It’s kind of too bad that the term “shipping” is almost invariably taken to refer to sexual and/or romantic relationships, because there really ought to be a word that encompasses all the other types of relationship that fandom likes to imagine their favourite characters in.
- surrogate parent/child relationships
- “the sibling I never had” relationships
- mentor/student relationships
- celebrity/fangirl relationships
- awkward-friend-of-a-friend relationships
- professional partnerships
(You may think I’m joking about that last one, but I have seen some very meticulous ‘fic based on the supposition that two characters would work well together in a particular professional setting, without any element of romance or conventional friendship being brought into the mix.)