needed someone to care for him and Hermione could give that in a way that Albus knew Severus would be receptive to, even though he would staunchly deny it. Yes, to Albus Dumbledore he had found a perfect partner for his spy, who he looked upon as a son, and the young Hermione Granger.
Satisfied with his matchmaking Albus decided it was high time he went to bed. He had had a long day and the lemon drop was finished