A trope old as time itself. Two extremely close friends or partners, of the same gender, who are as close or closer than a romantic couple. They aren't romantically linked, but they might suffer withdrawals from not being around each other. There might be much drama over a potential "break-up". When one gets a romantic partner, you can almost certainly expect the Friend Versus Lover quarrel to be epic. Though despite the trope name, the characters in question are not necessarily both heterosexual.
Sometimes this is an extreme form of an Odd Couple, in that the two are different as night and day. Those Two Guys may acquire this label, as may the title characters of any show with a title of the form X and Y. Don't expect them to be friendly to each other, though; quite a few are Vitriolic Best Buds. In adventure stories, they are often Blood Brothers. These pairs usually go through a lot of Ho Yay situations and can sometimes have the tendency to bicker Like an Old Married Couple. The pair may be Mistaken for Gay by those around them.
If the two friends are different genders, they're Platonic Life-Partners, perhaps Like Brother and Sister. When an entire group are life partners, they're True Companions. Compare Chastity Couple, whose relationship is romantic but not sexual.
- In Total Drama fanfic Courtney's Crusade for Redemption'' Courtney and Gwen, once they rekindle their friendship.
- The fic Mortality definitely has this with Holmes and Watson. Plus, there's some massive ass-kicking. Here's one example that lampshades the friendship dynamic, which doubles as a boast which is passionate and scary. Basically, for a Combat Medic he's ruthless with the criminals if his friend's life is on the line.
"If your masters actions destroy him whom I regard as the best and wisest man I have ever known, make no mistake that I shall hunt down, to a man, everyone who played a part in his destruction."
- Lightning Bolt and Cloud Kicker from Ace Combat: Equestria Chronicles.
- Alone on the Water uses this trope by name when talking about how difficult it is to define Sherlock and John's relationship. John remembers that Sherlock was amused when Harry referred to them as this.
- In the pro wrestling story A Ring of Their Own, Ivory and Molly Holly are portrayed like this. Ivory is the one who convinced Molly to finally come out of retirement and wrestle again. When Molly won the FWF Title, the first thing she did was hug Ivory.
- In Empath: The Luckiest Smurf, Empath Smurf and Polaris Psyche are considered this, although Polaris is more asexual than heterosexual.
- Akane ends up with two in Fist of the Moon: her best friend Ranma and her pseudo-cousin Ami.
- Fuzzy Memories has Bari and Brick. Despite the latter commonly causing errors and nearly ruining it, the two always end up coming back to one another and have possibly one of the strongest friendships in the game, which is debateably only matched by Doc and Zetsu, who are one of the only friendships in the game that are implied to still be consistent and healthy due to the two living close to one another, and the other is always the one they go to for advice and help.
- In the Star Trek fanfic Heroes, Surak compares Kirk and Spock's relationship to the "warrior bond-brothers" he observed in his own day.
- The Heterosexual Life-Partnership of Soarin and Braeburn by Draconian Soul has this trope as the title and basic premise of the story.
- In The London Syndicate, Poirot and Hastings are this, as in canon.
- Holiday Vacation and Lucky Star: After Story portrays original characters Mariko Aratani and Chiyoko Sakamoto as this. Both of them have boyfriends, however the two girls are almost never seen apart, and have been best friends since their first day of kindergarten back in 1996.
- Ring Man and Magnet Man in Mega Man Recut.
- Jamie and the Doctor are this via Rose Of Pollux's work. As in canon, of course.
- The first ten chapters of Sugar Rush Stories seem to exist specifically to make sure everyone is involved in this trope.
- The relationship between Ozpin and Perturabo in Perturabo In Remnant is one of brotherly love, complete with the tendency to cause mischief against each other. Indeed, given that Ozpin assumed the role of big brother mentor to Perturabo shortly after he arrived on Remnant, the two of them are basically family and share a bond of trust that is unbreakable.
- Three Months a Fox has Kivo Nychi and Rigel Trich, a red wolf and African wild dog who have been close friends for over twenty years of their lives, and share a pack bond so strong that they have formed what is essentially an empathic bond with each other via a pack-oriented predator phenomena known In-Universe as 'Scent Empathy'.
- Touhou Ibunshu plays up Reimu and Marisa's canon HLP status for all it's worth (turns out Marisa isn't heterosexual though, but she ends up with someone else instead) and also adds Remilia and Sakuya, Yuyuko and Youmu, and Yukari and Ran, revolving much of the drama and heartwarming moments around their respective intensely close relationships. Kaguya and Eirin are not an example however, as they're Happily Married.
- Valkron and Emeth, and Khan and Amaru, in Warriors of the World: Soldiers of Fortune.
- Commander Alex Vaughn and Terrias the Servine are this in The Terminators: Army of Legend series.
- Metroid: Kamen Rider Generations give us Mitsuzane and Gou. Overtime, Gou becomes one of the three people Mitsuzane trusts and is close to, no matter how obnoxious he is.
- In a deliberate contrast to all the Slash Fic in the Death Note fandom, Rules has Elijah/L McCormick and Light Yagami. The sequel introduces another pair of life-partners in Lily and Charlie, who function as their respective love interests.
- In A.A. Pessimal's Gap Year Adventure, two newly graduate Assassins decide to tour the Discworld's most remote and least well-known continent together, just for the fun of it. A attitudinal Cenotian and a hardy colonial, bonded in seven years' adversity at the Disc's toughest school as non-socially-connected foreigners in Ankh-Morpork, are close as sisters. They can even joke about the degree of (platonic) closeness they have.
Mariella. We're naked in a bed together. This is a Hell of a time for you to come out as gay.
- In another story, flying Witches Olga Romanoff and Irena Politek are tasked with recce missions to get an idea of where two opposing armies, a few days march from each other, are up to with mobilisation, and how soon they will meet and come to blows. Olga returns on time from her mission. Irena doesn't. Olga is seen anxiously watching the Hubwards sky when her best friend becomes seriously overdue from her flight. Naturally, when Irena returns, seriously late, on a Pegasus that has been wounded by ground fire, Olga downplays her concern and pretends she wasn't that worried. Irena is not fooled by this.
- Remus and Sirius in the A Bond of Family series. They hold hands in public, hug to comfort each other, know each other extremely well and aren't afraid to cry in front of each other.
Kingsley: Yes, once it became clear that Sirius and James were never going to become an item despite their obvious closeness, the general mass at Hogwarts became convinced that Sirius and Remus were together. Which they unknowingly fuelled by often walking hand in hand and never dating while getting a flat together after leaving Hogwarts.
Harry: That sounds like them, yes. They are both brilliant, but completely naive when it comes to the reactions their behaviour causes in others.
- In The Berserkers Bride, Vessa acts like an older sister to Hiccup, teaching her how to be a wife to Dagur, looking after her while she's pregnant and even saving her from an assassination attempt.
- Alberta and Saskatchewan in the iammathewian project. Although whether there is evidence of it being a bit more romantic or not is up for debate.
- In To Hell and Back (Arrowverse):
- Star Wars: Lineage has Obi-Wan Kenobi and Garen Muln. Bicker, snark, and wrestle with each other they may, but they always have each other's backs, no matter what.
- More often than not, the Glee fandom will take minor Warblers Nick and Jeff and turn them into this. Although they're practically one of the most shipped couples outside of the main characters.
- Yesterday Upon The Stair has Izuku and Shouto become incredibly close, to the point of sharing a dorm room. However, when they are Mistaken for Gay by the rest of the class, they're quick to clarify that their relationship is definitely not a romantic one, and Word of God confirms both to be asexual. The first person who seems to get it is Nejire of all people, on account of her two best friends Mirio and Amajiki apparently having the same kind of relationship.
- The song Oath by Cher Lloyd ft Becky G is a song that's about their bond and happy moments together.
- In Psycomedia, only one half of the Double Act thinks this is the case. The other is adamant that they're not life partners and that he has a girlfriend.
- An interesting example between the two co-hosts of King Falls AM as Ben Arnold is in love with librarian, Emily Potter, and Sammy Stevens is gay. Ben and Sammy's relationship develops very quickly and it isn't long before there are multiple, on-air, explicit declarations of love for each other.
- Ric Flair and Arn Anderson, spending twenty-five years on and off together. First, there was The Four Horsemen.
- Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake. Hogan basically being why Beefcake was allowed to stick around as a barber when the WWF had no other use for him.
- WWE's Shawn Michaels and Triple H are probably wrestling's longest-running Heterosexual Life Partners (16 years and counting). Not that they haven't made us wonder about that first word. They've been enemies, friends, tag-team partners, and gone years without speaking, but they'll be the first to tell you that neither of them has a better friend than the other. According to Hunter's wife, Stephanie McMahon, Shawn is Hunter's "road wife".
- Perhaps the most tragic example is Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit, who were together for decades, through New Japan Pro-Wrestling, ECW, WCW and finally WWE. Eddie's death was something Chris never got over, and it eventually lead to that fateful weekend in Atlanta. Of the talented trio known as "The Holy Trinity" or "The New Japan 3", only Dean Malenko remains.
- Al Snow and Mick Foley every chance they had, both on screen and off.
- Edge and Christian aren't brothers in real life, as they used to be billed, but they have been best friends since the sixth grade. They went to junior high together, went to high school together, went to college together, trained for wrestling together, broke into the indies together, went into the WWF together...That's two whole decades of being around each other, which is rare even for all but the closest non-familial friendships. Christian's TNA stint is the first time in their lives they weren't around each other constantly. The second being Edge's retirement.
- Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy. Yes, they're brothers, but they're also a lot closer than most brothers their age would be; living within line of sight of each other, doing a webshow together, going out together, etc. They've built up a pretty substantial group of True Companions around themselves as well, with the rest of the OMEGA crew in close proximity.
- Christopher Daniels and AJ Styles. They're so close that they named their children after each other.
- CM Punk and Colt Cabana. To a lesser extent, Punk and Kofi Kingston, as Punk has said that Kofi is his "road wife".
- The Minnesota Home Wrecking Crew, with Lacey specifically calling Rain "The Love Of Her Life" in SHIMMER, which becomes funny in the context of their earlier career, as they spent almost as much time feuding as they did teaming. Rain even credits Lacey with setting her up with one "Sick" Nick Mondo, who she eventually married.
- Trish Stratus and Lita. They may have some onscreen rivalry in the past but both have an extremely close friendship over the years to this day. Lita is even the godmother of Trish's son.
- The Bombsquad: Dozer, "The Bomb" Rob Williams, The Diva and "The Bombshell" Macaela Mercedes. Up until The Diva's untimely passing, they went through several different promotions with the four winding up under every possible alignment combination HeelFace Revolving Door would allow them.
- Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin, aka The World's Greatest Tag Team, have a very strong bond with each other; Charlie has said in interviews that, sometimes, he thinks that his deceased brother Russ sent Shelton to him as a replacement.
- Daffney Unger has called MsChif her better half (half of The Scream Queens, their tag team). MsChif has in turn said she can make Daffney's ASS whole. (Unger was scouting for another member of her All-Star Squad).
- Starting from at least the Independent Wrestling Revolution in Detroit up to TNA where they used this exact phrase (specifically, Alex Shelley in regards to Chris Sabin) to describe each other, the Motor City Machine Guns (or Murder City Machine Guns, depending on where you get you wrestling from)
- Kane and The Big Show have this type of relationship with a dash of Foe Yay.
- The Miz and John Morrison during their time as a tag team. When they were separated in the WWE Draft, one announcer stated "The bromance is over!".
- Layla and Michelle McCool had this in-universe as heels. When Michelle lost her title to Mickie James in less than 30 seconds, the pair exchanged an "I love you", hugged each other, and cried.
- A.J. Lee and Kaitlyn: As Kaitlyn herself says.
- Raze has described Hudson Envy as her other half in Vendetta Pro.
- On a December Future Of Honor Friday, Bob Evans slipped in "the love of my life" while boasting that Tim Hughes would be the 2016 top prospect winner and then threw Dylan Bostic out of the match against the Pretty Boy Killers so he could team with Hughes himself.
- Billie Kay and Peyton Royce. "The Iconic Duo" are always seen together, caring deeply for each other.
- The Shield is a three-way example, both onscreen and in Real Life. Seth Rollins has a picture of the stable in his house, and Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns were traveling buddies prior to the brand extension. The latter two are so close in fact that it's often been joked that Ambrose is the only Samoan in the company besides Samoa Joe that isn't related to the Anoa'i family.
- Scumspawn and Satan to some degree in Old Harry's Game. Scumspawn has strong emotional love for Satan (not necessarily a romantic love) and Satan warms up to Scumspawn over time, mostly due to Scumspawn's unwavering loyalty. In later seasons Scumspawn does talk about each other as though they're in a romantic relationship.
Satan: Scumspawn, we are not a gay couple.
- Phil Harris and his guitar player Frankie on The Phil Harris Alice Faye Show.
- In New Dynamic English, Max and Bobby King were like this when they were very little, to the point where they called themselves "brothers".
- One and Two in The Men from the Ministry, wile having the occasional arguments, are closest friends each other has and will help each other in any problems they face.
- Ivy and Luna from Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues. They were Childhood Friends due to their shared passion for anime and video games, until Luna drifted away from her and towards Nadine's gang. Getting superpowers has pushed them back together, and they've quickly rekindled the bond from their childhood. When asked in a non-canon questionnaire which students should hook up, multiple characters commented that Ivy and Luna would make a cute couple.
- Survival of the Fittest: Jacob Charles and Ben Powell, or as their more affectionately known by the handlers, "BROMIES!".
- In We Are Our Avatars, Jacky and Nichole are best friends with each other and they sleep in the same hotel room together. Caim and Hakumen are this and Vitriolic Best Buds.
- Warhammer has Gotrek Gurnisson and Felix Jaeger - originally kept together by a rashly-sworn oath on Felix's part when horribly drunk, but over the many decades of their adventures they have become pretty inseparable. Despite Felix's constant feeling that he'll never understand Gotrek's dwarfish psychology as long as he lives.
- Warhammer 40,000:
- Ursarker E. Creed, the Lord Castellan of Cadia, and his Colour Sergeant Jarran Kell.
- In a very strange and horribly twisted way, Warboss Ghazhgkull Mag Uruk Thraka and Commissar Yarrick, though it is only one way; Ghazhkgull regards Yarrick with as much affection and respect as any Ork can muster, especially for a 'puny 'umie', as a good Ork needs a Worthy Opponent. Yarrick, for his part, hates the Warboss with all his being.
- Lion El'Jonson and his first mate Luther. Lion failing to recognize how much he needed Luther was the first in a long string of tiny mistakes that ultimately doomed the planet of Caliban.
- Mame and Vera in Auntie Mame. The musical version gives them a duet about their relationship, "Bosom Buddies."
- Avenue Q: Rod and Nicky, who are Captain Ersatzes of Bert and Ernie respectively. "We live together, as close as people can get / We've been the best of buddies ever since the day we met!" Which segues, just a song later, into "If you were gay / That'd be okay / I mean, 'cause hey / I like you anyway / Because you see / If it were me / I would feel free to say / That I was gay / But I'm not gay." Rod however had non-platonic, repressed feelings for Nicky.
- Elder Price and Elder Cunningham at the end of The Book of Mormon.
- Brick and Skipper in the backstory of Tennessee Williams' play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof - that is, if you believe Brick when he vehemently denies they did "sodomy" together:
Brick: Why can't exceptional friendship, real, real, deep, deep friendship! between two men be respected as something clean and decent without being thought of as—
Big Daddy: It can, it is, for God's sake.
- Janet van der Graaf and The Drowsy Chaperone. Also, Robert and George
- Buddy and Ben in Follies.
- Kristina from Duvemåla has Robert and Arvid.
- Enjolras and Grantaire from Les Misérables. This is somewhat more evident in the musical than in the book, probably because of how it's usually staged. When all the other students walk off with their girlfriends at the end of "Do You Hear The People Sing", these two leave with their arms around each other. The two were played by real life best friends, Ramin Karimloo and Hadley Fraser, in the 25th Anniversary Concert. Jason Forbach and Joseph Spieldenner, who play Enjolras and Grantaire respectively, in the US 25th Anniversary production are engaged.
- Oscar and Felix in The Odd Couple.
- Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom in The Producers. "'Til Him" is one of the most touching (and funny) love songs ever sung by one straight man to another.
- Mark Cohen and Roger Davis in RENT. Their duet, "What You Own" comes complete with Manly Tears and a big climatic Man Hug. The blink-and-you'll-miss-it instrumental reprise of "I Should Tell You" during their fight in "Goodbye Love" is also heartwarming.
- Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, expanding on the original play.
- A Very Potter Musical:
Ron: Favorite way to say "red wines" in a German accent?
- Voldemort and Quirrell, at least, by the end. Senior Year takes it to the next level.
- Harry and Ron in both musicals:
Both: Red Vines!
Ron: (hugging Harry) Oh my god, where have you been all my life?
Harry: In a cupboard under some stairs!
- Estragon and Vladimir from Waiting for Godot. They have pet names for each other and put off killing themselves because of the slight possibility that one of them would live and be left alone. They were going to hang themselves so they could get erections. There is so much Ho Yay in this play, Wikipedia even has it's own entry on it.
- Elphaba and G(a)linda from Wicked. Though how heterosexual they are varies, as some performances deliberately play up their relationship as a love story.
- Kate and Queenie from The Wild Party, although they don't look it.
- In the works of William Shakespeare:
- Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in Hamlet. Possibly Hamlet and Horatio.
- Antonio and Sebastian in Twelfth Night.
- Antonio and Bassonio in The Merchant of Venice.
- Rosalind and Celia in As You Like It. Even marriage doesn't likely break it up, since they marry brothers.
- Proteus and Valentine from Two Gentlemen of Verona, and (more humorously) their respective servants, Launce and Speed.
- Mercutio and Benvolio, and/or Mercutio and Romeo, in Romeo and Juliet.
- Lucentio and Tranio from The Taming of the Shrew. Tranio is "as secret and as dear" to Lucentio "as Anna to the Queen of Carthage was"note , and he'll do anything to help Lucentio.
- A Year with Frog and Toad: Frog and Toad were always good friends in the original kids' books, but The Musical elevates them comfortably to life partners at the very least. They invade each others dreams to sing about how much they like each other. Twice. ("That's funny, you've been in all my dreams too...")
- Perfect Pie: Marie and Patsy's friendship started when they were eight years old, and only got stronger: they were the center of each other's worlds, and would do anything for each other. They loved each other, purely and unconditionally, and big part of the play centers on how that bond still ties them together and finding out that they still love each other after all these years and all that's happened to them.
- Katawa Shoujo has Hanako and Lilly. Hanako is an extreme social recluse, to the extent that she depends on Lilly just to help her cope at school, while Lilly has taken a role very similar to that of a mother in taking care of her. Their routes in Act 1 don't split until the very end, and each of their routes beyond that still feature the other heavily. In Lilly's route, Hisao comments that they're sort of like an odd family altogether, with him and Lilly as the parents and Hanako as the child.
- After a sauna duel, Mondo Oowada and Kiyotaka Ishimaru gain this kind of relationship in Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc. Sadly, it doesn't last very long, as Oowada is executed two days later.
- Grisaia no Kajitsu: Michiru and Sachi are this. They rely on each other with Sachi constantly helping out Michiru with her chroes and Michiru quietly helping out when Sachi is facing a rather difficult request.
- Akira and Seiji from Spirit Hunter: NG, friends from childhood who've known each other for so long that Seiji can read Akira flawlessly, much to the latter's annoyance. The game makes it clear that it's one of Akira's most important relationships, alongside his ship teasy one with Kaoru.
- Raimi and Oran of Broken Saints, although it takes them a while to bond.
- Homestar Runner's Strong Mad and The Cheat, and Bubs and Coach Z. Homestar and Pom Pom are supposed to be this, but in later cartoons it became much less apparent.
- The Most Popular Girls in School: Rachel and Judith. However, it's been implied that Judith is bisexual...
- Ratboy Genius has the close Interspecies Friendship of Happyman and Green Monster.
- Red vs. Blue: Grif and Simmons (and apparently, their voice actors in real life), and Tucker and Church to a lesser degree.
- Dexter Gilligan and Lyle McDouchebag of Sanity Not Included. At least up until the end of Season 3, in which Lyle commits suicide in the animated section of the show, marking his departure.
- Steve And Carlos the title character Steve and Carlos seem to be a rather Vitriolic version of this. Especially since Carlos gave up life in the real world to stay with Steve.
- A lot of Agent partnerships go under this heading in Protectors of the Plot Continuum.
- Amazing Phil and danisnotonfire who've lived together for years, work and frequently travel together. (Although neither of them are heterosexual and Dan's coming out video implied that they were, at least, romantically involved in the past - and any further details regarding their relationship then or now are none of their fans business.)
- Cammy and Duncan, a.k.a. A Couple of C*nts in the Countryside.
- In CHKilroy and Beagle's series of intertwining ARMA 2 videos, they grow into firm friends and share for a while, a brotherly bond. The death of one causes the other to exclaim in despair, or even go into a kamikaze rage. In one mission Beagle accidentally proposed marrige to Kilroy, who said yes.
- Game Grumps:
- Jon and Arin. These guys go together like salt and pepper, peanut butter and jelly, and any other heavy handed simile you can think of, to the extend that they were so much in synch that they'd end each other's jokes, while still being reasonably different.
- After Jon's departure from the channel, Danny Sexbang of Ninja Sex Party fame replaced Jon as the Not-So-Grump of the channel, and while he wasn't initially accepted as the new partner of Arin by the fans, their own chemistry slowly but surely showed a different kind of partnership. The two of them have ended up participating in many projects together since then.
- James Rolfe (The Angry Video Game Nerd) and Mike Matei Cinemassacre give off this kind of vibe.
- Bald John Green and Other John Green on John Plays FIFA 11 were thought to be this... until episode 21.
- Mark and Corey of Modestly ProphItic are this and Vitriolic Best Buds at the same time. They have mentioned that they worry they will be mistaken for a real life couple.
- Gavin Free and Michael Jones of Achievement Hunter.
- Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox of Smosh. Lampshaded at the end of the episode Replacement Needed; after splitting up, Anthony tearfully looks over a photograph of him pushing Ian on a swing, with the caption "Always and Forever...But We're Not Gay".
- That Guy with the Glasses:
- Spoony and Linkara give the distinct impression of being this in the instances where they interact, which are much more common for the two of them than it is for other Channel Awesome people.
- The Nostalgia Chick and Nella; however, "My BFF, Nella" subverts the trope by revealing that their relationship is actually a business venture—the Chick pays Nella to look good and take her abuse.
- Even though they're brothers, Doug and Rob. They moved out of their parents' house and started living together, and proposed to their girlfriends on the same day.
- nigahiga and Wong Fu Productions explain the word. In the most heterosexual way, of course!
- Simon Lane and Lewis Brindley. The two first met in World of Warcraft and have been almost inseparable ever since, now sharing a main channel and living together at one point.
- Sips and Sjin are almost always cooking up some diabolical scheme together in their collab videos, snarking and abusing one another all the while. In spite of their channel growth, the pair still collab whenever they can and clearly have one hell of a time doing it.
- Strippin, In The Little Wood and Sparkles* from Area 11 form this during their time as the "Dream Team", livestreaming together many times and clearly enjoying being with each other. Strippin also has this vibe with Benji, his collab partner from Rail Bros; Benji may not be part of the Yogscast, but they're very good friends.
- The Yogscast's newest members, Alex Smith, Ross Hornby, and Chris Trott of Hat Films are this, at one point living together and producing their content from their house. Almost always seen together and are the best of friends, when they're not abusing each other, especially Trottimus.
- Louder With Crowder: Played for laughs with Steven and his producer Not Gay Jared, whose interactions are intentionally dripping with homoeroticism. The skits that parody romantic scenes in particular tend to place Steven in the guy's role and Jared in the woman's while keeping everything else the same.
- Batman and Superman in I'm a Marvel... and I'm a DC, when Luthor's time travel reverts them into their older forms.
Batman: Best friends!
Superman: Best friends in a completely platonic way!
Batman: Best friends possible for two friends to be without going over any boundaries that would be indicative of being more than friends!
Superman: That's right, partner!
- Kazamaru and Kebano in Yu Yu Hakusho Abridged, apparently.