Love is, as the poet said, a many-splendored thing. And yet at times it seems that fanfiction focuses only on one or two of the splendors. Friendship is so often extrapolated into a romance, as though doing so were a promotion, from something ordinary to something wonderful.
I do not begrudge the slashers and the pairers-off their right to create a romance, but I admit sometimes it exasperates me. It is, to me, a manifestation of a larger misunderstanding about what love is, and can be, between two people.
Love does not necessarily mean romance. There are philosophers who recognize this, who speak of different kinds of love: the erotic, that which is sexual or romantic; the filial, love for the family; and the platonic, love without eros for someone who is not family.
There are those who will tell you that platonic love cannot exist. These are the people who write to advice columnists, concerned that their husband or wife has a close friend of the opposite gender, and who say that men and women can never be friends, because sex will always get in the way. To them I say: you are wrong! (and other words which are decidedly less choice)
You can love someone so much that you would go into debt to be at their side in times of crisis, and when they are hurt you want to find the person who did it and exact justice, and you believe you would be willing to die for them, or at least risk your own life for theirs. You can do all of this, and not have the slighest desire to kiss them, or be in any way related by blood or marriage.
I know this because I love this way. I, a woman, stood up as Best Man for a man for whom I would do all those things; the day he married was one of the happiest in my life. He loves his wife so much and it made him so happy to finally be married to her, and I know she's a wonderful amazing person, that it was a delight to be present and a part of their marriage. My love for him is nothing like his love for his wife; it bears a closest resemblance to my love for my sister.
As I said, I bear no ill will to those who would have Holmes and Dr. Watson, or Aubrey and Maturin, or Oracle and Black Canary, kissing under a starlit sky. I only wish that more people understood that love can exist in a friendship, that friendship is not a lesser thing.