Disclaimer: Haven't you ever wondered what Snape said to Dumbledore when he found out that Lupin had been hired to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts during Harry's third year? This is my speculation as to how that little chat might have gone. Do let me know if you agree. As always, I own no rights to Snape, Dumbledore, McGonagall, Lupin or anyone or anything related to the wonderful world of Harry Potter. I have no intention of making any money from this little tale. It exists merely for the amusement of any and all who wish to spend the time reading it. Enjoy.
A Difference of Opinion
Severus Snape was absolutely shaking with rage. It couldn't be true! Albus wouldn't betray him like that…couldn't…not again. He ran through the castle, heedless of how distraught he must appear. It couldn't be true! Yet…it must be. McGonagall had looked so smug, so confident, when she'd told him. She'd told him…not Albus! Oh, no, he didn't even rate the courtesy of being informed directly by the Headmaster. He had to get it second-hand, from that self-satisfied, unbearably superior, Gryffindor! She'd been practically lying in wait for him when he'd returned to the school. She couldn't wait to tell him the "happy" news. He ground his teeth in fury.
Before he knew it, he found himself facing Dumbledore's gargoyle. His rage and pain were so great that he just stared at it impotently, unable to call the password to mind. The livid wizard clenched his fists and breathed heavily in and out as his body swayed back and forth with suppressed fury. Suddenly the gargoyle moved. Apparently his visit was not unexpected.
In moments, Snape found himself standing in front of Dumbledore's desk with no clear memory of how he got there. Dumbledore stared calmly at him, giving away no hint of his inner thoughts. Snape, on the other hand, was broadcasting outrage for all to see.
"Tell me this is a lie, Albus! Tell me you're not sinking to such depths of depravity as to make it necessary to hire such a foul, inhuman, murderous creature as Remus Lupin!" Snape drilled Dumbledore with a look of absolute horror and outrage as he vented his anger at the top of his lungs.
Dumbledore sighed wearily. "Who told you, Severus?"
Snape felt as if he'd been slapped. With a look of total shock on his face, he sank down into the chair across the desk from the Headmaster. "It's true then." He whispered hoarsely. "You didn't even have the decency to tell me yourself, Albus. Did you think I wouldn't care? Did you think I wouldn't object! This has to be the most ill considered decision I've ever seen you make. All but one. I suppose they're much the same though, aren't they? My feelings don't matter now, as my life didn't matter then!"
Dumbledore shook his head. "That's not true, Severus. Now or then."
Snape recovered from his initial shock, leaped to his feet, and began to pace around the room. "Oh, isn't it? Was either Lupin or Black ever punished for their crimes? Were they reprimanded? Did you as much as slap their hands? Was one lousy point even taken from their miserable house? No!! After all, what's one less Slytherin in the scheme of things! The only regret from either of them was that it didn't work. I lived…unscathed."
Dumbledore shook his head more firmly and gazed up at the outraged Slytherin. "Severus, that's not true. No true harm was meant. Certainly not from Lupin, he was totally innocent of blame in that incident. Surely you can't still believe that he would have willingly become a murderer? After everything that had been done to prevent the very possibility that he could cause harm. I could understand your attitude then. You were still a child and in shock, but you're an adult now, with an adult's mind and perception. Surely you've gained some perspective on this incident after all this time."
"Perspective!" Snape spat out the word like poison. "They tried to…murder…me! What kind of perspective could I possibly gain that would change my feelings about that? As time has gone on, I've tried to forgive you, Albus, for always taking their side. You are all Gryffindors, I would tell myself. House pride runs deep, and you've done much for me over the years. However, none of that changes the fundamental fact that they attempted to murder me, and you…did…nothing!! And now, after all these years, I'm supposed to sit quietly by while you welcome that filthy animal back to Hogwarts! If my feelings truly do not matter to you, Albus, I, at least, thought you cared more about the safety of your current charges. You have a whole new crop of Gryffindors to safeguard and pamper, including the sainted Harry Potter, I'd have thought his safety, at least, would matter to you."
Snape's face was flushed red and his burning black eyes were huge. He leaned over Dumbledore's desk, hands splayed flat on the desktop, and stated. "Remus Lupin is a werewolf! This is not an insignificant fact to consider when you're weighing his fitness to be a teacher at this school! How can you possibly justify putting the entire student body at risk of death or worse?"
Dumbledore sighed yet again, leaned back in his chair, and contemplated his furious Potions Master as he stood in front of him. "Have you heard of the Wolfsbane Potion, Severus?" He asked in a calm, even, voice.
Snape straightened up abruptly and all color drained from his face. "My god," he whispered unsteadily. "You actually expect me to help you perpetrate this sham on this school? You're actually expecting me to provide this animal with the means to go on pretending he's a human being." He stared at Dumbledore as if he didn't recognize him. "Well, I won't do it. I refuse."
They continued to stare at each other in tense silence. Then Dumbledore removed his spectacles and wearily rubbed his eyes. "Severus, Remus Lupin is a good and decent man, who has the supreme misfortune to be a werewolf. He's had an extremely difficult life of much pain and loneliness, something I'd have thought you could sympathize with."
Snape looked anything but sympathetic.
Dumbledore stood up and faced him. "Remus Lupin is extremely well qualified to take over the Defense Against the Dark Arts position this year. He would never willingly harm anyone…nor has he in the past. You have it within your power to make this easier and safer for all concerned." He skewered Snape with a sharp knowing look. "When you came to me and begged me for help in your hour of need, didn't I give it to you, Severus?"
Snape looked down to hide his suddenly pain-filled eyes.
Dumbledore nodded in satisfaction. "Well, now I'm asking for your help. Lupin is coming. That's a fact. The shrieking shack is still there, if necessary, but wouldn't you feel safer if he took the Wolfsbane Potion? No one could do a better job of making it than you could, Severus. You'd be responsible for the entire school being a safer place. I need your loyalty and cooperation, my boy. I've always been able to count on you in the past. I need to know that I can count on you now. I apologize for you getting this news from someone else. I fully intended to tell you myself. You deserved to hear it from me."
The anger drained from Snape's face as he stared at Dumbledore. When he spoke, his voice was hollow and faint. "I'm not truly to be given a choice here, am I, Albus?"
Dumbledore smiled kindly in victory. "I sympathize with your reluctance, Severus, and I appreciate your concern for the safety of the students and the staff of Hogwarts. No one can assure their safety better than you can. Do I have your cooperation in this?"
Snape gaped at Dumbledore. How had he done it? How had he turned things around so fast? Snape knew he would agree, even though it galled him no end. All Dumbledore had to do was point out how much Severus owed him and fluff up his ego a little! His mouth tasting of the ashes of self-loathing, he found himself saying. "I'll cooperate with your little deception, Albus, against my better judgment. However, I must warn you that the Wolfsbane Potion is very complex and tricky. I may not be able to master its intricacies as well as you might wish."
Dumbledore reseated himself and returned his spectacles to the bridge of his nose. "I have every confidence in you, Severus. I'm sure you'll do your best. Now it goes without saying that Lupin's affliction must remain a secret." Dumbledore continued to stare at his Potions Master with a satisfied expression on his face.
Snape felt a sneer creep over his visage. "Oh, really? I was expecting a front page article in the Daily Prophet, "Werewolf Comes To Hogwarts…Staff and Students Thrilled to Death!""
Then he sighed in disgust and regarded Dumbledore more soberly. "I truly hope you don't come to regret this decision, Albus, but I fear you shall, especially now, with Black on the loose. He may seek out help from his former partner in crime, you know. Lupin can not be trusted!"
Dumbledore nodded seriously. "Some say the same about you, Severus, but I know they're wrong. As you are wrong about Remus Lupin."
Snape sighed once more, shook his head, and turned to go. He paused with his hand on the doorknob as Dumbledore said. "You're also wrong to ever think that your life doesn't matter to me, Severus. Then or now."
Snape stiffened slightly, but he continued out the door without turning, or making any further comment.