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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 (for instance, one was popular for a while but fell out of favor, or one is most popular among fans of Het while the other is about equally popular among fans of Slash Fic).
  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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Other Examples:

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    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.
  • AJ 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, was so popular Tomska jokingly confirmed it as canon, although several people took this affirmation unironically.
  • 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 ship's fans delight in every emotional scene between them. Bumblebee is another of the most popular ships in the entire series, though that is far from a universal opinion. By later volumes, it has arguably been upgraded to a Canon ship, given the increasingly explicit Ship Tease between the two.
    • 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 nerdy 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. There's never been any concrete proof that Qrow ever loved Summer romantically, but it's fanon to believe that Summer is Qrow's Lost Lenore. It also ties into a popular theory 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, as it continues to be a popular AU.
  • 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 outstretches 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

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