A Settlement Between Enemies is another fic that I came across years ago, back when I first finished all seven Harry Potter books. As Severus Snape is, in fact, my favorite character, I jumped at just about any fanfic about him that I could. Settlement takes place right after Snape’s death, and he finds himself on the same ethereal version of Platform 9¾ where Harry spoke to Dumbledore. Only, the person waiting for Snape is none other than James Potter.
As you can imagine, Snape isn’t too pleased to see James—after all, Lily chose James over him, and I suspect that the sexual harassment James put Snape through back in Hogwarts also doesn’t help. Making matters even worse, Snape finds that his own ghostly existence is that of his teenaged self, while James still gets to look like an adult.
One of my biggest grievances with Snape-centered fanfiction is that Snape is often portrayed as an innocent angel who is simply misunderstood. This is a notion that I entirely disagree with. Snape might be my favorite character, but at the end of the day, he was a horrible person. He spent the books abusing both Harry and the other students, all because he couldn’t move past being friendzoned when he was fifteen. In other words, Snape spent the books acting like a giant man-child throwing a tantrum because he couldn’t get his way.
Unfortunately, I’m quite certain that Settlement follows the mindset that Snape’s obsession with Lily was sweet, and not stalkerish and destructive. Settlement tells us that the reason Snape’s ghost appears much younger is because his soul hasn’t aged a day since Lily stopped being his friend, because it was Lily who nurtured his soul. Although I could go into a tangent about how not-healthy or sweet that is at all, there is still a part of me as a devout Snape-Lily shipper who read that part and went “aww”. At the same time, however, I feel like the fanfic is also agreeing with the fact that Snape is, like I said, I giant man-child who never learned to grow the fuck up. It also doesn’t help that there’s a part in the story where Snape throws a tantrum and James Potter calmly sits and reads a newspaper until he’s done.
Momentarily blinded by the rage and disorientation of seeing his dead enemy alive, Snape blindly charged at him. The fault, however, lay in that both of them were dead and therefore existed only spiritually. Snape sliced through James Potter’s ethereal form effortlessly, feeling nothing but a slight chill as he did so. He turned, expecting to see him still there, as intact as himself after the collision or lack thereof.
Potter had disappeared.
“COWARD!” He bellowed. “You – bloody – coward!”
He paced the platform, fuming as he searched. James Potter was well and truly gone. And yet again, he’d walked away without giving Snape the last word.
“Stop – pretending!” he continued, voice echoing down the continuum of the platform as he shouted. “Bloody – stop – showing – me – mercy!”
“And why not, Severus?”
Snape whirled round, ears ringing with disbelief.
There Potter sat, comfortable as ever with a copy of the Daily Prophet open as he waited patiently for Snape’s answer.
Eventually, Settlement does end with Snape realizing he needs to make amends with James and the two of the boarding the train together. And, to be honest, I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel about this story. Do I interpret it from the point of view that Snape’s a horrible person who couldn’t grow up, or do I interpret as a Snape-Lily shipper who somehow thinks all this is sweet? Either way, I find this story adorable, and I also think Settlement is really funny. Regardless of how its author felt about Snape and his relationship to Lily, Settlement perfectly captures Snape’s personality and does nothing to dissuade me from thinking he’s an immature dickhead.
I think what I love most about this fic is that both the people who interpret Snape’s feelings for Lily as love, and those of us who interpret it as childish obsession can get something out of this story. If you like Severus Snape’s character, be sure to check this fic out. And if you don’t like his character, well, you can still check it out here on fanfiction.net.