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Now or Never Kiss

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Harry: OI! There's a war going on here!
Ron: [ungluing himself from Hermione] I know, mate... So it's now or never, right?

The Last Kiss, except it's not the last. But the characters don't know that. Death appears imminent — the temperature is rising, the room is filling up with water, the plane is about to hit the ground, the rope they're dangling from is about to break and drop them off the cliff, the room is on fire and the door's locked, the world is coming to an end... The point is, this is no place for Unresolved Sexual Tension. The Not-A-Couple don't want to go out without revealing how they really feel. It's now or never. They kiss.

This can also be Now or Maybe Never; one or both are heading into danger. Can result in a combination of Fridge Logic and Facepalm if the war is raging all around them and people need help right the hell now.

Then the Big Damn Heroes burst in, save the day, and they survive to either get a Relationship Upgrade (even Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex) or insist That Didn't Happen. Often times, the revelation drives the pair to personally do something about their current situation, as they now have something to live for.

If one or both of the kissers don't survive, it's a Last Kiss. If they decide to take it a little further, it's Must Not Die a Virgin.

A sub-trope of Dying Declaration of Love.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • AKIRA: Kaneda kisses Kei in the manga before he goes off to kill Tetsuo, taking her place.
  • In Baccano!, Jacuzzi gives one to Nice before they split up to take on the various train hijackers aboard the Flying Pussyfoot. They were officially "together" at the time, but neither of them had bothered to take it even to first base beforehand even after 7 years!
  • In Cat Planet Cuties, right before what they believe to be a suicide mission, Aoi kisses Kio, which prompts Manami to give him one. Elis, the catgirl, gets a bit jealous, and kisses him as well.
  • In Code Geass, C.C. kisses Lelouch on Kamine Island before they split up: him to rescue his sister from the clutches of an unknown new enemy, her to drag the other Knightmare Frame to the bottom of the sea and get both mecha crushed. Considering the overall state of affairs, they might never have seen each other again.
  • In Hellsing, Pip Bernadotte attempts to kiss Seras during Zorin Blitz's attack on the Hellsing mansion (by getting her to close her eyes) just before they're hit by the main assault. She opens her eyes just before he manages, and is quite angry (as are his men, who felt that for him to get a kiss was unfair). He manages to finally get one right before he dies (helped by Seras being wounded and blinded at the time).
  • Holy Roman Empire and young Italy ("Chibitalia") in Hetalia: Axis Powers kiss as HRE leaves the manor Chibitalia works in, not knowing if he'll ever come back.. They meet as adults and get together again, but whether Italy's partner and boyfriend Germany and HRE truly are the same person is still foggy.
  • In Inuyasha, when Miroku's curse finally threatens to kill him at any moment, the only way to save him is by killing the Big Bad, so before Sango leaves to fight him, she kisses an unconscious Miroku goodbye.
  • Mazinger Z: In the manga version of the "Mazinger-Z vs Great General of Darkness" movie, Sayaka kisses Kouji right before he goes off to fight the Mykene army because both think he'll die this time for sure.
  • Space Patrol Luluco: Upon getting poisoned in episode 8 and thinking she only has minutes left, Luluco decides to finally kiss Nova. When they learn that the poison won't kick in for another sixty years, Nova immediately wipes his mouth.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman and Wonder Woman share one kiss on what they thought would be their last battle.
  • Kingdom Come: Wonder Woman kisses Superman before leaving to fight an army of rogue, violent super-humans.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics), Sonic gives Sally a kiss before leaving on a suicide run to shut down a weapon.
  • Supergirl has done this some times:
    • In Girl Power, Kara decides she'll confront Lex Luthor alone... but before leaving she impulsively kisses Nightwing "because if half of what they've told me about Luthor is true... I might not be able to do it later..."
    • And in issue #51 Kara kisses Mon-El as he flies towards Brainiac's ship.
  • In Teen Titans, Raven does this to Beast Boy.
  • X-Men: Rogue kissed Gambit when the universe was seemingly about to be destroyed.

    Fan Works 
  • Children of an Elder God: In chapter 23, Asuka kisses Shinji and says that she loves him, just in case they die in the next battle.
  • Hellsister Trilogy: Supergirl kisses Dev-Em before he leaves for a suicide mission.
    Kara let Laurel go, and made her way over to Dev. They stood there, fumbling for words, for a few seconds. Then Kara said, "I hope you come back all right, Dev."
    "Yeah, me too, Karaish. And I hope I've got you to come back to." He reached out a hand, traced her cheekbone gently. She grasped his hand, savoring its physical reality.
    "If you don't, maybe you know what I feel about you," she said. "Will that be enough for right now?"
    "It'll do," he said. "But if there's anything that'll get me through this thing... it's knowing there'll be a chance of seeing you again afterward." He paused. "Believe it. That's not a con, this time."
    She wrinkled her nose. "Oh, Dev. I know when you're doing a con-job. Take this with you."
    Kara grabbed him around the neck with both arms, pulled him down, and kissed him. They held each other very tightly for several seconds.
  • Implied in The Immortal Game between Applejack and Rarity during the climactic battle/storm; while it's interrupted before the actual kiss, they are described as moving closer after very brief (lip-read and unexplained to the reader) dialogue, then are very startled when the storm clears up and show embarrassment around each other for most of the rest of the story.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide: Rei kisses Keiko before going off to confront to Gendo for last time, just in case that she doesn't come back.
  • The Royal Protector (sniperct): Rapunzel doesn't like Cassandra romantically but she still kisses her right before she leaves to find a cure for her poisoning, just in case Cass doesn't make it in time. Rapunzel wanted to let her know what kissing her was like (and she was a bit curious about kissing a woman).
  • Subverted in The Sealed Kunai. Right before they go out to fight Hidan and Kakuzu, Yugito Nii kisses Naruto, then firmly tells him that it was not any sort of last act, and they were both going to survive.

    Film — Animated 
  • Rio: Blu and Jewel kiss as they fall towards the ocean (The situation got better, though).

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Barbarella: Barbarella kisses Pygar when they get trapped in the Chamber of Ultimate Solution, which will get them horribly killed in one of many ways since it's a suicide booth. They do get rescued.
  • In Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter kiss while racing in a nitro-boosted car to stop the bomber taking off to attack the United States. This is also their Last Kiss, since, while neither actually dies in the aftermath, the next time they see each other Peggy will be a grandmother in her nineties. Amusingly, after doing Cap casts a nervous glance at Peggy's superior officer, who snarks, "I'm not kissing you!"
  • Edge of Tomorrow. Rita Vrataski grabs William Cage for a Last Kiss when they're on a Suicide Mission and (having broken out of the "Groundhog Day" Loop) know that this death will be the final one. Up till then Rita had avoided getting close to Cage or any other soldier, having experienced the pain of watching her friends die over and over again.
  • Star Wars:
    • The Empire Strikes Back: Han and Leia's kiss, right before he was lowered into the carbonite freezing chamber and an uncertain fate.
    • Attack of the Clones: Padmé and Anakin kiss right before they are led into an execution arena.
      Anakin: I thought that we had decided not to fall in love. That we would be forced to live a lie, and that it would destroy our lives.
      Padmé: I think our lives are about to be destroyed anyway. I truly, deeply love you, and before we die I want you to know.
      (cue passionate kiss and dramatic swell in the soundtrack.)
  • In Galaxy Quest, the two leads have one these towards the end.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2:
    • Harry and Ginny immediately go for the kiss after Neville announces that he's going to tell Luna he likes her, because "we'll probably both be dead by dawn."
    • Humorously, Ron and Hermione's kiss is changed to a G-rated version of Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex.
  • The Matrix: Played with. Trinity gives Neo a kiss as it appears the Machines have triumphed, only for him to revive from her kiss. At the same time, it's subverted because Trinity knows that they're not going to die just yet.
  • In The Mummy, Rick suddenly kisses Evelyn while they're talking about Hamunaptra, when he first meets her while a prisoner in Cairo. Later on in the movie, Evelyn asks him why he kissed her, to which he replies matter-of-factly, "Well, I was about to be hanged. It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time."
  • In National Treasure, as the good guys (Ben, Riley, Abigail, and Ben's father) are heading down the creepy underground passages to the unknown dangers that lie below, basically as hostages of the bad guys (Ian and his goons), Ben pulls Abigail aside and kisses her.
  • Palm Springs: Sarah confesses her love for Nyles and the two share a passionate kiss right before they escape the time loop, just in case if their plan doesn't work and they get blown up.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End:
    • Will and Elizabeth get a now-or-never marriage. In the midst of the big climatic battle, on board a ship in a whirlpool, they get Captian Barbosa to marry them as they recite their vows between sword blows and fending off opponents. They then manage a long kiss, while somehow managing not to be attacked by anyone. Even other crew members stop to stare.
    Elizabeth: (After Will asked to marry her during a climatic battle) I don't think now is the best time!
    Will: (Also fighting) Now may be the only time!
    • Elizabeth was given a now-or-never kiss by her one-time fiancé James Norrington, as he helped her with an escape then refused to follow, presumably parting from her forever. He was- he gets fatally stabbed a few seconds later.
  • A familial variant occurs in Super Mario Bros. (1993) when Luigi is about to leap into the unknown to go after Daisy across a chasm that would kill him otherwise; he gives Mario a kiss before taking the leap.

  • In Elizabeth Peters' novel, Crocodile on the Sandbank (which launches her long series of Amelia Peabody books), Radcliff Emerson, the dashing Egyptologist whom Amelia thinks merely respects and grudgingly admires her, realizes that either or both of them could be killed within minutes by the villain, and refuses to die without having at least kissed her — passionately and at length, right on the floor of the tomb where they're hiding.
  • In The Death Gate Cycle, Paithan and Reaga are finally able to admit their feelings to each other when the tytans come for them.
  • The Dresden Files book Cold Days has The Big Damn Kiss between Harry and Murphy based at least partly on this reasoning, though it was less the prospect of imminent death that brought it about (which they deal with on a practically daily basis,) and more a determination not to miss out on a possible Relationship Upgrade a second time.
  • There's an element of this in Ron and Hermione's first kiss in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows after Ron suddenly thinks that no one's warned the house elves in the kitchens and Hermione instantly goes to snog him.
    Harry: OI! There's a war going on here!
    Ron: I know, mate. So it's now or never, isn't it?
  • The Licanius Trilogy frequently invokes this in its romantic subplots, as imminent danger usually acts as a Moment Killer for characters who are able to get some time alone.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: In The Battle of the Labyrinth, when Percy and Annabeth are infiltrating the Titan base in Mount St. Helens, Percy tells Annabeth to leave and tell Hephaestus and Camp Half-Blood what they found. Thinking he might be about to die, she kisses him for the first time. By the time he makes it back to camp, he arrives just as they're having his funeral.
  • In Mark Anthony's The Last Rune novels, Beltan kisses Travis (who he thinks has previously rejected him; in reality Travis has no idea he's even interested) while the former is mortally wounded. In an interesting twist, after Beltan recovers he apologizes, saying it was a coward's move and a terrible position to put Travis in.
  • The Scholomance: When faced with an onrushing wall of vaguely malevolent mana-and-flesh devouring Mortal Flame he was helpless to dispel or defend against, Orion Lake gave the fellow student he had been falling in love with a kiss. El Higgins, being capable of conjuring enough Mortal Flame for a firebreak, responded by dropping him with a solid knee to the bollocks so she could do so.
  • Exaggerated in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, where just as it seems that they are about to drown, Luke asks Mara to marry him. They do kiss, but not 'til after they get out of trouble.
    • Played straight with Anakin Solo and Tahiri, who share a kiss in the storage locker of a decompressing space station. True to the trope, they end up getting rescued by Corran. Would likely have led to a Relationship Upgrade had Anakin survived the war.
    • Tenel Ka tried to give one of these to Jacen, but Vergere stopped her. And she lived through it.
  • A Tale of Two Cities: Sydney Carton gets one from a seamstress as they go to the guillotine. Maybe it's not true love, but considering the circumstances, one could do much worse.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrow: Felicity Smoak, who has become somewhat estranged from Oliver Queen, gives him a Big Damn Kiss in the season 5 finale "Lian Yu".
    Oliver: [handing Felicity a computer pad] Detailed satellite imagery of the island, just in case. [she kisses him] What was that for?
    Felicity: [whispering] Just in case.
    Oliver: We're going to make it through this.
    Felicity: You can't know that for sure. I didn't want to regret not kissing you. When it comes to the two of us, I regret too much as it is.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In "Lovers Walk", although it isn't their first kiss, Willow and Xander start kissing after they're kidnapped by the vampire Spike and think they're going to die. At that moment Oz and Cordelia bust in on them intent on rescue, only to find their significant others kissing (on a bed, no less).
  • In Chuck, Sarah kisses Chuck when they fail to deactivate an artifact they thought was a large biological bomb, showing her true feelings for him for the first time. Cue incredibly awkward silence when the timer finishes counting down...and nothing happens.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "The Lodger", this is actually used to save the day.
    The Doctor: No, not now, not again Craig, the planet's about to burn, for god's sake kiss the girl!
  • In ER, Carter and Abby finally share a kiss in the eighth season finale "Lockdown," when it seems that there might be a smallpox breakout in the hospital. There isn't. And then he leaves for the Congo.
  • John and Aeryn have one of these in the final episode of Farscape, just before being crystallized. Lucky for them, there was a miniseries.
  • Jack Ryan: Harry and Jack board a train to go to the college where Max's daughter Annabelle is studying at, planning to use her as leverage against Max. However, Max catches onto their plan and finds them on the train, so Harry decides to confront him alone while Jack goes to find Annabelle. Before leaving, Harry gives Jack a kiss because she knows there's a chance that Max might kill her.
  • M*A*S*H: Not an example with death immediately looming, but this is how Hawkeye and Hotlips say goodbye (at length) in the series finale, since it's very likely they'll never see each other again.
  • In Murdoch Mysteries, Inspector Brackenreid convinces George Crabtree to "check his med kit" with Emily Grace before going out on a potentially fatal mission. Cue the kissing.
  • In The Nanny, Max and Fran kiss when they think the plane they're on is going to crash. Max immediately takes it back once the danger passes.
  • In Robin Hood, Will and Djaq share their first kiss just before the gang faces an enormous army of mercenaries.
  • In the penultimate episode of Runaways (2017) season one, the team learns that what their parents are doing could potentially cause a massive earthquake and other disasters. Just before they head out to try and stop it, Karolina kisses Nico...who kisses her back.
  • In Sanctuary, Helen kisses Nikola just before sending him away while she stays behind to fight the bad guys and blow up the Sanctuary.
  • Smallville:
    • Chloe does this twice, the first time on the fifth season, when she gives Clark a goodbye kiss before he goes to face Zod, and the second in the seventh season, when she is stuck in the Daily Planet's elevator with Jimmy Olsen and a bomb.
    • Clark too gets in on this once more with Lois: Season Nine ending, right before facing Zod and sending the Kandorians away in a a method that may result in him being banished to New Krypton with them. Lois asks 'the Blur' if he can ever forgive her for mistaking Zod for him and gets kissed, resulting in her figuring it out.
  • Stargate-verse:
    • Played for Laughs in the Stargate Atlantis episode "Duet". Before the dangerous separation is attempted, Lieutenant Cadman (a woman) in McKay's male body kisses Dr. Beckett (also male) "Just in case it doesn't work."
    • Subverted in Stargate SG-1 when Jack takes advantage of a "Groundhog Day" Loop situation to kiss Sam just before time resets. No-one else remembers, but he does; fondly.
  • Star Trek: Voyager:
  • In the season 2 finale of Superstore, Amy kisses Jonah thinking they're about to die in a tornado.
  • Torchwood:
    • In the episode "Cyberwoman", this is how Owen justifies kissing Gwen.
      Owen: Last kiss for the condemned man. Embarrassing given that we haven't been killed.
    • Also, Jack and Ianto have a desperate and passionate kiss in Day 1 of Children of Earth just before the Hub explodes.
  • The X-Files: In "Triangle", Mulder goes back in time to 1939 and encounters a past version of Scully. As he's about to depart for the present day he grabs her for a passionate kiss "just in case we never see each other again." Scully being Scully, (past or present) she responds by punching him.

    Video Games 
  • GreedFall: During the fighting leading up to the final battle, De Sardet's romantic partner will stop them from continuing on in order to give them one last kiss, as they aren't sure they'll see each other again. It can become a Last Kiss if De Sardet chooses to join Constantin as a god/goddess.
  • Life Is Strange: Can potentially be invoked twice between Max and Warren during the diner scene in episode 5, assuming the player has chosen to have Max pursue him. Warren will attempt to finally confess his feelings for her, only to have Max gently interject that she's known all along. She'll then be given the chance to kiss him. If she does and immediately examines him afterward, she'll admit to herself that she did it so he'd know the feeling was mutual. After time jumping through the photo he gives her, Max further elaborates in her journal:
    (journal entry) "Considering how insane my life has been this week, kissing Warren during a deadly storm didn't seem strange at all. It was like we were flipping off the cruel universe, and... if I was gonna die, I wanted at least one kiss from a boy I cared about."
  • In Mass Effect 3, in the Forward Operations Base on Earth, if you romanced Kaidan he will grab Shepard for one of these. It's a rare case of a kiss being a Tear Jerker, since in most cases, it's their last. Also applies to Ashley, whose goodbye plays out very similarly to Kaidan's, as well as Liara and Garrus in their respective scenes.
  • In Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, a shocked Starkiller receives a kiss from his gorgeous pilot, Juno Eclipse, before he heads off to infiltrate the Death Star and save the other members of the rebellion. It is possibly Starkiller's first kiss, as he was raised in seclusion by Darth Vader, and also his last.
  • In Valkyria Chronicles III, this happens between Kurt and either Riela or Imca just before they set out towards their final mission, with both girls dashing to kiss him before he can even get his Love Confession out.

    Visual Novels 
  • Subverted (and more like now or never sex) in Double Homework. After Dennis starts blackmailing Dr. Mosely/Zeta, it seems to the protagonist like his downfall is imminent, and he wants to consummate his relationship with either Johanna or Tamara (player’s choice) before Dennis destroys him. Dennis, however, doesn’t intend to release the damning information about him right away; he’d rather use the protagonist for his own purposes first.
  • In Metro PD: Close to You, Kirisawa plants one on the protagonist, along with a Love Confession, just before they begin the climactic raid near the end of his route.

  • Just before going their separate ways in Azure City, Elan and Haley of The Order of the Stick share one so passionate and involved they have to be reminded they don't have time to start ripping each other's clothes off. This inspires a nearby Red Shirt to ask his colleague on a date If We Get Through This…. Elan and Haley are split up for several months by the post-battle chaos, while the now-Mauve Shirted soldiers hook up and eventually get married.
  • Schlock Mercenary. Despite being a Celibate Hero, Captain Tagon kisses Lt. "Elf" Foxworthy before making a Heroic Sacrifice so she can escape by teraport (in a brutal subversion he then cuts off her head as there's not enough energy to teraport her whole body). Due to Time Travel shenanigans Tagon is brought back to life, and Elf gets severely annoyed when he can't think of any reason why they would have kissed at all.

    Web Originals 

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: The fact that he's finally going to face the dreaded Firelord, and possibility that he might not come back alive from that battle, gives Aang enough motivation to kiss Katara.
  • Captain Planet: In "The Predator", thinking they're about to drown after Bleak sinks the Eco-copter, Wheeler asks Linka for a goodbye kiss. Despite teasing him about having only one thing on his mind, she leans in to do so... until Kwame kills the moment by bringing up that once the water pressure equalizes, they can get out.
    Wheeler (mildly annoyed): You could have waited another five seconds.
  • CatDog: An episode of has the town thinking the world is going to end. Shriek takes the opportunity to kiss Dog (who seems kind of perturbed by it). After they live, she threatens him.
  • Danny Phantom: In the Grand Finale Phantom Planet, with the possibility that he may not come back from the Ghost Zone let alone execute the last plan to stop an asteroid from colliding the Earth, Danny delivers a kiss to Sam (but not before she first triggered it with a kiss on the cheek).
  • Detentionaire: In the finale, Tina rushes to Lee who had just barely escaped death by asphyxiation via Finnwich attempting to take both Lee and himself to stop a doomsday prophecy to give him one just before His Eminence could retake control of the situation.
    Lee: Wow, that was almost too close.
    Tina: *Pounding on Lee's chest* You're telling me! Ugh! *Grabs Lee's shirt* Okay! That's it! No more "almosts"! *Kisses Lee on the lips*
  • The Fairly Oddparents: In "Wishology" trilogy, Timmy shares a kiss with Trixie just before sacrificing himself to the Darkness. Naturally, he recovers, but attempts at a Relationship Upgrade have other problems.
  • Family Guy: In an episode, Neil uses the threat of impending death to get a Last Kiss from Meg, which turns into this trope when they're rescued by Hugh Downs. It hits the fan when he plays a tape of the kiss on local TV.
  • Generator Rex: With the Pack captured and Black Knight's forces bearing down on them, Circe confesses to Rex that she was never just using him, before kissing him and shoving him out of the castle so he could escape. He gets to see her captured and collared before he can get away.
  • Hazbin Hotel: Sir Pentious having chickened out repeatedly at expressing his true feelings towards his rival Cherri Bomb finally kisses her and admits he loves her as he runs off to make a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Justice League: In "Far From Home", Kara kisses Brainiac 5 before going into battle against the entire brainwashed Legion of Super-Heroes plus Green Lantern which is foretold to lead to her death.
  • The Simpsons: When Springfield thought it was The End of the World as We Know It, Smithers declares "Oh, what the hell!" and kisses the love of his life... Mr. Burns.


Video Example(s):


Blu and Jewel

Blu and Jewel kiss as they fall towards the ocean in what appears to be their last moments due to Blu being unable to fly and Jewel's left wing having being injured from a cage falling on it. Fortunately Jewel kissing Blu gives him the confidence to finally fly for the first time in his life much to their joy and amazement.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / NowOrNeverKiss

Media sources: