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 is a variation on my story "To Sir, With Love". 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.

COMPLETE

The Last Goodbye

July 1, 1998

He had not seen her outside of his class for well over a week now. He did not make any connection between that and anyone else. Deep down he would have been devastated and angry had he known about what had happened between her and the other rival for her affections unknown to him. He was a bundle of contradictions when it came to her. His feelings for her were just below the surface and still he would not face them.

Therein was the problem.

The feelings were there and he would not face them.

July 15, 1998

He was on the verge of sending her a note when she appeared at his office door. He had hoped they would spend some time together before she left for the summer; before she left his everyday life forever. He wanted just one more night of comfort with the one person who could give it to him.

If she only knew just how much she really meant to him.

If.

A big if.

The one that would have made all the difference in the world had he told her.

But he had always been a man who ran from love and intimacy; a man who made it difficult for anyone to open themselves completely to him.

Therein lay his biggest mistake.

Always refusing to see it for what it was even in the moment when he wanted it most.

Refusing to see it for what it was even when he had it.

Not facing the truth of his deep abiding love for her until it was too late.

As for her, it was also the same for her with him.

xxxxxxxx

She was lying on her stomach on the throw rug in front of the fireplace in a short white strapless mini-dress. Her sandals were off and her legs were bare. Uniforms were not a requirement during the last two weeks of school. There was nothing but free time as the students braved the never-ending heatwave, waited for final exam results and prepared to leave for the summer holiday.

He had been consumed with marking the exams and reports for all of his classes. He was so overburdened by it all, especially without her to help him as she usually did. They were so alike – yet so different. She was the closest thing to a friend he had ever had.

A good friend and so much more.

He resisted the temptation to lie beside her.

Temptation.

So much temptation.

Only with her.

He settled for sitting up next to her.

"Did you miss this?" she asked quietly after turning onto her back.

She reached out a hand impulsively and he took it unreservedly.

"As a matter of fact, I did," he replied softly as he met her gaze.

"So did I…" she said truthfully.

There was a comfortable energy-rich silence between them.

"I hate saying goodbye; it always seems so…permanent…" she said as she looked up at him in the soft golden glow from the fireplace. "So no goodbyes…"

Both were fine with the silence between them. They did not always feel the need to speak. It was a measure of how far they had come with each other over the years.

He held her hand for the whole of this final time together, even as she fell asleep. The only time he let it go was when he took off his frock coat and put it over her after she'd shivered in her sleep. How strange; there was a cold, harsh wind blowing against his windows which seemed to seep through the walls. Only against his windows. Everywhere else the heatwave continued on, but here in his office it was unseasonably cold.

He took her hand in his again and was content to remain seated next to her, watching her as she slept peacefully in the dimness of the dying embers of the fire. Finally the moment was upon them, the moment he had dreaded for some time now.

This last moment of togetherness.

This last goodbye.

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 violently 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. It carries into the phone as a sort of prelude to the message.

"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 remember the look on your face when I gave it to you… 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. I know you don't like people who wear their emotions on their sleeves. It doesn't matter anymore…not to me."

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 10:30. Fate has come to stake a claim on me, it seems. Goodbye kind Sir, with love…from me…"

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

September 25, 2001

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 purple and black.

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 it appears we have lost one of our own…" he said in a croak of a voice as tears ran down his cheeks.

Silence.

"One of the greatest talents Hogwarts has ever produced is gone. Lisa Durham is gone and I do not think she will be coming back. She was on the 98th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center which fell a fortnight ago today at exactly 10:28:31am."

There were incredulous gasps from the Muggleborns. They were very much aware of the atrocities of 9/11 having been informed by family and friends.

But everyone knew about Lisa Durham. She had only graduated in '98 and already she was well-known. She was a Pureblood Hufflepuff and had gone to New York for a great opportunity as a Marketing Trainee with non-Wizarding investment management firm. It was highly unheard of – to just go Muggle and do without the trappings of the Wizarding world; especially her wand. And for her to be a Pureblood at that… It was scandalous.

Still, if she'd been a Muggle-born the outrage would have been much worse.

Professor Dumbledore needed to make the rest of the students understand. What could he possibly say to even make them care? He could not say anything. So he would show them. He would show them how blessed they were to just be here.

A giant screen came down behind the Professors table and the torches in Great Hall went out for the first time in the history of the school.

The sights and sounds from Muggle news reports of that day.

Horror. Carnage. Futility. Desperation. Panic.

There had never been anything like it in the Wizarding world.

Ever.

Not like this.

There was stunned silence and then the unmistakable sounds of crying throughout the hall.

The torches came back up to their full light and the screen disappeared.

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 loved and lost. It did not ever occur to him to do anything about what the feelings some knew were locked in his heart. Severus loved Lisa – but he'd run from it. Just as he always ran from love and intimacy. He was aware that the werewolf seated next to him had spent an awful lot of time with the young woman he loved when she was here as a student. He knew that Remus Lupin went to see her many times after she moved to New York shortly after graduation.

Shortly after their last goodbye.

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 pers'nal experience! Tell 'er – tell 'er or yeh'll lose 'er!"

How the groundskeeper wished that he'd been wrong.

"To Lisa Durham!" said Professor Dumbledore.

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 again in respectful 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. Snape was nothing but a bully and a bastard. The Greasy Git of Hogwarts.

There was no love lost between him anyone in the room, especially the werewolf who had been his rival for Lisa's affections. Snape hated werewolves and coveted the role of DADA Professor.

Everyone knew that.

Professor Snape looked around at a sea of blank faces. He 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 Love and to Life. Take time to love, to speak, and share the most precious thoughts in your mind. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity; but most of all mean it. And always remember: Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."

September 11, 2004

Three years.

Three years to the day and still there was this pain, anger and bitterness.

Pain.

So much pain.

Anger.

So much anger.

Bitterness.

He was even more bitter now than he'd ever been in the whole of his life.

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 and his own advanced knowledge of the Dark Arts. 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.

September 12, 2004

She was the reason why he was here.

He sat on the old stone bench in front of her grave. He came every day, rain or shine.

He made sure her grave was tidied and that she always had her favourite flowers. She'd always had a passion for chocolate and he would bring some of Honeydukes' best for her and lay it down alongside the flowers.

It might have seemed a silly thing to do; but she had said once in the last 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 floor in front of the fireplace in his office.

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.

It was one of the many things he loved about her.

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.

A strange damp wind with its strange smell.

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

So many times he had resisted the temptation of illegal timeturners in Knockturn Alley.

So many times.

Until now.

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. How odd, here he is in the exact spot he was on that day when he missed her fateful call. And still there is this strange wind with its even stranger smell.

Three twists nine times.

The wind picks up, positively howling now.

He is starting to move backwards.

As he does so…

CRACK!

He Apparates.

xxxxxxx

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 and within the chain of the timeturner.

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 first kiss and hopefully not their last.

CRACK!

They Apparate.

September 15, 2004

No one had seen him at dinner the night before. Nor was he at breakfast or lunch today.

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

The Headmaster broke through the wards guarding the rooms.

It was an incredulous sight which greeted them.

The room looked like a storm had raged through it. The many gruesome jars of pickled ingredients and potions were smashed along with their shelves. Papers were strewn about and books were off their shelves. The few pieces of furniture had turned over and even the windows had shattered.

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

And the smell – an even stranger smell.

"No!" cried Professor McGonagall as she spied a duplicate timeturner that was smashed on the floor. It had hit the floor when the bookcase it was on was turned over. She wrung her hands in despair.

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 as much as we all do; it was too risky a proposition…"

"What do we do?"

"We go on…as best as we can…"

xxxxxxx

There was 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 purple and black.

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 it appears we have lost one of our own…" he said in a croak of a voice as tears ran down his cheeks.

Silence.

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

There was excited confusion as comments flew around the room. Snape was gone! But how could he be gone! Why were the Death Banners hanging? What the hell was going on? What would happen with Potions?

Excitement.

Confusion.

But no sadness.

The Headmaster looked dismayed.

What could he possibly say to even make them care?

"I ask you to raise your goblets to him. Raise your goblets in memory of Professor Snape 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, even the First Years. She had only graduated in '98 and already she was a legend due to scandal. She was a Pureblood Hufflepuff and had gone to New York for a great opportunity as a Marketing Trainee with non-Wizarding investment management firm. . It was highly unheard of – to just go Muggle and do without the trappings of the Wizarding world; especially her wand. And for her to be a Pureblood at that… It was scandalous.

Still, if she'd been a Muggle-born the outrage would have been much worse.

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.

But Dumbledore must be joking.

Raising their goblets to her was one thing.

You couldn't help but to feel sorry for her, scandal or no scandal.

But raise their goblets to that greasy bastard? There were those that remembered his words at the announcement Lisa Durham's death three years ago. Hypocritical and phony. No way did he believe even one percent of that rubbish. He certainly did not live his life that way before or since.

No effing way would they raise their goblets to him!

There was the sound of goblets hitting the House tables and the floor. Even a few of the professors sat back from theirs at the Professors table to the mortification of Professor McGonagall, Professor Lupin and Hagrid. The Headmaster couldn't see this as his back was to them. But he was undeniably shocked at the visible loathing that the student body had for their deceased Potions Master. Only at the Slytherin table were there some students prepared to toast.

Only some.

Not all.

Just as Professor Dumbledore was about to speak again there was a strange howling wind roaring through the Great Hall. A strange wind with its even stranger smell.

Amidst the noise there a loud CRACK!

Two bodies covered in a strange pale gray ash and blood hit the floor. They are unconscious, locked in a tight embrace. The man was obviously trying to protect the woman.

Pandemonium broke out.

There were shouts and screams. Students piled around the two broken figures trying to get a good look.

"Back! Get back all of you! Prefects – all students are to return to the dormitories immediately!" roared Professor Dumbledore as he raced to the centre of the aisle where Professor Snape and the legendary Hufflepuff have Apparated. Never before has anyone seen the old wizard move so fast.

Professors McGonagall and Lupin and Hagrid follow close behind.

"Hagrid take Professor Snape; Remus take Miss Durham. The infirmary – there is not a moment to loose," orders the Headmaster.

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 Lupin was the only person who could ever be found here anymore in the farthest reaches of the Hogwarts grounds. 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 them. They were the reason why he was here. The woman he had loved and the Potions Master buried with her. He was mainly here for Lisa, to be certain. But someone had to care about Severus Snape. Remus Lupin had always tried to care about his colleague in his own way.

Life had been no kinder or easier for his rival in love than it was for the werewolf himself in many ways. Lupin did share some of the blame for that. He would never forgive himself for what he had not done when they were both students together at Hogwarts and later on in life while Sirius Black was still alive after he'd escaped from Azkaban.

Should.

He should have stepped in when James Potter and Sirius Black bullied the young Severus Snape all those years ago when they were all students together at Hogwarts. So many times over the years he should have just gone to Severus to sort things out. But it had always been too easy to concentrate his energies on the people who liked him rather than those who didn't.

That was one of Lupin's biggest problems.

He liked to be liked.

Even once he'd become Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor at Hogwarts and then active in the second Order of the Phoenix. Severus was not entirely to blame for the man he'd become. Remus and his friends had to share in that. But it was a conversation that Lupin put off having until it was no longer in his consciousness. He never made it a priority.

Now it was too late.

But Lisa, he should have never let her go. He should have told her the truth about what he felt for her when she asked, his affliction be damned. Especially when he'd said his last goodbye to her four years ago in New York City. He'd last seen her on the weekend before she died. There were those that knew better than Lupin what lay locked in his heart in spite of his denials over the years. The DADA Professor always insisted that there was nothing between them – they were just good friends.

Their last goodbye.

Even then it was more than just good friends to him. He had refused to face the truth of his feelings.

Now it was too late.

He should have done so much more. So many 'shoulds' raged through his mind every day and tormented him in his dreams every night.

Now it was too late.

'Should'.

The most important one.

The one which could have changed everything.

He should have told her he loved her.

November 1, 2005: All Soul's Day

So many times he had resisted the temptation of illegal timeturners in Knockturn Alley and his own advanced knowledge of the Dark Arts. He knows the laws as well as any one else.

He knows.

But does not care.

So many times he'd resisted temptation.

Until now.

Professor Lupin had done the calculations.

If everything went according to plan his anguish would end.