One man's fight is another man's date.
"We conducted our courtship on rooftops and fire escapes. A strange flirtation, a hide and seek, a game of cat and mouse..."
When the hero of the show and one of the antagonists have a romantic tone right out in the open, as opposed to Foe Romance Subtext
. This adds a degree of tension to the relationship, and as long as you make sure the antagonist is less of a "villain"
, we're allowed to root for them.
Their different senses of morality will conveniently keep things from progressing too quickly and sometimes they won't move at all, since the character won't be as fun
if they go straight
. The same concerns about getting rid of the dramatic tension that fuel Will They or Won't They?
Compare Go-Karting with Bowser
(when the relationship is platonic rather than romantic or sexual), Loves My Alter Ego
(for similar relationships between heroes and bystanders), and Defecting for Love
(which happens when the Catwoman decides to go straight after all). Easily overlaps with Villainesses Want Heroes
. May lead to The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life
if the pairing is ultimately incompatible or too unstable. The one-sided version of this may be a Villainous Crush
. See Foe Romance Subtext
for the less explicit version of this, and Fatal Attraction
when it's more dangerous. Compare Friendly Enemies
Has nothing to do with
dating a Cat Girl
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Kaitou Saint Tail and Asuka Jr.; in this case, the lead, a Phantom Thief that steals back stolen items, is the Catwoman-ish one.
- Since Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne is heavily inspired by Kaitou Saint Tail, Jeanne also has a romance with her main rival, Chiaki aka Sinbad.
- Jeanne and Chiaki were justified in the manga: It turns out that the two are, in fact, Adam and Eve.
- The usual tone is subverted in Tokyo Mew Mew, where the romantic hero and villain are... a Genki Girl and a Bratty Half-Pint, each the "annoying kid" of their team.
- There also is a one-sided romance between Quiche and Ichigo, with the former being madly in love with the latter. His love gets creepier as the show goes on... until the end when Quiche refuses to kill Ichigo and gets killed himself. Ichigo is genuinely upset by his death. He gets better, though.
- Dokkoida?! combines this with the Unwanted Harem; the male superhero, his (female) Rival, and all the supervillains (who are almost all female) all live in the same apartment building and hang out together when disguised as Muggles.
- In UFO Robo Grendizer -one of the Mazinger Z sequels-, Duke was engaged to Rubina, daughter of Big Bad. They loved each other. However he did not think they could be together again after what the Vegans had done to his homeworld.
- Aimi/Shadow Lady and Bright.
- Dragon Ball Z does this twice, though both times the aftermath is shown rather than the circumstances of their falling in love. The first to do this is Bulma, who, over the course of three years, has a relationship with former warrior prince and The Starscream to the previous Big Bad, Vegeta. Interesting in that a time traveller tells the hero this will happen before it does, which knocks him on his ass. The second instance is Krillin, who falls in love with former troubled enemy cyborg #18. After a time skip of seven years, it's shown that they got married and had a kid (remember, cyborg, not android...) In both cases the relationships contribute to a Heel-Face Turn (though #18 arguably had already essentially switched sides by then; it was more of a Loner Face Turn), and both formerly villainous parties act the same way: they don't show it much, but they actually care.
- In Special Duty Combat Unit Shinesman, Matsumoto, a young businessman who is secretly a superhero protecting the Earth, accidentally sees the bare skin of Princess Sheena, one of the villains from the Planet Voice who are trying to conquer the Earth. Due to the rule of Planet Voice that whoever sees bareskin of the royalty must either die or marry the royalty, Matsumoto and Sheena start dating, unaware of each other's secret identity.
- In the manga, Sheena didn't exist, so this incident happened between Matsumoto and Sasaki/Prince Hope instead. Sasaki definitely embraces the 'kill him' option until the very end of the manga, when he tells Matsumoto he's changed his mind.
- This is largely the point of the romance between the primary Official Couple in Wedding Peach, who are directly inspired by Romeo and Juliet which would make them fit the Star-Crossed Lovers trope but luckily everything ends up ending well for them.
- Team Chef Sai Saici and Plucky Girl Cécile (the sister of Gundam Fighter Hans Holgar) in G Gundam. Causes less problems than most examples, since Hans is no mortal enemy, but a decent, friendly Worthy Opponent in a sports tournament.
- Happens in Red Garden when Kate ends up dating Hervé, a member of the family responsible for the wild men she and the other girls fight. She's oblivious about his real role in things, but he knows hers from the very start.
- Gundam ZZ has an unusual situation wherein the Lady of War Big Bad, Haman Karn, grows attracted to the much younger hero Judau Ashta. Judau displays some degree of concern for Haman, although how much of it was a romantic interest is open to debate. Judging by how the ladies get interested in him...
- Lupin III: One of the oldest and longest running examples is the on-again/off-again love affair between Lupin and Fujiko. They've been at odds with each other as often as they've met over candlelit dinners and, occasionally, the bedroom. She knows he's liar and a cheat, he knows she can't be trusted... and neither would have it any other way.
- Superior has this as its premise. It opens with the Demon Queen, Sheila, falling in love with the hero sent to vanquish her, Exa. She conceals her true identity - although he suspects, he cannot bring himself to confront her and doesn't want to believe it.
- There are hints that Hayato has some form of romantic attraction (or at least deep respect) for Keith Violet in Project ARMS, although it seems to be mostly one-sided. Keith Green also falls for Katsumi, although again it's one-sided (she has no idea).
- Ruby and Courtney from Pokémon Special form a strange relationship as time goes on, eventually leading them to team up against Kyogre and Groudon. Ruby does eventually care for her in a platonic manner, but Courtney definitely feels something stronger for him. Kinda creepy considering he's 11 and she's assumedly in her late-teens/early twenties. Heck, she even went so far as researching his background! (Though that did lead to her discovering information that made her realize all that his father sacrificed for his sake).
- Sankt Kaiser Olivie Segbrecht and Hegemon Klaus Ingvalt of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. Despite being rulers of opposing sides in the Ancient Belkan War, Klaus was enamoured with Olivie, and his regret of failing to protect her in the end was so strong that the rare descendant who would inherit his traits could feel it over the centuries.
- Bizarre example in The Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer, where the two people are technically on the same side at the present due to an Enemy Mine, but nevertheless one wants to destroy the world and the other wants to save it.
Snake Knight: If, at the very end, I win and stop the two of you [from destroying the world], would you go out with me?
Lizard Knight: I... I'll think about it.
- By the end of the series, the relationship between the Lizard Knight and the Princess becomes something akin to this when he decides that he won't let her destroy the world because he loves her. She's actually happy that he's trying to stop her.
- In Robotech, the Zentraudi ace pilot Miriya Parino falls in love with Terran ace pilot Max Sterling, after literally engaging in several duels and stalking him with intent to murder. They marry and have a child, Dana, who goes on to pull something of the same thing with the Robotech Master ace pilot Zor Prime (a clone of the original superintellect Zor).
- The central romance in Cat's Eye is between Classy Cat-Burglar / Master of Disguise Hitomi and Bumbling Cop Toshio.
- Akame ga Kiru!: Esdese is truly and completely in love with Tatsumi. Esdese just happens to be an insane sadist working for an extremely corrupt government and Tatsumi is a member of a rebel group trying to topple said government. While Esdese is unaware of this fact, Tatsumi tried a Love Redeems on Esdese more than once, trying to use her love for him to make her become good, but gave up quickly when he realized Esdese is completely insane and can't change.
- The whole premise of Maoyuu Maou Yuusha. The Hero and the Demon Overlord both say Screw Destiny to their respective roles, hook up and try to find a way to end the war without gutting their respective war economies.
- Sometimes happens to Minako Aino:
- Naturally, the Trope Namer and most famous example is the romantic tension between Catwoman and Batman. The Earth-2 versions of the characters actually married and had a kid, the original Huntress. Why bother stealing when you're married to a multimillionaire? The main versions became a couple too, and Bruce even revealed his identity to her and she moved into the mansion with him. The relationship didn't last, but they both developed a respect for each other and Batman mostly looks the other way when Catwoman does her thing.
- However, things got a bit more interesting with the two. Continuing to dance around one another constantly to the point of a nearly functional relationship, then to a distant one due to fear of repercussions from their knowledge of one another's identity, the couple have certainly reheated things a bit since Bruce's return to the present... long story. Regardless, she has even accompanied him on his international travels to establish Batman Inc. But all that Character Development in their relationship has been set back to square one with the 2011 DC Universe reboot, in which Catwoman has no idea who Batman is behind the mask (although she suspects he knows who she is). Doesn't stop her from having costumed sex with him though.
- Funnily enough, the whole 'dating Catwoman' trait stems from the fact that Batman himself has a weakness for villainesses, which he acknowledged in Batman R.I.P. His relationship with Talia al Ghul in the main continuity (where they have a son together) is similar with his relationship with Catwoman.
- In Gotham City Sirens, it was mentioned that Catwoman and Talia are probably the only two women Batman has truly loved. It's not surprising that both of them are villainesses.
- Very explicit in one standalone strip called "Date Night"; Batman catches Catwoman in the middle of a robbery and chases her through various romantic locations including a flower stall and a fancy restaurant, all the while Catwoman is talking and flirting with him as if they were actually on a date. When he finally catches her, they briefly fight and she leaves him tied up and dangling upside down from a fire escape, kisses him goodnight and runs away.
- In Batman the Dark Knight after the 2011 reboot, Bruce is attracted to Jaina Hudson, but becomes suspicious of her after new villainess White Rabbit issues the same "Catch me if you can" flirtatious challenge Jaina made in their first meeting. His suspicions are debunked when the White Rabbit shows up on the radar while he is on a date with Jaina. It turns out he was right after all, since Jaina has the power to split herself into two people — her normal self and the White Rabbit.
- In an issue of The Brave and the Bold in which Superman patrolled Gotham in Bruce's stead, Catwoman quickly developed a crush on the Man of Steel on first sight. The two work together to take down a shady auction, with Selina treating it as a date.
- In Batman Beyond, Terry tries to invoke this trope upon meeting a new Catwoman. She refuses. This trope is later played straight, when she ends up sleeping with Dick Grayson.
- Spider-Man and the Black Cat fit this one like a glove,and it interestingly enough happened years before the Trope Namer. Though the relationship took second place to Mary Jane, who Spidey eventually married.
- Captain America dating Diamondback, a member of the Serpent Society (a group of snake-themed supervillains). This is a somewhat defanged (no pun intended) instance, as Diamondback offered to drop crime for him practically in their first meeting. (Not that she came off all that convincing, but...)
- Iron Man and Madame Masque/Whitney Frost. Then again, it's not surprising considering the number of paramours Tony's had over the years. It came to the point where Frost masqueraded as Tony's personal secretary after they first broke up and resumed their relationship once her cover was blown. Also, he eventually got into a relationship with Black Widow, a former enemy.
- Captain Atom wound up marrying Plastique, a former Quebecois terrorist with explosive powers. Appropriately, in Justice League Unlimited she died in his arms, or at least she appeared to; she was never seen again but it was never confirmed if she truly died or not, while her comics counterpart is still alive and well.
- Silver Age Marvel Comics tended to see this pop up a great deal with heroines and manly-man opponents — e.g. the Fantastic 4's Sue Storm to the Sub-Mariner (while he was a functional villain), or the Scarlet Witch towards Arkon (who later dated Storm, but his relationship with the X-Men was on friendlier terms). Arguably, this resulted less in creating interesting tension than just creating a less effective heroine.
- The Mighty Thor and The Enchantress (Amora), a goddess of Asgard, who spent years hatching plans to harass and seduce the god of thunder. He eventually relented and had a brief romantic relationship with her.
- The Golden Age Green Lantern, Alan Scott, not only fell in love with the villainess Thorn, he had children with her. Then again, he did fall in love with her good personality, Rose. His second wife, the Harlequin, also started out as one of his adversaries, although she was long reformed and retired by the time they married.
- Making this trope happen is actually the entire reason Harlequin turned to crime. She wanted to catch Lantern's eye, and decided that donning a sexy costume and alternately stealing things and teaming up with him would be the best way to attract his attention.
- Likewise, the Silver Age Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, had Carol Ferris (whose Star Sapphire personality made frequent appearances) as a long-time love interest.
- Reversed in the case of Ray Palmer, the Silver Age Atom. His wife Jean Loring became the villain Eclipso after their marriage and divorce... and after she went nuts and killed Sue Dibny and Jack Drake.
- His successor as Atom, Ryan Choi was dating Giganta. It was apparently a serious enough relationship that she took vengeance on his murderer.
- DC's Roy Harper (a.k.a. Speedy/Arsenal/Red Arrow/whatever they're calling him this week) was sent in to seduce batshit insane assassin Cheshire to get enough evidence to take her in. However, they fell in love with each other and Roy realized he wouldn't be able to do it and walked out... not knowing Cheshire was pregnant. Cheshire herself didn't find out who Roy was until it was all said and done, and then arranged for Roy to get permanent custody of Lian. Cheshire is also the victim of emotional blackmail because Mockingbird put her on the Secret Six by threatening Lian with an explosive device he supposedly implanted.
- Captain Dynamo and Chrysalis from Dynamo 5.
- Daredevil has many. Elektra, Typhoid Mary, etc. While the Black Widow had long reformed when she got involved with Daredevil, her previous relationship with Hawkeye had an element of this for a time, between his Heel-Face Turn and hers.
- Superboy (1990s clone version) dated New Goddess Knockout, under the impression she was a well-meaning thrillseeker, rather than a murderous sociopath.
- Superman had a sexual relationship with New Goddess Amazing Grace. And Maxima. Oh, and he married the Kandorian Lyla (he had amnesia).
- For a long time, Lois Lane was both Superman's primary love interest and one of his main antagonists. She was constantly trying to expose the fact that he was really Clark Kent, which would of course have wrecked his life. He had to work very hard to keep one step ahead of her, even as he was also drawn to her.
- Witchblade bearer and cop Sara Pezzini and Darkness bearer and Mafioso Jackie Estacado are rivals in their professional and supernatural lives, but as of First Born they have a daughter, Hope, together.
- When inept superheroine Empowered met Thugboy, the love of her life, she was tied to a chair and he was part of the gang holding the hostage she was attempting to rescue for ransom. He whispered a few words of encouragement into her ear... and pulled her out of the way when one of her idiot teammates brought the building down. Empowered then lets herself get captured by his gang several more times just to have an excuse to keep seeing him. He does a Heel-Face Turn a few chapters later.
- In Johnny Saturn, Johnny Saturn I is married to Persephone, the daughter of Saturn's arch-enemy, Dr. Synn. Persephone is morally ambiguous, and as likely to use her powers to aid her father as her husband.
- Subverted with the Ireyon in the Danish Paperinik stories - she comes on to our masked hero because she thinks he is Fantomius, her old flame, whose style and equipment is the base of the one Donald uses for regular superheroing. Donald isn't that interested, and vaguely annoyed she thinks he is as old as his grandpa. (She, on the other hand, is Really 700 Years Old.)
- Greyshirt of Tomorrow Stories has Lapis Lazuli. He really does love her, but, well... if they ever got together in any meaningful way, she'd probably kill him the second it went sour. Even she thinks so.
- Zorro and Lady Rawhide in Topps Zorro series.
- The Spirit has at least three - Silk Satin, Sand Saref, and P'Gell.
- In Final Crisis, Snapper Carr hooks up with the Cheetah.
- In W.I.T.C.H., Orube fell in love with Cedric, and they dated until his Redemption Equals Death.
- Karolina Dean of the Runaways first encountered her current girlfriend Julie Power back when the latter was part of a group that had been organized specifically to shut down the Runaways. They later hooked up after Julie's then-employer Hank Pym tried to kidnap Molly Hayes and Klara Prast.
- It is revealed in Watchmen that Night Owl II had a fling with Twilight Lady.
- Supergirl (not the original, a shape-changing alien called Matrix) had a sexual relationship with Lex Luthor (who had put his mind into a cloned body of his younger self). She didn't know since Lex was posing as his own estranged son at the time.
- Prior to the Flashpoint reboot, Red Robin was sort of dating the second Lynx, who was either a gang-leader or a Hong Kong cop undercover as a gang-leader. The irony that he was in a relationship with a possible-villain in a cat mask was not lost on him.
- The Fixer and Natalie Stack in Holy Terror.
- The Fantastic Four's Human Torch briefly dated a villainess from the future known as Psionics
- Detective Conan Boys Love Fanworks are full of this, since the most popular pairing is between the title character Conan Edogawa/Shinichi Kudo and his Phantom Thief rival Kaitou Kid. Alternately Kid can also be paired with his other biggest rival Saguru Hakuba or even Conan's best friend and fellow detective Heiji Hattori, though they've never met. This also applies to the rare times when Kid and Shinichi's fathers get paired up.
- Not just the yaoi. Even if a character in Detective Conan isn't a detective or affiliated with the police, they still usually have a thing for following the law, which means that pretty much any pairing involving Kaito is this, including his canon pairing.
- Happens a lot in Pokémon fanfiction, where it seems like every generation has had at least one popular ship pairing a rival (or even villain) up with a hero. The ready supply of attractive villains probably has something to do with this.
- Death Note fanworks:
- This is very common, as it has pairings such as Light (Kira, a Knight Templar Serial-Killer Killer) and L (the detective trying to catch him), Mello and Near (a mafia lord and a detective who are rivals), L and B (a detective and a Serial Killer), Naomi and B (again, a detective and a Serial Killer), even Light and Misa (which has the dynamic "I'll kill you if you are no longer useful" / "I'll kill you if you cheat on me"). In fact Mello x Matt is the only popular ship in the Death Note fandom where both parties are completely on the same side and aren't trying to kill each other.
- Light/Kira and L is the most popular ship. Here's a few examples of Dating Catwoman in fanworks with Kira and L: A Cure for Love, Constant Temptation, I Won't Say, Office Politics, The Prince Of Death
- All You Need Is Love ships Light and Naomi. They have "Victory Sex" once and Naomi ends up having Light's child, which she conceals from everyone. And that's the most normal thing that happens in that wonderfully bizarre and light fic.
- Lampshaded in Fever Dreams when L gets him and Light some matching tracking devices which he uses when he keeps Light under house arrest and nicknames them "the wedding bands."
- In Shadow Snark Twilight Sparkle and Uma o Henko Suru a changeling
- Frequently crops up in Glee fics. Usually a member of New Directions starts dating one of their bullies or someone from a rival glee club.
- A good fifty percent of all Kim Possible fics seem to be focused on KiGo... that is Kimmie and Shego becoming an item... and like as not having kids and getting married... sometimes in that order. However, many KiGo fics veer away from this trope by having one of them permanently switch sides, either by Shego going legit or Kim being seduced into criminality.
- In Voldemort Goes Back To School, when Voldemort (in the body of a teenager) infiltrates Hogwarts as a new student in the hopes of killing Harry, Hermione notices that the new Slytherin kid keeps sending Harry "heated stares" and comes to the conclusion that he has a crush on him. Hilarity Ensues.
- There is plenty of fanfiction that tends to pair Danny with Ember Mc Lain.
- There's even a good amount of Crash Bandicoot fanfiction where the titular hero gets paired with Nina Cortex, of all girls.
- In Mega Man Recut, Future!Roll dated Crash Man, though she claims it wasn't serious. She also dated Enker.
- Present!Roll has a crush on Enker as well.
- In the Doctor Who fanfic The Courtship and Marriage Rituals of Time Lords, the author created an alternate universe scenario where all of the Master's schemes weren't actually schemes, but dates, and Last of the Time Lords was his marriage proposal. And no one bothered to tell the humans.
Films — Animated
- The Incredibles: Mirage and Mr. Incredible (though the extent of their relationship is very unclear). Of course, the fact that Mirage ends up apparently turning good anyway and helping the protagonists makes it more questionable. Really only a partial example as they were never really in a relationship (Mr. Incredible already being married and Mirage respecting that.), but their flirtatious banter, while standard for superheroes, did have strong subtext of being an emotional affair on his part.
- One of the DVD extras is an explicit reference to this trope: In the background info on the Supers, there's an audio clip where The Casanova Gamma Jack describes how difficult it is to fight attractive female supervillains.
- The Hercules version of Megara is a minion of Hades who sold her soul to him to save the man she loved (who subsequently dumped her for somebody else). She reluctantly helps him try to kill Hercules, but begrudgingly finds herself falling for his simple goodness.
Films — Live-Action
- Played straight in the Alterien series; despite the fact Helena is a ruthless and morally ambiguous business woman with criminal connections, Oberon eventually falls for her charms.
- In Everlost and its sequels, Nick and Miss Mary Hightower.
- Corran Horn and Mirax Terrik of X-Wing Series. He's a former space cop turned pilot. She's a smuggler. His father was the one who finally landed her father in jail. Still, she's a smuggler on the Rebellion's side, is like a sister to his commanding officer, and doesn't smuggle anything too nasty. They make it work. Even if her father objects strongly.
- The later Wraith Squadron books have another one between Myn Donos, the Wraiths' sniper who lost his whole squadron in an Imperial ambush, and Lara Notsil, really Gara Petothel, an Imperial spy who planted the information attracting them to the ambush. After flying with the Wraiths in disguise for a while she ends up Becoming the Mask and falling in love with him. She's forced to fake her death, but Mercy Kill reveals they eventually found each other and are Happily Married with children.
- Luke and Mara in The Thrawn Trilogy and, of course, Hand of Thrawn. He's the last of the Jedi, she's the former personal assassin of the Emperor who wiped out the Jedi. Then he rebuilds the Jedi and she becomes second in command of one of the largest criminal organizations in the galaxy. Of course, despite the Jedi theoretically being keepers of law and order, said criminal organization ends up being one of their most reliable allies and gets less and less criminal as time goes on.
- And of course, their son Ben may perhaps become involved with a Sith girl, Vestara Khai. There's certainly high amounts of UST. Bear in mind that the Jedi and Sith have existed largely for the specific purpose of opposing each other for thousands of years, and ultimately the conflict dates to before either order actually existed.
- There's the fan-favorite of the demon Crowley and the angel Aziraphale in Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's Good Omens. They're Mistaken for Gay in the book, and Word of God is that they end up sharing a cottage in South Downs. Not quite a textbook example, as by the time of the book they've decided they have more in common with one another than either of them has with his respective boss, and have an Arrangement. In addition, this is more like Asexual Life Partners, due to the very nature of angels and demons.
- Played straight with Anathema, who's a witch, and Newt, who's a witch-hunter, albeit a not-very-enthusiastic one.
- John Taylor, from the Nightside novels, had a brief affair with Bad Penny, an assassin-for-hire. Upon his return from London, they wind up trying to kill each other.
- The Scarlet Pimpernel: Sir Percy and Marguerite Blakeney lived estranged for a year (during which the latter fell in love with his alter ego) before Marguerite's Heel Realization and redemption.
- In Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat series, the first novel that introduces Angelina gets like this. At first, Jim only wishes to catch her for his boss Inskipp. After all, it's not a very good idea to have a crazy murderess flying around in a giant battleship. After he foils her initial plot, she tries to kill him. He then gets a disguise and finds her again, running a con on another planet. While in this disguise, he starts to see a different side of her. He saves her from an assassin, and they end up spending the night together. She later reveals that she knew who he was but didn't care anymore. After some psychiatric help to remove her homicidal tendencies, they end up getting married (although it's literally a Shotgun Wedding), thus the following novels no longer fit this trope.
- Tawnos and Ashnod from The Brothers' War (Magic: The Gathering) are in love, despite being generals on the opposing sides in a war.
- The only woman Hercule Poirot comes close to being romantically involved with, is a highly skilled jewel thief.
- In The Three Musketeers, d'Artagnan dates Milady for a while. And really, he is the one who lies to her. This is nothing to Athos, however, as he is still legally married to Milady by the time the book takes place.
- Lymond Chronicles ... Where to begin? There is the cringe-inducing tension between Lymond and ex-from-Hell Margaret. And his night with Joleta, where it is typically ambiguous who is seducing whom. ("There is such a thing as seducing in hate".) And perhaps Guzel.... And.... And....
- Inheritance Cycle: Nasuada and Murtagh. Their attraction sparks when Murtagh is a prisoner of her father, which blossoms into serious feelings when she's captured by his master Galbotorix.
- In Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead the "hatred" between critic Dominique Francon and architect Howard Roark becomes proverbial, and newspaper commentators compare it to "A Medieval vendetta." She writes articles condemning his buildings and uses all her charm to dissuade people from giving him a job. Nobody knows (though they live in New York City and are both much in the public eye) that they spend their nights together. In bed she tells him what she had done that day to destroy his career, and he laughs - knowing this is her way of showing that she really loves him. The two thoroughly enjoy acting like arch enemies in public by day and being secret lovers by night.
- In Rand's Atlas Shrugged the protagonist Dagny Taggart spends half the book searching for a man she calls "The Destroyer" and "The Most Dangerous Man Who Ever Lived", vowing to save the world from him. When she finally finds him (the famous John Galt), she falls in love with him at first sight, but still tries all she can to thwart him for another quarter of the book. (Rand's posthumously published Journals include a planned scene where she actually hands him over to the police and then bursts out crying when he is taken away; in the actual book, she only pretends to do it in order to save his life).
- In Jack Vance's Lyonesse trilogy, the protagonist Aillas falls in love with the haughty viking-like maiden Tatzel while being a slave at her father's castle. He escapes, comes back as a warrior king, kidnaps her and undergoes many adventures together with her, saving her life several times. Throughout he acts as the perfect gentleman, not taking advantage of his power over her. At one moment she actually offers him sexual favors in exchange for her liberty - but Aillas, wanting a love she is unwilling and unable to give him, declines the offer and sets her free anyway. Finally, when Aillas brings his army to assault the castle, Tatzel takes up a bow and arrow and dies among the last-ditch defenders. The victorious Aillas sadly refuses to look for "the body of the valiant maiden" among the scorched bodies in the ruins of the castle, and goes on to find another and more rewarding love.
- Almost every Sherlock Holmes work not by Arthur Conan Doyle, from professional novels to amateur fanfics, has this crop up between Holmes and Irene Adler, to varying degrees of intensity and success.
- Occurs in the first two books of the Elemental Assassin between the protagonist Gin and Detective Donovan Caine. While he eventually loosens up on the fact that she killed his partner (Ultimately coming to the conclusion that if he'd known how dirty his partner was, he might have killed him himself), the basic fact that she's an assassin and he's a cop creates a conflict that they're never quite able to get over despite their mutual attraction, and Donovan ultimately removes himself from temptation by transferring to a different city.
- The novel Never Leave Me by Margaret Pemberton takes place in Nazi-occupied France, and its plot features a French girl who is active in the Resistance and a German Wehrmacht officer who fall deeply in love with each other. Much against both of their wills and in complete contradiction to the mutually-antagonistic national causes both of them serve, they are helpless to stop their intensive attraction to each other.
- Happens in The Stone Prince in the middle of a battle, to the point where the man retires from combat to let his hormones settle before going after the woman again.
- The Committee of Public Safety of the People's Republic of Haven in the Honor Harrington series of novels assigned Political Officers to watch over its captains and admirals, as they were terrified the Navy might try a coup. While some People's Commissioners developed a wary sort of friendship with those they were theoretically supposed to ride herd on, most did their best to generally make their assigned captain/admiral's life a living hell. Unfortunately for the Committee, though, one of those commissioners and her admiral wound up falling quite desperately in love with each other. Though the two maintained a facade of icy hostility in public, as the commissioner in question was trusted implicitly by the Committee and thus could use her position to her own ends, behind closed doors was quite a different matter. In the end, with the help of a few other key Navy personnel and their collaborative commissioners, they ended up overthrowing the committee and restoring the Republic of Haven.
- CL Moore's ''Jirel of Joiry is a feudal warrior maiden. In the story "Black God's Kiss" Guillaume the Conqueror besieges and captures Jirel's castle after a prolonged fight, kills her retainers and captures Joiry herself. He tries to force a kiss upon her whereupon she sinks her teeth into his neck, barely missing the jugular, and later she escapes from the dungeon where she was held. Determined to find at all costs a way of destroying Guillaume, Jirel enters a dark underground world, braving countless dangers, monsters and perilous black magic. By kissing the statue of a sinister black god she gains the power of giving Guillaume a Kiss of Death, returns to the castle, kisses Guillaume and has the satisfaction of seeing him immediately die in great agony. Only when seeing him dead does she realize that she had been passionately in love with Guillaume all along and that now he is dead "the light had gone out of her world" - and she bursts out bitterly crying for the beloved enemy she had killed.
- In Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain, the villain Lucyfar (who claims to be the Archangel Lucifer) insists that she is dating the hero Gabriel (who she claims is the Archangel Gabriel). It's hard to tell if that's actually true or not. Gabriel says it isn't, but he doesn't try too hard to get rid of her when she glomps him.
Rushing over to open it, Lucyfar squealed, "No time to talk about it. My date is here!" Seriously, she squealed. Who were the thirteen-year-olds here?
We filed out onto the rooftop after her as a mass of white wings fluttered down out of the sky. They tucked behind Gabriel's back as he landed, only slightly out of the way.
"So, you two are dating?" Claire asked pointedly, giving them both a hopefully questioning grin.
Her powers didn’t do her much good this time. "Yes!" Lucyfar declared immediately, throwing herself onto Gabriel and wrapping her arms around him.
"No," he contradicted, standing stiff and disapproving.
"Yes!" Lucyfar repeated, nodding like a bobble-head.
"No," Gabriel insisted, just like last time.
- In A Kingdom Besieged, Jim Dasher (head of the Kingdom intelligence forces) and Franciezka Sorboz (his Roldemish counterpart) have been lovers occasionally, she's tried to kill him twice (for purely professional reasons) and as he puts it, "When you're not trying to kill me, there's no one I'd rather spend my time with".
Live Action TV
- Blondie's "X Offender" is about a prostitute who falls in love with the police officer who busts her.
- In the rock/metal opera project Aina: Days of Riding Doom, Syrius and Orianna fall deeply in love, despite being commanders of opposing sides in the war. And half-brother and half-sister. Not that they know it, to be fair.
- Kirby Krackle's song "Then Again, Maybe Not" is sung from the point of view of a superhero who is a little tired of fighting his arch-nemesis, and suggesting that grabbing some Mexican food and flirty conversation would be a better idea.
- Played for Laughs in the radio comedy Revolting People which is set in Baltimore, Maryland in the years immediately before the American Revolution. One of the main subplots is a romance between the leader of the local revolutionary cell Mary, and Captain Brimshaw, the commader of the British soldiers stationed in town. However, since Baltimore is far removed from the actual revolution, Mary's revolutionary activites are basically just public annoyances, and Brimshaw is a slightly dim REMF who acts more like a barely-competent police chief than an occupier.
- Nobilis: Nobles have shacked up with Excrucians on grounds ranging from "screw Lord Entropy, Love Redeems" to "someone told me not to". One Running Gag in third edition is that Jenna Moran (author) and Miranda Harrell (one of the artists) have...ambiguous relationships with the Excrucians Genseric Dace and Coriander Hasp, respectively.
- The Trope Namers Batman & Catwoman are at it again in Batman: Arkham City, providing the trope image.
- Sly Cooper and Carmelita Fox. He's a heroic Gentleman Thief, she's a dedicated police officer. It's kind of one-sided to start with, but she softens up in the climax of each game, then gets really angry when Sly slips away.
- At least until the third game, where they actually hook up for good at the end. Sly willingly gives up his life of crime and all of his friends, saves her life, and fakes a convincing amnesia act to let her justify it. Then in the next game, it's back to business. Sort of.
- Turns out that your love interest in Quest for Glory IV is a powerful vampire known as The Dark Master who wants to resurrect the local Eldritch Abomination.
- The situation with Silk Fox and the player (either gender) in Jade Empire starts out looking like this, before a variety of revelations related to the Gambit Pileup point out that she is most definitely a good guy.
- Knuckles and Rouge from Sonic the Hedgehog fit this trope very nicely, especially in Sonic X.
- Alex, the only real Love Interest in The Bastard Of Kosigan series is also the brains behind one of the main villain's operation. Though, due to the story's Black and Gray Morality, she shows up much more on the grey side of the scale than the French, the Inquisition, or the witches, so perhaps she and Mordred aren't actually villains after all.
- In Harvest Moon: Magical Melody you can marry your rival, Jamie, who is always the opposite gender from you. You and your rival are implied to be the canon pairing. Sadly, however, your game ends if you marry them, and you can't even find all the magical notes.
- MegaMan Volnutt and Tron Bonne in Mega Man Legends.
- Leon Kennedy and Ada Wong of the Resident Evil series alternate between teaming up and pointing weapons at each other. All while oozing so much Unresolved Sexual Tension into the air that it could be cut with the proverbial knife.
- Assassin's Creed:
- In Assassin's Creed, the Assassin Altair and the Templar Maria end up falling in love, despite being enemies. This is shown in Assassins Creed II, where Desmond even has a memory of their child being conceived, and Altair's Codex contains a hand-drawn portrait of her. Worth noting that Maria actually switched allegiances in Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines, and canonically the romance came afterwards.
- Otacon and Sniper Wolf in Metal Gear Solid. One-sided from him to her.
- The Warden and Morrigan in Dragon Age: Origins.
- A Female Mage!Warden and ex-Templar Alistair.
- Mage!Hawke and Fenris, or Templar-aligned Hawke and Anders or Merrill in Dragon Age II.
- The Ship Tease between Templar!Carver and Merrill, as well as Circle!Bethany and Sebastian Vael.
- Isabela, a former slaver, and Fenris, a former slave, get together if neither are romanced.
- Rival Romance in general can be considered this trope, since Rival Hawke is everything opposite of their love interest.
- If neither are romanced, Dorian, a Tevinter Mage, and The Iron Bull, a Qunari fromDragon Age: Inquisition will be this.
- Garen and Katarina in League of Legends, who quite literally got matched via a dating service, yet are champions of opposing countries.
- Commander Shepard (Alliance) and Miranda Lawson (Cerberus) in Mass Effect 2.
- All but outright stated between Aria T'Loak and Nyreen Kandros in the third game's Omega DLC. Aria is the cold-blooded ex-merc whose word is law on her Wretched Hive, Nyreen's ex-turian military and always thinks about the little people ("she oozes virtue"). It ended when they realized it couldn't work unless one of them changed, and Nyreen didn't want that to be her.
- In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the Dawnguard DLC has a subtle Ship Tease between Serana of the Volkihar Vampire Clan and the Dragonborn, even if the latter chooses to remain aligned with the Dawnguard. However, Serana cannot be married unlike other follower characters, meaning the relationship never really progresses beyond platonic friendship.
- Kohaku in Tsukihime during her route. During the same route, there was a little with Akiha as well, but Shiki decided that their relationship didn't depend on blood. But for the main thing, it's the only way that Kohaku actually gets to have a happy ending. In the rest, she either continues bottling up her emotions (canon personality) dies or loses her memory, perhaps intentionally.
- Umineko no Naku Koro ni has Battler and Beatrice, whose romantic undertones are there, but not quite strong or obvious. However, in the end, it turns out that not only are they romantically involved (in a way), but the romance between them is basically the cause of everything that happens in the series. Possibly subverted, since Beatrice is not actually the real antagonist, but a faux one (although Battler believed she was the real antagonist for most of the series)
- Evil Inc..: Captain Heroic and Miss Match. There was also an affair between Commander Heroic and Flame long ago, and lately Lightning Lady and Elastic Man have developed a relationship.
- Rip Haywire, with Rip and Cobra.
- Denny Levens was a retired inventions supplier for the mob. When he learned that the Hebbleskin Gang was behind some purchases, he got out of the business. His past hobbies don't make him a threat to Candi directly; but the fact that she marries a Hebbleskin deserter makes her enemies want her dead even more.
- Girl Genius:
- Baron Klaus Wulfenbach has canonical amorous history with Lucrezia Mongfish a.k.a. the Other. That's pretty solidly in the past, though; she's used creepily familiar terminology and physicality, but he was clearly not responding and anyway she does that to everyone.
- The Baron's son Gilgamesh and main heroine Agatha Heterodyne, with the dramatic twist that though they're both noble and heroic, circumstances keep putting them on the opposite side. And it was about four (real-life, not webcomic) years between their scenes together. Damn you, Foglios!
- Magick Chicks: Faith and her boyfriend, Ash, are the respective alphas at Artemis Academy and Apollo Academy, which are in competition with each other. Despite this, it's well known to both schools that they're dating, as they've even made out in plain sight of Faith's fellow students.
- In Casey and Andy, Jenn has been crushing on Quantum Cop for ages, and it turned out that her feelings were reciprocated (just in case their time-traveling daughter from the future wasn't proof enough..) Complicating their relationship is that he is literally The Perfect Cop, while she's an International Jewel Thief. He doesn't seem to mind much, though.
- The reader doesn't find out that Jenn is a crook until nearly the end of the strip, although Quantum Cop figured it out years earlier. The author did plant clues for a really long time.
- Early on in Sluggy Freelance Torg has this situation when he develops a crush on Val, who is revealed to be a vampire. Torg inevitably has to kill her.
- And then there was his promise to marry Oasis...a promise he intended to keep. (One only wonders how Zoe's death will affect that...)
- In Erfworld, Wanda and Jillian arguably had such a relationship at one point.
- It must be said the Wanda was simply using magic to manipulate Jillian into being her unwitting servant.
- In Everyday Heroes, Jane and Mr. Mighty first met each other when he was guarding a house that she and her partners were trying to rob. She tried to ambush him from behind; since he's invulnerable and she's not, this didn't work well.
- The Order of the Stick:
- Deconstructed with Durkon and Hilgya. They were attracted to each other, and seemed to be coasting towards a Relationship Upgrade, but their differences in alignment proved irreconcilable. Another problem was that Hilgya was technically still married to someone else Their breakup was considered the series' first major Tear Jerker
- Elan and Therkla, though it was incompletely requited (Elan is mostly devoted to Haley).
- Roy and Miko were canonically attracted to each other at different points, and the author had originally intended them to be love interests, but quickly realized that it wasn't happening.
- In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, Dr. McNinja and Hortense. They used to be dating, but broke up... then meet up again where she's trying to stop Doc from saving the world. Of course, it turns out to be Doc's parents trying to get the two back together. Later, she's revealed to be working with King Radical, but there's still some romantic tension between the two.
- Super Stupor demonstrates this one played pretty straight...except that it's the morning after.
- Bob the Angry Flower once went out of his way to hunt a beautiful international diamond thief just so he could ask her out. Their relationship turned out to be a lot less hot than most on this page.
- Lightbringer, a web comic by Linkara, gives us the issue Masks, where Lightbringer's girlfriend Sandy is revealed to be the the Scarlet Baroness, who's Breaking Speech on Secret Identity Identity throws Lightbringer off guard and forces his sidekick into pulling a Get A Hold Of Yourself Man.
- In Dubious Company, Mary thinks she is this with Elly. Elly highly disagrees.
- Questionable Content has Marigold and Dale, who play on opposing sides in World of Warcraft.
- In Jet Dream, Harmony Thunder (back when she was Jack Thunder) had this type of relationship with the mercenary Raven Red. Harmony's sex change puts further strain on the relationship.
- What's New? with Phil and Dixie once explored this in Magic: The Gathering-based soap opera comic.
- One of Shadow of the Templar's main plots is the developing relationship between FBI agent Simon Drake and Gentleman Thief Jeremy Archer.
- The Rocket of Legion of Nothing wooed Ghostwoman during WWII, when he was fighting for the US and she was a Nazi Superspy. Unsurprisingly, this was the topic of the first LoN fan-fic.
- Los Hermanos, a member of the Global Guardians is having a torrid affair with Brigit, the daughter of Lord Doom via one of his copy bodies.
- In Chaos Fighters II-Cyberion Strike, Etliz, a wanted criminal and Etlisk, one of the police officers tasked to catch her and her comrades go as far as an actual date after Etliz was saved from getting naked when Etlisk put a final blow which stops clothing damage on her. a subversion occurs when she pulls a Heel-Face Turn later on.
- According to their actors, The Nostalgia Chick and The Nostalgia Critic. Neither of them are heroes or villains in the traditional sense, but their Foe Yay and Not So Different-ness are off the charts.
- In The Guild, Codex finds herself getting intimately involved with the leader of her guild's villainous rivals.
- Eric had sex with Sister in Mall Fight 3, and remains on good terms with her. As much as one can be with Sister.
- In Tales Of Wyre, Eadric becomes involved with Soneillon.
- Which one is the protagonist and the antagonist depends on your point of view, but American political strategists Mary Matalin (a Republican, and quite conservative) and James Carville (a Democrat and certainly rather liberal) faced each other across several elections in The Eighties, culminating in the 1992 campaign (in which Carville engineered Bill Clinton's winning strategy), still regularly appear across from one another on political debate shows, and call one another arch-enemies. They not only dated, but are married (getting hitched in 1993) and the proud parents of two daughters. They understandably do not talk politics at home.
- Rival NASCAR racers Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. announced they were dating while both were competing for the 2013 NASCAR Rookie of the Year Award.