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Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters you will meet in upcoming chapters, nor did I come up with the amazing spells, potions, places or anything else with proper nouns that you recognise from my story. Pretty much everything, besides my plot, and my characterisation of characters, belongs to JK Rowling - as you should all know, being on a FAN fiction site. 

Note: And as for this story? It was written in response to Astoria_Greengrass' "How Long Does it Take to Fall in Love" Challenge on the forums, where she gave me the task of writing the story you will hopefully go on to read. Please remember to review, and thank you for reading. I had to increase the rating to mature due to strong language, so sorry for any inconvenience.

                                                   Forever and Almost Always


                                                      Three O’clock and Lonely

How long does it take to fall in love? A few seconds, a single lingering glance, or several sunlit days? A month, a year … a lifetime? Does it happen suddenly, or is it a sweeping weight that gradually breaks down your heart’s defences? Is it something that you can feel approaching, an impending love? Or is the real question, how long does it take for you to realise you’re in love? Do you know as soon as you feel their eyes graze your blushing skin, when you drown in their depths, and never wish to surface? When you blurt it out to their faces, never before then having understood the sincerity of those words before? Or do you realise your love for them at the same time you realise that a day without them, would be the one day not worth living? 

 The truth, in my eyes, is that there is no answer. Love doesn’t come under a sure heading; it is a shape-shifter, changing for each individual. It comes in many different forms – a need, a want, a sanctuary. Is love knowing that this one person cares for you more than anyone else, is it believing that they will protect you from all harm? Is it believing that when you are with them, you are the best version of you?

There is no measurable amount of time that has to pass before you can fall, for some it happens with urgency, others, it’s like breathing a new air – leaving you wondering how you ever breathed before this person entered your life; but for me? For me it took precisely five thousand, four hundred and seventy five days … and ten hours to realise my love for him. But it took so much longer for me to comprehend what this meant, and many years for me to understand this feeling of love. For those fifteen years, I hid from his love – I was unable to see that I loved him too. Love is blind, that’s what you would say; you were too blind to see your love for him. But that’s not right, he blinded me. I was blinded by the intensity of his love for me, blinded, angered, deluded … scared. 

That’s what it comes down to. Fear. It bubbled like acid inside me, overpowering the effect of his whispered words, his sideways glances. I was scared of this new emotion that threatened to take over my heart, my mind, and so I perceived it as evil. Hatred, jealousy, everything but what it was. And what it was, was a love so potent, it could never possibly lift.

It was three o’clock when I realised my love for him – give or a take a few seconds. I sat on the grass, wet with dew, and waited for him. It was three o’clock, and I was still alone, still lonely. He had asked me, only mere hours before, who I wanted with me when I cried, who I wanted with me when I awoke … who I wanted with me forever.  I knew, without knowing how, that something had changed in that moment, but it took precisely one hundred and eighty minutes for me to realise just how vital this change was. And I remember the exact thought that ran through my mind, triggering this maddeningly sensible sensation. “You. Forever you” That was it. Three words, sentencing me to a lifetime of servitude, a lifetime of devotion to a man who had waited fifteen years for me to return his love. Fifteen years for me to realise what that thought meant. And those three words? Those three words, mapped out the rest of my forever.

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