Plot, new characters, new magical terms and abilities etc. are my intellectual property. If you want to borrow then please kindly ask. JK Rowling's characters and Wizarding Universe are all uniquely hers.

Author's Notes:

This Alternate Universe one-shot story might be particularly sensitive as it is centred around September 11, 2001. No disrespect is intended. I do this in memory of those who perished, those who survived and their families.

To Sir, With Love

September 11, 2004

There was nothing but an eerie silence. There were no footsteps or swishing of robes. There were no pages turning in books or scratching of quills. There was no shouting or laughter.

Not in this place.

Nothing but an eerie silence.

He was the only person to be found here anymore. Indeed, he was the only person who could ever be found here. It was such a sad and lonely place. Misbegotten. Neglected. No one cared about it.

No one – except him.

He did not concern himself with the rest, only her. She was the reason why he was here. So many times he had resisted the temptation of illegal timeturners in Knockturn Alley. He should have never let her go; he should have told her the truth; he should have done so much more. So many 'shoulds' raged through his mind every day and tormented him in his dreams every night.

'Should'.

The most important one.

The one which would have changed everything.

He should have told her how much he loved her.

How he had loved being with her. Strolling through the grounds. Walking in the valleys on the other side of the mountains nearby. Staying up talking into the wee hours of the morning or simply sitting in a comfortable silence.

She was the sun, moon and stars to him. He would have moved heaven and earth for her.

Only her.

There was nothing he would not have done for her. Especially on that day had he known.

Neither had cared what anyone else thought. Each was only concerned with the other. They were so lucky to have each other despite the dark times back then. They had come through so much together and apart. She was his only comfort and his only joy. She had accepted him as he was; he was not the easiest man to be around. She was the one person in the world that had understood him and cared about him.

The world.

She was the world to him.

Only him.

New York City: That Day – September 11, 2001: 10:22:15am

There was no hope. There was no way out. Not for any of the unfortunate souls trapped so high up. There was no hope.

Not for her.

So much chaos and confusion. So much desperation. She'd watched silently as they jumped through the shattered window holding hands. Some in pairs. Others in groups. There is a helicopter still circling in the distance, no good to anyone. Certainly no good to the unfortunate souls clamoring for its attention.

Her hands had been shaking as she reached for her mobile phone. There was one thing left for her to do before she resigned herself completely to her fate.

It seemed an eternity had passed before she managed to connect.

"The Modatone customer you have reached is not available. Please leave a message."

Beep!

She could not help it – she laughed through her tears. The irony. She finally gets the bollocks to lay her cards on the table and he isn't there. She laughs and says this aloud to herself before saying what she intended, but it carries into the phone.

"I guess you have it turned off. Or maybe you forgot? I don't know...I don't know why I expected you to actually pick up. It's not like you ever really need to use it is it? I don't have much time. I don't know how I know this – but I know I don't have much time. It's about 10:22 in the morning here – I guess you must be busy now. I keep forgetting what your schedule is this term…"

She fingers her scarf. His scarf, actually. Something of his which had always given her comfort.

Especially now.

Black.

How appropriate.

"I need to say this – I wish it wasn't like this; but I need to say it. I'm sorry. Don't hate me. All this time – there has only ever been you. Just you."

There is a deep sigh of sadness and anguish. She looks at her watch.

It is 10:24:30

"I need to be clear – I know how much you hate it when people aren't clear."

A deep breath for courage, though he would never know that.

"I love you. I always have. I wish…I wish it hadn't taken this to make me get the courage to tell you…"

She was crying now. Frightened.

"I wish…I just wish for so much right now," she sobbed. "I wish I was there with you. I wish you were here with me…no I mustn't think that. No one should have to face this. Not you. I love you. I would never wish this for you."

She sniffed and tried to pull herself together.


"I just wish...I hope…Goddess help me please! I just want you to go on…and have a good life. Give in to whatever it is that you really want; whatever it is that will make you happy. For everything we have ever talked about I know that there is still a part of you closed to me. It doesn't matter anymore. Just find your bliss and follow it…wherever it may lead."

She looks at her watch again.

It is 10:27:05

There is rumbling and shaking. Still, she does not hang up as she uses her other hand to grab at her desk. The phone is her only link to him.

"It's almost 10:28. Fate has come to stake a claim on me. Goodbye kind Sir, with love…from me…"

There was an astonished gasp and then the phone line went dead.

September 12, 2004

She was the reason why he was here. So many times he had resisted the temptation of illegal timeturners in Knockturn Alley. So many times.

Until now.

He sat on the old stone bench in front of her grave. He came every day, rain or shine. He made sure it was tidied and that she always had her favourite flowers. She'd always had a passion for chocolate and he would bring some of Honeyduke's best for her and lay it down alongside the flowers.

It might have seemed a silly thing to do; but she used to say in the days of Voldemort that when she went she wanted some of her favourite chocolate to go with her.

"Somehow I don't think Honeydukes has a branch in the Afterlife," she'd joked as she lay on the sofa in his sitting room.

He'd rolled his eyes at her when she laughed. And then laughed because he could not help himself. It was so her to think of such a thing and say it out loud.

September 13, 2004

It never ceased to amaze him.

Everyday he would come and the chocolate would be gone and the flowers dried.

And when he thought of her as he sat, a wind would pick up and blow around him and her grave.

Just the two of them.

There was a lump in his throat and he silently admonished himself not to cry. But cry he did, just as he did every day. Just as he did every night.

But no more.

He could endure this no more.

September 14, 2004

He had done the calculations. If everything went according to plan his anguish would end.

The wind is blowing around him even now as he takes out the timeturner. Strange, here he is in the exact spot he was on that day when he missed her fateful call. And still there is this wind.

Three twists nine times.

The wind picks up, positively howling now.

He is starting to move backwards.

As he does so…

CRACK!

He Apparates.

She looks at her watch.

It is 10:27:05

There is rumbling and shaking. Still she does not hang up as she uses her other hand to grab at her desk. The phone is her only link to him.

"It's almost 10:28. Fate has come to stake a claim on me. Goodbye kind Sir, with love…from me…"

She gasps in astonishment and drops the phone. The connection had just gone anyway.

Her beloved is here, pulling her into his arms.

They hold on to each other tightly.

"I love you," she whispers through her tears and the noise around them.

"I love you too; I always have…" he whispers through his own before giving her a kiss.

Their first kiss.

Their only kiss.

September 15, 2004

No one had seen him at dinner the night before. Nor did he go to breakfast.

"Something is not right, Albus…" said Professor McGonagall as they made their way to his quarters.

The Headmaster broke through the wards guarding the rooms.

It was an incredulous sight which greeted them.

The sitting room looked like a storm had raged through it. Bottles were smashed, papers were strewn about and books were off their shelves. Lighter pieces of furniture had turned over and even the draperies had come down.

There was a strange dampness in the air; as if a damp wind had permeated the castle walls.

"No!" cried Professor McGonagall as she spied the timeturner on the floor where he had thrown it. She wrung her hands in despair. She picked the timeturner up and held it to her bosom as if cradling an infant.

Tears rolled down Professor Dumbledore's cheeks as he shook his head in disbelief.

"I thought he would try to bring her back, Albus…" croaked Minerva. "If anything…I always thought he would try to bring her back…"

"He knew the laws as much as we all do; he couldn't…"

"What do we do?"

"We go on…as best as we can…"

There was a quiet murmuring going on throughout the Great Hall. Classes had been cancelled for the remainder of the day and the rest of the week. Instead of the House flags there were plain flags in black and purple. Purple and Black: the colours of death in the Wizarding world.

A hush fell over the room as Professor Dumbledore went to the podium. He tried to swallow back the lump in his throat before speaking.

"I am sorry to say that we have lost one of our own…" he said in a croak of a voice as tears ran down his cheeks.

Silence.

What could he possibly say to even make them care?

"Professor Lupin is gone. I do not think he will be coming back."

There was confusion as more muttered comments flew around the room. Lupin was gone? But how could he be gone? Why were the Death Banners hanging? What the hell was going on? What would happen with Defense Against the Dark Arts?

"I ask you to raise your goblets to him. A toast in memory of him and Lisa Durham; his immortal beloved. I believe that rather than continue on without her, he went back in time…to that day. I believe he has perished with her."

There were incredulous gasps.

Everyone knew about Lisa Durham. She had only graduated in '98 and already she was a legend. She was a Muggle-born Ravenclaw and had gone to New York for a great opportunity as a Marketing Trainee with non-Wizarding investment management firm. Highly unheard of – to just go Muggle and do without the trappings of the Wizarding world. Including her wand. She had gone to work that day, filling in for someone who had needed the day off. Supposedly this person did not have any vacation or sick time left and she was doing them a favour.

Some favour.

She'd left her wand at home in Brooklyn Heights, packed away in her old Hogwarts trunk. There was no way for her to save herself from the Muggle catastrophe known as 9/11. She had been on the 98th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center which had fallen at exactly 10:28:31am.

Hagrid looked across the Professors table at Professor Snape. His face was its usual dour mask – but behind it he was suffering.

And Hagrid knew why.

Professor Snape had also loved and lost. However, unlike Lupin it did not ever occur to him to do anything about it. Snape had also loved Lisa – but he'd run from it. Just as he always ran from love and intimacy. He was aware that the werewolf spent an awful lot of time with the young woman he loved when she was here as a student. He knew that Lupin even went to see her after she moved to New York shortly after graduation.

The DADA Professor kept insisting that there was nothing between them – they were just good friends. There were those that knew better than Lupin what lay locked in his heart.

Hagrid had warned the Potions Master. "It's not me place, I know. But yeh'll regret it if'n yeh don' do summat about it Professor. Take it from me. I don' know much accordin' to the likes o' some; but I do know this from personal experience! Tell her – tell her or you will lose her!"

How the groundskeeper wished that he'd been wrong.

"To Professor Remus John Lupin and Lisa Durham!" said Professor Dumbledore as all in the Great Hall stood and raised their goblets in respectful silence.

"To all who perished on 9/11; to those who survived; to those who are left to carry on."

All raised their goblets in silence.

Professor Snape stood up and walked to the podium. The pain in his black eyes was unmistakable. The Headmaster stepped back, visibly moved at this most unexpected of gestures, and allowed the professor to speak from his heart.

As always, the Potions Master held the attention of the students. But this was most remarkable. You could hear a pin drop, so still and silent was it in the Great Hall. There was no love lost between Snape and Lupin. Snape hated werewolves and coveted the role of DADA Professor.

Everyone knew that.

Professor Snape cleared his throat and took a deep breath before speaking in an even quieter tone of his usual silky whisper of a baritone.

"Raise your goblets to true love and undeniable Gryffindor courage and bravery."

November 1, 2004: All Soul's Day

There was nothing but an eerie silence. There were no footsteps or swishing of robes. There were no pages turning in books or scratching of quills. There was no shouting or laughter. There was not so much as a breeze though winter was just around the corner.

Not in this place.

Nothing but an eerie silence.

Professor Snape was the only person who could ever be found here anymore. It was such a sad and lonely place. Misbegotten. Neglected. No one cared about it.

No one – except him.

He did not concern himself with the rest, only her. She was the reason why he was here. Her; not the werewolf buried with her in memoriam. He should have never let her go; he should have told her the truth; he should have done so much more. So many 'shoulds' raged through his mind every day and tormented him in his dreams every night.

'Should'.

The most important one.

The one which would have changed everything.

He should have told her how much he loved her.