Disclaimer: I do not own the Harry Potter series.
Everyone knew the story of Lily Evans and James Potter. How it began and how it ultimately ended. The whole Hogwarts had witnessed it for four years. Four grueling years of hexes, screams, dramatic walkouts and the most outlandish love declarations spanning from a loud 'I love you' in the hallway, to bad poetry and off key songs, up until to the 'Will You Marry Me' in the Great Hall.
Everyone was just waiting for Lily to accept James' date — and/or marriage — proposals. They were so sure that the outspoken and temperamental redheaded Gryffindor was going to give in someday one way or another. It was just a matter of time. Many had placed bets on where, when, and how. Even the teachers had partaken in the so called bet, confident that they were going to win.
What they never took account on and never expected in their wildest dreams was for James Potter to fall in love with someone else until that faithful night when Professor McGonagall's niece showed up in their Sixth Year.
The first time they heard about her was from Headmaster Dumbledore three days after term started. They were having dinner when he announced that Professor McGonagall's niece was going to start studying in Hogwarts after being homeschooled for five years. She would arrive next week and they should all make her feel welcomed.
The second time was when they started pestering Professor McGonagall about her.
"My brother's daughter," the stern Head of House in Gryffindor told those who asked with a frown on her thin lips.
They asked why she never mentioned her.
"My brother and I had a falling out years before she was born," Professor McGonagall answered impatiently. "We had different beliefs and views in life. I never found out about her existence until the day he sent me a letter telling me that he was ill and he needed me to take care of her when he died. He passed away on the 29th of August."
They said their condolences and she said her thanks.
When they asked why her last name was different from hers, she gave them an unimpressed stare.
"Granger is my maiden name," she told them in a casual manner.
They were shocked. They didn't know that McGonagall was actually married.
The third and last time was when the second week of term came and that meant that McGonagall's niece had finally arrived. It was Sunday night when they first saw her and she was formally introduced to them.
She stood in front of the Great Hall, looking unremarkably plain. She had bushy brown hair and brown eyes. She was slender and short but with long legs and arms. There wasn't anything attractive about her. None. Nothing that could capture their interest. Nothing that could make her attractive to them.
She was plain. Boring. Unremarkable. Uninteresting.
"My name is Hermione Granger."
But then she smiled and James was hooked.