Held Gaze

Love is in the air… and the eyes.

"Together, they will have the romance of a lifetime… expressed entirely in stares." note 

Bob and Alice have been spending a lot of time together, causing people to comment on their relationship but so far nothing has resulted from it. Often though, they will find themselves gazing deeply into each other's eyes, one indication of their UST. This can often precede an Almost Kiss, as this is usually what is happening before that. If this is an extremely intense gaze into the other's eyes, this might be an indication that a big damn kiss is on the horizon. It can also be a platonic look between two friends.

There are four versions of this held gaze, depending on the atmosphere of the story:
  1. Romantic: This will appear at least once, accompanied by some passion on one (or both) of the partners in the gaze, hence it fits into the passionate look variant of the trope.
  2. Platonic: Two friends will hold each other's gaze meaningfully to either encourage the other or to just let them know that they are there for them.
  3. Antagonistic: If the two of them are rivals or enemies, however, this becomes a classic staredown, with both characters trying their level best to out-intimidate the other.
  4. Supernatural: A shared gaze where souls gaze into the other person's soul, all at once having a deeper experience than the other two versions mentioned above can have.

A Sister Trope of Almost Kiss, as this commonly happens before the kiss. Sometimes precedes a Big Damn Kiss. A subtrope of Longing Look, but different in that it is just two people holding each other's gazes. It naturally tends to happen when two lovers Literally Fall In Love. Compare Staring Contest. May also be a Meaningful Look.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Pokémon, Jessie and James from Team Rocket do this at the end of the episode "Holy Matrimony!". When Jessie and Meowth think James has got married and left forever, he suddenly returns in a hot air balloon, literally whisking Jessie off her feet. And then the two stare into each other's eyes while reaffirming their partnership, while Meowth runs after them, complaining that they forgot about him again. It's a very popular episode with Rocketshippers, for some reason.
  • InuYasha: Occurs several times between different pairs, including a moment between Sesshoumaru and Kagura. As her life ebbs away, they talk, run out of words, and finally hold each other's gaze as she disintegrates into the wind.
  • Mazinger Z: Kouji and Sayaka do this in the Mazinger-Z vs Great General of Darkness, right when Kouji is going to sortie with Mazinger-Z to fight a battle he knows he can not win, and thinking he'll die. Sayaka stops him to give him his little brother's birthday gift, and both stare into each other's eyes for a long while. In the movie, Kouji finally turns around and leaves. In the manga version of that moment, they DO kiss.
  • The anime adaptation of the Ai no Kusabi novel has the Star-Crossed Lovers doing this near the end.
  • In the Dragon Ball anime, Goku and Chi-Chi do this and an off-screen kiss after he recovers from his heart virus.
  • Parodied in Ranma ˝. Ranma and Akane are in a School Play, playing the parts of Romeo and Juliet. At one point, they look into each other's eyes for a long time. The audience thinks that they're pausing for dramatic effect and building the romantic tension. In reality, Ranma just forgot his lines.
  • Haruka and Makoto from Free! are pros at this. Whenever they have a moment together, which seems to happen quite often, there will be a Held Gaze.
  • This happens a lot between Italy and Holy Roman Empire in the chibitalia part of the Hetalia: Axis Powers anime.
  • In Act 1 of Sailor Moon Crystal, after sniping at each other without really meeting eyes, Usagi pulls her test paper away from her face to further chastise Mamoru for mocking her low score, only to gasp as they both stare open mouthed, the scene turns mutually Gaussian and Love Bubbles appear. Usagi breaks the gaze and makes an awkward retreat, acutely aware that she finds the nameless boy attractive.
  • Rosario + Vampire: Moka and Tsukune do this to Running Gag levels, often spending several minutes at a time just staring into each other's eyes and saying each other's names.
  • 3-gatsu no Lion has one of animosity between Hina and Kyoko. The intimidating effect that Hina aims for during the scene falters due to her own nervousness, in large part due to the fact that she's a middle schooler trying to stare down a taller, adult woman, and they both know it.
  • Naruto and Hinata had a few throughout the series, as an indication of their ongoing Unresolved Sexual Tension. It gets ramped in The Last: Naruto the Movie, culminating in their First Kiss and signifying the start of their relationship.
  • Mika and Yuu occasionally have this in Seraph of the End.
  • In Dangan Ronpa 3 Side: Despair Episode 8, Chiaki and Izuru spend several long moments just gazing at each other after she recognizes him as her Love Interest Hajime, now mind-wiped into another person. Junko even tells them to stop acting like they're in some shojo manga.
  • Victor and Yuri from Yuri!!! on Ice do this after Victor tackles and kisses Yuri in Episode 7.

    Comic Books 
  • ElfQuest has a specific name for this trope—Recognition (which is practically a Lampshade Hanging of sorts for the supernatural version of the trope). "Soul meets soul when eyes meet eyes"; which is a powerful biological urge to mate that pretty much guarantees healthy, gifted children.

    Fan Works 
  • A Crown of Stars: Used by future Asuka and Shinji at the beginning of the story and frequently for their younger selves after getting together.
  • Advice and Trust: In chapter 1 Shinji and Asuka gaze straight at each other eyes deeply as they talk about their pasts. They can not break contact eye as they open up and realize how alike they are.
  • Evangelion 303: Between Shinji and Asuka in this scene, shortly after a fight and kind-of-reconciliation.
  • HERZ: In chapter 11 Shinji and Asuka did this right before the Final Battle:
    Husband and wife nodded and rose from the bench. They looked at each other. There were so many words. Good luck. Be careful. I love you. Come back home safely. So many words. But there were no words as those would have failed them. Looking in each other's eyes, all that could be said and more passed between the two. And then they strode out to face their destinies.
  • Last Child of Krypton:
    • In chapter 2 Shinji and Asuka met for first time and they gazed straight at each other’s eyes for several seconds. Asuka broke eye contact off before he realized she was staring, and Shinji was simultaneously relieved that she was looking away him and wanting to be under her gaze again.
    • In chapter 4 Shinji and Asuka are in the school yard. Shinji is gazing at her and for a moment their stares met. They gazed at each other during seconds before Shinji blushed and looked away.
  • Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: In chapter 12 when they come home back from their no-date, they lock stares several times as they talk, before nearly kissing.
  • In the Lost In Time Series, this type of gaze appears twice in chapter thirty - both versions, too, both platonic and romantic. Once between Diego and Terry as they fight Soto's army, locking gazes gratefully after Terry has just saved Diego's life and then time appears to slow for Frank and Claire as he holds the gaze of his darling wife for the last time.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness: Several of the couples in the fic (Tsukune x Moka, Rason x Kurumu, Ahakon x Yukari, etc.) often do this, sometimes even in the middle of a combat situation.
  • In The Second Try Shinji and Asuka do this whenever they have the chance.
  • In Game Theory (Fan Fic), this happens between Nanoha and Fate culminating in Nanoha deciding to abandon everyone and everything she had ever known to stay with Fate.
  • In Weightless (Mass Effect), Shepard and Garrus do this right from the first time they meet and every changes they have after that. Naturally, a lot people catch on that (like Kaidan and Thane) really fast.
  • In Thousand Shinji, after destroying Leliel, Shinji and Asuka have celebratory sex. When they’re done, they spend a while gazing into each other’s eyes.
    All that was left was to gaze into the eyes of the other, and to see your own eyes superimposed from their point of view.
  • Several instances in Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide:
    • In chapter 10, Shinji and Asuka's eyes locked on another when she revealed that she was scared because her synch-ratio had dropped again.
      The German redhead seemed to consider his question for an eternity, rolling it in her mind and wondering if she should answer. For the first time in the night, their eyes locked on one another.
    • In chapter 11, after kissing, Shinji and Asuka lock eyes for a while.
      When the kiss finally broke they both gasped for air, and locked eyes with each other again.
  • Corrin Reacts: Flora and Corrin share one of these at the end of the Festival two-parter, increasing the Ship Tease between the two.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Tangled Flynn and Rapunzel share a Held Gaze before their Almost Kiss after they have watched the lanterns rise into the sky.
  • Ice Age:
    • The platonic version occurs in the first film, after Manny has just rescued Diego from death at the lava fields.
    • This happens again during a tense situation between the mammoth and the tiger in the third film, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs when Diego is attempting to convince Manny to let him go protect Ellie.
  • The platonic version occurs between Stoick and Gobber in Dreamwork's How to Train Your Dragon when they grasp hands, looking each other in eye, before going off to distract Green Death together to buy their people some time.
  • The romantic version occurs between Hiccup and Astrid in How to Train Your Dragon 2, right after they came out of their Big Damn Kiss, and it is very short due to Gothi interrupting it.
  • In Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, Spirit and Rain have a deep gaze into each other's eyes under a tree. Spirit also does this with Little Creek at least once.
  • In Tarzan, this happens between Tarzan and Jane when he first meets the girl, and they stare into each other's eyes in wonder. And again later during the "Strangers Like Me" Falling in Love Montage, where he pulls her close to him while they swing together on vines.
  • In The Incredibles, Elastigirl and Mr Incredible share a rather long seductive one right after they capture a thief together during the Cold Open at the beginning of the movie.
  • Aladdin : Aladdin and Jasmine share one Held Gaze early on in the movie with a sunset behind them, leading to an Almost Kiss.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Our Miss Brooks: Just before, and after, Miss Brooks and Mr. Boynton share a kiss in the cinematic series finale of the series of the same name.
  • Parodied in Soapdish, as the characters in the Show Within a Show do this Up to Eleven.
  • In the Little Women 1994 adaptation starring Winona Ryder and Christian Bale, Jo and Laurie share one before Laurie's Anguished Declaration of Love and their Big Damn Kiss.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
  • Anne and Gilbert share a Passionate Look when the two reconnect in a gazebo in Kevin Sullivan's adaptation Anne of Avonlea (1987). They also hold each other's gazes at least twice in Anne of Green Gables (1985) during important tests at school.
  • Twilight consists of Edward and Bella doing this for two straight hours.
  • Romantic Comedy will often employ this trope, as it's very effective for UST and creating a moment between the two Love Interests.
  • Enchanted has Robert and Giselle doing this at the ball during their Dance of Romance.
  • In Peter Jackson's King Kong (2005), Ann and Kong find themselves gazing into each other's eyes often during her captivity and their reunion in New York features a very meaningful one. Heck, even the poster for the film has them doing this!
  • Doc Brown and Clara share one in Back to the Future Part III.
  • In National Treasure, the first variant occurs twice between Ben and Abigail twice. First, when they are arguing about her coming along with them to keep the Declaration safe: they gaze deeply into each other's eyes and Ben gives in to Abigail, with the Jefferson Memorial in the background. The second time it happens is when the adventurers are down in the tunnel beneath Trinity Church; Ben grabs Abigail, and they look deeply into each other's eyes soulfully before they kiss.
  • The "long distance love-scene" from Laurence Olivier's film version of Hamlet, where Hamlet and Ophelia hold each others' gaze from opposite ends of a corridor.
  • In Star Wars: Attack of the Clones this happens between Anakin and Padme twice: once as a gentle lover's gaze into each other's eyes, and then later as an indicator they are about to Big Damn Kiss - and they do.
  • In The Sound of Music, Captain Von Trapp and Maria are doing this for most of the time they're dancing the Laendler, but by the time Maria stops dancing it's become so intense that they're practically making out.
  • In Lemonade Mouth, this happens between Wen and Olivia while writing 'Determinate'. They then go back to awkwardly writing the song.
  • A platonic version is used at the end of Goodbye Solo, when William and Solo part ways for the last time. It's particularly effective because William is leaving to commit suicide, something that Solo has spent the entire film trying to prevent him from doing. And they both know that Solo has failed.
  • In When in Rome, lead protagonists Nick and Beth share two extremely passionate Held Gazes, one right after they meet and one that ultimately leads to a Big Damn Kiss while at the museum.
  • In The Vow, a very blatant Held Gaze - employed when the two meet each other in a line waiting for permits - kicks off the romance between Paige and Leo, the two protagonists.
  • In The Wedding Planner, this happens in a Meet Cute that combines Literally Falling In Love with Held Gaze when the eponymous wedding planner, played by Jennifer Lopez is saved by Matthew McConaughey. Actually, this trope is a prime motivator for the sparking UST the engaged doctor (McConaughey) and Lopez's character display towards each other in the film.
  • Katniss and Peeta do their fair share of this in The Hunger Games. Especially when they're in the cave.
  • In The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Magnus and Alec have one when they first meet. Cue the squeals of fangirls everywhere.
    "Him. The one with the blue eyes."
  • In Pacific Rim, Raleigh Beckett and Mako Mori share several long gazes with each other. The film doesn't really elaborate on their growing feelings for each other, but the unspoken words in the stares they give each other says enough.
  • In the Olivier version of Richard III, Lady Anne has a deer-in-the-headlights version with Richard during the seduction scene.
  • Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away: Between Mia and the Aerialist at the beginning, which causes him to miss a trapeze and fall Down the Rabbit Hole.
  • The lead couple in Underworld (1927) share a lot of those looks.
  • Beyond The Lights: Kaz and Noni share a particularly long gaze after he saves her from jumping off a balcony. And thus their relationship begins.
  • In The Duff, one happens between Wes and Bianca on the think rock which leads to a brief Big Damn Kiss.
  • Bender and Claire have a lot of these in The Breakfast Club. Allison and Andy also share a few after her makeover, a sign of their growing feelings towards one another.
  • A non-romantic example in The Force Awakens between Luke Skywalker and Rey at the end, while she is holding out his father's lightsaber for him to take. Rey in particular looks to be on the verge of tears.
  • A possibly romantic though still ambiguous one takes place between Jyn and Cassian in Rogue One, in which they spend an entire elevator ride gazing intently into each other's eyes.
  • Jack in Apartment Zero does this with half the characters and a cat.
  • Wife vs. Secretary: Whitey is the "secretary" part of the love triangle that also includes her boss Van. While Van never actually cheats on his wife they do have an attraction for each other, as seen in the long held gaze that happens after Whitey helps a drunk Van to his hotel room.

  • In A Brother's Price this happens before Jerin is kissed by a dashing stranger.
  • In Dragon Bones, Ward feels himself magically compelled to look into Oreg's eyes after Oreg asks him an important question. It is never made entirely clear whether it was Oreg himself who made him do that, as Ward is touching a dragon skeleton at the time. The spell is broken after Ward answers.
  • in The Silmarillion, when Melian and Elwë Singollo first meet, they stand looking into each other's eyes "while long years were measured by the wheeling stars above them; and the trees of Nan Elmoth grew tall and dark before they spoke any word." Meanwhile, his people get on the boat and leave without him; he doesn't care and stays there with Melian.
  • In the blog spin-off of Hilary McKay's Casson Family Series, Rose's Blog, Rose mentions how her Love Interest, Tom Levin, "looks and looks at me, looks until I cannot look away." It's a Lampshade Hanging, albeit an unintentional one.
  • Not surprisingly, Twilight the novel was doing exactly the same in nonvisual form.
  • In Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files, Harry even has a name for this—the Soulgaze, where two people catch a glimpse of each other's souls because they share a gaze.
    "For me, meeting someone's eyes is always risky. Every human being knows what I'm talking about. Try it. Walk up to someone, without speaking and look them in the eyes. There's a a certain amount of leeway for second, or two, or three. And then there's a distinct sensation of contact, of intimacy. That's when regular folks cough and look away. Wizards, though, get the full ride of a soulgaze." —Harry Dresden, White Night.
    • This is a Lampshade Hanging, as Harry is typically Genre Savvy about most things—including Real Life Shared Gaze, though in the context of The Dresden Files, it is much more supernatural than the actual trope suggests, but Harry does mention the Real Life variant.
    • Also becomes an Enforced Trope, as soulgazes only work once, so Dresden is perfectly comfortable meeting the eyes of people he's trusted enough to share a mutual glimpse of their souls with. (And Marcone.)
  • Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book references the direct gaze that when an animal views it, it signals a threat, and it comes into play during the wolf-pack meeting at the beginning when Mowgli is allowed into the pack. His ingenuous, even gaze is unsettling to the animals gathered when he looks at them, meeting their gaze for only a few seconds, as most look away quickly except for ones like Bagheera, who knows something of the ways of men.
  • In the fifth Harry Potter book, Sirius and Lupin do this.
    Lupin's eyes were fixed on Sirius.
    [39 lines later]
    "Personally," said Lupin quietly, looking away from Sirius at last.
  • David Eddings exaggerates this, like every other trope he gets his hands on, in the Belgariad prequel novels. When Riva meets his betrothed, Beldaran, they do nothing but stare at each other for hours. It's implied they do almost nothing else until they are finally married, after which they presumably get over it eventually as they have a child at some point. Polgara notes that she's seen this numerous times and it's usually a sign that their marriage was arranged by Fate.
  • Petals on the Wind. Cathy and Chris share plenty of these without even realizing it, allowing numerous people to pick up on their feelings for each other. Which is very bad, considering that they're brother and sister.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Our Miss Brooks: In ''The Magic Tree", before Mr. Boynton kisses Miss Brooks. It's All Just a Dream.
  • Done a lot in Smallville, but straightest in Bound when Clark and Chloe have a moment in an elevator. Curse you, Moment Killer!
  • This is a prominent part of Jeff and Annie's Unresolved Sexual Tension in Community
  • Mulder and Scully of The X-Files used this trope frequently throughout the series, to the point of Facial Dialogue. It has a habit of shutting out everyone else in the room and making even small moments ridiculously intimate.
  • Frequently featured between Lee Adama and Kara Thrace in the reimagined Battlestar Galactica, especially when they're with other love interests. Fans like to call this "the eyefrak".
  • Soap Operas often use this trope to show the high tension between lovers—usually in the passionate look form.
  • How I Met Your Mother: This is one of Barney's "moves" to invoke intimacy and seduce women (and Ted).
  • In the Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide episode "Guide to: Positives and Negatives", Sarah Gothman and Mark Downing have this before they kiss. It's electrifying.
  • Supernatural:
    • There's the platonic (Ho Yay-inducing) version: Dean and Castiel have been sharing long, tension-filled gazes since their first confrontation. At first, it's just because Dean's rather aggressive and Cas, being an angel, has no idea about little things like how long it's appropriate to stare into someone's eyes from two feet away, but they keep doing it. It eventually became so blatant that when Castiel gives him a dirty look after Dean's near-betrayal, Dean lampshades it by joking, "Gee, Cas. Last time somebody looked at me like that—I got laid." (That was less than two years after Cas first showed up at the beginning of season 4. They haven't stopped yet, and it's currently season 11. Cas still doesn't get "personal space" around Dean, either.) There's also a supercut—"Literally 10 minutes of every time Dean and Cas do the thing with the eyes".
    • On Tumblr, there is a "How to Look at Your Brother" blog, with images/GIFs of some of the long, emotional, tearful looks the brothers have exchanged throughout the series.
  • Friends: Monica and Chandler do this frequently: when each of the other Friends find out about their Secret Relationship (TOW the Kips, TOW Everybody Finds Out, TOW The Girl Who Hits Joey) their immediate response is to look at each other, obviously appreciating that they can use the Held Gaze without suspicion.
  • Mad Men: This is combined with the Longing Look at the end of "The Rejected". Peggy and Pete lock eyes wistfully as they each follow their separate paths (her with new counterculture friends, him with businessmen in suits). However, you can tell there's always going to be a bit of longing and a "what could have been" vibe between them, even though neither one wants to travel down that path again.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series: Kirk and Spock do this all. the. damn. time. In the episode "Miri," they held each others' gaze for a full twelve seconds, in complete silence, as the camera flicked back and forth between closeups of their faces. They're still doing the exact same thing twenty years later in The Undiscovered Country, when Kirk whispers in Spock's ear and then pulls away just far enough to lock gazes with him.
    • Kirk and McCoy engage in the purely platonic "meaningful look" variant when they drop the friendly banter and display the fact that they are rock-solid best friends.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: Chakotay and Janeway after Chakotay reveals his feelings for her in the episode "Resolutions".
  • Inspector Lynley and his partner DS Havers do this frequently, often immediately before solving the Case of the Week and proceeding to kick the villain's butt. They also do it a lot when they make up after a fight, or when they act as each other's confidantes, or...yeah. Suffice it to say that while this trope might not be intentionally romantic between them, it certainly played a major role in their UST, and spoke whole volumes about the characters' feelings for each other. In fact, during many of the most significant moments of their relationship, the words coming out of their mouths were completely incidental to the conversation they were having with their eyes.
  • Glee's Kurt and Blaine, right from their very first episode when Blaine sings "Teenage Dream" straight to Kurt. The ridiculously UST-ful gazes continue nonstop after that. They finally get their Relationship Upgrade in "Original Song"—and, later that episode, proceed to sing a duet together while staring dreamily into each other's eyes the entire time. Kurt and Blaine like this trope a lot.
  • Everyone does this to everyone else in Merlin. Everyone.
    • Especially Arthur, Merlin, and Guinevere. These three are capable of having lengthy conversations with each other without ever saying a word.
    • Nicely done in the episode "The Hunter's Heart" in which Arthur is considering marriage to a visiting princess, even though Merlin is urging him to get back together with Guinevere. After finding Guinevere's ring in the forest, Arthur and Merlin exchange a deep, wordless gaze. Behind them, Princess Mithian tries to get their attention, quickly realizing that something beyond her understanding is silently passing between the two men. Although Arthur/Guinevere was a Foregone Conclusion anyway, that's the moment the audience knows that Mithian is about to be sent packing.
  • Babylon 5: The more Sheridan and Delenn do this, the closer they get. Or rather, the closer they get, the more they do this.
  • In the Sherlock episode "A Scandal in Belgravia", Sherlock and Irene Adler share intense, passionate gazes with each other at least twice in under five seconds, causing John Watson to snark out baby names since they are so obviously forgetting his presence in the room.
    • John and Sherlock are not exempt from this. No wonder everyone thinks they're together...
  • Parodied on 30 Rock:
    Liz: You know, some people actually craft stories, and when the story doesn't have an ending you don't just create one out of thin air by playing music or having people give each other meaningful looks. [music swells] Sure, that might manipulate an audience into THINKING they're feeling something, but it sucks.
    Jack: [gives Lemon meaningful stare, their eyes lock]
    Liz: [spins and locks eyes with Jack]
  • The platonic version happens between Shawn and Gus of Psych at the end of "An Evening with Mr. Yang". After saving his mom's life and helping catch the bad guy, Shawn finally gets to have his date with Abby. Shawn then turns around to look at Gus who is chilling in the backseat, still watching Shawn's back, even after the danger has passed.
  • Warehouse 13: There is almost no scene where Myka and HG are in the same room that this trope doesn't apply.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. When Buffy is brought Back from the Dead in Season 6 she keeps avoiding the gaze of her sister and friends, but when she first catches sight of Spike the two keep staring at each other until the Scoobies barge in and spoil the moment. A platonic love version occurs in the following episode when Buffy's Parental Substitute Giles returns to Sunnydale.
    • Its importance is lampshaded when Kennedy is on a date with Willow.
    "It's like flirting in code, it's using body language, and laughing at the right jokes. And looking into her eyes and knowing she's still whispering to you, even though she's not saying a word."
    • In Season 4, Willow is (justifiably) alarmed when she sees how her boyfriend Oz and sultry nightclub singer Veruca keep staring at each other as she sings.
  • Terrifyingly inverted in the episode "Midnight" of Doctor Who in which the Doctor goes face-to-face for a period of time with a woman possessed by some strange alien entity. He's already tried to argue to others present that they have no right to judge the creature, only to concede defeat with one of the show's most chilling lines: "I'd like to believe you're harmless...but your eyes are telling me a different story." Later it's hinted that the creature's prolonged Held Gaze with the Doctor allows it to paralyze him.
    • Try to find an episode in Part B of Series 7 where Clara and the Doctor are near each other and aren't holding each other's gaze.
    • And that goes double for Series 8 where the held gazes between Clara and the Twelfth Doctor last even longer.
    • The Doctor and The Master Sometimes do this, especially during the 5/Ainley era.
  • Richard Castle and Kate Beckett have a tendency to do this as part of their UST in general, but one particularly notable example occurs in "Poof! You're Dead", wherein one of their usual "getting so caught up in theorizing about the case they finish each other's sentences" moments ends with them staring into each other's eyes, with the look on Castle's face almost pinpointing the exact second he realizes that he's fallen in love with her. Unfortunately for him, however, Beckett isn't quite on the same page and just asks him what he's looking at, prompting a rapid changing of the topic which only confuses her.
  • Chuck and Blair on Gossip Girl are all over this trope. Also known as them having "eye sex".
  • Donna and Eric have one of these in That '70s Show during her parents' wedding vows (that she wrote for them with Eric in mind). Then they have sex.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The Klingons actually have their own word for this, at least the platonic version. Worf is explaining where his loyalty to General Martok comes from.
    Worf: You know that I was forced to fight the Jem'Hadar guards in the camp. Each day they would call me to the ring, and each day I would fight. But then there came a day when I...wavered.
    Sisko: You mean you didn't want to go back into the ring?
    Worf: No, I mean I considered letting them kill me. It seemed like the only way out. Just before I went into the ring, Martok turned to wish me success. And then he saw what I was planning, he saw it in my eyes. It was a moment of tova'dok.
    Sisko: Of what?
    Worf: There is no Human word for it. It is a moment of...clarity, between two warriors on a field of battle. Much is said without the need for words. In that moment, he knew what was in my mind. Once I realized that he saw my intention to give up I could no longer go through with it. I went back into the ring and fought once more. He had given me his warrior's heart. Perhaps it is something a Human cannot understand.
  • Call the Midwife has Dr Turner and Sister Bernadette, who can't seem to stop doing this. Unfortunately for them both, Sister Bernadette is a nun, which is a bit of an obstacle, to say the least. In the episode where she leaves the convent to be with him, they literally do not look away from each other for more than five seconds at a time when they're in the same scene. Understandable, since they're finally able to be together after months of mutual and very painful pining.
  • On NCIS, this happens between Tony and Ziva at times. The most notable moment is in season 7's "Reunion," after Ziva returns from Somalia. Ziva unexpectedly shows up at the Navy Yard, and suggests something to Tony and McGee for the Case of the Week. She and Tony end up in a Held Gaze, completely oblivious to anyone else in the room. McGee notices and tries to give them some privacy. Awkwardly.
    McGee: And I'm going to go do that...right after I get a...Nutter Butter. [rolls eyes, leaves]
  • On Community, this happens several times between Jeff Winger and Annie Edison in the first season. And then again in the second season. And again in the third. And the fourth. And again in the fifth. In short, the Held Gaze is Jeff and Annie's UST M.O. In an attempt to downplay it Jeff describes an instance of this as "platonic shoulder-holding" and demonstrates on Leonard to show how normal and non-intimate it is, and Leonard promptly responds by trying to kiss him.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • In "The Kingsroad", bed-slave Doreah instructs Daenerys on the importance of this trope during her Les Yay-filled sexposition on the art of making love to a man.
    • Averted when Daenerys discovers that her friend and adviser Jorah Mormont was originally sent to spy on her, and has him banished from her service. She spends most of their conversation looking over his head, either in disdain or because she's worried that she might feel sympathy if she looks him in the eye.
    • In the same episode, Oberyn shares a triumphant look with his paramour Ellaria Sand during his duel but that causes him to take his eyes off his opponent at a crucial moment.
  • In Robin Hood, Allan-a-Dale is on the verge of being found out as The Mole within the outlaws, and in desperation goes to Djaq to halfheartedly confess. She turns to look at him and says "I believe you're a good man," with such intense Puppy-Dog Eyes that he has to break eye contact.
  • Derek and Stiles have had many of these in the series Teen Wolf. Usually these looks are shared when Derek is in grave danger or when the two are having private conversations.
    • In "Magic Bullet" when Stiles first realized that Derek may die.
    • When Derek is dreaming of Stiles in season 3B, the two of them share prolonged eye contact before Derek wakes up.
    • While in the van with Liam, the two of them have an entire conversation nonverbally. This happens frequently in season 4.
  • The platonic variant happens frequently on The Rachel Maddow Show when Rachel's dear friend Richard Engel appears, particularly (but not always) when he's actually in-studio. Though other close friends of Rachel's do interviews with her frequently — Chris Hayes, Steve Kornacki, and Nicolle Wallace are just a few — and she's always glad to see them, something particularly special happens whenever Engel comes to visit. Unlike with anyone else, they sometimes seem to forget that the camera is there at all, instead taking visible and unrestrained delight in each other's company even when Engel is thousands of miles and multiple time zones away. When he's actually in the studio with her, they might as well be sitting on her sofa, just entirely focused on each other and geeking out over foreign policy.
  • Holby City has Serena Campbell and Berenice "Bernie" Wolfe, who have been sharing long, meaningful looks practically since the moment they first met. These only get more intense as time goes on, as they catch and hold each other's eyes up to and including while getting each other through tricky surgeries. Between them, Catherine Russell (Serena) and Jemma Redgrave (Bernie) are probably responsible for quite a few forest fires. Lampshaded by one of the producers after the episode where the two finally snog, who noted that "they could only play the sizzling glances for so long" before things turned physical.
  • Penny Dreadful: In the Season 2 episode "Above the Vaulted Sky", no less than three different Coitus Ensues moments are interspersed with Ethan and Vanessa sharing an intense held gaze moment, although nothing ends up happening between them that night.
  • Law & Order: SVU has this between detective Olivia Benson and ADA Rafael Barba, whose mutual Ship Tease has been noticeable since the latter first appeared in season 14. In season 18, however, this gets turned Up to Eleven; these two can't seem to go half a scene with each other without a long, meaningful, sensually-charged gaze that frequently lasts for half a minute or more.

  • Most music videos that involve or deal with romance will usually include these meaningful gazes between the people in the song in some way.
  • Tenth Avenue North mentions "look deep in my eyes" implying this trope in their song "Beloved".
  • 30 Seconds to Mars seems to imply a romantic Held Gaze in their song "Kings and Queens" which says, "Into your eyes; hopeless and taken."

    Video Games 
  • Sonic Adventure 2 had an instance, believe it or not. After a boss fight between Knuckles the Echidna and Rouge the Bat, the latter is about to slip off a beam into a fiery death. Knuckles manages to save her. Their gaze lasts only a few moments before Rouge roughly pulls her hand away to save face.
    • Sonic Rush also had a moment at the very end of the game where Sonic and Blaze gaze at each other and try to stop themselves from being pulled back into their dimensions. This goes on for more than a few seconds.
  • This is basically the asari version of sex in the Mass Effect series. An asari and her partner will look into each others' eyes and "embrace eternity" together, which is all but outright stated to have effects of intense pleasure similar to an orgasm for both parties. Shepard and a romanced Liara get quite a few of these (both the sexual kind and loving kind) throughout the course of the trilogy.
  • Rule of Rose: During the introductory FMV, you can see Wendy and another girl doing this, before initiating a Headbutt of Love. It's Jennifer as a young girl, when she and Wendy swore their eternal love to one another.
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain pulls this off during a cutscene, where Venom Snake and Quiet look into each other's eyes after a heartwarming dance in the rain. It also serves as one of the biggest confirmations that they're in love with each other.
  • In Hyrule Warriors, Link and Zelda do this when they see each other for the first time.
  • In Tomodachi Life, dating and married Mii couples do this a lot, but all they just do is stare at each other with their "happy" expressions (with hearts flying over their heads if at the apartments or their houses). Strangely, they never kiss.
  • This is seen a fair few times during Cullen's romance arc in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

    Web Comics 
  • The Dreamer: Between Beatrice and Alexander—during an argument, no less.
  • This meme-starting comic from Hark! A Vagrant has fun with this trope.
  • In the "Kings War" arc of Roommates, the supernatural version of this is used to resolve the conflict. The leaders of both parties do it and see a possible future about the other winning in the gaze...and realize that it's one and the same.

    Web Original 
  • Donnie DuPre from Demo Reel does this with nearly every single cast member, male or female. Let's just say there's a reason why he personally asked for Slash Fic.

    Western Animation 
  • Couples on Phineas and Ferb often employ this trope for Ship Tease. For instance, Ferb and Vanessa share one when he first meets her, and Phineas and Isabella have also held each other's gaze - most notably in the special Summer Belongs to You!, when they are stranded on the island, and in "Act Your Age," when they become a couple.
  • In Disney's House of Mouse, on the episode "Max's Embarrassing Date", Max and Roxanne stare into each other's eyes before they Almost Kiss, wherein Minnie interrupts them.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has a few of these. One with Mai and Zuko in the Boiling Rock episodes after being forced to lock the cell door on her (this one is more of deep hurt though), one with Suki and Sokka on the Serpent's Pass leading to an Almost Kiss. Finally, there's one between Aang and Katara which leads to the Big Damn Kiss and end of the series.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • Mako and Korra share several of these throughout Book One, with arguably the most conventional example nearly ending in an Almost Kiss in the two-part season finale. They do get a Big Damn Kiss, but it comes a bit later, once much of the underlying drama has been resolved.
    • In the final scene of the entire series, after an entire season's worth of Ship Tease and nudges, Korra and Asami, of all people, share one of these—complete with holding hands whilst facing one another—as they're teleported into the Spirit World by Republic City's newly-created Spirit Portal. It's like Bryke decided to smash a wrecking ball through the Moral Guardians' basement.
  • Kick Buttowski had this going on with Kick and Kendall, complete with Kick leaning her backwards and complimenting one another. However, the trance was broken when a kid off screen shouted that he should kiss her.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Hearts and Hooves Day", Big Macintosh and Cheerilee do this while under the influence of the Cutie Mark Crusaders' love potion. In fact, the only way to break the spell is to break the gaze for an hour.
  • The fourth season finale of Teen Titans sees Robin and Starfire sharing a significant look right before Robin leaves with Slade to try rescuing Raven.
  • The Beetlejuice episode "Prince Of The Neitherworld" has lugubrious royalty Prince Vince do this when he first sets eyes on Lydia. He's absolutely smitten by her—Lydia is rather disinterested but still cordial to him.
  • Kim Possible and her best friend Ron Stoppable gazed at each other like this in the ending to Kim Possible Movie: So the Drama before finally having their Big Damn Kiss.

    Real Life 
  • Studies have been determining that people naturally break eye contact after two seconds, any longer than that subconsciously establishes a deeper, closer connection. A study happened where couples who knew each other were told to look into each other's eyes for over a minute; nearly all the couples reported liking the person more afterwards - and several even ended up married!
  • Often people's first flirtings are eye contact and held gazes.
  • Aversion: while true for H. sapiens, when other primates (and many other animals) lock gazes, that is a threat display. Because of this, some zoos have have signs near the monkey enclosure warning visitors to not look directly into the monkeys' eyes because it will scare them. Staring into your pet cat or dog's eyes can also make them uncomfortable. This can happen with humans too, in some circumstances: sustained eye contact can be perceived as a challenge. Responses can range from breaking eye contact (conceding defeat) all the way to retaliatory violence.
    "What are you looking at?"
  • It has been speculated that humans evolved "whites of the eyes" (visible sclera) to enhance nonverbal communication by making it easier to tell what direction people are looking towards. According to the Other Wiki, dogs, during their domestication, developed the ability to pick up visual cues from the eyes of humans.
  • The "Staring Contest" game, often played in Real Life, because it is so fun to try and break another's gaze off of your own.
  • Naturally, this type of gaze between romantic partners appears often enough in Real Life - it is often employed during wedding ceremonies.