Modern beliefs in equality between the sexes make the good old Rescue Romance trope somewhat difficult to play straight. However, there's a question in the air... what if "that male" is either hired or honor-bound to protect "that female"? That wouldn't be chauvinist at all — not only is the guy getting rewarded or paid (whether in money, benefits, rank raises, fame/reputation etc.) by his bosses or upperclassmen for taking care of the girl's safety, but it fulfills residual Knight in Shining Armor imagery without causing eyebrow raising among the fandom.
If said bodyguard is a female who takes care of a male, she can keep her romantic feelings for her ward and show off her Action Girl skills constantly, which greatly decreases the chances of her being a victim of Chickification. Finally, this provides a good way to get a Chaste or Celibate Hero, who normally wouldn't be interested in the opposite (or the same) sex, into a position where their romantic feelings can be more easily played upon.
Sweet deal... or is it? This often conflicts with the protector's sense of professionalism, especially if they're a Battle Butler or a Ninja Maid. What happens if the bodyguard and the liege's relationship goes bad? What if the conflicts distract the protector or if plans and orders coming from the bosses change...?
A Bodyguard Crush is extremely common in Lady and Knight dynamics.
Variants include the protected having his/her crush on the bodyguard first, and the bodyguard being picked for the job because one of them has a crush. If the bodyguard seeks to protect a person because he/she has a crush on them, but Cannot Spit It Out, it's a Declaration of Protection.
A subtrope of Unequal Pairing.
- Gallifrey: It definitely doesn't take much stretching of the imagination to see a bit of this between Leela and Romana in the Doctor Who spin-off audio series — interestingly enough, though, the balance of power in the relationship itself is just a touch inverted, with the higher-status Romana seeming to display more emotional investment in the relationship.
- In Y: The Last Man Agent 355 is attracted to both Allison Mann and Yorick, the two people she's charged with bodyguarding. For much of the series 355 assumes her feelings for Yorick are simply a desire to protect him, until Allison points out that's actually why 355 slept with her, and that she's always realised that 355 was in love with Yorick.
- For a while in the Batman comics, Bruce Wayne had a bodyguard named Sasha Bordeaux who fell in love with him and fell even deeper when she found out that he was Batman.
- Zauriel, from Justice League of America, was a guardian angel who had a Bodyguard Crush on the woman he was watching over, causing him to to be exiled from the Heavenly Host.
- Iron Man: Given the size of Tony Stark's ego, we could count him and his (fictional) "body guard". Then there's Bethany Cabe, Tony Stark's corporate bodyguard and love interest for a while.
- Nakia from Black Panther was this Gone Horribly Wrong. There's a reason she started calling herself Malice. It shows what happens when the Bodyguard Crush is one-sided on the bodyguard's part.
- Sin City: Subverted in the case of Ava Lord and her loyal-unto-death bodyguard Manute. Dwight interrogates him some point before the final confrontation, but Manute denies it when Dwight asserts that she must have seduced him to get his loyalty. Manute simply admires her cold-bloodedness in some manner of Admiring the Abomination.
- Slight twist in What Hath Joined Together where Flash Sentry gained an enormous crush on Princess Twilight Sparkle when he ranked as a regular Royal Guard, but then found himself assigned as her Praetorian Guard for a foreign visit. Starting a relationship would be huge challenge both due to Flash's superior having his eyes set on Twilight and the fact that Twilight ranks a few social classes above him.
- A common theme in A New World, A New Way, as MANY of the Pokemon develop (or harbor) feelings for their Trainers, which only grow stronger when said Trainers are turned into Pokemon.
- In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, Captain Tallarico's bodyguard, Ash Rose, has an obvious crush on her. They hit it off quite well, though she's sometimes distracted due to her duties.
- The relationship between Celestia and Tercio in Just Before The Dawn is one of the main plots of the story.
- Secret Dreamer centers around Severa's Bodyguard Crush on Lucina, and her inability to act on her feelings. She wryly admits to herself that in this regard, she is exactly like her mother and her father.
- Lots of it comes in the WWE story, The Return-Remixed. After DEAR made their return, attacking all the women in the ring, the Divas each got a male superstar to act as a bodyguard in case DEAR tried anything. Some couples were more successful than others.
- The Bridge:
- Bold Rush joined the Royal Guard solely because he lusts after Princess Luna and wants to sleep with her. However, he's rude, obnoxious, a fool, and a Casanova Wannabe who constantly harasses the female guards. Everyone agrees his chances of sharing Luna's bed are zero.
- Blade Dancer is assigned to guard Xenilla, even though he doesn't need a guard, and the two slowly start coming together.
- In the Xilian Empire, Controller 011 eventually married her protector Praetorian Guard 094. It ended when she was murdered by Grand King Ghidorah. Over 300 years later, 094 is now Monster X, and he and Aria Blaze start developing feelings for each other while he's protecting her and the other Sirens from Enjin.
- My Mirror, Sword and Shield:
- Invoked by Euphemia, who recommends to Lelouch that he finds a good-looking guard for himself. Euphemia herself has a romantic relationship with her personal guard, Knight of Five Albert Raleigh.
- Suzaku develops feelings for Lelouch, whom he serves as a personal bodyguard. Which heavily complicates things for Suzaku, as he's a Time Traveler trying to preserve history and he does that by making sure that Lelouch dies. It doesn't help that Lelouch returns his feelings and promotes him to make him a socially acceptable suitor.
- In Code Geass: The Prepared Rebellion, Sayoko serves as Lelouch's Ninja Maid, and has feelings for him. After C.C. informs him, he starts to reciprocate, and she eventually becomes one of his lovers.
- This is invoked in the Frozen fanfic Becoming Free. After a Career-Ending Injury leaves her unable to continue her current career, Elsa assigns her girlfriend Freya as her personal guard in order to keep her close without others talking about their relationship.
- In Zero no Tsukaima: Saito the Onmyoji, it's implied that Saito's familiars have crushes on him, and their duties include protecting him. Meanwhile, as in canon, Louise is developing a crush on Saito.
- In Waiting is worth it, Toshinori/All Might volunteered to act as protection for the Midoriya family when villains started targeting Izuku for his powerful quirk. Overtime he and Izuku's mother Inko began dating where they would eventually marry.
- Pictured above: The Bodyguard, starring Kevin Costner and the late Whitney Houston. Costner's character is the embittered ex-Secret Service agent Frank Farmer; he is tasked with protecting the pop diva Rachel Marron (played by Whitney) from an unknown stalker, and they develop feelings for each other. But they don't stay together in the end.
- Kevin wanted to do a sequel starring Princess Diana (yes, that Princess Diana) as the protectee. She declined after she found out she would have to kiss Kevin.
- The Terminator features Kyle Reese, sent back in time to protect the unborn John Connor, future leader of the Human Resistance, by protecting his not-yet mother Sarah Connor from the titular killer robot, which was itself sent back in time to kill Sarah in order to prevent John Connor from being born. In a case of predestination paradox, Kyle and Sarah fall in love, ultimately creating John Connor.
- Someone To Watch Over Me features Tom Berenger as a policeman assigned to guard witness Mimi Rogers. Of course he ends up falling for her, despite already being married.
- In King of New York, the title character's relationship with his Bodyguard Babes goes well beyond the "crush" stage in the first five minutes.
- The Princess Diaries, surprisingly, has this trope. The Queen falls in love with the guy who is introduced as the chauffer, but nearer to the end of the movie, and especially in the sequel, it's obvious that he's also a bodyguard. In fact, it's implied by certain comments in the sequel that the two have had Unresolved Sexual Tension long before the first movie.
- Mathilda has one of these on Léon in The Professional—in the uncut version, she even asks him to be her first lover, but he refuses.
- In Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, Anakin re-encounters Padme Amidala, his childhood crush now having become a full-fledged infatuation. Tasked with being Padme's bodyguard following several attempts on her life by Jango Fett and Zam Wesell, he accompanies her back to Naboo, where they become closer by the day, quickly falling in love, which is against the laws of the Jedi Order.
- Bodyguard From Beijing starring Jet Li has this happen between the protagonist, the titular soldier from China, and his charge, a Hong Kong lady. The latter was the one who made the first moves, but the former tried to be professional distanced himself from her. He Did Not Get the Girl, as he was shown going back to China (posing right in front of the Chinese flag) while the lady stays behind. It's pretty obvious her feelings were reciprocated, however.
- Chasing Liberty has this between the President's daughter Anna and her bodyguard Ben. Played with a bit, as she doesn't know that he's her bodyguard (although the audience does).
- Technically Kaz's and Noni's relationship in Beyond The Lights begins as this as he was assigned as her bodyguard on the night they meet. However, he was only filling in for another cop and his main job is as an officer of the LAPD.
- Suicide Squad (2016). An Invoked Trope by Amanda Waller. In order to gain leverage over Colonel Flagg, she assigned him to guard and watch Doctor Moone (who is posessed by Enchantress), and inevitably they fall for each other. Flagg then has to do what Waller wants — he could leave at any time, but that would mean leaving his girlfriend in the clutches of a woman he knows to be totally ruthless (that's Waller, not Enchantress).
- King Arthur's wife Guinevere and her bodyguard Lancelot share an ill-fated romance.
- Chyna, the bodyguard to Triple H and Shawn Michaels, ended crushing on and dating Triple H, till he moved on up to the boss's daughter and she ended up fired.
- Time of Nidhogg's Roderick Strong to his former enemy Jade Chung of The Embassy, after she left the group and he wound up protecting her from it.
- Shirou Emiya of Fate/stay night tends to be extremely protective of others, especially the heroine of each route. In fact, the trope seems to be the way that Shirou develops romantic feelings for anyone and will likely be seen in the Illya route if it is ever released.
- In Fate he frustrates Saber to no end by throwing himself into danger to protect her even though by the rules of the Holy Grail War she is supposed to be his bodyguard; while Saber complains repeatedly she does find his determination and chivalry charming, which makes sense as she is King Arthur and called the King of Knights for a reason.
- In Unlimited Blade Works Shirou is much more willing to let Saber do the fighting and spends most of the route trying to protect Rin Tohsaka and is seen to be quite jealous of Rin's actual bodyguard Archer, who ironically is an alternate future version of himself.
- In Heaven's Feel Shirou devotes his efforts to help save Sakura Matou even to the point that he agonizingly abandons Kiritsugu's ideal which was his main driving force in the previous routes because he cannot bring himself to harm Sakura, whom he had sworn to protect, even though she causes the deaths of numerous innocents with her curse.
- Tsukihime: Near the end of the closest to canon ending, Shiki realizes the real reason he kept agreeing to guard Arcueid and help her hunt Roa was that he loved her. He doesn't really feel responsible for the town or anything. It goes the other way too, in that Arcueid only decided not to publicly dismember him because, as she puts it, she also loved him from... well, the first moment he cut her to pieces.
- The Bodyguard Crush is the whole point of Yo-Jin-Bo, a Visual Novel Romance Game about a princess and her six bodyguards.
- Peko Pekoyama's Dangan Island ending in Super Dangan Ronpa 2 more or less reveals her to have this towards Fuyuhiko Kuzuryuu. It just makes the circumstances surrounding Chapter 2 all the more tragic, since Peko ends up executed for trying to save him through a huge and failed gambit and Fuyuhiko loses an eye in the whole deal. Fuyuhiko's final words to Peko can even be interpreted as an Anguished Declaration of Love, and she's stabbed to death while trying to shield him.
- This happens with the three love interests in Shall We Date?: Magic Sword. They are all tasked with aiding the princess in recovering the stolen Excalibur sword.
- In Dubious Company, Leeroy starts as Sal's rival and friend. He is later appointed as her bodyguard.
- Girl Genius:
- Violetta makes it clear she would kill Tarvek as soon as his life is no longer her responsibility. Hilariously, von Zinzer points out that they are fighting Like an Old Married Couple. Note that she is actually his cousin, and a Shipper on Deck for Tarvek/agatha.
- All other bodyguards in this series avert this trope just by being the same gender as the one they protect. Gil and Agatha have their bodyguards paired together.
- Inverted to humorous effect in Exiern. King Urtica appoints Princess Peonie's lover Philip to be her bodyguard after Typhan-Knee is banished, acting like he doesn't know they're together. Then Urtica palms a pair of Philip's boxers that he'd found in Peonie's room ages ago to him while shaking hands.
- Tech Infantry has Miro Creed, bodyguard for Idol Singer Priscilla Savant, and the romance between them.
- Sabastian, in The Graystone Saga, spends his time Bodyguarding a Badass with whom he's been in love for the last two decades. He mixes this up with Hopeless Suitor, which might explain why he's perpetually in a bad mood.
- The Venture Bros.
Brock: Not really, it's more like I work for him—wait a minute, no!
- Myra Brandish was Dr. Venture's former bodyguard and the possible mother of the titular brothers. In the present, she's clearly insane and breaks out of her asylum once every couple years to kidnap her sons.
- Current bodyguard Brock Samson and Dr. Venture's relationship has these vibes. It's referenced in the pilot episode, "The Terrible Secret of Turtle Bay," when Pete White argues to Billy Quizboy that "you can't tell me there's nothing going on there." Also played with in the season 1 finale, "Return to Spider-Skull Island;" when Brock isn't allowed to go with Dr. Venture to the operation room and argues, the doctor assumes they're "partners."
Doc: Thaaat's it,just like that, easy, pull back a bit, God, you're right on top of me!Brock: I can't help it, it's stiff, Doc, maybe I should lube this thing up before we take it down there.Doc: It'll be fine, it's not built for speed, it's built for deep penetration!
- Played with again in the intro to the season 3 episode "What Goes Down, Must Come Up."
- Adventure Time: Finn had a crush on Princess Bubblegum, who he's rescued on countless occasions.
- Additionally, nearly every single other princess Finn's rescued has shown an interest in him. Including Bubblegum when she was briefly the same age as him.
- Zig & Sharko: Marina's bodyguard Sharko is in love with her but unfortunately, although Marina shares his feelings for her, she also has a crush on the villain, Zig.
- In Thunder Cats 2011 young King Lion-O has an obvious crush on the (slightly older) Cheetara, the Sole Survivor of his Church Militant Praetorian Guard. Complicating matters are her necessary roles towards him as Good Shepherd and The Champion, as well as the fact that Lion-O's older brother Tygra is also Hot for Preacher. In the end... Lion-O Did Not Get the Girl, because Cheetara's romantic affections always were with Tygra.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Inverted in the Slaves of the Republic-trilogy. Miraj Scintel, the slaver queen blackmailed Anakin to act as her bodyguard because she had a crush on him, by using the captured Obi-Wan and Ahsoka as leverage. Anakin couldn't stand her (and given his background, that's understandable).
- In Steven Universe, Pearl clearly saw Rose Quartz as her "liege" and made it her purpose in life to follow and protect her. Rose was very much a Lady of War, though, and more powerful than Pearl. The trope is played much more straight with Sapphire and Ruby - before they rebelled, Ruby was briefly one of Sapphire's bodyguards, and was clearly attracted to her.
- Superman: The Animated Series. Mercy Graves shows Undying Loyalty to the man who rescued her from the gutter to become his personal chauffeur/bodyguard. When Lex Luthor abandons her to save himself in "Ghost in the Machine", she's devastated to realise he thinks of her as just another expendable minion. Justice League Unlimited drops a strong hint that they were lovers, and Lex Luthor doesn't hesitate to play on these feelings so Mercy will continue to help him despite her disillusionment with her Bad Boss.