Belligerent Sexual Tension / Literature

  • It's hinted that Rachel and Marco's playful rivalry in the early Animorphs books might be this, particularly on Marco's part. It begins to take on much darker and nastier undertones as the war wears on. They seem to flirt in earlier books, Marco's immediate reaction to seeing that Rachel has been split in half is that there's one for him now, Nice Rachel says she would go out with him if he asked her, and in the Wonderful Life / What If? book, where they never became Animorphs and Rachel never really got to know Tobias, they did end up going on a date. Later in the series, Marco makes it pretty clear that he thinks Rachel is a rageaholic violence junkie and Rachel gets very impatient with his snark and suspicious caution. Basically, one of the running themes of the book is that sooner or later, war ruins everything. In this case, it turned a perfectly cheerful flirty, belligerent friendship between two people who did in fact like one another into something very nasty and cruel over the course of a war, three years, and fifty books.
  • Jane Eyre is very subtle, but it's definitely present, especially in the tight, intelligent discussions between Jane and Mr. Rochester. Because it was the 1800s and written by a woman, odds are good that really obvious sexual tension would've been even more frowned upon than the book having a female author in the first place. This example is more evident in the movie, especially the 2011 one.
  • Pretty much any Mills & Boone romance novel will feature a "feisty female" lead, while the leading male is always a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Harry Potter
  • The Lensman universe has Kim Kinnison, Lensman, and Clarissa MacDougall, Prime Base Hospital nurse. They annoy the hell out of each other as patient and caregiver, but in fact their psychological makeup has been carefully crafted to produce a good match—eventually. His rants in hospital (he wants rich food, but is still recovering from major surgery for multiple penetrating bullet wounds) later become a plot point when he has to surreptitiously let Clarissa know that she and the other captured Patrol nurses are in safe hands and shouldn't commit suicide to avoid sexual enslavement.
  • Zohra and Khardan in Rose of the Prophet. They have a forced marriage early in the first book. The bride is tied up and gagged to wed the falling-down-drunk groom, and the wedding night notably involves the bride stabbing her would-be husband. Will They or Won't They? is still a big plot point (they may be married, but consummation is not forthcoming), and basically will decide if their people survive or die.
  • The Chronicles of Prydain has Eilonwy and Taran.
  • Lucian and Joy-in-the-Dance in The Arkadians are another Lloyd Alexander example.
  • Simon R. Green's Blue Moon Rising has Prince Rupert (Jerk with a Heart of Gold) and Princess Julia (Tsundere) for most of the book, becomes towards the end though). They eventually get their act together at the end and by the time of the sequels are a real Battle Couple
  • Claire Bell's The Book of the Named gives us Ratha, a Tsundere, and Bonechewer, a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Due to an Enemy Mine situation, they do eventually end up together, only to fall out over the secret of the Named's sentience, and her people killing him when he raided their flocks.
  • In the Night World series, Ash and Mary-Lynette are like this in the majority of Daughters of Darkness. He's a self-admitted jerk who toys with hearts, she's deredere but kicks him in the shins. A lot.
  • Supposedly Howl and Sophie from the novel (but not the film) Howl's Moving Castle and its sequels. Howl and Sophie consistently and constantly have verbal sniping matches throughout the entire book, and that doesn't exactly change—though it's affectionate after their marriage. They even take the time to do so while rushing using life-endangering magic to the climax of the battle. And during their confessions of love.
    • In the sequel, Castle in the Air, Abdullah asks Sophie to tell him about Howl, and the response Sophie gives him prompts him to say, "Strange that you should speak so proudly such a list of vices, most loving of ladies." Sophie's retort: "What do you mean, vices? I'm just describing Howl." The belligerence is just how they roll.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister might count, though their relationship is mostly platonic with only hints of sexual tension. One of their early scenes show a sword fight between them, described in a way similar to a sexual encounter, by the end of which Jaime jokingly tells the third party that was chastising his wife (the guy promptly points out that it looked more like she was chastising him).
    • Sandor Clegane clearly cannot decide whether he is more attracted to Sansa Stark or annoyed by her idealistic outlook on life, so in turns: mocks her, tries to help her survive in the Deadly Decadent Court, threatens to kill her and saves her life. Although the sexual tension is mutual, belligerence comes solely from him, as Sansa tries her best to be polite to him (which he usually finds annoying).
  • Pride and Prejudice actually contains considerably less of this trope between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy than some of its adaptations and fandom would have you believe; Lizzy genuinely hates Darcy at the beginning, and by the time they get together they aren't bickering anymore. Darcy shows a bit more, as he develops his attraction to Elizabeth pretty early on and continues to fight with her even as he struggles against his admiration of her, but it's still not very much. If you want a Jane Austen couple who really display this trope, check out Mr. Knightley and Emma.
  • Erasmus and Ala from Anathem.
  • In On the Edge, Rose and Declan bicker constantly, mainly because Declan insists on Rose marrying him and she is determined to maintain her independence. Despite herself, Rose finds herself wondering what such a marriage would be like...
  • Annice and Pjerin in Tanya Huff's Sing the Four Quarters.
  • Nathaniel and Kitty are this on the occasions when they meet going through The Bartimaeus Trilogy. They even fit the "jerk with a heart of gold" and "sweet but easily angered female" stereotypes. Well, then again maybe "sweet" isn't really the word for the girl, but the rest is true. Also helped along by the fact that they are on opposing sides of a political war.
  • C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia: In The Horse and His Boy, Aravis and Cor spend most of the book vehemently disagreeing and voicing their annoyance with each other.
    Aravis also had many quarrels (and, I'm afraid even fights) with Cor, but they always made it up again: so that years later, when they were grown up they were so used to quarreling and making it up again that they got married so as to go on doing it more conveniently.
  • In The Guardians, Irena and Alejandro argue with each other constantly. Even the other characters notice it.
    Alejandro: We're just friends.
    Jake: If you say so.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Percy and Annabeth bicker as much as they show affection for each other. It gets worse when Luke gives up his body to Kronos in the fourth book. Percy is convinced that Luke cannot be redeemed, but Annabeth, who shares a long history with Luke, believes there's still hope. This disagreement causes a huge amount of bad feeling between them. It all works out in the end, though.
  • The Spy Five, a short series of virtually unknown books available through Scholastic's book fair order forms, gives us Usula and Julian. They run in the same circles as Ron and Hermione. She's bossy and intelligent, while he's "cool" and loves sports. Both have a Hair-Trigger Temper, triggered by the other.
  • Piccadilly and Audrey in Robin Jarvis' Deptford Mice trilogy. Neither will admit their romantic feelings to the other, and Audrey especially outwardly appears to despise Piccadilly. By the time they do confess their love, it is too late.
    "Ho ho mousey boy, this pretty maid your girlie friend—yes?"
    He could not have said anything worse. Audrey flushed and turned beetroot while Piccadilly groaned and wanted to disappear.
  • Discworld
    • Mort and Ysabell. Largely because Ysabell knows she's supposed to marry Mort and resents this, and Mort is perennially clueless. As the book that introduces their daughter puts it "Between Mort and Ysabell there was an instant dislike, and everyone knows what that means in the long term".
    • Lords and Ladies implies that Archchancellor Ridcully and Granny Weatherwax had this sort of relationship when they were younger. When they meet again decades later, it immediately starts up again. Ridcully regrets that nothing ever actually happened between them, while Granny takes a more pragmatic "it was for the best" approach (although it's revealed that she kept the love letters he sent all these years).
  • Subverted in Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson. Tan Tan's parents had a love that people described as "so sweet it's hot", but eventually turned into pure discord without the sweet. Tan Tan's father killed her mother's lover in a duel and fled with his daughter, and then things got worse...
  • Subverted in John C. Wright's Chronicles of Chaos: Amelia notes she once thought Vanity's squabbling with Colin was a sign of love, since that's the way it always happens in books. Vanity actually loves Quentin, and is very attentive and kind around him.
  • David Eddings is almost as fond of this trope as Rumiko Takahashi. Half the couples in The Belgariad alone fall under it, most notably Garion/Ce'Nedra, Relg/Taiba, and Beldin/Vella in the Malloreon.
    • In the backstory, the first royal couple of united Arendia initially hated each other with a vengeance, owing to each of them being on a different side in the long-running civil war, but ended up falling in love after Polgara locked them away in a room together for several months.
  • L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables gives us Anne and Gilbert, though the belligerence is much more on Anne's part than Gilbert's. It started with Gilbert making an ill-timed comment about her red hair, and getting his slate smashed over the top of his head. From there it spawned a legendary academic rivalry and Avonlea's most infamous love affair.
  • In Rilla of Ingleside Jerry Meredith and Nan Blythe's relationship is said to be worked out mainly through their own form of sweethearting, which involves a lot of arguing.
  • Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: Maggie Spritzer and Ted Robinson have this going on between them for a long time. They eventually got engaged to be married. However, Deja Vu has Maggie calling it off, because she ends up realizing that she's been unfair to both Ted and Abner Tookus.
  • Mercy Thompson and Adam Hauptman don't stop even after they get married. Mercy states that she actually enjoys fighting with Adam.
  • In P. G. Wodehouse's Jill the Reckless, Jill remembers how Wally Mason would put a worm down her back or bound out from behind a tree. Adult, he confesses to a mad love for her.
  • The Day of Reckoning
    • Demetrus and Andra argue loudly about his lack of ethics and her hypocrisy, but they stick together despite dangerous situations. A visiting Jedi, listening to them, concludes that they genuinely care for each other. Later it turns out that they get married.
    • Those same Jedi, in The Shattered Peace, witness two people from rival worlds meeting for the first time, bickering fiercely, making up and working well together, and then parting acrimoniously. When one finds that he's inadvertently endangered the other he immediately tries to help her. In this case Obi-Wan was oblivious to this trope in action, but Qui-Gon saw it.
      Qui-Gon: Words do not always echo feelings. You saw two enemies. I saw two young beings fighting an attraction they knew was inappropriate.
  • Sasha and Daichi in Greek Ninja. They hate each other's guts, yet Eleonora points out that they are a match made in heaven. So she's onto them...
  • Benny and Jason in Death and Diplomacy. Eventually Jason's Non-Human Sidekick gives them an infuriated psych evaluation on the grounds that "If I hear one more sexually-charged and mutually misunderstood argument I'm going to shoot the pair of you!"
  • The Kingdom and the Crown during the second book has the main character Simeon develop this with the main antagonists' daughter, Miriam. They resolve it by the end and get married in the third book.
  • Between Rowena and Jaxon in Summers at Castle Auburn. They clearly have very complicated feelings for each other, and they express it in veiled threats where he says he'll capture her and sell her into slavery and she says she'll enchant him and take him to Alora, the fairy realm.
  • Madeleine Urban & Abigail Roux's M/M crime romance series Cut And Run gives us FBI Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett, who bicker Like an Old Married Couple, engage in Snark-to-Snark Combat, even flat-out brawl at times, and—over the course of the series—risk their lives for one another, all while sexy times ensue.
  • Heroics: Zach and Casey have this in spades. Word of God says that it's because they had a one night stand that went too well, and now neither of them know how to deal with it.
  • Simona Ahrnstedt seems to love this trope! Beatrice and Seth from Íverenskommelser might be the prime example, with their neverending tendency to misunderstand each other. But still, Illiana and Markus from "Betvingade" and Magdalena and Gabriel from "De skandalösa" have it too, as they sometimes have unnecessary fights.
  • Played with in The Lost Fleet with two lieutenants who are always arguing with each other to the point that when they get kidnapped everyone just assumes that they decided to elope. Inverted when they get rescued and it turns out that no, they just really, really hate each other, to the point that the doctor ends up using drugs to keep them on different sleep cycles to stop them from killing each other while they are in quarantine together.
  • Myrren and Raine in Dark Heart. They're thrown together by circumstance as Raine flees from assassins sent by the enemies of his family, which Myrren is none too pleased about (at first).
  • Lucias and Clara in Dark Ones Mistress. Practically right off the bat when they first meet as she's trying to escape his notice.
  • In The Hunger Games, even when Katniss tries to act nice, she can't help but bicker with Peeta. Also has this with Gale.
  • Georgette Heyer's The Grand Sophy has Sophy, a Manipulative Bitch and The Matchmaker, and Charles Rivenhall, a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. They constantly clash as Sophy upsets the order Charles wants to impose on his family, until eventually he realises that her manipulations are for the good of the family, that she really cares, and that he loves her. Of course, she manipulates him into finally proposing.
  • In Mary Gentle's White Crow stories, the only times Valentine and her perennial love interest Baltazar Casaubon don't have this going on, they're married. (Which isn't to say that the two scenarios are mutually exclusive.)
  • Words of Radiance (second book of The Stormlight Archive): Kaladin and Shallan begin to develop a touch of this after she steals his boots, but they both seem to have decided that it's not going anywhere, since Shallan is already engaged to a man she cares for deeply.
  • Merik and Safi of The Witchlands have this in spades—every interaction between them is roughly 80% annoyed fighting and 20% blooming attraction, and sometimes it's impossible to say where one ends and the other begins.
  • Chronicles of the Kencyrath: Jame and Tori—although unlike a lot of examples of this trope, their attraction is not the primary cause of their fighting. Their fighting is mostly caused by real, complex issues between them, of which Tori's fear of and jealousy of Jame are probably the most important. It still feeds into BST quite easily, though. Lampshaded by Adiraina.
    Adiraina: I could not see how you looked at one another when you first met tonight, but I could hear. You cut, so as not to kiss.
  • In Warrior Cats, Brambleclaw and Squirrelflight's relationship is like this, particularly in Twilight; they frequently bicker.


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