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Fan-Preferred Couple

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"I won't marry Jo to Laurie to please anyone."
— From the journal of Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women, who has had it with the fan letters asking of her to do that.
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A lot of fans are rooting for this couple to get together. A lot. Way more than they are for any conceivable alternative. And it is not happening.

Unrelated discussions degenerate into Ship-to-Ship Combat involving them. Fan-Art of them embracing passionately is everywhere. Threads dedicated to gushing over their sweet, fluffy, legendary love and scorching hatred of anyone in the way dominate forums. Bits of trivia are cited and Word of God is creatively interpreted to show that they are going to happen. The Official Couple they're breaking up gets only three votes in fan support polls, possibly including one vote cast by a very alarmed author. They are a phenomenon shrouded in infamy.

And still yet, in spite of it all, they are not happening. Certainly not now, and probably not ever.

A subreaction of Better Than Canon. Most often the result of a Relationship Writing Fumble, or a Romantic False Lead whom the audience latched onto, but sometimes happens by design or because fandoms just make no sense. Often, but not always, involves disregarding a competing Official Couple with extreme prejudice. Can eventually lead to an Author's Saving Throw or a Writer Revolt.

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The highest aspiration of a Fan-Preferred Couple is to beat the odds and evolve into an Official Couple. This is about the only way the same couple can end up being both of these things.

    Read before adding an example 

When left alone, this page very quickly decays into its natural state of equilibrium: Everyone listing huge Walls of Text about their favorite ships. We don't want that. Here are some guidelines for what examples you put on this page and how.

  1. No listing pairings that are less popular than rival pairings. Yes, this means it's not a Fan-Preferred Couple if the Official Couple is more fan-preferred than it.
  2. No listing two different pairings with the same character in them, unless you have a very good explanation of how they can both be the most popular at the same time.
  3. Give us specifics. Saying "some fans think it should happen" gives us zero information. The Other Wiki has a lot to say about that.
  4. Keep it short and to the point. Lapsing into speculation of what in canon set this reaction off is all right, but don't give us a plot summary.


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    Fan Works 
  • Quite a few reviewers in Axis Powers Hetalia fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità prefer Itapan over Gerita. There are plenty who also like Geritapan.
  • In The Vampire Diaries story "To Build A Home", reviewers preferred Stephanie with Klaus rather than her canon love interest Jeremy. The fact that they dated in the past (despite her not remembering it) factors in.
  • Similarly, in The Jill Gilbert Saga, reviewers preferred Jill with Stefan over Tyler, whom she has long been in love with. It only recently became canon.
  • In Child of the Storm:
    • Fans have vocally called for Harry Potter×Carol Danvers, on the grounds of the considerable chemistry the two share despite their mutual insistence that they are Just Friends, over the author's original plan of Harry×Ginny. While the author has been enigmatic about the former (though his attitude has shifted from "never gonna happen" to, "All right, the Portmanteau Couple Name is cute"), the latter has been confirmed to have been removed, as part of a raft of grand scale changes to the future of the story. Eventually, Harry and Carol get together in chapter 46 of the sequel.
    • The story also manifests an example of this trope, with a strong Bucky×Natasha dynamic woven in, despite the fact that the fic as a whole is heavily based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with not even a tiny bit of Bruce×Natasha chemistry (despite it being MCU canon).
    • Relatively early on, the author created a poll out of curiosity to see who fans would prefer Harry to be with. Jean Grey won by a clear margin, with Emma Frost and Hermione Granger not far behind, tied in second place. Based on Word of God, Harry's not going to be paired with any of them — Jean Grey is his cousin and Cool Big Sis, though a letter written by a version of Harry from the future notes that she's 'disconcertingly attractive' and pretty definitely shipped with Scott Summers, Emma Frost and Harry are stated not to get on at all and the narration has on more than one occasion noted that Harry very rarely notices that Hermione is female and is 'about as attracted to her as he is to mould'.
    • A more recently released poll confirmed that Harry×Carol is the most popular possible choice, but also showed that Harry×Diana was a very close second.
  • Despite being a killer, burned dream-demon, many readers of Tainted Dreams would rather see Helyse being with Freddy Krueger than with Jonathan. AnaShadowWolf (the author) went so far as make a poll during the fic to know with whom the readers wanted to see Helyse with. Freddy won. By a large margin.
  • In Suzumiya Haruhi no Seitenkan, the gender-swapped version of Haruhi Suzumiya, will pair the canon's Kyon with his Distaff Counterpart, Kyonko. While the ship passes under the radar of fans of the regular series, it stands out that at least half the fan fics of the genderswap features Kyonko with Kyon.
  • A Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt and Naruto crossover called Angels and Ninjas has many reviewers wanting a Naruto×Stocking pairing rather than Naruto×Panty and Sasuke×Stocking note  due to the fact that Naruto and Stocking obviously have better chemistry, spend a considerable amount of time together, get along better than Naruto does with Panty and Stocking does with Sasuke and that's not even mentioning the fact they share a bed.
  • Happens In-Universe in the South of Nowhere story Romance on the Set. Spencer was originally cast as the main character Mandy's love interest, but fans of the show preferred Mandy with the Perky Goth Rachel instead.
  • Weiss Reacts: Fans wanted Ruby and Weiss to get together in Volume 1, knowing that the author was also a fan of the couple, which they end up doing, upgrading it to the Official Couple.
    • In Volume 2, Jaune and Winter are favoured by fans to get together in place of the aforementioned Weiss, Pyrrha or Minako.
  • Advice and Trust has a large and vocal fan contingent that actually quite likes the idea of Asuka and Shinji giving Rei the "Israfel Special". Doing It Right This Time and Neon Metathesis Evangelion were both written as a result of wanting to see said pairing come to fruition. (The author of Advice & Trust took this really rather well, by the way, and has in fact commented favourably on both.)
  • Some readers of Kitsune no Ken: Fist of the Fox were in favor of Naruto and Ino hooking up, due to Ino displaying the traditional Tsundere behavior in response to Naruto's put-on stupidity, but many more were in favor of the more expected Naruto×Hinata pairing. Although in-story Ino is presented as The Matchmaker and Shipper on Deck for Naruto and Hinata, the author twice saw it necessary to conductu a poll to determine which of the two pairings should win out; both times, Hinata won out over Ino. The Distant Finale has Naruto and Hinata being married, while Ino is married to Sai; however, the Ship Tease continues with Ino's daughter being hinted to like Naruto's son.
  • Despite initially being presented as a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, Lelouch's wife Abigail in ''Dauntless received enough Character Development that fans started wanting her and Lelouch to be the Official Couple rather than Lelouch×C.C. Aurora Gale found this hilarious.
  • Out of the many ships on The PreDespair Kids, one of the most beloved is between Peko and Original Character Rina Kirishima, Class 79's Ultimate Taxidermist. The latter started off as a shy, insecure girl who hated being weak, and who asked Peko to give her sword fighting lessons. Over the course of the story, both of them undergo quite a bit of Character Development, with Rina becoming much more confident in herself and Peko growing out of her own shell. It's also very clear that Rina has a crush on Peko, and Everyone Can See It aside from Peko herself.
  • In Supergirl story Hellsister Trilogy, most of readers would rather see Kara Zor-El hooking up again with her traditional Love Interest Brainiac 5 than with Dev-Em, a character who made few appearances prior to the Crisis on Infinite Earths and is rather impopular among Legion of Super-Heroes fans.
  • To Hell and Back (Arrowverse): In the earlier chapters, a number of readers suggested the possibility of Oliver×Kara or Tommy×Kara, despite Oliver already being slated to be either with Laurel or Nyssa, while Kara remained single. The author permanently sunk former by reiterating that none of the three leads (Oliver, Barry, and Kara) would be paired with each other, and sunk the latter by informing readers that, like Kara, Tommy wasn't getting paired with anyone for plot reasons.
  • Well, "fan" is a relative term, but anyone who's read Supper Smash Bros: Mishonh From God will point out the blatant subtext between Sara and her best friend Lauren, to the point that most people seem to prefer pairing them together rather than pairing Lauren with Ike and Sara with one of her numerous boyfriends. The author's repeated denial that she's a lesbian hasn't stopped anyone.

    Music 
  • Vocaloid:
    • Although everything, including pairings, is purely fanon, the most popular heterosexual ships seem to be Gakupo×Luka, Kaito×Miku, and Len×Rin. Though Kaito×Meiko and Gakupo×Gumi do give them a run for their money.
    • Miku×Luka is the most popular homosexual pairing, having had albums full of songs about their love. Yaoi fans, however, tend to gravitate towards Kaito×Gakupo. It probably helps that they're the only two out of the most popular ones who are male and over the physical age of 16.
  • In the album In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by band Neutral Milk Hotel the narrator often alludes to Anne Frank. Fan interpretations include the pairing of Jeff Mangum, the writer and singer of the album, with Anne Frank and the belief that Jeff actually is in love with her. The lyrics, many of them sexual in nature, seem to be the main reason people come to this conclusion.
  • The two main characters played by Ellie Goulding and Calvin Harris from "Outside" music video are prominently shipped together because their other major collaboration "I Need Your Love" featured the two characters (also played by them) as an adorable couple as well as Goulding and Harris's real life friendship.
  • From the famous children's group The Wiggles, Emma and Lachy take this Up to Eleven. They hid their relationship for two years, but in those days, even the children started to see something spark between them. Now they are engaged and married.

    Podcasts 
  • Wooden Overcoats doesn't have much by way of canon romance — Antigone has an unrequited crush on Eric, and Eric has unrequited feelings for Georgie. By far the biggest ship in the fandom, however, is Rudyard×Eric despite (or because of) the fact that they're rivals and Rudyard hates him.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Slash itself is wildly more popular than heterosexual pairings, that wrestling boils down to good-looking, half-naked men rolling around while often times covered in sweat does not help, with all the Ho Yay and Foe Yay abound outside of the actual matches.
  • The majority of heterosexual pairings in the fandom are not the male & female wrestlers in regulation pairings, but rather the Male wrestlers with female Original Characters. There are vast numbers of poor quality Self-Insert Fics.
  • A.J. Lee was in an Official Couple or had Ship Tease with a grand total of six guys... in one year. This was bound to happen eventually. Of those six guys (Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, Kane, John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, and Big E. Langston), her most popular pairing is with Punk, despite their interaction ending very quickly, becoming out of character alignment and AF ending up with Ziggler in canon for well over a year after Punk. Ironically, Punk started dating AJ in late 2013, and they got engaged the next year and married in June 2014.
  • For many years the Foe Yay between Chris Jericho and Stephanie McMahon made them a Fan-Preferred Couple. As time went on and a great lack of interaction in the last decade, their popularity has been taken over by Stephanie's Real Life relationship with Triple H.
  • The Shield:
    • No matter how popular other couples comprising of them are, it can't compare to how much the fans like to ship them with each other, especially after they broke up. The most popular, of course, is Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins (Ambrollins), though adding Roman Reigns to the mix and making it a One True Threesome is certainly not uncommon either.
    • On the heterosexual side of things, Seth is most commonly paired with Paige (most likely due to their similar tastes and looks and the fact that they were supposed to have a romantic storyline together down in developmental), while Dean's Real Life relationship with Renee Young has been happily embraced by fans.

    Roleplay 
  • There's a large amount of Ruby Quest fan-art about Stitches×Daisy, who never met in the game and whose only connection was both being met as horrible mutants. It may be a case of Pair the Spares, as they are the only patients of the Metal Glen not dead ( Maddie) already in a relationship ( Ruby and Tom, and Tom Nook and Lucy), or escaped without a romantic partner ( Jay).

    Tabletop Games 
  • For Pathfinder, the human fighter Valeros and half-orc inquisitor Imrijka have somehow become this, most likely for the "d'awwwwww" factor.

    Web Animation 
  • Eddsworld has two of these, Tom×Tord and Paul×Patryck. Paul×Patryck, however, was so popular Tomska ended up confirming it as canon.
  • Neko Sugar Girls fans overwhelmingly ship Koneko and Raku despite the fact Raku pines for Hitoshi the entire series. The finale where Raku dies in Koneko's arms as she cries only cemented the pairing. Prior to that Kidnapper-kun/Hitoshi was the most popular ship until it became the Official Couple.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • For most of the history, Grif×Simmons has been the main ship, which is helped by the large amount of Ho Yay and creators implying it's canon.
    • On the Yuri side, Agents Connecticut and South Dakota, who never had a single meaningful interaction onscreen.
    • As of Season 11, Tucker×Washington has become one of the most popular Red vs. Blue ships.
  • RWBY:
    • Weiss and Ruby, which the fandom has given a nickname ("White Rose"), were shipped together ever since their prequel trailers first came out. The fact that the characters would go on to have personalities far different than what was first assumed (Ruby was thought to be The Stoic and a Weiss Tsundere) did nothing to slow this, with White Rose continuing to be one of the most popular pairings in the entire show.
    • Blake and Yang, which the fandom has given a nickname ("Bumblebee"). Like White Rose, this originates from the prequel trailers. Within the show itself, Blake and Yang have the most Ho Yay of any same-sex pairing, and the fans delight in every emotional scene between them. Bumblebee is another of the most popular ships in the entire series.
    • Sun Wukong gets shipped with his Casanova Wannabe team mate Neptune, which initially began based on Neptune's appearance alone. This later gained popularity as a result of his adorkable personality, as well as a desire to solve the perceived threat to both the Bumblebee and White Rose ships which arises from the Ship Tease between Sun and Blake and Neptune and Weiss.
    • Out of STRQ, Qrow and Summer are the most popular couple. It eclipses all of the other pairings including the two (including the official Taiyang×Summer) in terms of fan-art and fan-fics. As of Volume 6, there's been no concrete proof that Qrow ever loved Summer romantically, but it's fanon to believe he did. Many fans believe that Qrow is Ruby's biological dad and that the family did a Family Relationship Switcheroo. Doesn't seem to matter that the writers have disproven this theory. Even those who don't believe this theory do believe that Summer is Qrow's Lost Lenore.
  • SMG4's Mario Bloopers has Mario and Meggy the Inkling, which seems to be the most beloved pairing of the series thanks to their strange yet endearing friendship, and Meggy being one of the few characters that Mario's almost always friendly to. Half of the fanbase hopes for the pairing to become official, however the other half thinks otherwise considering her age.

    Web Original 
  • Worm:
    • Enough comments appeared on the threads shipping Skitter and Clockblocker together that the author had Clockblocker explicitly sink it in canon.
    • Beyond Skitter×Clockblocker, other pairings like Skitter×Panacea and Skitter×Tattletale tend to be much more popular than canon pairing Skitter×Grue.

    Web Videos 
  • It would probably be easier to name the Don't Hug Me I'm Scared fanfics and fanart that don't ship the Notebook and Tony the Talking Clock. The two of them have never interacted, and they've never been onscreen at the same time for more than a few seconds.
  • Critical Role has its fair share of ships, but the most popular by far is Percy×Vex'ahlia, which outstreches even its own Ship Mate turned Official Couple Keyleth×Vax by a wide margin. This is likely thanks to the sheer amount of long drawn-out Ship Tease that's been in place since the Briarwoods arc.

Alternative Title(s): Fan Preferred Pairing, Sasami Syndrome, Music, Professional Wrestling, Tabletop Games, Web Original

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