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Flirting Under Fire

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"I was thinking that if you're still alive when I get back from work tonight... maybe we could go out to dinner or something?"
Lindsey, Lucky Number Slevin

Most stories build up the romance between love interests in between the bits of action, when the characters in question can set their troubles aside long enough to focus on one another. Some stories, however, either don't care enough to separate the romance from the action, or simply don't want to. Typically played for comedic effect, though occasionally done in a dramatic manner, this is when the lovebirds in question will continue to flirt and romance one another even while the bullets whiz past them. More specifically, this trope is characterized by both the presence of a danger to the protagonists/love interests, and the protagonists' ambivalence to the danger's presence while focusing on their romantic relationship.

Depending on the circumstance, this can be used to serve a variety of purposes. Quite frequently, this can be employed to show, in a dramatic fashion, how much the characters care for one another by declaring their love or by sharing The Big Damn Kiss during the height of a climactic battle. Equally as common, flirting under fire is used for comedic effect by having the characters flirt and be cute with one another during a tense moment of action. The comedic application of this trope can also be used between two villainous lovers, often to illustrate their evilness by taking pleasure in death and destruction.

This serves as a case of Truth in Television, since the adrenaline rush brought on by imminent danger could enhance romantic desire, and although it strains credulity to see two characters lock in a kiss during a firefight, it can happen.

Compare Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex, as well as Coitus Uninterruptus, where the lovers aren't aware of a disturbance until they've already begun romancing one another. Sister Trope to Casual Danger Dialogue, where characters crack jokes and one-liners under similar circumstances. Completely unrelated to Flames of Love, although they may overlap.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ranma ½: People accuse Ranma and Akane of doing this. Usually, they're just bickering with an extra large dose of Belligerent Sexual Tension. The comments keep coming, however.
    Ryoga: How dare he flirt in the middle of a fight!
  • Towards the end of Getter Robo Go, Gō and Kei engage in a bout of incredibly shameless flirting while Gō is disarming a bomb that could very realistically end their lives.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: This actually happens during Kamina and Yoko's first meeting. She comes down through the roof, firing at the enemy gunman, and he's instantly attracted to her. When he starts flirting, Yoko's baffled that he isn't running for his life instead.
    Yoko: I only knocked it backwards. It could still get up and get us!
    Kamina: Hey, babe! Come here often?
    Yoko: What?
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Mustang and Hawkeye get in some of this while battling the mooks under the Fifth Laboratory. Scar calls them out on it.
  • In Spy X Family: Loid Forger, A.K.A. <Twilight>, needs to start a family for his latest mission. He finds a suitable woman to act as his wife, and proposes to her while running away from some goons he forgot to finish off from another mission, using a grenade pin as their wedding ring.

    Comic Books 
  • Robin (Tim Drake) and Spoiler (Stephanie Brown) from the Batman comics. In one issue, Stephanie kisses Tim and then pins him to the floor ("Isn't this romantic?" "...Not really"), while armed kidnappers stands outside the door, waiting to crash the door down.
  • In Gotlib's comics, action heroes do this all the time, passionately kissing the Bond Girl while shooting a bad guy (without looking) and delivering an Offhand Backhand to another.
  • Justice Society of America had Jesse Chambers and Rick Tyler, who were constantly flirting or making dates. Nobody ever calls them out on it, since they get the job done.
  • Sabretooth and Monet do this in Uncanny X-Men (2016) when they trade barbs in battle, with Psylocke calling them out on it.
    Psylocke: Are you two still bickering? Why not just Get a Room!.
    Monet: Why Psylocke, do I detect a hint of jealousy?
    Psylocke: Not hardly. But if you two have time to squabble...or flirt -if that's what you two are doing...then I can't be convinced we were all needed for this mission.

    Fan Fiction 
  • In the Child of the Storm universe, a key part of the numerous Ship Tease moments between Harry and Carol is their ability to snark/flirt at each other no matter the situation. Seriously, they can be in the middle of a top-secret Red Room base, fighting an immortal necromancer and his hellish minions, or generally facing the actual end of the world and they will still be flirting. In the case of the Red Room base, a disbelieving Noriko Ashida asks if they always do this? The answer is a very unconvincing "no."
  • In one chapter of Glorious Shotgun Princess, a Dragon-Blood warrior pulled into the ME-Verse (courtesy of Autochthon, naturally) tries this with Shepard when a demon horde breaks into the Presidium. Made slightly disturbing in that the Dragon-Blood is from House Mnemon and, for some reason, Shepard looks just like Mnemon who is said Dragon-Blood's grandmother. (For those unfamiliar with Exalted; Dragon-Bloods can live for several centuries)
  • In The Night Unfurls, Sanakan and Hugh do this briefly during the hunt for Shamuhaza within the streets of Rad. After mentioning that they still have to go on a date when they are done, he kisses her on the cheek in response.
  • In Chapter 7 of Secret Dreamer, Severa mentally lampshades this trope in action between a severely wounded pegasus knight and her wingmate.
    Teresa: Lily, just focus on my face, all right? Listen to my voice.
    Lily: Mmm. Yeah, I guess I could do that. You have a nice voice... nice face...
    Severa: Now is hardly the time for flirtation.
  • Morrigan chastises Alistair for doing this in Shadow and Rose during the part of the story where he's still coming to terms with his feelings for the Warden.

    Films — Animation 
  • During a battle in Disney's Robin Hood (1973), Robin Hood proposes to Marian, and they start making plans for the honeymoon and starting a family - while beating the snot out of the Sheriff's men between comments.
  • How to Train Your Dragon:
  • During the ride on Rainbow Road back to the Mushroom Kingdom in The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Mario and Peach have a rather flirty conversation about Mario's world, with Mario low-key asking Peach out on a date around Brooklyn, which she coquettishly considers.

    Films — Live Action 
  • During the battle aboard the Flying Dutchman in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Elizabeth and Will ask Barbossa to marry them in the middle of all the fighting, and even share a kiss.
  • Lucky Number Slevin: Slevin and Lindsey build up most of their romance in this manner. Despite the fact that Slevin is on the hit list of two warring gangs, he and Lindsey find time to flirt, go to dinner (where Slevin is able to shadow a man he has been told to kill), and spend a night together.
  • Employed dramatically in Captain America: The First Avenger, where Steve and Peggy share a kiss in the hangar while trying to catch the Red Skull's plane. They later talk over the radio about going dancing while Steve attempts to safely crash-land the plane in the Atlantic, even though they both know he won't make it out.
  • Austin Powers:
    • In Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Austin and Felicity have a tender moment... while standing in a laughably pathetic Death Trap.
    • In Goldmember, Austin's father flirts with Foxxy Cleopatra while tied to a slow-moving machine that threatens to melt off his genitals. But his nonchalance is probably due to the number of times he's gotten out of similar situations, easily.
  • Serenity: As the Reavers are trying to kick in the door to where the crew is holed up, Simon gives a short If We Survive This speech, and finally propositions Kaylee. Naturally, Kaylee wants to be sure she understands Simon's polite circumlocutions.
    Kaylee: [astonished] You mean to say... sex?
    Simon: [deadpan] I mean to say.
    Kaylee: To hell with this. [cocks gun] I'm gonna live!
  • Robin Hood (2010): Marion and Robin have their Big Damn Kiss in the water between the French warships as Marion bleeds from a wound and the fighting rages on around them.
  • In the first Speed film, the protagonists Jack Traven and Annie Porter constantly flirt, with Annie often saying, "Relationships based on traumatic events always end up failing." At the end of the film, Jack repeats the line and Annie replies, "We'll have to base ours on sex, then." He obligingly responds, "Whatever you say, ma'am."
  • The Hunger Games: Katniss Everdeen builds her romance with Peeta during the Hunger Games.

  • This is how Ron and Hermione get together in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Ron realizes someone needs to warn the house-elves of the impending attack. Hermione drops everything to plant a big wet kiss on Ron, who responds with enthusiasm.
    Harry: Is this really the best time...? *beat* OI! There's a war on!
  • Katniss and Peeta forge their relationship during the actual Hunger Games themselves, actively encouraged by the Gamemakers.
  • In the first Amelia Peabody novel, The Crocodile on the Sandbank, Emerson kisses Amelia right before the final battle, "even at the risk of surviving to face the consequences."
  • In Vision of the Future, Luke proposes to Mara before they know if they could actually escape or not after a life and death battle with nearly indestructible enemies. It is also notable it that it is the rare time in which she is completely honest as she is extremely sarcastic most of the time.
    Luke: Mara... Will you marry me?
    Mara: You mean if we get out of here alive.
    Luke: I mean regardless.
    Mara: Yes, I will.
  • In Book 2 of The Memory Wars, Nathan and Elena do this while trying to figure out how to deal with their past-life feelings for each other.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In a late episode of Get Smart, Max and 99 are caught in death-trap with no apparent means of escape. Thinking they are about to die, Max realizes that he's in love with 99 and declares that, if they could get out, he'd marry her. She immediately thinks of a way to escape, and they get married a few episodes later.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "Day of the Moon", the Doctor and River trade flirtatious quips while Amy Pond is held prisoner feet away, and the Silence trying to manipulate the '69 Apollo moon shot, until Amy snaps them out of it with a barbed remark. In general, the pair seem to enjoy the fighting/running for their lives as much as the flirting in their relationship, and even the villain rolls her eyes at their antics.
  • Chuck has this with Chuck and Sarah, to a lesser extent when their relationship is still just a cover and more frequently once they finally get together. Notably, Chuck and Sarah's first major quarrel as a couple is aired out while foiling a bank robbery, (actually part of a gambit by Alexei Volkoff to gain access to Chuck's father's files on him). Later, while performing a bank robbery as part of a mission, the two lightheartedly discuss their impending wedding plans, made even funnier with occasional asides to threaten the bank patrons and guards. Being Chuck, these moments are usually played both for laughs and seriously at the same time.
  • Farscape frequently makes use of this trope with Crichton and Aeryn. Even before becoming a couple the two, particularly John, would make flirtatious comments during fights. In the Peacekeeper Wars, not only are the two married by Stark during the apocalyptic Scarran attack on the planet they're defending, but Aeryn is in the process of giving birth.
  • During the second season finale of Nikita this happens with Alex and Sean. He even asks her out seconds before they go after Roan to stop him from blowing up Washington DC. After the fight she passes out before giving an answer.
  • A one-sided example in 'Allo 'Allo!. Lieutenant Gruber turns to René just after the two of them escaped an attack by the Communist Resistance, and utters these words that are outwardly innocuous but dripping with subtext:
    Lt. Gruber: René, if it weren't for you, those Communist girls would have shot us out of hand. How can I ever express my gratitude?
  • Person of Interest. Between Root and Sameen Shaw as they're crouched behind a car exchanging gunfire with a heavily-armed Samaritan death squad in "The Day the World Went Away". Shaw is annoyed when Root starts a metaphysical discussion in the middle of a shoot-out, but lightens up a bit when it changes to this trope.
    Shaw: I swear to God, you flirt at the most awkward times.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Fitz and Simmons share a romantic moment while escaping Kasius:
    Fitz: I'm never leaving you again. [shoots Sinara when she tries to fire her weapon at them]
    Simmons: Then marry me, Fitz!
    Fitz: Absolutely. [they help Daisy up] Also, um, just to say, I did propose earlier when Kasius had your hearing turned off.
  • M*A*S*H has Major Hoolihan and Captain Pierce conduct field medicine in a poor village when their position comes under fire. As mortar shells come blasting and bullets come whizzing, the surgeon and the nurse huddle in a shelter, crying like babies at the ongoing killfest around them. Somehow, their lips meet, and the two kiss. Once the hostilities subside, Hoolihan and Pierce return to the 4077th, where their relationship is noticeably changed.

    Video Games 
  • In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Johnny admits his crush to Meryl while they're both in the middle of battle, and he even asks her to marry him. Meryl of course comments on his impeccable sense of timing and refuses... and then asks him to marry her instead. Then they share a good kissing in the middle of their assailants' line of fire.
  • In the Mass Effect games, the climax of any romance Shepard has developed will occur on the ride towards the final battle, knowing full well that they're heading into the shit. In Mass Effect 2 Shepard and co. are knowingly warping towards a suicide mission.
    • In the third game, a romanced Tali and Male Shepard end up flirting heavily throughout the mission aboard the Geth dreadnought, though they do at least keep this to moments where they are not actively being shot at. Eventually it culminates in Shepard and Tali alluding to finding somewhere "louder" for her to sleep when they get back to the Normandy. Depending on who the third squadmate with them, the reaction from Garrus is to snark that they should just Get a Room! already, while Ashley berates them for flirting in the middle of an enemy stronghold.
    Ashley: Maybe we can talk about this when we're not ON A GETH DREADNAUGHT!
    • Ironically enough, if you're a female Shepherd who's romanced Garrus, he will try to flirt with you during firefights in the Citadel DLC.
  • Sakazaki Yuuya of Hatoful Boyfriend has such a strong ability to seem relaxed and friendly that as long as things aren't severely going to hell, he'll keep flirting with the threat or his companions. Said companions are less composed or used to danger and tend to be bewildered by his timing, like normal people.
  • Star Fox 2: On the character/pilot select screen, after Miyu is selected along with a second pilot, she blows a kiss, either to the player or her co-pilot, just seconds before they take off to fight Andross and his forces.
  • In Undertale, as Frisk in the Neutral and pacifist routes, you can flirt with literally every Boss, except Omega-Flowey and God of Hyperdeath Asriel, and quite a number of normal monsters too.
  • In Rimworld, characters will make passes at or even propose to one another in the middle of a raid, even if both are shooting at enemies.
  • Mathias Shaw and Flynn Fairwind of World of Warcraft spend the entirety of a heist mission flirting with each other. Sadly, there's no way for the player character along with them to insist they get a room.


    Western Animation 
  • In the 3-part The Fairly OddParents! episode, Timmy flirts with Trixie and kisses her as they're about to be sucked into a black hole.
  • Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable get flirty under attack, especially once they are an Official Couple.
  • Cat Noir of Miraculous Ladybug will frequently attempt to hit on Ladybug during the middle of akuma attacks. Occasionally Lampshaded by Ladybug. (Of course, since Ladybug and Cat Noir don't know each other's civilian identities, it's not as though he has the option of hitting on her under more appropriate circumstances.)
  • My Little Pony: Best Gift Ever: During the climax when the group ends up being threatened by magical pudding and a rampaging Winterzilla, Battle Couple Shining Armor and Princess Cadance exchange flirty banter with each other as they get themselves and their friends to safety, almost like they are making a friendly competition out of it. Cadance calls Shining "darling" before saving Rarity, with Shining remarking to their daughter Flurry Heart that her mom sure is something. Then when Shining displays his own skills getting himself and Flurry to safety and landing right next to Cadance and Rarity, Cadance is left blushing at her husband's display and fans herself with a hoof, while giggling and remarking "You're not so bad yourself."


Video Example(s):


Huntress and Question

Huntress and Question casually discuss dating plans while kicking butt together.

How well does it match the trope?

4.91 (44 votes)

Example of:

Main / BattleCouple

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