"Child Endangerment"

Disclaimer: The author claims no intellectual property rights of any kind to characters, plot points, or other ideas appearing in this work which originated in the Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling. The author receives no financial benefit from the use of these ideas and has written this work for personal amusement only.

Author's Note: This isn't so much a story as a rant, really; I'll let Severus be my mouthpiece, because he's better at ranting than I am.

Summary: One-shot. Severus Snape has had enough of surreptitious laughter – enough to explain to Remus Lupin every last reason his "prank" was a stupid idea. No pairings.

The laughter, as usual, died down quickly as Severus entered the staffroom, causing him to grit his teeth yet again. Did they really all think they were fooling him? Or perhaps, knowing Lupin, they were doing it specifically to annoy him and were just too cowardly to admit anything of the sort (par for the course for Lupin, really; the man had turned passive aggression into an art form). Well, enough was enough.

"Is something funny, Lupin? Care to share it with the rest of us?" Severus asked, as snidely as possible.

Lupin looked at him sheepishly and hung his head slightly. I was right, then.

"Oh dear. Was it one of the ones you're constantly making at my expense, then? How embarrassing for you. At least tell me it's not yet another rehashing of that tiresome boggart stunt –" the expression on Lupin's face told him everything he needed to know. "Oh, it was?"

"Severus –"

"Do you want to talk about it, Lupin? I'll be only too happy to indulge you. Let me tell you exactly how stupid it was, so you'll understand exactly how many ways you're a danger to the students and a travesty of a Defence teacher –"

"Dumbledore's forbidden you to talk about –" Lupin said quietly, barely above a whisper.

"I'm not talking about any medical condition, Lupin, unless chronic stupidity is a disease. Do you ever stop to think about the consequences of your actions? Don't answer that, it'd be too depressing. If you stopped to think, I wouldn't have to explain this to you. You've been going on endlessly about those Patronus lessons you insist on giving Potter, so let's start there. You knew boggarts can take on some of the properties of whatever they mimic, or your imitation dementors wouldn't be any good and you'd never have tried using them for that purpose."

"Yes, I knew that; I do know my subject, Severus. What of it?"

"You still don't see it. Baby steps, Lupin, baby steps, we'll get there… so tell me. It's been well publicised, so I'm sure you know about the incident involving the Chamber of Secrets last year. The school was just recently terrorised by a deadly monster that injured several students, and I'm quite sure they haven't all completely forgotten it. It's common knowledge what the monster was, isn't it, Lupin? What was it again?"

"A – a basilisk, Severus, but I hardly see what that has to do with anything –"

"Oh, you don't? So good to see your brain working, Lupin. Don't you think any of the students might have been, I don't know… afraid of such a thing?" He smirked. "How, exactly, could you be sure you wouldn't end up with a classroom full of dead students after that little stunt?"

Lupin stared at him, open-mouthed. The other teachers in the room were clearly listening as well, and appeared to have stopped whatever else they were doing. Good. "There are no recorded incidents of a boggart taking the form of a basilisk, Severus."

"Yes, because nobody before now has been foolish enough to expose a room full of children who'd had firsthand experience of being terrified by a basilisk to a boggart before. You're damned lucky, Lupin, that you never had to find out what would happen. You're damned lucky the students who tried it were foolish enough to apparently forget all about that damned snake – some of them are apparently more afraid of me than of dying." Or of various banalities out of a Muggle Halloween costume shop, somehow; don't ask me to understand children. "So tell me again that you aren't a danger to the students, Lupin. I'm waiting."

Lupin said nothing; Severus turned to the side and noticed Minerva had a rather sour expression on her face; he smirked. Perhaps she'll take my side for once; it's about time, and this is precisely the sort of thing that would bother her. She can't stay in denial about all her precious Gryffindors forever.

"Answer me this, Lupin. Did you poll the students before the boggart lesson to ask what their greatest fears were? Or did you only ask a few, until Longbottom told you what you needed to set up your little stunt?"

"I didn't ask any of them, Severus; I didn't need to. It's easy enough to see Neville's terrified of you." Lupin looked as though he wanted to chastise him for it; Severus was amused. Haven't we established you've no room to talk, Lupin?

"There's a long distance between that and his greatest fear, Remus," Minerva cut in. "That boy has quite a lot to be afraid of, as you ought to be well aware, between what the Lestranges did to his parents and how he's been treated by the rest of his family. Did you know his uncle defenestrated him when he was eight?"

"Yes, I knew that –"

"Then what business did you have assuming he must be more afraid of me?" Severus said, with a sneer. "If any of the students had any sense, they'd be more afraid of the kind of teacher who makes them face their worst fears on the first day of class, don't you think?"

"Enough, Severus."

"No, Minerva, I'm not finished! He will hear the rest. Lupin. Do you have any idea what your little stunt did to encourage student misbehaviour? There is a reason I keep my classes under tight control; Potions is a dangerous subject! You have no business undermining students' respect for their teachers, especially in a subject where that can have life-threatening consequences. If that doesn't move you, perhaps you'd prefer to think about the hundreds of detentions I've been forced to assign as a result? Maybe that will stir your sympathies where the risk of death cannot, if I remember your student days correctly."

"You've made your point, Severus," Minerva said tiredly. "Remus, you need to stop doing this sort of thing. If I hear of anything further, I will be forced to go to Albus."

Does she think that will help? Severus turned and swept out of the room, muttering under his breath. What's the point in trying? The man is completely irresponsible. One of these days he'll probably forget to take his potion and end up eating a student. I can't even rely on Dumbledore to care about that, judging by previous occasions.

Postscript: This story practically wrote itself. Considering Rowling is now going on about Lupin and boggarts on Pottermore, it's only appropriate to actually explore some of the consequences…