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Aborted Declaration of Love

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"Kid, I love... I've always loved your hair. (Narrating) I have no idea where that came from. So great... not only am I gonna die, but I'm gonna die a socially inept virgin with a hair fetish."
Sasha "Hammer" Carelli, Angels 2200

Alice is about to be separated from her beloved Bob forever and has one last chance to say how she truly feels.

Except... she decides not to. It could be because Bob loves Cathy and Alice doesn't want to cause problems for the two of them. It could also be because she's dying and she doesn't want to cause Bob any more pain. Whatever the case may be, Alice and many other characters often sacrifice their last chance to tell their loved ones how they feel, leaving them to find out from other characters, if they find out at all.

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Typically an aversion of Dying Declaration of Love and Anguished Declaration of Love, with the characters usually acknowledging this being their last opportunity and deciding not to, often explaining their reasons in thought. Unlike Cannot Spit It Out, this is typically final. Often a result of I Want My Beloved to Be Happy. If the declaration of love is cut off by something outside Alice's control, it's an Interrupted Declaration of Love.

Subtrope of Un-Confession. Compare Not-So-Final Confession and I "Uh" You, Too.


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Examples:

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    Comics 
  • Toy in The Ballad of Halo Jones. When she tries to perform a Dying Declaration of Love Halo fails to take the hint and thinks they're talking about their friendship. Toy decides not to clarify and dies soon after.
  • In Black Widow 008, Natasha meets up with the Winter Solder, whom she doesn't remember her relationship with. Just before she leaves, he calls her back and is clearly about to tell her that he loves her, but tells her to stay warm and be careful instead. This is presumably right before he leaves earth for good to become 'the Man on the Wall', in part because he's been a bit of a loose cannon without her.
  • In New Mutants (original series), Dani 'Mirage' Moonstar is comforting gal-pal Rahne 'Wolfsbane' Sinclair on a clifftop in Scotland; '—he's an old man, filled up with hate; without you those people would be dead. You're not alone. Moira loves you; and I—' 'I know' says Rahne. '—but that doesn't make me ache any the less.' A follow-up 20 years later is also aborted by a simple interruption.

    Film — Animation 
  • In the sixth Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf film, the goats try to get Prince Pegasus to tell Princess Blue that he loves her. After a few seconds of struggling to admit his feelings to her, he decides not to at the last second and instead says "I love watching Pleasant Goat!"
  • In Ratatouille, Linguini barely manages to swerve out of making an accidental Anguished Declaration of Love to Colette, not that it stops their Accidental Kiss moments later and them hooking up anyway.
    Linguini: I would've followed the recipe, I would've followed your advice! I would've followed your advice to the ends of the earth because I love yooooooouuur advice!

    Film — Live-Action 
  • A variant in Once between the nameless protagonists: the girl tells the guy she loves him, but she says it in Czech. When the guy asks what she said, she refused to translate.
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    Literature 
  • When he's saying goodbye to the Princess Ren in A Brother's Price, Jerin is at a loss for what to say. His sisters are close enough to possibly overhear and he doesn't want them knowing what he and she almost did lest he be considered ruined, plus she's so far above his station that they couldn't possibly marry, but he has to say something.
    Certainly not "Don't go" or "I think I love you" or even "Don't leave me here to marry the Brindles." With his sisters near at hand, even "I'll miss you" was dangerous. "Come back and visit" was impossible; he'd be married and gone within a few months.
    Finally, he found something acceptable. "Keep yourself safe."

    Music 
  • The entire premise of HoneyWorks "Confession Rehearsal", in which the protagonist Natsuki confessed to her crush Yuu, then gets cold feet and immediately told him that that the "confession" was simply a rehearsal for someone else. Every adaptation afterwards exaggerates this, having her put off the confession for what amounts to a few days to (in the present canon) up to a full year.
  • IU's song "Voice Mail" is in the form of a voice mail message declaring her love, but she ends up cancelling the message at the end.
  • In "Peach Scone", Hobo Johnson describes being out for coffee with someone he likes who's in a relationship and tries to stop himself from confessing to her:
    "I don't know what to tell you if I try to confess my love for... SCONES!"
    (very earnestly) "I love... these scones."
    (mumbling rant about all the types of scones at this coffee shop)

    Poetry 
  • The unnamed protagonist in Lewis Carroll's The Willow Tree leaves her love to discover her feelings in a rather unconventional way.
    It shall not dim Life’s joy for him: My tears he shall not see:
    While he is by, I’ll come not nigh My weeping Willow-Tree.
    But when I die, oh, let me lie Beneath thy loving shade,
    That he may loiter careless by, Where I am lowly laid.
    And let the white white marble tell, If he should stoop to see,
    "Here lies a maid that loved thee well, Beneath the Willow-Tree."

    Video Games 
  • A lot of Dating Sim games love this trope - especially if the love interest is a Shrinking Violet, Unlucky Childhood Friend, or Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • In one route of Blaze Union, Jenon attempts to confess his feelings for Siskier but stops himself at the last minute when he finally realizes that she's in love with Garlot.
  • If you fully heal the Solar Tree in Boktai, Lita will be deeply moved, to the point where she starts to confess her love for Django... and then chickens out. Several times.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Scott of Final Fantasy II considers having the heroes relay a message to Hilda about how he feels, but orders them not to, saying that she would be pained to hear him confess his love while dying.
    • In Final Fantasy VII, Tifa tries this whilst riding the gondola with Cloud, but chickens out before she can finish. Cloud, being Cloud, doesn't get the hint.
  • In the Conquest path of Fire Emblem Fates, when Oboro is fought for the second and last time, she'll start to confess her feelings for Takumi. However, she dies before she can finish speaking.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, when Midna goes back to the Twilight Realm, she says, "Link, I...See you later." Granted, she may not have been about to do a love declaration, but it's implied. Apparently it is not implied at all in the Japanese version. According to Zelda Wiki, her last words in Japanese translates to "Link...s...see you." Which, as you can see, only includes the Ironic Echo.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, when Princess Zelda leaves the Master Sword with The Great Deku Tree before going to face Ganon alone, it's implied that she was going to ask The Great Deku Tree to pass on her Love Confession to Link once he returned for the sword. It's also possible that she wasn't, given that The Great Deku Tree cuts her off by insisting she should deliver the message herself, but the lead of up of "Tell him I—" sure seems to point in that direction.
      • Breath of the Wild also has the Zora Princess Mipha. After Zelda suffers several failures to summon her power, Mipha steps up to try and offer the Hylian Princess some pointers. Given the lead-up, it's heavily implied that Mipha was going to admit that she used her feelings for Link as an emotional anchor to help summon her healing powers and that Zelda should try the same. However, she was cut off before she could finish speaking.
  • In the ending of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Vivian, while seeing Mario off, almost confesses her love to him, but backs out last minute and says instead that she thinks he and Peach are a good couple.
    • It's strongly implied that Goombella was going to confess at the end of her "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue email to Mario. She decides instead that it's better off as a secret.
  • In the English version of Puyo Puyo Tetris, after beating her friend Sig in a Puyo battle, Amitie wants to tell him something, and her wording makes it sound an awful lot like it's going to be a love confession. The only thing stopping her is that Sig reminds her he's just her memory of him, and she should be saying this to the real Sig. Amitie thanks her illusion of Sig for reminding her and leaves the room.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, during the fifth and final free time event with Nagito, he ends his conversation with Hinata saying "From the bottom of my heart... I am truly in love with the hope that sleeps within you". The original Japanese text makes it even more obvious as his sentence begins with the same phrasing love confessions usually do, and uses the word aishiteru, which is a strong form of expressing love only married couples use.
  • In the Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side games, getting far enough along in a romance with any of the guys inevitably leads to a scene in which the guy in question almost confesses his love for the heroine, only to lose his nerve before he can quite manage to spit it out.

    Webcomics 

    Western Animation 
  • In American Dragon: Jake Long, Spud attempted to confess to Trixie during "Homecoming". Earlier in the episode, he and Trixie accidentally kissed, thinking they were kissing their crushes. Afterwards, they engage in some awkward dialogue related to their kiss. In the third act of the episode, when Spud thinks they're going to die, he tries to confess to her. However, he steps back when Trixie asked if they were Just Friends and nothing more.
  • Dinosaur Train: In "Gilbert Visits the Nest", before Gilbert goes back home, Shiny is about to tell him that she likes him, but she says "I like you....visiting! I like you visiting!" and gives an awkward laugh.
  • The Dragon Prince: Implied While Rayla tries to get Callum to stay with her during his dark magic-induced fever, she comes close to telling him something. However, when he finally opens his eyes they both scream and she aborts with whatever she was about to confess.
  • Dipper of Gravity Falls nearly confesses his feelings to Wendy at the beginning of "Into The Bunker", but he aborts it and asks her if she wants to hang out with him and Mabel to do some exploring. He eventually pulls a Mistaken Declaration of Love within her earshot, she later lets him down easily and they part as friends.
  • Kaeloo: in the episode "Let's Play Babysitting", Mr. Cat tells Kaeloo how he feels about her. It Makes Sense in Context, but she beats him up rather than accepting it although the feeling is mutual. He later tells her he was just kidding.
  • The Owl House episode "Enchanting Grom Fright" features a written example where Amity writes a note to ask her crush Luz to be her date to the school dance, hinting that she was at the very least planning on revealing her feelings. Given the fact that the episode specifically shows that the idea of being rejected is her worst fear, she's never able to work up the nerve to give it to them, and when they finally see it and ask who it was addressed to (as a third party had torn off the top half that had their name on it) she deflects by saying that it's not important.
  • During the Phineas and Ferb special "Summer Belongs to You!", Isabella nearly reveals her crush on Phineas but stops herself just in time.
    Isabella: Well that's not the Phineas Flynn that I fell in... to this situation with.
  • The Simpsons referenced it with Smithers. Turns out, "The Boat House was the time!".

 
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Aborted love confession

Rayla seems like she's about to confess her love to Callum before he wakes up from his dark magic-induced dream. She immediately changes subjects once he regains consciousness.

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