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Vaarsuvius: As the shrew has perished, we are no longer bound by the anchor that has hung around our neck for weeks! Let her death ring in a new era of freedom for the "Order of the Stick"!
(beat)
Vaarsuvius: She is, naturally, directly behind me.
Miko: Naturally.
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A character decides to vent some pent-up complaints about another character and the subject of their frustrations manages to arrive on scene just in time to overhear the best parts of it, if not the whole thing.

Exactly what happens next varies, but usually involves one or more of the following:

  • Cue the Oh, Crap! reactions from Bob's friends, who are (naturally) the first to notice that Alice is standing right behind Bob.
  • If Bob doesn't take the hint, he might just obliviously continue with his rants, with the complaints getting even better. Or, he might only stop and wonder if "I take it by your silence that you agree with what I'm saying?"
  • On the other hand, given how the above has happened often enough to be Dead Horse Trope territory, Bob will probably stop and realize: "...She's right behind me, isn't she?"
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  • Finally, the listener may make their presence known by interrupting Bob (say, clearing their throat with a loud "Ahem!"). And if Bob hasn't acknowledged it yet, he will now.
  • Occasionally, Bob will be made aware of Alice's presence and, after acknowledging her (typically in a friendly way, such as "Oh, hi Alice!"), will resume the litany of complaints and insults to the other person. This is typically done when Bob somehow has authority over Alice, and she must endure the comments without reaction. This slides the trope into I'm Standing Right Here at that point. If the situation is reversed, with Alice having authority over Bob, his reaction may be a Delayed "Oh, Crap!".

Engineered Public Confession is an invoked variation of this, and much less likely to be played comedically — e.g. the Big Bad makes his Just Between You and Me confession to his victim just as an authority figure (particularly the authority to arrest/kill him) is getting into earshot.

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An obvious variation is Right in Front of Me. Contrast I'm Standing Right Here — where the speaker already knows that the target of their conversation is right there with them — and Bilingual Backfire — when the speaker knows the target is there, but thinks they won't understand the language.

In-combat variations No, I Am Behind You and its response Snap to the Side remain popular.

Compare Last-Second Word Swap, Bathroom Stall of Overheard Insults, And Here He Comes Now. Note that it can also be used as a basis for tricking someone to Look Behind You. Contrast Oblivious Mockery, when a character mocks some action in front of someone who did it, but without knowing it, "Reason You Suck" Speech, if a character is willing to complain about someone to their face, and Scared of What's Behind You. Finally, see Stealth Hi/Bye for a version that doesn't land anybody in trouble.

Here is a compilation with a lot of examples.


Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • At least one commercial for a cellphone carrier ends in this way: the cellphone is a gift, and "her parents would freak if they knew she'd found it". Meanwhile, her friends (on the other end of a video line) are waving frantically in an attempt to warn her that they're standing right behind her.
  • Done in this ad from Switzerland.
  • This Gatorade ad features a guy bragging about how, in a one on one matchup, he'd beat basketball star Dwayne Wade. He realizes at the end of the commercial that Wade was sitting right behind him and heard everything.

    Anime & Manga 
  • From one of the original Azumanga Daioh Yonkoma:
    Student A: Who do you prefer, Miss Tanizaki or Miss Kurosawa?
    (Yukari walks up behind Student A, curious)
    Student B: Uh, Miss Tanizaki, definitely.
    (Yukari perks up)
    Student A: (grinning snarkily) Man, you like the weird ones, huh?
    (Yukari lifts a chair over Student A's head, grinning psychotically)
    • In the anime version of this scene, Student A just gets hit in the head with a rolled-up magazine.
  • A variation occurs in the second volume of Fullmetal Alchemist. A random MP approaches Edward to warn him of a serial killer's presence in the area, shouting Ed's name loudly, which attracts the attention of said serial killer, who is standing just down the street. The next panel shows the MP explaining the situation to Ed — who can clearly see the very person he's being warned about looming over the MP's shoulder.
    • There's also the infamous King Bradley reveal as a Homunculus scene.
    • Another case. During Ed and Al fight with Scar, Ed tried to call Scar out about his killing on Winry's parents. Winry gets to hear it in the back alley, breaking her.
  • In Karin, Maki spots Karin giving a lunch to Usui. She and the other girls then demand that Karin tell them all the sordid details of her obvious torrid love affair with him. Karin insists that He is Not My Boyfriend without success, given her Luminescent Blush. Finally, she yells "I Don't Have Feelings for Usui-kun!", just as Usui comes around the corner behind her.
  • Similar to the Bob and George example, Runessa in StrikerS Sound Stage X of the Lyrical Nanoha franchise monologues what she's been planning to herself after she watches Teana leave. Then, after she had said enough incriminating evidence, Teana shoots her from behind, chiding her tendency of talking to herself and leaving her back open, and explaining to her the concept of one of her favorite spells, the Fake Silhouette.
  • In a Negima! Magister Negi Magi chapter, Negi's classmate and childhood friend Anya, upon learning whom the master of the extratemporal keep Negi and his students were using to train is, pulls the closest girl aside and tries to convince her in a frantic under-voice to escape, lest the legendary undead mage Evangeline A.K. McDowell do something horrible to them all. Then a busty, leather-clad blonde woman with fangs and Glowing Eyes of Doom starts patting her on the head, asking "What will I do with you, Anya Cocolova?" Eva really didn't plan to do anything but scare Anya a bit, and in fact generally enjoys being told how powerful and evil she is (after all, it is not as if anyone who actually knows her will oblige her about the latter).
  • Another variation: In Eyeshield 21, Haruto Sakuraba finally gain his confidence, after hearing Takami's hope and compliment about him without him knowing, ending his Heroic BSoD.
  • A lovely one happens in Change 123. Kosukegawa is praying at the temple for the courage to ask Motoko out. Standing behind him, unseen, Motoko replies sincerely, "And I hope we'll be very happy together." Aww.
  • Light Yagami and L in Death Note are often seen looming behind each other's shoulders, symbolic of how they're both playing a dangerous game of cat and mouse with each other. A few fan-edits have hilariously summed up the series by putting two such alternating shots together with the altered dialogue.
    Light: Well played L, but you are too slow. Now I am the one standing behind you!
  • In Soul Eater the night before a big test, Black☆Star sneaks into Dr. Stein's lab to get a peek at the test. As he laughs to himself and compliments his ingenuity, the viewer sees a pair of Scary Shiny Glasses behind him. Cue Black☆Star slowly turning around, then the shot cuts to outside the lab and we hear a long, high-pitched scream.
  • Dai-Guard: Early on in the series, Dai-Guard's main pilot Shunsuke Akagi is going on about the team's new "tactical adviser" from the Army, Shirou Shirota. The rest of the lunch table looks on in shock as Akagi is mocking Shirota's manner of speech, causing him to stop and say "he's right behind me isn't he...?"
  • Miss Yoshinoya in Hidamari Sketch has a habit of saying or doing inappropriate things, often in front of her students. Almost invariably, the principal is standing behind her and promptly drags her away for a dressing-down. She eventually becomes wise to this, on one occasion realising she has said something that would anger the principal and wheeling around to find that for once he isn't lurking behind her.
  • Hinagiku of Hayate the Combat Butler gets clobbered by this in the current arc (starting at chapter 300), it's not quite the same effect of having Hayate himself hear her confession, but it does give blackmail bait.
  • Area no Kishi: This happens to Nishijima while bragging about a point he scored on one of the football team's top defenders in a practice match (after Kakeru spent most of the match wearing him down.)
    Nishijima: Suguru-san! Didn't I score a nice one today? The only forward on the team who can dodge Kunimitsu-san and score easily is me!
    Kunimitsu: (while cracking his knuckles) Dodge me easily, huh?
    Nishijima: Oooo owwow! Ouch!!
  • In Tokyo Mew Mew, Ichigo often gets taken by surprise by her crush and eventual boyfriend Aoyama this way, often when she's hoping he won't notice something or show up.
  • Ranma ½: Ranma often insults Akane or says the harsh truth about her without realizing she just entered into ear-shot, particularly in the manga. Akane expresses her displeasure over such moments with a punch or kick to the head.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: In the manga, when a game shop opened in front of the shop owned by Yugi's Grandfather, Yugi went there to buy the new game and Yugi asked his friends not to tell his grandfather. Yugi even complained about Grandfather being old-fashioned and it being the reason his shop had no business. Then he learned his Grandfather was behind him.
  • In a flashback in Saki Achiga-hen, Himeko and Mairu are walking and talking about their team's lineup, including the decision to have Kirame be in the vanguard position instead of their fifth best player for the reason that while Kirame is not good enough to qualify, she is able to avoid going into negative points, preventing the team from prematurely being eliminated. Himeko says Kirame would be upset to hear that she's just being used as a sacrificial piece because she was happy to be chosen for the team, just as they pass under an overpass that Kirame is sitting on. Kirame, however, does not reveal herself or get upset, but instead resolves to do as well as possible in the role chosen for her.
  • In Lucky Star, Konata and Kagami both have moments of this with Kuroi-sensei, with her presence becoming known when she says, "I heard that." In Konata's case, this is followed by a swat to the head.
  • Ouran High School Host Club has episode 10 where Tamaki telling his gang about not to say anything bad about Haruhi's home, without even realizing Haruhi herself caught the entire conversation.
  • Amagi Brilliant Park has a running gag where Tiramie and Macaron (sometimes Moffle) were to say some sly remarks or badmouthing Isuzu or Seiya which cues Isuzu appearing behind them while preparing her guns to shoot them.
  • In the spin-off version of Re:CREATORS, Miharu was following Mirokuji in hopes of finding Sho, but doesn't relizes that he's right behind her until it's too late.
  • In an omake of Naruto Shippuden, a drunk Shizune talks to Kurenai about how jealous of her she is, since she has a boyfriend (Asuma), and how she's always stuck with Tsunade, never being able to meet handsome guys when they traveled, and that she's gonna lose her chance of getting married just like Tsunade. Kurenai tries to warn her to stop but she just keeps laughing it off until Tsunade's voice calls her out. Shizune turns around slowly, to meet the Death Glare of a VERY pissed off Tsunade.
  • In Urusei Yatsura, Ataru had a habit early on of complaining about Lum's nature to whatever acquaintance happened to be nearby, whether they wanted to hear it or not. In one scene in the anime, the camera panned over during the middle of his rant to reveal Lum standing behind him; he did not notice until she said something. Cue electric shocks.
  • In the anime Jojos Bizarre Adventure, a intrepid reporter examines a burnt out diner where our heroes had just fought a vampire. As she's congragulating herself on the big scoop, the now naked vampire jumps down behind her.
    Reporter: It's behind me, isn't it...
  • A Running Gag in CLANNAD is Nagisa's dad, Akio will criticize his wife, Sanae's bread making skills and she'll always be right there to hear it; que Sanae running away crying and then Akio running after her claiming he actually likes her bread.
  • In Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai, it's more "right under me". When Dai and Leona use a hot-air balloon to head to a department store for the purpose of getting new equipment for Dai, Dai worries not bringing Pop along. Leona, on the other hand, doesn't consider Pop reliable and quickly expresses her opinion on the matter. What Dai and Leona don't know, however, is that Pop, having trained to enable himself to fly by magic, has been positioning himself below the airborne hot-air balloon while Leona expresses her criticism of him, and so he hears the whole spiel.
  • In the first chapter of the Manga version of Library War, Kasahara complains and calls Instructor Dojo a "Mean Shorty" behind his back. Cue him giving her a warning.
  • In the Puyo Puyo light novel Sig's Secret, Amitie tells Arle and Ringo that she wants to ask Sig if he's okay, since he hasn't been acting like himself. Turns out Sig's right behind Amitie as she says this, which is pointed out by Ringo.
    Amitie: I quickly turned myself around. When did he show up? I didn't even notice him. Sure enough, Sig's just standing there doing nothing.
  • In one chapter of Kaguya-sama: Love is War, Ishigami and Shirogane are talking about clubs and bring up that Kaguya is in the Japanese archery club. Ishigami makes a crack about how her bust size is ideal for the sport, while making hand gestures emphasizing it. Unfortunately, Kaguya is right behind him while he's doing this and only Shirogane, who's sitting across from Ishigami and silently telling him to shut up, can see this. Then, he proceeds to crack about how Fujiwara's much larger bust would get in the way, again with accompanying hand gestures...at the same time Fujiwara shows up right next to Kaguya.
  • The Kindaichi Case Files:
    • Kindaichi, Miyuki and Saki discuss Superintendent Fuwa behind her back after she goes about her stiff demeanor. This naturally happens.
    Saki: I know someone/something just like her!
    Miyuki: Really? Who/what?
    Kindaichi: Haha, I see! An ugly snake-haired gorgon which can turn people into stone just by her gaze!
    Saki: If sempai doesn't want to turn into stone, don't turn around!
    Kindaichi: Eh?
    Supt. Fuwa: WHO is this snake-haired gorgon, hm? *smirking, with snake hair imagery*
    • As the Headless Samurai Murder Case arc is wrapping up, Kenmochi, in his talk with Kindaichi and Miyuki, compares motherly love with romantic love before going on a rant about how a woman treats her husband like trash after feeling comfortable with her spouse. A woman asks him who he's referring to, with him responding that he's referring to his wife, only to turn around and see that the woman he's talking to is none other than his wife. Cue Kenmochi's Oh, Crap! expression.

    Asian Animation 
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: In Flying Island: The Sky Adventure episode 33, Weslie discusses breaking out of the storm enveloping Balloon City with the other goats, even though General Balloon is against that idea since he think it's too dangerous. General Balloon appears right behind Weslie while he talks about his scheme; it takes Tibbie saying the trope name word-for-word for him to notice.

    Comic Books 
  • From Exiles: Morph is complaining about being stuck in Canada when his teammates suddenly go really quiet... "Wolverine is standing right behind me, isn't he?"
  • Humorous variation in an old Superman newspaper strip. The strip opens up with the villain giving himself a congratulatory speech for a job well done. Only to notice Superman's reflection in the mirror. Could also double as an OhCrap moment.
  • In the opening scene of Garth Ennis's Punisher, Frank has killed everyone involved in a drug deal except for a panicked thug, who he tells to clean up his life and get a haircut. As soon as the Punisher leaves, the thug calls his friend and tells him that the Punisher killed everybody but left all the drugs. He says "do you know what this means? I'm sitting on enough product to set me up for life." Then he realizes the Punisher is still behind him, and hangs up the phone before Frank snaps his neck and lights the warehouse on fire.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic, Raana Tey is standing over Zayne with two sabers when she comments "Now I'll have killed more than my fair share of padawans." Unfortunately for her, the sister of one of those padawans (whom Raana had conned into trying to murder Zayne) has just entered the room and overhears everything. Raana promptly gets impaled through the back with a lightsaber by the sister, thereby fulfilling the prophecy Raana had tried so hard to avoid.
  • In Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #20, the Legion are discussing Supergirl, ignoring Dream Boy, who is trying to warn them she's listening to them.
    Cosmic Boy: She makes me nervous, Garth. I can't put my finger on it, but somethings not right about Supergirl. Oh, Boy. She's here... isn't she?
    Dream Boy: That's what I've been trying to tell you. She can hear every word...
  • In one Doonesbury strip, the Sarah Palin Doll is trying to get one of the other toys to kill Samantha when, "She's right behind me, isn't she?"
  • Happened to that guy who was making fun of Rorschach in Happy Harry's in the first chapter of Watchmen. Rorschach was a little angry, but he didn't want to point any fingers.
  • Happens to Brian in Knights of the Dinner Table when he was trying to persuade Dave to open a box of dice in Bob's absence. When Dave starts yammering about how this isn't right, Brian wonders what's up until he realises that Bob is standing right behind him. Cue the Big Ball of Violence.
    • Happens again when Bob and Dave are trying to sneak a peek at B.A.'s GM notes and B.A. returns.
  • The Joker gets one at the end of Legends of the Dark Knight #3 when he is explaining to his gang his latest plan to make Batman's life a misery, and then notices that they have gone oddly silent. "He's right behind me, isn't he?" is the last line of the issue.
  • In Gold Digger #202, Julia manages to pull this off on herself twice with her husband, and on the same subject, even.
    Julia: s-so what brings you down here at this hour?
    Theodore: Well, I thought I'd come watch my charming wife dig herself a nice, deep hole.
  • A huge crisis is brewing in the Marvel Universe, and all the heroes have gathered to deal with it. Spider-Man is nonchalant, saying, "If this was a really big deal, the Watcher would be here! He always shows up to observe the Earth-shattering stuff. So we've got nothing to worry about... he's behind me, isn't he?"
  • Chowder: Mung Daal falls into this as he needs to clean up his kitchen before the health inspector enters.
    Mung Daal: Now to clean up this place before that health inspector moron figures out what happened here.
    Someone offscreen: Ahem!
    Mung Daal: He's standing right behind me, isn't he?
    Truffles: Yep!
  • Star Wars: Kanan: Stance imitates Big-Mouth in order to make fun of what a tight leash he and Caleb are on, and whines about him and Billaba being overprotective, only to realize they can both hear him despite being ahead in the column when they glare at him over their shoulders.
  • Ultimate Marvel
    • Ultimate Vision: A scientist in the quarantined zone describes the problem they are into. Everyone has an Oh, Crap! face. Something he said? No, the alien monsters outside the window.
    • The Ultimates: Proposing actors to play their roles, Henry Pym is about to propose one for Bruce Banner... who was entering the room, behind him.
  • Batman Black and White: In "Guardian", a police officer, seeing that the Golden Age hero who used to protect Gotham has temporarily come out of retirement, remarks that they could do with someone like him around all the time, "not like that psycho bat-guy" — unaware that Batman is standing right behind him. Batman doesn't make his presence known, but the reader gets a good look at his irate reaction.
  • In a classic Astonishing X-Men arc written by Joss Whedon, in the first battle with an alien baddie he’s winning well until he’s surprised from behind by Lockheed the Dragon, who blasts him in the face with fire. In the next confrontation he’s fighting 4 X-Men who suddenly stop with shock on their faces. “Oh, no. The dragon is right behind me, isn’t he?” Nope. It’s a REALLY pissed off Peter Rasputin. Cue the beatdown.

    Comic Strips 
  • Garfield: Jon speaking about Liz.
    Jon: Garfield, Liz may be my special "one". Sure, she may tell lame jokes and her nostrils twitch when she's angry, but she may still be the "one".
    Garfield: The "one" is right behind you, big mouth, and her nostrils are twitching.
  • One Sherman's Lagoon strip has Sherman asking Megan if he can go to a convention with Hawthorne, resulting in Megan launching into a rant about how much she hates Hawthorne.
    Sherman: (as an angry-looking Hawthorne enters the panel) He's also standing right here.
    Megan: (still angry) I know.
    • In another strip, while Sherman and Megan are in Greece, Sherman shows Megan a picture of the "Corfu Sea Monster" that they're looking for. Megan's reaction is this...
    Megan: Oh my, it's hideous! Gross! Shocking! Repulsive!
    Corfu Sea Monster: (appears behind Megan) Hey, the camera adds ten pounds.
    Megan: And a LOT of nose.
    Sherman: AUGH!
  • An early Retail strip had Marla telling Stuart that their district manager is a mean-spirited jerk. Sadly for her, the manager was behind her.
  • In Dilbert, the title character is infuriated that a linguistically-gifted monkey, Zimbu, has been promoted.
    Dilbert: What could be more humiliating than having to kiss up to a monkey?
    Zimbu: (behind him) Failing at it?
  • A common Running Gag in Big Nate is Nate insulting or making fun of Ms. Godfrey only for her to show up right behind him. Its even lampshaded in this 1998 strip.
  • Happens in a Sally Forth Howard strip, when Faye and Hilary have a fight, and Ted and Sally have to talk to one of them about it. Sally says that Faye is easier to talk to, then realises that "despite having gone upstairs, Hil's right behind me now, isn't she?"

    Fan Works 
  • In the original drawings that Sister Floriana is based on, Floriana has a puppet show that pokes fun at a fellow nun named Sister Diana. Unfortunately, she's too focused on her show to notice everyone else's reaction to Diana entering the room.
  • In The Chronicles of Narnia fanfiction Rumor Has It, a Calormene soldier shares some salacious gossip about the Narnian rulers with his cousin. It turns out that the nomads at the next table are really the Kings of Narnia and the Princes of Archenland in disguise, and less than pleased about the lies they hear.
  • Catherine and Lupin III fanfiction, Love Advice: Fujiko is singing an insulting song about Bantam Suits. She doesn't realize that Katherine is from behind having heard all that. Oops.
  • In Turnabout Storm, Spike tells Phoenix what a total nerd Twilight is just as Twilight walks into the room.
  • Hivefled's prequel Reprise features an IM variation. Gamzee, held captive by the Grand Highblood, manages to get hold of his computer and tries to message his friends. Suddenly, he gets a response from an unfamiliar username: "Did you know you're horrible at faking sleep?"
  • Inverted in Harry Potter: Dark Memories when Harry begins ranting about Quirrell's teaching, or lack thereof, and complimenting Snape—saying he'd rather have strict instruction than no instruction. Snape sneaks up behind him mid-rant.
  • Back Again, Harry? double-subverts this when Malfoy is getting ready to try out a curse on Harry:
    Malfoy: How good of you to volunteer, Potter.
    Harry: (looking behind Malfoy) Professor Snape!
    (Malfoy turns around, frantically stammering an excuse, before turning back to Harry with "an ugly look indeed.")
    Harry: (smirking) Sorry if I startled you. But you sounded exactly like Professor Snape just then.
    Snape: (from directly behind Harry) Is that so, Mr. Potter.
    Harry: ...No disrespect meant, sir.
  • The New Look Series: It's too bad Young Link doesn't have eyes on his neck; if he had he wouldn't have pretended to be Princess Peach, mockingly, as she witnessed the whole act.
  • In the rewritten version of Calvin and Hobbes: The Movie, Hobbes outright says the trope name (more or less) when Moe does this to Calvin.
  • The InuYasha Continuation Fic Beyond Tomorrow has such an example in chapter 13. Miroku and Sango are talking about how much trouble the Love Triangle between Inuyasha, Kikyo, and Kagome caused them in the past and how insensitive and stupid Inuyasha was back then... only to discover that Inuyasha and Kagome have arrived and overheard everything.
  • A positive version occurs in Alpha and Omega after Shinji realizes that he accidentally asked Aria to marry him.
    Shinji: "Even if... Even if I wasn't entirely sure, it doesn't matter."
    EDEN: "And why is that?"
    Shinji: "Because the question...still...stands. And if she were right here, EDEN, I'd turn to her and say: 'Aria T'loak, will you be my bondmate! (beat) And she is standing right behind me, isn't she?"
  • This happens in the Naruto fanfic "Son of The Serpent", when Naruto has come back from his training and encounters Tayuya who has her back to him and is going off about him leaving for three years without saying anything or contacting them as Naruto takes her ranting in stride and calmly speaks up and she stops and admits she misses him and then realizes he's behind her.
  • Nymphadora's Beau:
    "And here's where I sit when Bonesy makes me fill out boring paperwork," Nym explained to Harry, as she guided him through the Auror Department.
    "Ahem," someone cleared her throat theatrically. Nym turned around, and sheepishly said: "Err, wotcher, Madam Bones."
  • Harry Potter and the Nightmares of Futures Past:
    • Draco really should have known better than to call Professor McGonagall an "old hag" in the middle of a meeting of the club she sponsored.
    • A new one as of chapter 39. Harry is doing an Affectionate Parody of Professor McGonagall as the Professor herself walks in to bring the Gryffindor Six to the Headmaster's office.
  • In Leaving Hogwarts one of Harry's friends comments to Ginny that he's finally earned enough to buy his girlfriend an engagement ring and put a down payment on a house.
    Anthony: Just don't tell Anna that I made it arranging gambling on Quidditch games. She'll have my head. And she is standing right behind me, isn't she?
  • A rather-heartbreaking example comes in the Fire Emblem Fates fic titled The Invisible Princess. After Corrin (having recently returned to Hoshido) leaves another awkward dinner, Takumi sparks an argument about him with the rest of the family. In a fit of frustration, Queen Mikoto of Hoshido reveals that she wishes Corrin (previously Kamui, before his kidnapping) hadn't become so Nohrian. Unbeknownst to her, Corrin had walked back into the room and overheard it, leaving Mikoto paralyzed by horror and guilt when she sees the heartbroken look on his face.
    Ryoma: Corrin...
    Corrin: [still stunned] I forgot my gloves.
    Mikoto: Corrin, I didn't mean -
    Corrin: [gets his gloves and leaves, leaving Mikoto miserable]
  • In "Third Wheel", part of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Hearts series, Lois Lane is venting to Clark Kent about how she thinks her time is wasted on an assignment to write about Bruce Wayne's visit to Gotham:
    Lois: I'll shake his hand, I'll ask him some questions, I'll extrapolate into an article about how he's well-meaning but naive, or a shallow manwhore, or a spoiled prettyboy, or—
    [realizes Clark is very carefully not looking at something behind her]
    Lois: —a really nice, kind, forgiving person who's really very interesting—
    Bruce: I liked the other ones better.
  • The Miraculous Ladybug fic Name Drop has Tikki, in the middle of chewing out Plagg for accidentally telling Adrien that Ladybug is Marinette, launch into a sarcastic rant about how he should just go ahead and tell Marinette that Adrien is Chat Noir, and naturally ignores Plagg's attempts to tell her that Marinette is behind her.
  • Frequently occurs in This Bites!:
    • Smoker pulls this in Loguetown. Cross and Soundbite are suitably terrified.
    • Mr. 5 and Miss Valentine pull this in Whiskey Peak. Cross and Vivi are suitably terrified.
    • A velociraptor pulls this in Little Garden. Cross and Soundbite are suitably terrified.
    • Kureha pulls this in Drum. Cross is suitably terrified.
    • Smoker pulls this in Chapter 27. Tashigi is...well, you get the idea.
    • Averted during the Skypiea arc. Donny asks if Satori is behind him, but all that there is is his mass of trick balls.
    • Pagaya pulls this after Enel is beaten. Cross is... startled.
  • Oversaturated World: Lampshaded in Stick to your Principals:
    Lemon looked to Sugarcoat. "Call that two and a half votes for me?" After Sugarcoat nodded, she turned to the others. "Okay, let me preface this by saying that I'm trying to be a better person, and I like to think I'm having a nonzero success rate there, but some things need to be said, and I've been holding this one back since the Friendship Games: Your principals are sixty percent leg by height. Their centers of mass are below their waists. The reason they constantly wear pantsuits is because any outfit that didn't have 'pant' right in the name couldn't hope to contain them. And at this point in the rant, I can safely assume that one or both of them is standing behind me." She turned to look.
    Dean Cadence smiled. "Not quite."
  • Flavorful Bonding:
    "How could I possibly forget?" Ron asked. "The great bat is always hovering somewhere close, watching over Harry." He glanced around furtively. "Where is he, anyway?"
    Harry and the others attempted to stifle their laughter as Severus lifted a sardonic brow.
    Ron groaned. "He's standing behind me, isn't he?"
  • All Guardsmen Party: Tink goes on a rant about Sarge and the Inquisition and is interrupted by Sarge's hand on his shoulder.
  • In this gag comic of Steven Universe, Blue Diamond coddles and gushes over a Pikachu plushie that she named after Yellow Diamond... unaware that Yellow was standing right behind her the whole time. Then it gets reversed by having Yellow get caught coddling with a Vaporeon plushie, that she named after Blue, by Blue.
  • This short fanfic of Steven Universe has Steven and the Crystal Gems walking in on Blue Diamond badmouthing them this way.
  • In this Sailor Moon fanfiction, Tuxedo Mask is sent to buy Midol for the Sailor Sensei (long story), and when he's forced to speak up to the deaf female chemist out of the three behind the counter, he's showered with sympathetic comments from other men who understand his plight. Tuxedo Mask thanks them, saying "We men must stick together in such times of hardship and bear our women-folk and their hormonal stints once a month"... completely forgetting that the three female chemists are standing behind him. Oops!
  • A New Dawn: Allies:
    Harry: I know, I know - Dawn's all grown up, and I shouldn't worry that she's dating and I shouldn't be plotting to feed Colin to the whomping willow at midnight tonight... They're standing right behind me, aren't they?
  • 221B: Watson returns home late to hear Holmes talking to Lestrade. Eventually, the conversation comes around to Watson's latest story in the Strand, and Holmes compliments it but orders Lestrade not to tell Watson. At that point, the grinning doctor pokes his head into the room to say goodnight.
  • Metro: From "Metro 1: Chewing Through The Straps (Part 1)", when asking who Bluejay is:
    Thomas thought about it, "[...] Watch out for Bluejay, he sees a lot more than he lets on."
    Mads looked over, "Which one's that?"
    < The handsome and intelligent one, blue hair, standing right behind you! >
  • The Rigel Black Chronicles: Sirius is dismissing chemistry as boring and soulless, attracting only the most repressed and critical people. "Rather like potion-mak-" and then he sees Harry's reflection.note 
    Sirius: Harry! We were just talking about you—no, I mean, we were talking about…um…
  • Breaking Barriers:
    Harry: I missed you.
    Snape: I missed you too, Potter. Now, think we can escape before the Headmaster comes out and wants to catch up?
    Harry: Probably not.
    Snape: He's right behind me, isn't he?
    Harry: Yep.
    Snape: Dammit.
  • A Rabbit Among Wolves: Ilia presses Jaune about Sienna after the dance, asking for details about how how soft her skin is, how wild she is or if she used her fingernails... all while unaware that the woman in question is standing behind her. It seeing Jaune's stares for her to get the message.
    Ilia: She's behind me, isn't she?
    Sienna: She most certainly is.
  • While Naruto is ranting about Anko's Training from Hell in Naruto: Altered History, Iruka tries to warn him that she is right behind him. Naruto doesn't care that she's there and continues ranting, including calling Anko a sadistic bitch to her face.

    Films — Animation 
  • A dramatic example comes from All Dogs Go to Heaven, when Anne-Marie walks onto Charlie telling Itchy that he was only using her to make money.
    Annie-Marie: (crying after overhearing Charlie's true nature) You're not my friend. You're a bad dog!
  • When Merida of Brave realizes that the prince of the legend is also Mor'du, she then realizes Mor'du is right behind her.
  • Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, when Warp is complaining to Buzz that they looked everywhere and haven't found the Little Green Men, a Crater Viper appears behind his back. Noticing Buzz's horrified reaction, Warp points behind him and says "There's something really bad behind me, isn't there?" The viper even seems to nod in confirmation before lunging at him.
  • Kung Fu Panda, the kitchen scene: Po performs a hilarious impression of Master Shifu for the Furious Five, complete with noodle mustachios and soup-bowl ears, only to have Shifu appear right behind him and witness it all.
    • During the end credits sequence, we see how much Shifu has lightened up when he watches Tigress doing a similar impression with a good-humored expression on his face.
  • Happens in Hoodwinked!, where Granny is dissing one of the Big Bad's minions to the Wolf and the Woodsman.
    Granny: The toughest one is the big fellow, really mean looking with a fat head and a thick skull, looks like a shaved ape. (Woodsman and Wolf start trying to warn her) I mean, he is u-u-u-ugly, like a big, swollen, overgrown—he's standing right behind me, isn't he?
  • In Home on the Range, Buck the Horse implies someone had been taking stupid lessons from the villain's buffalo, Junior. He then feels someone snorting down his back, and sees Junior.
  • Cartman goes through this with Kyle's mom Sheila Broflovski as the insulted party in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, after his rendition of "Kyle's Mom Is a Bitch". Probably Cartman made his position even worse by finishing his musical number with an extended solo concluded enthusiastically with jazz hands. When Sheila comes up behind him, causing the other children to gasp, Stan attempts to warn his friend: "Uhh, Cartman..." However, Cartman finishes the song, asks the other kids "What?", turns around to see Sheila, and remarks "Aw, fuck!" The next scene has Cartman getting V-chipped.
  • In Disney's Robin Hood, the Sheriff of Nottingham and Sir Hiss are having a good laugh over the song "The Phony King of England" when Prince John enters the room. Hiss immediately starts singing lyrics praising PJ before the Sheriff corrects him ("... the sniveling, groveling —"). PJ throws a wine bottle at him.
  • Happens during the climax of Shark Tale when Oscar attempts to trap Don Lino in the whale wash he works at, only to realize he trapped Lenny by mistake. Once Oscar realizes this, where else should Lino appear?
    Oscar: He's right behind me, isn't he?
    Lino: You're mine now.
    Oscar: (turns around and screams)
  • The Special How to Train Your Dragon Short Film "Legend of the Boneknapper Dragon" features a scene where the main cast of kids (And Gobber) plan on trapping the titular dragon, only for it to find them first in this manner.
  • Doug's 1st Movie: In the opening, as Skeeter calls Roger and his gang out for scaring him and Doug with their lake monster prank, the real lake monster slowly emerges behind Skeeter, making Roger and his goons stammer in terror. Seeing Roger's horrified state doesn't take long for the realization to dawn on Skeeter.
    Skeeter: There's something bad behind me, isn't there? (Roger and his gang flee as Skeeter turns around and gasps in fright, dropping his camera)
  • In Frozen (2013), when Anna, Kristoff and Olaf are being chased by Elsa's snow-monster:
    Olaf: Hey, Anna! Sven! Where'd you guys go? We totally lost Marshmallow back there! (monster roars behind him) Hey, we were just talking about you! All good things, all good things...
  • In Lilo & Stitch has Nani threatening Lilo after Lilo locks her out of the house just as social worker Cobra Bubbles stops by to check on her.
    Nani: Oh, I'm going to stuff you into a blender, press "puree", then bake you into a pie and feed it to the social worker! And when he says "Mmm, this is great. What's your secret?", I'm going to say...(Bubbles uses his foot to hook her out of the doggie-door; she gasps) Love... and nurturing.
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet: At one point, Shank and Vanellope speak about the latter wanting to stay in Slaughter Race and being unwilling to tell Ralph; what they don't know is, he's muted with his video call hologram right behind them the whole time.
  • The Little Mermaid: When a statue of Prince Eric is added to her secret grotto, a lovestruck Ariel starts caressing and wooing it ("Why, Eric, run away with you? This is all so sudden.")—and then turns around to see her father King Triton right at the doorway!

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Around the World in 80 Days (2004), the villain makes a speech denouncing Queen Victoria in front of a horrified crowd. At the end he says, "She's right behind me, isn't she?" Her Royal Majesty is revealed.
  • Done in both City Slickers movies, both by Billy Crystal's character, Mitch. "Didn't you guys see? The man was hanging the hired help! And, did you notice his eyes? He has crazy eyes. He's a lunatic! We are going into the wilderness being led by a lunatic! He's behind me, isn't he?"
  • A rather sadistic example occurs in Dog Soldiers. One of the soldiers makes his way to the barn in order to retrieve still functioning car, narrowly avoids a werewolf and drives back to the house. Cut to him seating behind the wheel, something breathing down the back of his neck and "You're behind me, aren't you?".
  • Happens twice in the Jönssonligan series, even with the same characters, but with very different results. The first time, it remains ambiguous whether the badmouthed party noticed or cared at all.Context  The second time, however, it triggers what may be his shortest but most enraged "The Reason You Suck" Speech in the series.
  • In My Fair Lady, right after Eliza finishes singing "Just You Wait", which was about Henry Higgins' death, she turns around to see Higgins standing on the balcony. One must wonder just how long he was standing there...
  • Gets Bob and George fired and thrown out of Big Edna's burger joint in UHF.
  • Near the end of the Doom movie, Pinky is holding a gun on Sarge after Sarge just shot and killed his rookie team member for disobeying Sarge's order to kill a room full of unarmed civilians . After telling Sarge several times to drop his gun, he notices Sarge's eyes suddenly widen in surprise. Pinky, to his credit, immediately understands what it means and is able to utter "Aw, there's something behind me, isn't there?" just before one of the nastier mutant monsters grabs him from behind and bounces him off the walls several times.
  • In Chinatown, Jake tells an off-color joke while Mrs. Mulwray stands right behind him in his office doorway. He ignores the efforts of his associates to either shut him up or draw his attention to the visitor.
  • Eric's boss in Miss Congeniality does not appreciate Eric's Photoshopping him into a bikini.
    Eric: He's right behind me, isn't he?
  • RoboCop (1987): Bob Morton mocks Dick Jones in the executive washroom. Naturally, Jones is in one of the cubicles. Jones is already pissed off about the whole RoboCop project, Morton's now crossed the line and will soon be entering a world of pain.
  • From the James Bond franchise:
    • In GoldenEye, Tanner refers to M as "the evil queen of numbers", then closes his eyes in horror after Bond clears his throat in a "by the way..." sort of fashion:
    M: You were saying?
    Tanner: No...I was just...
    M: Good. Because if I want sarcasm, Mr. Tanner, I'll talk to my children.
    Moneypenny: Don't pull the wool over my eyes, James. You may be able to fool the old man, but...
    M(exiting his office): That will be all, Moneypenny. And I'll thank you not to call me "The Old Man".
  • Scooby-Doo (live-action): Shaggy and Scooby are hiding from the ghost in the beginning of the movie and Shaggy says to Scooby "Like, there's a ghost right behind me, isn't there?"
  • Land of the Lost (2009): Will Ferrell's character, of the T. rex — "He's right behind me, isn't he?"
  • In The American President, Sydney Ellen Wade viciously criticizes President Shepherd to his staff — only to discover that, yes, he just entered the room behind her. When she tries to apologize later, he reminds her that getting viciously criticized is part of his job.
    Sydney: If your President believes that then he is the President of Fairy Tale Land.
    President Shepard: Well let's take him out back and beat the shit out of him.
  • Batman (1989). At the party. In the room with the armor. Really, let's not kid ourselves: Batman specializes in random appearances and disappearances when someone is talking.
  • The Dark Knight: At a party, Harvey Dent says "Please tell me it isn't Wayne. The man's a complete..." as Bruce walks up behind him and puts him in a choke hold. In this case though, Bruce wasn't being malicious; the Joker had just crashed the party and Bruce was taking him to a panic room.
  • Played for drama in Minority Report, as the focus is on the wrath of the discoverer instead of the pain of the person snuck up on while doing something wrong. An example of what kind of event could lead to a "crime of passion" that would trigger a red-ball scramble of the Precrime interceptor team: Howard Marks, returning to his house because he's forgotten his glasses, finds his wife cheating on him. In her coital throes with the other man, the amorous couple don't notice Howard standing right next to the bed and sobbing, until he manages to stutter out the reason for his unexpected return — "I...I forgot my glasses..." Trigger this trope from the wife and the other man, and a slow focus on Howard as he finds his glasses and the nearest sharp object...
  • In American Wedding, Stifler is telling Finch about how he's going to be having hot, sweet sex with Cadence, sucking on her breasts... and then he turns around.
  • Subverted in Nothing but Trouble. Humpty-Hump calls Purdah an "ugly, cross-burning, redneck, peckerwood, police bitch" with Purdah standing right behind him, telling him to get inside for his trial. While it's implied that Purdah heard what he called her, Humpty doesn't care.
  • Blackhawk Down: Played for Laughs. A low-ranking Ranger is doing a spot-on imitation of his company commander, right down to the southern accent, rhetorical questions, and Hooahs, when said commander walks up behind him and addresses the troops before putting the errant troop into a headlock.
    Captain Steele: Pretty funny, Hooah?
  • Subverted in Caddyshack, when Rodney Dangerfield is commenting on the ugliness of a hat in the country club's shop. He turns around to see the Judge is right behind him and wearing the exact same hat, tells him it looks good on him, then turns back to his companion to roll his eyes and snicker at the Judge.
  • In the film version of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, when a line of students is formed at the Gryffindor common room entrance, Ron guesses it was because Neville forgot the password again. Neville is next to him and hears the comment.
  • Tightrope (1984). Clint Eastwood's character Detective Block is trying to avoid rape victim advocate Beryl.
    Uniformed Officer: Beryl Thibodeaux from the rape something or other wants to see you.
    Block: Where is she?
    Officer: In the reception room.
    Block: Tell her I'm out.
    Officer: I did. She said she'd wait.
    Block: Good. Tell her I'm out of town.
    [Wes turns around and sees Beryl standing there; she gives him a sarcastic grin]
    Beryl: Welcome back.
  • A staple of Laurel and Hardy films - The Music Box has a classic example with a policeman. Woody Allen, in fact, wrote an essay where he describes chatting up a beautiful woman at a bar "unaware that her stevedore boyfriend had entered with Laurel and Hardy timing and was standing behind me."
  • It happened quite often in The Three Stooges. Moe would wait until Curly or Larry noticed he was standing behind them before slapping them or poking their eyes.
  • In Four Weddings and a Funeral, after being seated at a table with six of his ex-girlfriends, Charles complains "I seem to be trapped in the wedding from hell, the ghosts of girlfriends past at every turn. Next thing you know, I'll meet Henrietta and the horror will be complete." He turns to the woman that's just walked up: "Hello Hen, how are you?"
  • "There's something behind me, isn't there?" is used twice as an Ironic Echo in Jack the Giant Slayer.
    • Jack thinks the bullies are really scared of him after he defends the princess. But its the Elmont and the Royal Guardians they're scared of, and he realizes it.
    • Elmont himself says it when the giant army is about destroy the same Guardians, and they stop for no apparent reason. Jack is behind the Guardians with the Crown. Hence the Ironic Echo.
  • V for Vendetta uses a variation; Lewis Prothero is watching a propaganda program he made for the Norsefire party, during which he makes a speech attacking V for opposing the party, and expresses the opinion that he'd like nothing more than a face-to-face with V so he could give him a piece of his mind. The program ends, Prothero turns off the TV, and sees V's distinctive mask reflected in the now-blank TV screen...
  • In Birdman, Leslie is badmouthing Sam in the dressing room, while the latter is standing behind a clothes rack. Leslie is embarrassed when noticing.
  • A Most Dangerous Man: Lawrence after Arabia (1992). Lawrence is explaining how dependent Prince Faisal is on his advice (with the implication that Lawrence is manipulating him) when Faisal walks up behind him. Things get a bit chilly between these Fire-Forged Friends after that.
  • In Twentieth Century, Lily vents about Oscar only to notice him having entered her apartment behind her back.
  • In Phantom Thread, shortly after marrying his muse, a dressmaker complains to his sister that she's disrupting his life and his work, indicating that he regrets his actions. Sure enough, the woman walks in as he says this. However, she is the one who's embarrassed by it, while he's not the least bit remorseful for what he's said.
  • In Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, Chance runs off a couple of bear cubs that try to steal his fish. As he's gloating about his victory, the cubs' mother shows up behind him, with Shadow and Sassy trying to warn him. Cue the Oh, Crap! moment from Chance when he turns around.
  • In Geostorm, when Jake is in the virtual conference room, he starts complaining about the politicians he's going to be talking to, just as the screen comes on behind him.
    Jake: All right so, who are the yahoos in Washington we're gonna deal with on this?
    Dekkom: I guess I would be the head yahoo.
  • Played for Drama in Whiteout. U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko is suddenly attacked by the prisoner they are guarding who has somehow escaped from her partner. After a brutal fight she wins and rushes to check on her partner, only to find him on the radio announcing that the prisoner has just escaped and killed Carrie in the process. She ends up killing him instead.
  • In Savaged, Jed is sitting the bar describing everything he did to Zoe (in the form of a hypothetical situation) when Zoe walks in behind him. He keeps talking for some time before Colby's horrified expression clues him in that something is wrong.
  • In the film Regarding Henry, his "friends" are discussing him in a derogatory way following the brain damage he received after being shot in the head. They turn around to see him and wife standing there, stunned and hurt.
  • In Laughter in Paradise, Herbert is trying to clean up the mess he and Steward made while scuffling in Mr. Wagstaff's office. Steward is worried that Wagstaff might arrive, and Herbert replies "Hang Mr. Wagstaff!" and starts to make a few other choice comments. He reaches round behind him to pull Steward over to help, only to find that the leg he has grasped is that of Mr. Wagstaff who had entered the office mid-rant.
  • Smokey and the Bandit: Sheriff Buford T. Justice pulls this on Bandit as he contacts him via CB radio with a "Smokey" sighting.
    Bandit: What's your handle, son and what's your 20?
    Justice: My name's Smokey Bear and I'm tailgatin' yo' ass right now!
  • Tiger House: Mark's stepfather is about to shoot Kelly and delivers a Motive Rant about how he has enough money to be free of debt and mortgages and live peacefully on a boat somewhere, without his harpy of a wife and her idiot son. He then discovers that his wife is standing behind with a shotgun. She shoots him.
  • Dick Tracy, Detective: After the Mayor's life is threatened, Tracy is on the phone to Tess and tells her that the Mayor is just a figurehead and that no one listens to him. As he is saying this, the Mayor and the Chief of Police enter his office behind him. As soon as he hangs up the phone, the Mayor starts fuming at him.
  • Deadpool 2 has an inversion, where Wade is talking smack about Cable to the rest of the team, only for him to end the rant with "He's right behind you, isn't he?" Cue everybody turning around and pulling guns.

    Literature 
  • Harry Potter:
    • A less amusing version of this trope happens in Philisopher's Stone, where Ron is complaining about what a "nightmare" Hermione is while she's right behind him. Being an insecure preteen girl, she runs off to cry in the bathroom for hours...leaving her at the mercy of the mountain troll that Quirrell lets in that evening.
    • In Chamber of Secrets, after crashing the flying car, Harry and Ron are peeking in the window of the Great Hall at the feast:
      Harry: Hang on, there's an empty chair at the staff table. Where's Snape?
      Ron: Maybe he's ill!
      Harry: Maybe he left, because he missed out on the Defence Against the Dark Arts job again!
      Ron: Or he might have been sacked! I mean, everyone hates him—
      Snape: (from behind them) Or maybe he's waiting to hear why you two didn't arrive on the school train.
    • In Goblet of Fire, Hermione dismisses another attempt by Ron to learn who she's going to the Yule Ball with. Draco Malfoy chimes in from behind them with one of his usual remarks about who'd go with "the long-molared Mudblood". Harry and Ron round on Malfoy at this, but Hermione waves at someone behind Malfoy and says "Hello, Professor Moody!" Malfoy, who is afraid of Moody ever since the man transfigured him into the Amazing Bouncing Ferret, jumps in horror and starts looking around for Moody, only to then see he's still at the staff table eating dinner, much to Harry, Ron and Hermione's amusement.
    Hermione: [scathingly] Twitchy little ferret, aren't you, Malfoy?
  • In Homesick: My Own Story Jean Fritz describes an incident where a Communist agitator made a speech in front of the YMCA where her father was director. Her father slipped behind the agitator and winked at the crowd until he finally figured out what everyone was laughing about.
  • In the Kate Daniels novel Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews, a third party innocently asks Kate how Curran's attempts at romance with her are going. She spits over her shoulder to ward away evil, insults him, and says that what he really wants is a "Can I" girl. "Can I kiss your ass, your Majesty?" When Kate realizes the others aren't laughing, she says, "And he's right behind me, isn't he?" Curran sits down and tells Kate that she may, indeed, kiss his ass. But he insisted that she first clarify whether it was a meant as obeisance or foreplay.
  • In C. S. Lewis's The Horse and His Boy, the Talking Horse Bree explains to his traveling companions why Aslan isn't a real lion. In a very superior tone and attitude, so he misses the way his audience is reacting to the very-much-a-lion Aslan is sneaking up behind him. Just as Bree explains how ridiculous it would be for Aslan to have whiskers, he touches him with his whiskers. Since Aslan is Narnia's not-so-subtle Jesus metaphor, this may have been intended to mock people who oppose standard Christianity in the old theological argument about whether Jesus can be human and God at the same time.
  • In Neal Asher's Brass Man, given the title character's well-deserved reputation for bloody carnage, the looks on the faces of the two compatriots that prompt Tabrouth's resigned "It's right behind me, isn't it?" are quite understandable...
  • Happens to Robert Langdon when he first meets Inoue Sato in The Lost Symbol. He's expecting a man, not a petite Asian woman who's had throat cancer.
  • Towards the end of R.A. Salvatore's Forgotten Realms novel The Two Swords, the drow priestess Kaer'lic thinks she has just killed Drizzt Do'Urden and the orc king Obould Many-Arrows, who had been her ally. She proceeds to go on a rant about how disgusting and pathetic she finds orcs, ending it with the equivalent of 'they can both go to hell'. Her partner Tos'un's eyes go wide, and he proceeds to squeal and run away. Obould grabs her by her hair, gives her an Ironic Echo from her rant, and tears her throat out with his teeth. He spits it back into her face and lets her bleed to death in the snow.
  • In the opening of Red Iron Nights, Garrett's arrival at Morley's place triggers an exodus by patrons who assume he's into another of his weird cases. An irate Garrett protests, on the grounds that there's always a woman involved in cases like that, and no woman is present. Naturally, he then realizes that everyone in the bar is looking Right Behind Him...
  • Older Than Radio: In North and South, upon hearing of Mr. Thornton's earlier rudeness, Margaret announces that she is disappointed in him, at which point "there was a slight noise behind her. Both she and Nicholas turned round at the same moment, and there stood Mr. Thornton, with a look of displeased surprise upon his face". Oops.
  • In The Dresden Files, He Who Walks Behind is always behind whoever he is...walking...behind.... The only way young Harry is able to beat him is by watching for his reflections and launching a fire spell over his shoulder that blows up a gas station.
  • A more serious version occurs in Thunderball when James Bond is overheard asking Moneypenny to check out the Tong symbol he'd seen tattooed on Count Lippe. Lippe wrongly assumes Bond is investigating him and tries to arrange a fatal accident.
  • Done in the Ranger's Apprentice book "The Sorcerer of the North":
    Will: [Crowley's] becoming too much of a creature of habit. He's used that hide [to conceal himself with] for the last three Gatherings. It's time he tried something new. Everyone must be onto it by now.
    Halt: Well, perhaps not everyone.
    Will: All the same, perhaps he's getting a bit long in the tooth to be skulking around hiding in the bushes, don't you think?
    Halt: Long in the tooth? Well, that's one option. Mind you, his silent movement skills are as good as ever.
    Will: He's standing behind me, isn't he?
    Halt: *nods*
    Will: He's been there for a while, hasn't he?
    Halt: *nods*
    Will: Is he...close enough to have heard what I said?
  • In Stalky & Co. by Rudyard Kipling the eponymous trickster team used this on purpose, to tell their victims, especially teachers, things which could get them in trouble otherwise.
    M'Turk: You see, he begins by bullying little chaps; then he bullies the big chaps; then he bullies some one who isn't connected with the College, and then he catches it. Serves him jolly well right... I beg your pardon, sir. I didn't see you were coming down the staircase.
  • Non-verbal example In the very first Animorphs book. Jake and Marco go to the zoo to acquire animal morphs but are spotted by security. They see two doors to go through, and the first one brings them face-to-face with a rhino. So, they choose the second door, which leads to a lush jungle. Jake turns around to talk to Marco, only to notice that Marco, normally a tan Hispanic guy, is very pale, and deduces that whatever animal inhabits the place is right behind him. He asks what it is with a forced calmness.
    "Um, Jake? It's a tiger."
  • In Noob, Omega Zell finds out he'll be interviewed by a woman when he will apply for his dream guild. At the end, the woman happened to be behind him while he was badmouthing (and being quite sexist towards) her.
  • A variant in Duty Calls. Cain is talking to Amberley over his vox-bead, letting her know just how bad the situation with a rogue Inquisitor has gotten.
    Cain: ... And find Eglantine. That wretched woman's the only one apart from Killian who knows how to get down here.
    Canoness Eglantine, also over the vox-link: That wretched woman is already aware of the situation.
  • In Zeroes, unsurprisingly happens to Anonymous, whose Forgettable Character superpower causes people to forget he's there. One notable instance has Flicker's sister Lily meeting him, then forgetting he's present and unloading about how creepy she finds him.
    Lily: Oh. Shit. You're still here.
  • In The Dinosaur Lords, count Montañasul gives Melodía a long-winded tirade about the "perversity" of the religious sect Garden of Truth and Beauty, only to be told that the man whose works are the basis for Garden's philosophy is sitting two chairs away, and very much listening.
  • Searching for David's Heart: At a concert, a jealous Darcy watches her brother David and his girlfriend Jayne kissing from the shadows. Then, she overhears how the necklace that Jayne (whom Darcy didn't invite to her birthday party) gave her as a gift was actually Jayne's own idea, not David's idea like Darcy had previously thought. Darcy finally steps out of the shadows, and eventually ends up triggering her brother's death.
  • In the Discworld novel Thud!, Commander Vimes has been having a really bad day, with a government inspector looking over his shoulder, and tensions in the city having just spread to the Watch house's own canteen, so when he sees Angua, he unthinkingly snaps that he still has to deal with "the bloody vampire", before remembering that Angua had been given the job of showing their differently-alive recruit around the place...
  • In the Franny K. Stein book The Fran With Four Brains, Franny gloats about successfully destroying two of the three Franbots she made, but then turns around to see the third and final Franbot glaring at her.
  • Smoke: Justified, given his invisibly, but the doctors get a rude shock when their talking about how what happened to Freddie is irreversible while at a friends house and then he angrily yells out what do they mean by that, revealing he was there listening.
  • In the Warrior Cats book Crookedstar's Promise, Beetlepaw is complaining about having Ottersplash as his mentor when his littermates suddenly try to shush him. He's confused about why, until Ottersplash makes a comment from right behind him, and due to his lack of respect, assigns him to spend the afternoon cleaning the elders' den.

    Music 

    Radio 
  • Our Miss Brooks: In "The English Test", Walter Denton comes into Mrs. Davis' house complaining about Mr. Conklin, oblivious to the fact Mr. Conklin is seated at the dining room table. The episode was later remade for television as "The Yodar Kritch Award".
  • A sketch on John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme parodies this with a guy who launches into a tirade against his new boss, trailing off with "...and he's right behind me, isn't he?" His coworkers respond with "No... of course not, we'd have said something." He then reveals, with the air of a man admitting to a compulsive disorder, that he's a sitcom character, and really needs the "scene" to resolve itself humorously, and gets more and more anxious at the lack of a punchline. However, as the boss is out of the office there's nothing to be done, until;
    Colleague: Don't worry, I'll handle this - my brother's a sitcom character too. What's that you say about the new boss, Colin?
    Colin: He's ugly and stupid and bald and awful!
    Colleague: He's also in charge of who gets a Christmas bonus this year.
    Colin: ...and I won't hear a word said against him! Ohthankyousomuch.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Happened in this promo:
    Stephanie McMahon: I just wanted to say that the beating Ric Flair just gave my father is nothing compared to what Triple H, my husband, is going to give twenty nine other men at Royal Rumble. Triple H is going to destroy Kurt Angle. Triple H is going to destroy The Undertaker. And Triple H is going to destroy "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. I just wish that Stone Cold's little wife, Debra, is going to be a ringside, because I would like to destroy her.
    (Stone Cold Steve Austin walks in through the door behind her back.)
    Stephanie McMahon: Debra thinks she is all mean and tough...
    (Stone Cold starts walking towards Stephanie.)
    Jerry Lawler (On Commentary): Uh-oh! Steph!
    Stephanie McMahon:...but Triple H taught me a few things.
    Jerry Lawler: Steph!
    Stephanie McMahon: Because you see...
    (Stone Cold now stands right behind her.)
    Jerry Lawler: Stephanie!
    Stephanie McMahon:..Triple H and I, we're a team. I mean he's...
    Stone Cold Steve Austin, right into her ear: What?
  • Another example at Armageddon 2004, where two wrestlers involved in a Fatal 4 Way match talk backstage:
    Booker T: What's the plan?
    Eddie Guerrero: Well, you take out Undertaker, I'll take out JBL! I've done it before, Holmes! I know I can do it!
    Booker T: I'll tell you what, man! I got a plan!
    Eddie Guerrero: What?!
    Booker T: Why don't we team up, you and I? And then, we take out The Undertaker...
    (The Undertaker steps into the doorway behind them.)
    Booker T: Then, we take out JBL!
    (Taker starts walking towards them.)
    Booker T: Then we can find out who the better man is, mano a mano!
    (Taker now stands directly behind them with a Death Glare on his face.)
    Eddie Guerrero: Just as long as we take out Undertaker first...
    (They finally realize who's standing behind them. Cue Oh, Crap! expressions.)
  • Santino Marella managed to get a good one in as well:
    Santino Marella: (makes machine gun sounds) Look at me-a! (more machine gun sounds) I'm-a Babtista! (more machine gun sounds) I shoot-a lasers from my arms like I'm-a 8 years old! He's like a big baby! (laughs)
    (He turns around to see Batista standing right behind him and Screams Like a Little Girl.)
  • These interviews with The Undertaker and Paul Bearer. After Bobby Heenan tries to get the hell out of dodge for downtalking about the Undertaker:
    Bobby Heenan: (noticing Paul Bearer approaching him and hides behind Vince Mcmahon) (...) I've always gotten along with you! I've always admired your work! I've always admired how you manage the Undertaker! I've always thought very highly of the Undertaker! The man has enormous abilities! He's impervious to pain, and I would be the last person-I would be the last person on this Earth that would say anything about that man! you gotta take my word for it! Please!
    Paul Bearer: Oh Mr. Heenan, the Undertaker is always closer than you think
    (Undertaker starts walking towards Heenan.)
    Paul Bearer: —Oh yes he is!
    Bobby Heenan: Well keep him back there. Don't bring him out here because believe me— (...) McMahon, you gotta tell him what you did! You gotta tell him what you did, how you turned those tapes around and tried to make a fool out of me!
    Vince McMahon: I didn't do anything! I didn't do a thing, you did everything.
    Bobby Heenan: Well then you tell him pal, because I'm getting the H out of here.
    (Heenan turns around to see the Undertaker standing right behind him and staring right at him...)
  • One during a supermarket brawl between Booker T and Steve Austin: After Booker attacks a man who looks like Austin, he realizes it isn't, and Austin is standing behind him and opens up a can of beer. Booker slowly turns around and Austin attacks him when he gets a good enough glimpse.

    Theater 

    Video Games 
  • AdventureQuest: There's one quest which includes the phrase "The giant sea monster is right behind me, isn't it?" early on. The sea monster in question really is giant, too, as it was seen knocking a pirate captain's ship (Captain Rhubarb's, to be extact) over in the background as if it were a bath toy.
  • Ao Oni: Some puzzles take you to a different screen to solve them. During one such instance, you'll make two moves in the puzzle before it freezes... and the monster is suddenly walking straight towards the screen. And yes, he's right behind you when you return to the normal map.
  • Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk: At one point, Nanaca mimics her brother Juris's harsh tone, only for him to approach right behind her.
  • In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Adam approaches two Sarif employees from behind and overhears them discussing the fact that he was kicked out of the police force following a scandal. If you wish, you can have him butt into the conversation and offer his version of events; he chose to resign in the hopes of preserving his integrity.
  • Disgaea: In Etna mode, a prinny starts bragging about how he'd like to beat Etna to a pulp, not realizing that she's standing right behind him. Her reaction?
    "Even if you were just joking, I'm still gonna kill you!♥"
  • Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator: In the Ultimate Custom Night, Music Man is always located like this, and will activate if the player makes too much noise. The closer he gets, the louder his cymbals bang, until eventually he reaches you and ends your game.
  • Grim Fandango: When Manny is dealing with another low-rate client while placing him in a coffin filled with sticky material, the client demands for a better way of transportation, Manny states he would be happy to, except he can't because his boss, as he puts it, is "a real hard-ass". Don Copal just happened to have walked in when Manny called him that.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic V has a variation; Demon lord Agrael has just defeated a rival, Erasial, in combat, and learned that the Demon Sovereign Kha-Beleth has declared Agrael a traitor and put a price on his head. Before the interrogation can continue, the Demon Sovereign himself teleports into the scene, intent on punishing Erasial for failing to defeat Agrael:
    Erasial: You lie! You have betrayed him, and he knows! Kha-Beleth will protect me! He will...
    Kha-Beleth: Yes? What will I do? Go on, please, tell me. Give me orders. I love that.
    Erasial: Master! Master, I did not mean it!
    Kha-Beleth: You failed. You lose. You pay.
  • Iji: Happens with a boss if you do a pacifist run, thus letting you stay pacifist.
  • Early on in Kingdom Hearts, when Donald Duck first discovers that King Mickey has left on a secret mission:
    Donald: We've got a problem, Goofy! But don't tell anyone...
    Goofy: [looking past Donald] Queen Minnie?
    Donald: Not even the queen!
    Goofy: Daisy?
    Donald: NOOO! It's top secret!
    Goofy: G'morning, ladies.
    [Donald winces when he realizes that Queen Minnie and Daisy are standing behind him]
  • Legacy of Kain Defiance: Moebius gloats about how he used his Chess Master skills to bring about Kain's demise, only for Kain to reveal that he not only survived but is currently standing right behind him.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: Barbaric Bully Groose gets two of these near the start of the game.
    • First is when he steals Link's Crimson Loftwing and locks it up to try to keep Link out of the Wing Ceremony. Link walks up on him as he's gloating to his cronies, who start backing away.
    • Second is after Link finds and frees his Crimson Loftwing. Groose states that he's still going to win the race, and then expresses his Villainous Crush on Zelda with a monologue on winning the Wing Ceremony:
    Groose: Oh yes, that Sailcloth——Zelda's Sailcloth——will be mine! Duh huh huh...Oh, man, I bet she was thinking about me when she was stitching it...Yup, I can see it now. First, I win the big race, and then Zelda and I finish the ceremony together on the statue. Just the two of us...It'll be our special moment alone. Nobody is stopping me and Zelda from having our moment. Oh, it's so real I can...I can see it...Duh...Duh huh huh huh! Oh yeah...
    Cawlin and Strich: Groose! Pssst, Groose! Behind you! Right behind you!
    Groose: WHAT?! Can't you two see I'm in the middle of——(turns around, and the camera zooms out to show that Zelda is standing right there) GAH!
  • Mass Effect 3: After the Sur'Kesh mission, you can overhear Mordin giving advice to Joker on how he can have sex with EDI's new body. At the end...
    Joker: You're not gonna tell anyone about this, right? Like Shepard? Shepard doesn't really need to know.
    Mordin: Ah... Guarantee Shepard won't learn about it from me.
    Joker: ...(S)he's standing right there, isn't (s)he?
  • Sakura Wars:
    • In chapter 8 of Sakura Wars 3: Is Paris Burning?, Father Leno tells Ichiro Ogami to tell Erica Fontaine not to come back to the convent because her constant clumsiness keeps causing them trouble. Unfortunately, Erica has just re-entered the room and runs off completely heartbroken.
    • In Sakura Wars (2019), when Clarissa "Claris" Snowflake finishes reading her book in the library during her introduction, she expresses her goals of writing stories. Unfortunately for her, Seijuro Kamiyama is standing right behind her and she jumps out of her chair in shock upon realizing it.
  • Slender: The entire point and premise.
  • Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!: After the first boss, Moneybags laments how much money he's lost due to Ripto's invasion of Avalar, and if Ripto was here right now, he'd give him a piece of his mind, as he was a boxer at university. Ripto and Gulp are creeping up behind him the entire time, and he doesn't realise until he's finished his monologue.
    Ripto: Boo.
  • Star Ocean: First Departure (PSP): Dorne says some not-completely-pleasant things to Roddick about their mutual friend Millie, with her overhearing it.
  • Team Fortress 2: Invoked in the short "Meet the Spy", as a form of Tempting Fate:
    BLU Soldier: All right, who's ready to go find this Spy?
    RED Spy: Right behind you.
    (Gory Discretion Shot)
    • Spy also got his theme in the same update, named "Right Behind You".
  • Warcraft III: Invoked if you keep poking a Dreadlord:
    "And then after I overthrow this fool- oh, hello! I didn't know you were there!"
  • Wing Commander Prophecy: The player character starts bad-mouthing Commodore Blair. Inevitably, he appears. At which point the rookie goes into full generic recruit greeting a senior officer mode.
  • In episode four of Spandex Force 2: Superhero U the player character comments to the other students that Professor Blizzard Wizard has been acting like a super-villain trying to take over the school or something. Predictably, he suddenly shows up behind the player character and the crowd scatters.
    Player character: He's right behind me, isn't he?
  • In Word Villas, Rachel's ex-boyfriend Oscar is busy flirting with her and claiming she's the only one for him when his current girlfriend Caroline shows up behind him in time to hear most of it. Needless to say, he soon becomes an ex again.

    Visual Novels 
  • Grisaia Series:
    • The Labyrinth of Grisaia: In the training camp Danny grews tried of their inspector, Cpt. Garett's drill sergeant nasty attitude, and starts to badmouth her, while she slowly aproaches from behind. Considering her violent approach to millitary training, this ends as well as you would expect. Next time Danny starts talking about her, he checks behind his back twice.
    • The Fruit of Grisaia: The girls decide to get friendlier with Yumiko, which they immediately turn into an idiotic contest. They mess with her until they accidently knock her book out of her hand, ending at the top of her. After leaving the classroom, they announce the winner: Michiru, who gleefully boasts about her victory, claiming the accidental book trick was actually her cunning plan. At the end, Yumiko is standing behind her getting ready for bloody revenge.
  • In Katawa Shoujo, late in Emi's route, if you choose to talk to her mother, Emi will suddenly appear on scene, having overheard a significant part of the conversation, and throw Hisao out of the house. Averted in Hanako's route; while Lilly and Hisao talk about Hanako's birthday, Lilly hears Hanako returning and cuts off the conversation before she can find out.
  • In Majikoi! Love Me Seriously! Yamato often acts and talks as if Miyako is right behind him, even when he's alone in his room - because she usually is. In one particular storyline, when Gakuto and Moro are complaining to Yamato about how scary girls are, Yamato wisely keeps quiet, predicting - accurately - the imminent arrival (and subsequent beatdown initiated by) the girls of the family. It certainly helps that at that point, he was still going steady with his girlfriend.

    Web Animation 
  • In Episode 79 of The Most Popular Girls in School, Rachel angrily rants about Brittnay to Judith... completely unaware that Brittnay is coming up right behind her. When Rachel turns around, she immediately gets a one-way ticket to a dumpster.
    Rachel: No, you know what Judith, fuck Brittnay. We’ve been following Saison all week. We haven’t even had any fun for ourselves. (Brittnay and Deandra walk up behind Rachel) And come to think of it, why should we be helping that bitch in the first place? She’s been a cunt to us her whole life, and I’m fuckin' sick of it, man. She’s nothing but a ratchet-ass whore who opens her butthole for every swinging dick that walks on by. And you know what, she’s not even that hot! Someone had to say it. There. I’m glad it was me.
    Judith: Uh, Rach?
    Rachel: What? (turns around to find Brittnay standing right behind her) Aw, shiiiiit! (gets chucked into a dumpster as a studio audience laughs and claps)
  • Played with in Homestar Runner. In the Strong Bad Email animal, Strong Bad remarks that his made-up animal Sterrance is "way cuter than that smelly old washed-up The Cheat". When the Cheat turns out to be standing next to Strong Bad, and understandably annoyed, SB says to him "I know you heard me, and I stand by it!"
    • An even stranger version in an easter egg of Strong Bad Email Cliffhangers is where Homestar starts talking about how he thinks Homestar (IE himself) stole Strong Bad's computer. Strong Bad asks if he's confessing and he tries to cover it up. A similar occurrence happens in another Easter Egg with Bubs and Coach Z.
    • Not addressed by name, but in SBEmail #55, Strong Bad calls for The Cheat, and then his brother Strong Mad after talking about them, only to be startled by them already standing next to him before he can finish yelling.
  • In Part 3 of Red vs. Blue Chapter 7's ODST... thing, Church is making very bad analogies about the sheer badassery that is Sergeant Johnson ending with "he can be anywhere, any place, at any time...he's right behind me right now, isn't he?" And Johnson is directly behind him. This is both subverted and played straight in that, despite the fact that Church is saying good things about Johnson, the results still are not pretty.
  • RWBY: In Episode 10, Weiss and Ruby argue about all the reasons why Ruby is a terrible choice for team leader. Declaring that Ozpin made a mistake, Weiss storms off. A dejected Ruby turns around to find Ozpin standing directly behind her and realises he's overheard every single word.
  • If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device: The Custodian turns out to have picked a terrible moment to bring up the Space Wolves, an even worse one to praise them, and the worst possible moment to say Magnus, second only to the Emperor himself in psyker power and someone who despises them above all else, is probably just jealous that they're better than his own legion.
    Rogal Dorn: He is standing right behind you.
    Custodian: Shit, shit, SHIT.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 

    Real Life 
  • According to his own account, Harlan Ellison was fired after his first day at Walt Disney Productions for acting out a pornographic scene involving Disney characters while Roy Disney was right behind him.
  • There exists a tape of a British journalist doing a live broadcast at a political event, speaking critically of the fact that few of the reporters at the event were willing to ask the hard questions, preferring to curry favour with Prime Minister Thatcher. As he concluded his rant, the camera moved aside to show a very amused Ms. Thatcher and her entourage had come up behind him. The journalist, without bothering to look, moaned, "She's right behind me, isn't she?"
  • Frequently the source of Laser-Guided Karma on Not Always Right and spinoff sites. Claim to know the owner for discounts or while abusing the employees? The owner's behind you. Mistreat the customers or your subordinate employees? Your boss (or worse, somebody from corporate) is behind you.
  • Brazilian website chargesdotcomdotbr once mocked 2002 Presidential candidate Ciro Gomes over his refusal of the support from impeached President Fernando Collor de Melo. In that story, Gomes was being interviewed over his decision and listed Collor's faults. The now-deceased Antônio Carlos Magalhães, who used to be a big political name in the state of Bahia back then, showed up behind Ciro Gomes and assumed the candidate was talking about him. In the end, Ciro Gomes was trying to explain he was talking about Collor.
  • In 9/11, the documentary filmed by the Naudet brothers. The two had been separated during the whole thing and each feared that the other was dead. One of them has gotten back to the firehouse and is pestering the returning firefighters as to whether or not they know where his brother is. One of them finally tells him, "Yes, he's behind you." The man turns around to see his brother walking into the firehouse and the two proceed to collapse in each other's arms and weep tears of relief that each other is alive.
  • This tweet recalls a case of a student telling his classmates to tweet during lab work, only to discover that their teacher was standing nearby:
    this one kid was telling us in full detail how to cheat on the test of the class we were currently in and the teacher was standing behind him the entire time and no matter how hard i shook my head he kept fucking going

Alternative Title(s): Right Behind You

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Steven behind Holly

It is right as Holly Blue is complaining about how all the Diamonds ever talk about is Steven does she realize that Steven was standing next to her.

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