All the world is divided into two groups, as you may know: those who divide people into two groups, and those who don’t.
Obviously, I’m shallow enough to belong to the former, and not the latter, wiser group.
Because it seems to me that when it comes to shipping fanfic, readers and writers fall into groups: those who are in love with the pairing itself (with getting these two together, and in a romantic relationship), and those who are . . . not so much. The second group might be more there for the exploration of characterization, to see what these two would be like, together. Not so much to see them happy together, which might be a different thing entirely.
You can often identify writers from the first group by their blithe willingness to simply erase recent new canon, if it makes getting these two into a deeply romantic, loving relationship more difficult. The author’s notes will simply say “this story ignores HBP” for Snarry stories, for example. Or even OoTP, too. Other true shippers will work terribly hard with and around new canon, painstakingly bringing these men to the place they want and need to see them (I am thinking of meri_oddities here, for example). But in the end, the resolution that such writers want to reach is never really in doubt, to long-time readers. Meri wants to see them happy. In the end.
But the second group (which is where I am) is perhaps more in love with the characters themselves, than the pairing itself. Hell yes, I want to see what they’d be like, together. I want my OTP. That’s why I’m here, and not reading over at omniocular.
But what punches my buttons isn’t a happy ending: it’s full-throated, note-perfect, three-dimensional characterization. And the interaction between two such well-realized characters. That is what makes me fall to the floor, in helpless adoration of the story.
And it doesn't need to end happily