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Badass and Child Duo

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If you want the boy, you gotta go through him. Good luck with that.

The Badass and Child Duo occurs when a badass takes it upon themselves, out of goodness, interest, or circumstances beyond their control, to protect an orphaned, unrelated young kid.

The Badass and Child Duo is made up of two parts:

  • The Badass is a jaded, magnificent strong silent type, and very often male Anti-Hero with a Dark and Troubled Past, age anywhere between their mid-twenties to mid-forties. They will generally be a Jerkass or very serious and stoic in personality. Even if they have a more sensitive side, they will not talk about their emotions, their past or what bothers them if they can help it. They are brutally practical and Street Smart, cynical, but they will still hold the hope for a more idealistic world somewhere in their heart, even if on the surface they deny its existence. In combat they are always a veteran and they will be a One-Man Army, usually well known in-universe, often with a badass nickname to match. Easily able to mow down dozens of Mooks, one after another without too much effort, their dangerous reputation is sometimes the cause of half the problems the two face, as at least some of their opponents will be there to defeat them, rather than snatch away the child they're protecting. The Badass often sees the child as a Morality Pet, as a way to atone for his past, or as a Replacement Goldfish for a deceased child that they've lost. It's not uncommon for him to perform a Heroic Sacrifice in order to protect the child.

  • The Child is a Hero, who is very often female, some age between infant and preteen, who has been orphaned in the dangerous world these two very different people are trying to survive in. Either the child's proximity to the Badass will constantly bring them into dangerous situations, or the Child themself is valuable for some other reason and will have one or more organizations vying to attain them, usually to exploit them in some way that is immoral. It is not uncommon for the child to be supernatural or otherwise special in some way to justify this. If very young the child may not have much of an actual personality, but if a little older they will usually be The Pollyanna, with a smile on their face despite their circumstances. They will trust the Badass completely and insist upon his goodness even with complete knowledge, and sometimes even acceptance or approval, of the violence they have done to protect them. The Child will at least begin as a Non-Action Kid, on the sidelines, not involved in battles at all, perhaps not even present if the badass can find a safe place to stow them for the length of it, though it's also not uncommon for them to develop powers or abilities as they remain in contact with The Badass, especially if they are older, which allows them to participate in combat. The Badass and The Child are nearly always Walking the Earth, either trying to defeat whatever organization is after The Child, to get out of whatever horrible place they are in, or to carry out some revenge.

If they are not the main characters, their meeting will have taken place off-screen before the story even started. If main characters, their meeting will take place very early in the story, and their relationship will develop almost instantly into a Promotion to Parent Papa Wolf (or Mama Bear if the Badass is female) or Big Brother Instinct and an adopted child/sibling. Assuming heterogeneous genders, if the child is a little older (neonate-age) the child may develop a Precocious Crush which is usually not returned (although in the future it may be).

Gender inverted versions and same-gendered version occur, but the pure version is the most common. This is probably because of their effectiveness at being foils of one another. Women and girls are generally expected to be physically weaker and "purer" than men and boys, and as a youth or child, the vulnerability given off to the audience is enhanced. This juxtaposed with the adult, physically strong man who is in some way broken by his dark past of terrible sins, is a potent contrast.

Please don't mistake this trope for Papa Wolf or Mama Bear. To see the differences, please refer to the Analysis page.

Compare Papa Wolf, Promotion to Parent, Morality Pet, Shoulder Teammate, Little Guy, Big Buddy and Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl. Also is a type of Odd Couple. If the show primarily focuses on the badass hero actually looking after the child then it's a child care and babysitting story.

Not to be confused with Badass and Baby, when a hero fights while holding a baby, usually to underscore how badass and heroic he is.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Gender Flipped in The Arms Peddler, with Garami the Action Girl and Sona, who works for her until he pays off his life-debt.
  • This trope is the entire concept of Beelzebub. The Badass is an egotistical, comically cruel, stupid, insanely powerful troublemaker, often regarded as the strongest delinquent in a school with a 120% delinquency rate. The Child is a demon, but not just a demon, he's the prince of hell himself, and must be raised by a human in order to destroy all humanity. Doesn't really seem to make sense when you think about it, but that's probably because the Demon Lord who thought of it has a few screws loose.
  • Berserk gets a lot of mileage out of this trope:
    • Guts is a grizzled and stoic badass, who failed to protect someone before and is out for revenge. Jill in the Lost Children Chapter is an early adolescent in constant danger whose parents, while living, cannot or will not protect her. Jill follows him around as he goes to hunt Rosine, her childhood friend-turned-monster. Even though he tries to scare her away for her own safety, she trusts him completely and stubbornly believes in his inner goodness.
    • Since he parted ways with Jill, he had a similar dynamic with Casca, who although not a child had regressed to a broken state of mind as a result of her Eclipse (and Femto) induced trauma. He had to constantly protect her from wandering off, and like Jill she functioned as his Morality Pet before the Beast of Darkness put a rift between them and he was joined by other companions to help him care for her.
    • In the camp of Griffith's new Band of the Hawk, Sonia would like to have this kind of relationship with Griffith, but of late, seems to have developed it with an Apostle named Irvine.
  • Bleach:
    • Has the pair of Kenpachi Zaraki, who found the baby-aged Yachiru Kusajishi when he was a nameless murderer in the most lawless, dangerous areas of Rukongai, and took her in. Yachiru is rather unusual for a child of this type of duo, since during the story's present day, at a (seeming) age of about eight, she's become a Killer Rabbit and is well on her way to becoming at least as badass as Kenpachi. Turns out that Yachiru is actually Kenpachi's zanpakuto's manifestation.
    • Ichigo looked after Nel throughout the Arrancar arc. This paid off when it turned out she was an amnesiac former Arrancar stuck in Sleep-Mode Size.
    • The Sword Beasts arc had Hisagi's sociopathic (to the point that it was still trying to kill him after despite no longer being controlled by the previous arc's Big Bad) zanpakuto Kazeshini looking after a child whose father was killed in an attack. The experience leads him to surrender to Hisagi.
  • Blood Alone has Kuroe, a badass Vampire Hunter who has taken in neonate Misaki, an unawakened vampire girl whose vampire hunter parents were killed by vampires who then turned her. He is trying to keep her human personality to stay as long as possible, protecting her from her vampire-self and other dangers as best he can out of guilt and devotion. She has a precocious crush on him, but he is either Oblivious to Love or Obfuscating Stupidity on the matter.
  • In The Boy and the Beast, after Kumatetsu befriends Kyuta, they fit into a same-sex version of this when Kyuta is just a kid.
  • In the Manga and Anime adaptation of Cagaster of an Insect Cage, the protagonists are Kidow and Illi. Kidow fits the badass role as an Exterminator of the giant Killer Insects that dominate the Earth that used to be people. Illi is a genetically modified human that shares DNA with the giant killer insects and was born to be a queen to the Cagasters, controlling the Cagasters means controlling the world and who is and isn't bug food.
  • Candy & Cigarettes plays with this. Although Hiraga is capable of holding his own, it's the little girl Miharu who's the chief hitman and pulls the trigger most of the time.
  • Twisted and subverted in A Certain Magical Index: Accelerator and his Morality Pet Last Order. Twisted because Accelerator is a teenager only a few years older than her. Subverted because while he's undeniably badass, his brain injury means he can't use his power without her assistance.
  • A rare gender inverted example, from Claymore, Claire who is a claymore who protects a tweenage boy named Raki. It is later revealed that Claire herself was protected by Teresa of the Faint Smile, in the same way in a same-gendered example.
  • Darker than Black Season 2: Hei and Suou definitely qualify, simply because while Suou is a Contractor, she got only a minor prize in the Superpower Lottery. Hei is definitely a lot more badass, able to do much butt-kicking even against big winners of said Superpower Lottery even after getting depowered quite early in the season.
  • In Dororo, the title character and protagonist Hyakkimaru form this relationship. Hyakkimaru is the battle-hardened badass swordsman, while Dororo is the spunky and determined child that travels with him.
  • El Cazador de la Bruja has two such duos: one is the main couple, Nadie and Ellis (at least until the latter learns to use her magic effectively); the other is Ricardo and Lirio, whose similarities to Lone Wolf and Cub are lampshaded early on. First is a same gendered pairing, the second is a pure example.
  • Fate/strange fake teams the ungodly powerful Gilgamesh up with a 12-year-old Master, Tine. It then goes to point out that Gilgamesh is surprisingly compatible with children in general — not because they provoke some sort of fatherly instinct in him, but because only children are capable of completely buying into his self-aggrandizing nonsense for very long.
  • The majority of Fist of the North Star features a Badass and Child trio consisting of Kenshiro, Bat, and Rin. Following the Time Skip after Raoh's death, Kenshiro briefly forms one with Asuka ("brief" as in "for a single scene") and later with Ryu following Kaioh & Hyo's deaths, as Rin and Bat have grown up to become badasses of their own.
  • Gunslinger Girl is built on this, with each male handler — a military, police, or intelligence veteran of Italy's mafia and terrorist wars — assigned to the management and instruction of a female cyborg Child Soldier. Given the fighting levels of each pair, this is a subversion.
  • Van and Wendy fill this in GUN×SWORD, with their mission to hunt down the Man With the Claw who killed his wife, and her missing brother respectively. Turns out those two are traveling together.
  • For a brief period in High School D×D, Issei and Kunou fulfilled this trope when they were separated from the rest of the group in Volume 9.
  • In the 2019 reboot of Humanoid Monster Bem there is Val Titan and Harazy who are on the run because Val stole Harazy from a lab where she was getting dangerous expirements done involving her witch-like powers. Val acts as the father figure to Harazy while they maintain low profile as circus performers giving the illusion Val is the one with supernatural abilities.
  • Inuyasha: Sesshoumaru and Rin fit this trope to perfection. She is the orphaned, troubled young human girl who approaches the wounded taiyoukai with a smile. He is the taciturn, Handicapped Badass Aloof Big Brother who acts like he barely tolerates her presence. Yet he's willing to literally storm Hell itself to rescue her.
  • K has the Red King Mikoto, and his (more or less) adoptive daughter/little sister Anna, whom he's rarely seen without.
  • Lone Wolf and Cub is probably the Ur-Example, though the child in this case is the Badass's baby son.
  • Mazinger Z: Kouji Kabuto and his little brother Shiro. Since their parents' death — supposed death in the case of their father — he had been playing Parental Substitute for Shiro, even if their grandfather was their guardian. After their grandfather's murder, Shiro was the only family Kouji had left and vice-versa (as far as they knew). And even if they often drive each other crazy (due to Shiro using common sense to explain his brother the stunt he tried to pull was dumb, or Kouji making something stupid or being a jerk), if you want to get Shiro, you WILL have to go through Kouji first. A Hot-Blooded badass perfectly capable to hold his own on a fight and pilots a Humongous Mecha. Get your will ready only in case.
  • The leads of Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit are a Gender Flipped variant, with 30-something badass Balsa and the young prince Chagum whom she's hired to protect.
    • Balsa as a child with Jiguro, as seen in flashbacks, also counts as this trope.
  • Naruto has Zabuza and Haku. Haku's mother was killed by his own father and fellow villagers after learning that the woman and child he supposedly loved were inheritors of a bloodline limit that was used extensively in the previous Ninja War. Orphaned and alone, Zabuza picked up Haku for his special powers. The two became a murderous duo, with Haku willingly becoming Zabuza's "tool" to serve his purposes. Though Haku made it a part of his character never to kill anyone outright, preferring to incapacitate them instead. In the end, when Haku sacrificed his life to save Zabuza, Naruto caused the ex-Mist ninja to admit that yes, he did have a soft spot for the poor kid. Zabuza then ends up doing a Heel–Face Turn just minutes before death.
  • Panzer World Galient: Asbeth and Jordy. The former is a loyal, veteran knight and badass swordsman, and the latter is his surrogate grandson and prince, as well as a badass in training and a mecha pilot.
  • There was a Pokémon: The Original Series episode that paired the Hellhound-inspired Pokémon Houndoom with Misty's little Togepi.
  • Subverted in The Prince of Tennis. You'd swear that Taichi Dan and Jin Akutsu are a teenaged, same-gender version... but their actual age difference is only of 2/3 years. (Dan is 12-13, Akutsu is 15)
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, it is ultimately revealed that Homura and Madoka have a fundamentally similar dynamic, though Homura is more subtle (and oblique) than most in her efforts at protection.
  • Ringing Bell revolves around a lamb becoming a wolf's apprentice after he kills his mother. Eventually Chirin becomes a badass himself .
  • The manga The Shocking Reality of A Loan Shark Collecting Money by Pageratta has the eponymous loan shark find himself taking care of his debtor's neglected daughter, and in an alternate ending adopting her.
  • Shut Hell has badass antihero Harabal and young orphan girl Melumi working together near the end of the story. They meet when she tries to snipe him with fire arrows, after being left to fend for herself after various earlier plot events.
  • Somali and the Forest Spirit: The dying Golem travels with the human child Somali to find any remaining humans in a world where Monsters dominated by hunting, killing, and eating humans who hated anything they found that wasn't a human. But there is a time limit on how long before the Golem stops working altogether.
  • Soul Eater has a Badass Normal Samurai named Mifune who loves children and protects a child witch named Angela and in the manga, he pays for it with his life.
  • Sword of the Stranger has a same-gender version with nameless Ronin Nanashi who goes through hell and back to save a little boy named Kotaro who is wanted by the Chinese emperor because some prophecy says his blood can make him immortal. Whether he lives through it is left unknown, as at the end he was alive but dying in a race to get medical help.
  • The Terrifying Hitman and the Little Girl by Rimukoro (the creator of The Helpful Fox Senko-san) has this as its premise, with a grizzled hitman taking in an orphaned girl he rescues from one of his jobs. Eventually he starts training her in self-defense, and she even joins her "papa" on a mission or two.
  • Until Death Do Us Part features badass blind samurai Mamoru Hijikata protecting the neonate Haruka who is wanted by an evil organization who killed her parents to obtain her power to see the future. She has a crush on Mamoru, and has seen that in the future they will be married. She really wants that prediction to come true.
  • A couple examples in Vagabond.
    • It is zig zagged with main character Miyamoto Musashi and his disciple Jotaro. At first Jotaro greatly admires Musashi and wants to become his disciple, but Musashi doesn't want to have to take care of a kid. He softens up though, but doesn't get to teach Jotaro much before he denounces Musashi after he ran from a fight. Jotaro is quick to forgive him though, and they continue on their journey until Musashi decides to leave him behind with the Yagyu clan, knowing they can take better care of him.
    • A straighter example is perhaps chain and sickle wielding expert, Shishido Baiken or rather the man who killed Baiken and took his name and his kinda-sorta-pseudo-quasi-adopted daughter Rindo. An interesting twist in that Baiken, while a badass to start with, actually learned the technique of the chain and sickle from Rindo.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: No Man's Land: One interlude in the second issue features the formation of such a duo. When a mugger tries to rob an orphaned young trader, he's interrupted by an archer who offers to protect the kid in exchange for half of his trading profits. The two then walk away, talking about how the kid can use his small size to get into hard-to-reach scavenging locations.
  • Cable and Hope for about 15 years, starting out as a Badass and Baby. Which gave us the rare spectacle of a grizzled middle-aged warrior winning a brutal gun battle, then changing his partner's nappy.
  • Johnny the Homicidal Maniac gives us Johnny and his little neighbor Todd "Squee" Castil, though Johnny is neither a hero nor a cynic, and Todd is neither good nor comfortable with Johnny.
  • Judge Dredd:
    • At the end of Fall of Deadworld, Judge Fairfax takes it upon himself to protect Jess after her entire family has been murdered by the Dark Judges and their acolytes.
    • The Dead Man has the eponymous Dead Man travel across the Cursed Earth with a young boy named Yassa and his dog in order to discover what happened to him. The Dead Man is established to be a hell of a shot, which is unsurprising after The Reveal that he is, in fact, Judge Dredd.
  • The Marvel Comics character known as Nomad went through this phase in the 90's when he turned into a Vigilante Man with a baby strapped to his back. It's a long story.
  • In a Bad Future shown in Paperinik New Adventures an older Paperinik must protect Trip, the son of The Raider, from an older version of him in order to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
  • The Punisher MAX: The Mother Russia arc has Frank tasked with retrieving a little girl whose blood contains a bioengineered virus that's temporarily neutralized from a Russian missile silo. One of the soldiers sent to stop Frank has him on the ropes before making the mistake of hitting the girl right under Frank's eyes.
    • When it turns out the plan was to save the virus at the cost of killing the girl Frank makes it clear the cabal of U.S. generals behind the whole thing isn't getting the virus. The platoon of soldiers ordered to shoot Frank is already hesitant to do so, but put down their weapons when Nick Fury makes it clear he's with Frank on this one.
  • The Savage Dragon had elements of this when he had an adopted daughter.
  • Jepperd and Gus from Sweet Tooth — Jepperd's a violent former hockey player in the post-apocalyptic future, a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who befriend the mutant boy Gus, promising to take him safely to a preserve for human-animal hybrids.
  • Usagi Yojimbo has an incredibly creepy version with Jei and his young ward Keiko, who started following Jei around after he killed the bandits who murdered her grandfather. The fact that Jei is a murderous demon who leaves a trail of corpses everywhere he goes seems to bother Keiko not at all — those people were evil, after all, and he does protect her.

    Fan Works 
  • A side story of Pokémon Reset Bloodlines has Steven Stone, the regional Pokémon Champion of Hoenn, going on an adventure with Sawyer, who at the time is just a student in the Rustboro Trainer School.
  • Terroma and Ellena are this in Chapter 2 of Forum of Thrones, though they split up in the early Chapter 3.
  • An all-female example features in The Land of What Might-Have-Been when a chain of events leads to Elphaba and Dorothy being stuck together alone after being trapped in an alternate future version of Oz, Elphaba protecting Dorothy from the threat of the twisted Hellion and starting a chain of events that lead to them forgiving each other for their past interactions.
  • lie in reverse: Teen Sasuke came from right before the Fourth Shinobi War, so he has his Eternal Mangekyou Sharingan, two animal summons, and his Lightning Release techniques almost perfected, amongst other things. So he can easily overpower the Third Hokage, Danzo, Kakashi, and rampaging tailed-beasts. Preteen Sasuke is, at this point, a measly genin. A very talented one, of course, but one that doesn't hold a candle to his older self. So, with teen Sasuke protecting and training him, the two of them have this kind of dynamic.
  • The Bridge gives us Godzilla Junior, who has grown up since the 1990s as the new King of the Monsters and a resident Big Good protecting Terra and then later Equestria and Mariner Chibi Moon, an 11-year-old Canterlot Magic School student who was present when Junior helped save Canterlot from the gyaos attack. Chibi sees him admirably given her own perchant for destructive magic, seeing his benign monstrous power as a model to look to for Bad Powers, Good People. Initially put off by someone wanting to be like him, later on Junior warms up to her and realizes she's a lot like himself when he was younger, so he takes her on as an apprentice. Subversion on normal formula as Chibi's parents are alive and well, but in a different country while she's in Equestria for schooling.
  • Rise of the Dragon Child has Jarl Balgruuf enforcing this trope when he learns the legendary Dragonborn is Just a Kid without real fighting experience. So far, Harry has been paired with a housecarl, a werewolf and a real-life dragon in order to roam Skyrim and survive long enough to become a warrior.

    Film — Animation 
  • The Intergenerational Friendship of the title character of Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope Von Schweetz is the main focus of the film's story, though Van is a tough-as-they-come kid who can hold her own.
  • Next Gen is about a technophobic adolescent girl who discovers a highly advanced robot to be used in case of Robot War. However, the robot has a damaged memory unit, so as he makes memories, he has to lose more and more to avoid a breakdown.
  • The Sea Beast: The main protagonists of the film are Jacob Holland, a skilled and famed monster hunter, and Maisie Brumble, a resourceful and noble young girl.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Godzilla vs. Kong: Kong has taken in the last, orphaned Iwi Jia under his personal guard since the rest of her tribe perished amid Skull Island's destruction. The gigantic King of the Primates (who has lost his homeland in this film just as much as Jia and is the Last of His Kind too) is fiercely and directly protective of Jia, and he can mutually communicate with her through sign language, though he at first actively hides the latter from other humans out of distrust. Jia meanwhile is a young girl who trusts and believes in Kong unconditionally, and accompanies him wherever he goes throughout the film. A well-meaning Nathan thinks Jia can manipulate Kong to Team Kong's agenda once the extent of her bond with the primate is revealed.
  • I Am Legend has a rare Gender Inverted version with Anna and Ethan, a woman and young boy who are both immune to the airborne strain of The Virus. While we don't see much of her badassery, the two of them crossed from Maryland to New York, in a post-apocalyptic wasteland infested with Darkseekers.
  • The Stage To Screen adaptation of Les Misérables has this with Valjean and Cosette. It's used more here than the stage version, as there is a a scene not in the stage version where Valjean and Cosette are pursued by Javert through Paris.
  • Bruce Willis's character in Mercury Rising, who becomes the protector of a 9-year-old autistic boy who cracked one of the NSA's most difficult-to-break codes from an assassin sent by one of its creators to kill him.
  • The Night Comes for Us is about an ex-Triad Hitman with a Heart trying to keep a young girl safe from his old bosses.
  • Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Likely the inspiration for a blinded Sheldon Sands hooking up with a Mexican street kid to shoot some mooks — though we'll have to wait for a sequel to see if there's a full realisation of this trope.
  • The Professional (a.k.a. Leon) has the seemingly unstoppable hitman of a main character hooks up with Badass Adorable Mathilda to avenge the murder of her brother.
  • Prospect: Ezra and Cee become this over time, since he's a hardened prospector experienced with the local environment, while she's just a child, even if a determined one. They swap their respective roles after Cee has to improvise the amputation of Ezra's arm, rendering him mostly harmless, while she has to step up into the badass role.
  • Sadly averted in Saving Private Ryan. One of the soldiers tries to take a kid to save her from war and the parents wanted it to happen, but were ordered not to. He didn't listen, but was shot as he was taking the girl in hands.
  • Dennis Quaid's character in Savior goes to every length to protect and take care of a newborn girl.
  • Shoot 'Em Up is an example, though the child is only a baby and the Badass gets a little help from a lactating hooker.
  • Bruce Willis' character in the Sin City film protects Nancy as a child (and later when she is an adult).
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day has the eponymous robot, which we previously saw as an unstoppable nemesis in The Terminator, become the very capable protector of a young boy who is humanity's last hope against the machines from the future.
    • The backstory in Terminator Genisys, as the Guardian (aka "Pops") has raised Sarah Connor since the age of nine after her parents were killed by another Terminator. A flashback scene shows a child Sarah being carried off by the Guardian, who is also carrying an RPG-7 rocket launcher over the other shoulder. D'awwww...
  • True Grit is this, although ironically it is the child who is far more bloodthirsty than the badass.
  • Ultraviolet (2006) is another Gender Inverted example, with Violet watching over Six for the majority of the film.

  • "The Archive" and her bodyguard Kincaid from The Dresden Files. Played with the twist that Ivy, though physically a child, has the experience and magical power to curb stomp your average badass without breaking stride.
  • Though he hardly gets the chance to be with her, protecting Queen Ehlana is Sparhawk's main motivation in The Elenium, and we learn from flashbacks that he was the young princess' main confidante in an otherwise hostile court.
  • The Graceling Realm Lady Killer, Katsa, takes down fifteen men (admittedly with some help), crosses previously-thought impassable mountains and commandeers a ship taking care of the 10-year-old Princess Bitterblue.
  • Grendel-Prime to Jupiter during the Grendel: War Child story arch. Interestingly, as the child Jupiter was royalty his deceased father, Orion I, actually created the cyborg Grendel-Prime to specifically play this role, kidnapping the boy so that he could be raised in an environment free of political influence, privilege, and the threat of assassination.
  • A Harvest of War's protagonist Rhona thinks nothing of bringing her toddler daughter Brianna very close to dangerous situations. Downplayed in that Brianna is always kept out of the fighting.
  • Jean Valjean and Cosette in Les Misérables — except that in this case the badass is not really a cynic.
  • The Morbidly Obese Ninja is about the powerful ninja Basu and his attempts to bring Oki, an Artificial Human in the form of a small child, to his corporate masters and protect him from their competitors. In the end, he decides not to turn Oki over to his employers either, and they head for freedom together.
  • Pact has Blake Thorburn and Evan Matthieu, a diabolist and an Undead Child, who team up after Blake saves Evan's ghost from the monster that killed him in the first place. Evan is symbolic of the sort of good that Blake wants to do as a Small Steps Hero, and becomes Blake's Familiar, gaining the ability to turn into a bird.
  • Thrugg and Dumble from Salamandastron qualify as this, although Dumble can be pretty badass himself, for his age.
  • Essentially the entirety of The Road, in which a man treks southwards with his young son in tow. For a post-apocalyptic novel, some of the interaction between them can be pretty heartwarming.
  • Romance of the Three Kingdoms has a famous chapter where Zhao Yun goes through the fire and brimstone of the Wei army just to save the child of Liu Bei. They make it out, too.
  • The second book of The Witchlands briefly plays this out when One-Man Army Aeduen takes it upon himself to rescue a little girl, Owl, from a warzone. Of course, it turns out that Owl can summon earthquakes at will and has a pet dragon-by-any-other-name, so jury's out on who's the badass in the relationship.
  • In Elizabeth Moon's "The Legacy of Paksennarion" series Arvid Semisson, a debonair, worldly, clever, and skilled Thieves' Guild enforcer and assassin, becomes this after he rescues a little orphan boy who was being abused the way he himself was as a child, and then finds out that the child has the same first name as him. This raises questions about whether or not the boy is his biologically. The question is never officially answered, but they unofficially adopt each other.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes "Bargaining", the antihero Spike and the freshly un-Keyed Dawn are placed together.
  • Halfway through Season 3 of Game of Thrones Sandor Clegane (aka "The Hound") kidnaps Tomboy Princess Arya Stark for ransom, and their unwilling partnership continues in Season 4. However the "child" role is subverted as Arya is far from a helpless innocent, verging on Creepy Child in her obsession with revenge; her association with the brutal Hound only sets her further on a dark path.
  • The First-Episode Twist of The Mandalorian is that the target the eponymous Mandalorian's been hired to retrieve is an infant. After realizing his employer probably doesn't have the kid's best interests at heart, he takes it upon himself to look after it, even as other bounty hunters are placed on their trail. By the end of the first season, the Mandalorian has been charged to be the child's foster father for the time being by an authority figure in his culture. As for why people are hiring hunters to capture and/or kill the child, it's the same species as Yoda and very strong in the Force.
  • Person of Interest:
    • The episode "Wolf and Cub" has the POI be a kid who's determined to get revenge on the gangbangers who murdered his elder brother. Realising he's not going to be put off, Reese takes him under his wing while he sets up a Batman Gambit to bring down the villains. The kid's a fan of comics and samurai films, so the trope gets lampshaded at the end when he draws a cartoon of him and Reese as a Badass and Child Duo.
      Reese: I always wanted a sidekick.
    • In "Razgovor," the POI is a 10-year-old Russian girl who's being targeted by assassins because she's spying on the Russian mob. Shaw ends up going on the run with her to keep her safe.
  • An episode of Stargate Atlantis revolves around such a duo. Doctor Keller is kidnapped by a runner (a strong human warrior who is implanted with a tracking beacon and released so the Wraith can hone their hunting skills) to treat a young girl in his care. He later reveals that he stopped briefly in the girl's village which brought the Wraith who then slaughtered them all. Since he blamed himself for the carnage, he took it upon himself to save and protect her.

  • In Team Starkid's musical Starship, Up and Taz fit this Trope. We're given a list of times when Up has saved her (that was tough!), and at one point he goes so far as to let the giant mosquitos that were sucking her dry drink his blood instead. In case there was any doubt of his badassness, he kills the mosquitos by making his heart beat so fast that they explode from the extra pressure.

    Video Games 
  • Arknights: The Survival Notorization chapter of the Operational Intelligence event depicts Executor Federico of the Laterano Notarial Hall escorting a young huntress named Vermeil to Rhodes Island for her Oripathy treatment. Given Executor's status as a Terminator Impersonator, his relationship with Vermeil is similar to that of John Connor and the T-800 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
  • The BioShock games have this in various forms. The Big Daddies and the Little Sisters, Elizabeth and Booker, and Elizabeth and Songbird (though the last one is rather an abusive relationship).
  • Darkstalkers has two examples:
    • Donovan Baine, a reluctant Dhampyr who hunts other monsters, and Anita, an Emotionless Girl with psychic powers.
    • Huitzil, an ancient robot created by aliens, and Cecil, a lost little boy that was turned into Huitzil's target of protection thanks to a glitch.
  • Dead Rising 2 has Chuck Greene and his daughter Katey, a Zombie Infectee that needs a dose of Zombrex every 24 hours.
  • Dishonored features Corvo Attano, the assassin protagonist, and Emily Kaldwin, the heir to the throne. Corvo's job was to protect Emily's mother, and he failed, so he transferred his loyalty to Emily herself, who sees Corvo as a Parental Substitute for her unmentioned father. (Whether or not Corvo is actually Emily's father is left to the player.) At least, until the sequel.
  • In ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights, the game starts with the Umbral Knight escorting the helpless Lily across the ruined kingdom inhabited by the Blighted and she relies heavily on him to do the fighting on her behalf. Even as Lily gains more Spirits, the Umbral Knight is usually the first to appear to defend her.
  • Garou: Mark of the Wolves has policeman Kevin Rian, who is always accompanied by his dead partner's son, Marky.
  • Final Fantasy IV has Cecil, the Dark Knight, and Rydia, the sole surviving summoner from the village of Mist, on the run from the forces of Baron after Cecil was tricked into destroying her village.
  • One of the main themes of God of War (PS4) is Kratos protecting and training his new son, Atreus. Throughout the game, they fight through several draugrs, trolls, ancients, and are responsible for the deaths of Magni and Modi, Thor's sons The end of the game has them fight against the Stranger, Baldur together. They can also fight against the Valkyries, each one of sliding difficulty until the final one, Sigrun, who pulls no punches even on "Give Me A Story."
  • Gungrave has Beyond the Grave, the series' undead silent protagonist, and Mika Asagi, a young girl who sought his aid after the death of her parents.
  • Killzone Mercenary: the fifth level has Arran Danner, a hardened mercenary, tasked with escorting Justus Harkin, the son of the Vektan ambassador to Helghan, after the Helghast kill his parents. You escort him again in the final level since both Kratek and Benoit are trying to get their hands on him.
  • The Last of Us: An age-shifted example, with jaded late-middle-aged survivor Joel and fould-mouth teenage Ellie, making their way across the post-apocalyptic United States twenty years after a fungal Zombie Apocalypse. As fitting the trope, Ellie is The Immune, who was bitten by an Infected but didn't turn.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots features Snake and Otacon, the former of whom is one of the biggest badasses on the planet (according to the latter), serving as adoptive parents to the 6-year-old Sunny Gurlukovich, who is Olga's daughter and was snatched away from her by the Patriots soon after her birth.
  • Metro 2033 has Artyom carrying a child on his back for the duration of an Escort Mission.
  • Moonrise allows the powerful Player Character to fulfill this trope by forming a Family of Choice with Alice, a young werewolf with a Dark and Troubled Past who wants to be protected from the world's troubles.
  • Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 2 (Remake) has Badass Biker Claire Redfield and The Cutie Sherry Birkin. While not the typical gender or age layout, as the badass in question is a nineteen-year-old girl, they still fit the trope well.
  • Satsuriku no Tenshi In which Zack begrudgingly joins the young Ray on her quest for death.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog had Shadow (badass) and Maria (child), who grew up beside each other on the Space Colony ARK and became Like Brother and Sister. Maria was killed during a raid on the colony, and Shadow has been seen grieving over her heavily over the course of multiple games.
  • Tales of Berseria has this dynamic with both Velvet and Eleanor as the badass with Laphicet as the child. Velvet was the first one to take care of Laphicet while Eleanor has a contract with the latter. Both will gut their enemies if anything happens to Laphicet.
  • Tekken: Jack carries around a little girl whose parents he killed and who he subsequently adopted.
  • The Walking Dead (Telltale) has escaped convict and Badass Bookworm Lee as the badass, and the orphaned Clementine as the child. They meet when he tries to find help in her house, and she gives him a weapon to use against her zombified babysitter. A lot of players make their choices based on whether or not Clementine is present. Come Season 2, following Lee's death, Clem's become a badass herself. Depending on the ending of Season 2, Clem may end up in another of these pairings with either Kenny or Jane as well as a baby along for the ride. Season 3 has disgraced baseball player Javier Garcia surviving with his sister in-law Kate and his niece Mariana and nephew Gabe, both preteens, who he is fiercely protective of; Clementine, now thirteen, is present, and through flashbacks we see her taking care of baby AJ, and at the end of final episode she leaves to go find him after he was taken from her by David and subsequently taken in by another group. Season 4 has a 16-year-old Clementine and a 5-year-old AJ, both badasses in their own right, taking care of each other and banding together with their new group of survivor kids against The Delta.
  • The Yakuza series has consummate ex-yakuza badass Kazuma Kiryu and his adorable adoptive daughter Haruka. In the Grand Finale of Kiryu's storyline, Yakuza 6, Kiryu takes Haruka's infant son Haruto on his quest to find out what led to the accident that put Haruka in a coma.

  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja has the eponymous doctor and his young 12-year-old sidekick Gordito. Keeping with the nature of the comic, Gordito not only fights incredibly well with dual revolvers, but also GREW AN EPIC MUSTACHE ON HIS FACE THROUGH SHEER FORCE OF WILL, even before his first appearance. He also learns how to ride a velociraptor.
  • Chirault has Kiran, a demon and a Hunter of His Own Kind, paired with Teeko, a young Cat Girl. In this case, Teeko had been doing fine on her own even though she was orphaned, until a stray magic spell reduced her to a few inches in height, so Kiran has agreed for her to accompany him until they can find a mage to reverse the spell.
  • Unsounded's Duane and Sette. Subverted to some degree, as Sette is a narcissistic, violent kleptomaniac and she technically owns Duane, who is a Warrior Poet by day and a mindless zombie by night.

    Web Original 
  • Spaceships And Psychics: The stars of the Actual Play Ironsworn: Starforged campaign are Eren Finn (the Badass) and Anvil (the Child). Played with, as Anvil is a young Artificial Intelligence inside of a Cute Machine, but that doesn't stop Eren from still being such a Mama Bear that she went rogue from her Knight Templar employers to protect them instead of eliminating them for being an illegal AI, outright referring to Anvil as a child. In terms of gameplay, Anvil is a Utility Bot companion while Eren herself is a Gunslinger, relegating the former to assisting with technical know-how while the latter does all of the combat.

    Western Animation 
  • Bob's Burgers: Bob and Louise are fans of a Show Within a Show called "Hawk and Chick", a series of samurai movies about a wandering barber and his daughter who moonlight as monster hunters in feudal Japan.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: The title character and his preteen niece Jade Chan are this due to the latter's tendency to tag along in adventures. Another character, El Toro Fuerte, has a similar relationship with his biggest fan, Paco.

    Real Life 
  • The Soviet War Memorial in Treptower Park, Berlin has a statue that might have this trope written on it: a 12-m tall soldier with a huge sword in hand holding a child on his other hand. According to the Soviet Marshal Vasily Chuikov, the statue commemorates the deeds of Sergeant Nikolai Masalov, who during the final storm on the center of Berlin risked his life under heavy German machine-gun fire to rescue a 3-year-old German girl.


Video Example(s):


Man O'War & The Sea Urchin

After being imbued with the mysterious property's of Energy X, the seas gained two new champions in the form of Man O'War and The Sea Urchin!

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / CaptainFishman

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