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Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other

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"Instead, to Jack's mild surprise, he discovered he was worried about Alison. He was worried about Taneem, too, of course, but mostly he was worried about Alison. It was a rather annoying discovery, actually."
— A revelation of Jack's in Dragon and Liberator by Timothy Zahn
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When a couple/potential couple — who spend the entirety of the show yelling at each other, insulting one another, stabbing each other in the back, etc. — have a moment when they reveal that, deep down, they really care for one another. Awwww.

Often takes place in a humorous rushing-to-your-spouse's-defense manner, where one of them angrily defends the other against the same kind of insults that they themselves like to dish out. The common line is: "Nobody insults/beats up/threatens my wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend but me!"

If this relation is between friends then they are Vitriolic Best Buds. If it is between siblings, then it either combines Big Brother Bully and Big Brother Instinct or is Thicker Than Water.

If the romance part comes without warning or justification, the trope may fall flat, since it comes out of nowhere when the previous context of the story makes it seem like they have nothing to love about each other. When couples don't even have these moments, you get No Accounting for Taste.

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See also Defrosting Ice Queen, Slap-Slap-Kiss, Belligerent Sexual Tension. A couple version of a Pet the Dog moment.


Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • Ball and Chain is about a marriage on the rocks. A couple that can't seem to get along. But Edgar and Mallory show that they really care about each other occasionally. When Edgar thinks he's going to die, he narrates that you're supposed to see your life flash before your eyes... but all he can think of is Mallory. When Mallory thinks Edgar is dead, she weeps bitterly and says that he was everything to her.
  • Thor and Loki from The Mighty Thor. Beneath the centuries of Sibling Rivalry and Cain and Abel behavior, they truly do see each other as brothers.
  • Bigby Wolf and Snow White from Fables. In the early issues, she shoots him down whenever he tries to flirt with her, but eventually reveals that it was more her being put off by his half-assed attempts, and implies she wouldn't turn down a direct request for a date. When she gets pregnant after their enchantment-caused liaison, she is initially angry at him (he could tell from her scent as soon as he woke up from the enchantment, but didn't tell her) and is at first intensely worried about the damage to her image, then spends several weeks avoiding Bigby. But when The Adversary's army of wooden soldiers attack Fabletown, Bigby saves the day. Finally realizing the depth of his love for her, she dashes downstairs (heavily pregnant, and in the pouring rain) and gives him a gigantic hug in front of pretty much everyone of importance.
  • In Batman: The Dark Prince Charming, The Joker orders Bruce Wayne to buy an enormous diamond and hand it over to him... so he can give it to Harley.
  • Scott Pilgrim: Near the end of Volume 6, it's revealed that Ramona spent her time away from Scott the exact same way he did — by moping, slacking, and sleeping all day. Scott's friends declare them a perfect couple.
  • Descender: Telsa has been growing more and more attached to Tim as the series progresses, but refuses to acknowledge this and holds her ground when people call her out on it. When she reunites with Tim on Mata, she admits that she missed him while hugging him.
  • In the Post-Crisis DCU, Supergirl and Brainiac 5's relationship was rocky for a while in spite of their mutual attraction. In a nutshell, he couldn't stop himself from behaving as a snarky jerkass, and she was torn between punching him and kissing him. At the end, she settled for kissing him.
  • In Princeless, the Ashe Family. They might be somewhat dysfunctional but they are at the end of the day a loving family.
  • Rick and Morty (Oni):
    • Rick is arguably even crueler to Morty in the comics than he is in the main TV series, but he still gets many Pet the Dog moments that show how much he actually cares, and he even keeps a picture in his wallet of himself with a baby Morty.
    • While fighting the Gorpathians together, the Smiths remember loving and happy memories they have of each other.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes:
    • There are many strips which show that, despite the apparent tension and hatred between the two, Calvin and Susie really do care about one another.
    • Calvin and his parents rarely ever see eye-to-eye. Calvin often doesn't think too highly of his parents, Calvin's Dad sometimes offhandedly comments about wanting a dog instead of a rambunctious youngster... but every so often, we do see that both parties do care for each other in a few strips, with one memorable one showing Dad taking a break from working to play with Calvin in the snow.
  • Beetle Bailey: Happens sometimes between Sarge and Beetle, or Sarge and the privates in his company in general, typically involving a situation where someone is about to leave the company but starts remembering all the good times they've had together. Sometimes subverted instead: One party's happy memories about their times together are ones that make the other angry.
  • Dogbert more often than not belittles Dilbert in varying ways- but when Dilbert's life is actually in danger, Dogbert will act. As Word of God says, "Dogbert will always save Dilbert."
  • In Krazy Kat, Ignatz has shown numerous times that he really does care about Krazy; now and then, he even tries to help the Kat out (only to have his intentions misinterpreted by the ever-vigilant Officer Pupp).
  • Stone Soup has Holly and Alix. They get on each other's nerves all of the time, but they really do care about each other. For example, in June 1998, the sisters, when they are supposed to be watching their cousin Max, get distracted at the park, so he wanders off and winds up at a donut shop near-by. Val initially only grounds Holly, the older one, for it, but then Alix asks to get the same punishment because she was also partially responsible for what happened and thinks it's unfair for Holly to take all of the blame.
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    Films — Animation 
  • In The Incredibles, siblings Violet and Dash bicker with each other every chance they get, but when either of them is in danger, they get very protective of each other.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Kung Fu Hustle, the ferocious landlady and her cowardly husband, who have been squabbling for the entire first part of the movie (she even throws him out the window and hits him in the head with a flower pot), band together to defend the neighborhood from the Axe Gang, fight the Beast, and nurse the movie's hero back to health. They also had a brief dance together... before resuming their usual henpecking roles.
  • Ball and Chain — Sunil Malhotra's and Lisa Ray's characters are forced into an engagement by their parents. They do all they can to sabotage the relationship, which is cool until realize they may have feelings for each other. By this time, Lisa Ray's character is engaged to someone else.
  • In Blindness, the Japanese couple seem to be incredibly strained after they become blind, to the point of her rejecting him completely. But after a while they reconcile. The same goes for the Doctor and his wife, who is sickened and humiliated with how she cares for him now like he was a baby rather than her husband, but ultimately they prove to still care for each other.
  • For all his selfishness and scheming, you've got to "Awww" at the look on Jack's face when Will gets stabbed in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.
  • Star Trek III: The Search for Spock:
    • Even though they've been estranged for most of their lives, Sarek spends most of the film desperately trying to do right by Spock. Then, at the end, when the Vulcan priestess questions the logic of performing an all-but-forgotten procedure to reunite Spock's katra with his reanimated body, Sarek openly states, in front of multiple Vulcans, that "my logic is uncertain where my son is concerned". From a Vulcan, that's a massive admission.
    • McCoy too. While they're transporting Spock's body to Vulcan, he admits that he's missed Spock and that he doesn't think he could bear to lose him a second time. Shortly thereafter, he agrees to risk his own life for Spock's sake.
  • Building on the previous film, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home has several of these for Sarek and Spock.
    • First off, we have Sarek coming to the Federation Council to speak on behalf of Kirk and the others. It's never explicitly stated, but it's fairly clear that at least part of his reason for doing so is the fact that those actions brought Spock back to him.
    • After the court-martial, Spock and Sarek have a conversation that's practically brimming with this trope.
      Sarek: I am returning to Vulcan within the hour. I would like to take my leave of you.
      Spock: It was most kind of you to make this effort.
      Sarek: It was not an effort. You are my son. Besides, I am most impressed with your performance in this crisis.
      Spock: Most kind.
      Sarek: As I recall, I opposed your enlistment in Starfleet. It is possible that judgment was incorrect. Your associates are people of good character.
      Spock: They are my friends.
      Sarek: Yes, of course.
  • Star Wars:
    • Han Solo and Princess Leia might have moments like these only under threat of carbonite freezing, death by stormtrooper, or in post-I-can't-believe-we-survived-that-elation, but they do have them.
    • C-3PO and R2-D2 even have a moment in A New Hope. After blowing up the Death Star, the team pulls R2 out of the X-Wing in disrepair. 3PO is in a panic, begging the others to fix the droid and even offering to donate any of his own parts to help with the repairs.
  • Steps Trodden Black: Despite the two bickering for the first half of the movie, Alex is genuinely worried when Jack's whereabouts are unknown and there's a monster on the loose.
  • Bud and Lindsay Brigman from The Abyss. At the start of the movie they're in the middle of a very bitter divorce, but a few near-death experiences remind them that they still do, in fact, love each other, to the point of being willing to die for one another.
  • GoldenEye provides a non-romantic example between M and 007. Despite delivering a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to James Bond and even saying she has no problem sending him to his death as long as it was worthwhile, M's farewell to him is:
    M: Bond?
    Bond: (turns around to look at her)
    M: (tries to hide a smile) Come back alive.
    Bond: (smiles warmly at her)
  • Into the Storm (2009) shows Clemmie and Winston bicker a lot, but they have their sweet moments too.
  • In the remake of The Stepford Wives Walter and Joanna clearly have a difficult marriage, but both gradually learn compromise and in the end, Walter doesn't get a Stepford wife, which in this movie means brainwashing his wife into a servile domestic servant, and proceeds to help Joanna put a stop to their scheme, and Joanna in return protects Walter from Mike. At the end, nothing is really perfect, but it is real.
  • In Casper Meets Wendy, the title characters don't exactly have the most supportive families. The Ghostly Trio and Wendy's aunts pretty much bully and restrict the kids, respectively, but when Casper and Wendy end up in trouble from Desmond Spellman and about to be trapped in the Mystic Abyss, neither the witches nor the ghosts hesitate to save them.
  • The Love of Siam. When Tong's mother forbids Tong from seeing Mew, he simply brushed her off and went to search for Mew. Unfortunately, the two boys don't get together in the end. However, the movie do end with a bittersweet ending with Tong confessing his love for him. Furthermore, there's many foreshadowing that they will get together in the future.
  • As much as Katniss Everdeen bickers with Haymitch and as angry as she is with him in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, they still have moments that show how much they've grown to care about one another. For example, it's his arms she cries in over Peeta's torture.
  • In Life With Father, Clarence Sr. and Vinnie are always arguing over the finances or houseguests or church, but when Vinnie's illness takes a turn for the worse, the workaholic Clarence leaves the office in the middle of the day and takes a cab home (after railing several times about how much he hates cabs) to be at her side.

    Music 
  • Voltaire's song "Stuck With You".
  • The Parlotones (a South African rock band) portrays this in their music video for Push Me to the Floor, in which the married couple spend the entire video getting back and sabotaging at each other in every possible way...and at the end start getting frisky and about to have sex on a billiards table .
  • The final song of The Simpsons Sing the Blues, "Sibling Rivalry," ends with a quiet a capella refrain about Bart and Lisa's fractious relationship, but afterward oh, you can hear Bart mutter "Let go of my hand, Lisa."
  • Depending on your interpretation, either played straight or deconstructed in The Pogues' "Fairytale Of New York".
  • Darkly subverted/deconstructed by the Mountain Goats song "Oceanographer's Choice". The bickering couple getting back together in the end is depicted as them being too dangerously codependent and screwed up to get out of their mutually abusive and destructive relationship.
  • Reel Big Fish's "I Know You Too Well To Like You Anymore" is a duet where each singer spends the time insulting one another, but ends with them ultimately admitting they love each other, concluding with "Oh well."

    Podcasts 
  • A platonic example from the main trio of Wooden Overcoats. Twins Rudyard and Antigone are usually at each other's throats, and can barely stand to be in the same room as each other, while Georgie, though very loyal, doesn't hesitate to snark at them both (though she is likely to be nicer to Antigone). However, it's clear Rudyard and Antigone do love each other, and will even occasionally admit it. (One of the most touching moments of the whole series is Antigone begrudgingly telling her brother, "I don't actually hate you. Keep your chin up.") They both admit they can't function without Georgie, who, in turn, can't imagine life without them. Even when she temporarily quits Funn Funerals and gets a nice, stable job with the mayor's office, she can't stand being away from them for longer than day.

    Radio 
  • Almost the entire point of The Bickersons — John and Blanche may constantly fight with each other, but there's no doubt that neither one would ever consider a divorce.
  • Damien and Anthony in In and Out of the Kitchen — they bicker all the time, but are obviously in love.

    Theatre 
  • Walter and Marion spend almost all of Don't Drink the Water bickering like the old married couple they are...until Marion starts to cry with worry over their escape plan. Walter finally calms his brash demeanor to comfort her and the two remember their first few dates together.
  • In Fiddler on the Roof, Golde and Tevye get their moment after seeing their first two daughters marry for love. Up until now all we've seen is Golde harassing Tevye and Tevye evading her. In a charming duet they consider the fact that theirs was an Arranged Marriage and they'd never met until they were reciting their wedding vows. After evading for awhile Golde finally admits that yes, she does love him and he responds in kind. If done well, these two can outshine all the young couples as the cutest in the show.
  • In Fools, a curse not only makes most of the characters stupid but also prevents them from falling in love. Once the curse is broken, the parents of The Ingenue, Sophia, Lenya and Nikolai realize they've always loved each other
  • Nathan and Richard have a scene or two like this in Thrill Me—generally speaking, Richard tries to deny he could possibly care about anyone, but he does genuinely like (and need) Nathan.
    Richard: [reluctantly] ...I...I screw up without you.
    Nathan: What?
    Richard: I screw up without you, okay!
    Nathan: ...You never said you needed me before.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Grisaia no Rakuen, Makina spends pretty much the entire story mocking and abusing Michiru as a flanderization of her previous mildly annoying behavior. She considers Michiru to be one of her best friends, but rarely shows that. However, in the afterstory, Michiru is incredibly upset and frustrated about getting pregnant which the other girls consider to be a good thing. When they see Michiru is upset, however, they instantly cut out the jokes and spend a few minutes assuring her everything is going to be okay.
  • As one of the Valkyrie, Wildfire has spent all her life seeing men as lust objects in War: 13th Day, but when Brooks attempts to rape Chase, the player can have her put a stop to it. In the same scene, Chase reveals that he didn't fight back against Brooks because he knows she is Wildfire's best friend.
  • In Shall We Date?: Obey Me!, Mammon is constantly picked on and belittled by his brothers for being a greedy and "scummy" demon. In one of his side stories, he runs away after they assume he was trying to steal Beelzebub's wallet. When he doesn't return after a few days, his brothers become concerned and a couple promise to go looking for him. When they find out that he has returned, they and he are glad to see each other.

    Web Animation 
  • In one episode of Red vs. Blue:
    Church: From now on, if anybody makes my girlfriend cranky and psychotic, it's gonna be me!
    Tex: Aw, that's sweet.
    Church: Shut up, bitch.
    Tex: Asshole.
  • DSBT InsaniT: Alex and Seth value each other as good friends, even though they seem to always be at each others throats, which is revealed in 'Beach Brawl'. Koden even jokingly teases them about it.
  • Louie stands up for Dewey and Huey in Ducktalez 4, when Buzzkill is about to kill them, because they're Louie's brothers despite the crap they give Louie.
  • A platonic version in If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device, between father and son. After the Emperor mocks and denigrates his son Rogal Dorn just one too many times, specifically asking why he didn't go on some extreme long-shot adventure into the Warp like so many of his other brothers, Rogal has this to say:
    Rogal Dorn: While the rest of my brothers are being lost in the Warp, I came to Terra to keep our rambling, paraplegic father company. Because I love him more than any other.
    The Emperor of Mankind: ... Damn, Rogal. You are lucky I find salty and sweet to go nicely together.
  • RWBY: Emerald and Mercury, Cinder's minions, constantly snipe at each other and have even gotten into serious fights where they insist they hate each other. However, whenever anyone else antagonizes them in any way, they immediately close ranks and defend each other. This is most obvious in the volume 6 episode "Lost," where they have an argument that turns into an actual physical fight, but when Tyrian shows up they immediately stop and confront him together.

    Web Original 
  • In There Will Be Brawl, Captain Falcon and Pit's relationship can be borderline abusive sometimes. But when someone else threatens to hurt Pit...
    Captain Falcon: I may have held mercy for you before. But there is only one fist that can bruise the face of my angel. FALCONNNNNNNN PUNCH!
  • In Plague and Treachery on the Oregon Trail, Cyrus goes psychotic when he finds out the sheer number of how many men his wife has slept with behind his back, and she ends up doing a running away to live in the wilderness, only for them to realize they really do care for each other, and will start their lives over together in Oregon.
  • While calling it "love" would be a stretch, The Nostalgia Chick and The Nostalgia Critic tend to have a few sweetly (if slightly freakish) affectionate moments amidst their Foe Yay.
    Nostalgia Chick (To the Critic in a fond, affectionate voice): You stupid sack of shit.
  • The Cry of Mann: The Mann children. Quirky as they may be, and all clashing over the course of the story due to their personal struggles, they do sincerely love each other. Being told Jouglat was dead snapped Jack out of his "Jack Prime" state, leading to an emotional monologue where Jack expressed his sincere love for his brother. In the same scene, Berry was struggling to keep everyone respectful during the ceremony, and was incredibly worried during Jack's outburst, telling him that he's not a buff monster, but a sweet boy who paints sweet trains. Jouglat even admitted that Jacks "alright".
  • Le Donjon de Naheulbeuk: The Dwarf really doesn't like the Elf. Even though he constantly berates and mocks her, this doesn't stop him from perving over her with the other males when she decides to go bathing in the nude. Played more poignantly when the Elf dies later on in the story, and the Dwarf, the swearing grumpy old git who started an argument with her literally three seconds after meeting her, is utterly heartbroken.

    Real Life 
  • Admit it, even YOU have had this relationship with someone. Whether it be your siblings, family members, or significant other.
  • Even the meanest, grumpiest male crocodile would soften up if you pair him with a female...unless one of them ate the other for dinner instead. In nature, male and female often only show interest in each other in that way at mating time; the rest of the time, it's just another rival/potential meal.
  • Dogs; if you own two or more, you'll often see them badgering each other, swiping their toys, chasing one another around and generally harassing one another back and forth. But if one is sick or injured, the others will stick by him or her and comfort them until they get better.
  • Cats as well, to a lesser extent. Most companion cats (who live together but may or may not be related by blood) spend a fair chunk of their time fighting, but it's all for play and they'll often slip into social grooming shortly thereafter. And God help you if a door stands between a sick cat and her mother. Momma doesn't care that her baby is full grown now — she will make damn sure you let her in that room to look after her baby.
  • Neil Young has had this relationship with Stephen Stills since they were in the Buffalo Springfield. Their arguments are the stuff of legend in the rock music world. Yet they deeply respect each other's musicianship, frequently announce that they love each other as brothers, and Stephen named his youngest son Oliver Ragland, a name in Neil's maternal family.
  • Although The Beatles disbanded in bitter acrimony, each of them eventually patched up their differences. This included even John Lennon in the early 70s, at a time when the band had recently broken up and Paul and John were still supposed to be at each other's throats. A fan encountered John strolling around Greenwich Village with an "I Love Paul" button from the days of Beatlemania. Wondering if he was making some kind of ironic statement, the fan asked him why he was wearing it—to which John replied, without missing a beat and without a trace of sarcasm, "Because I love Paul."

Alternative Title(s): They Really Do Love Each Other

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