Follow TV Tropes


Subordinate Excuse

Go To

Valvatorez: You're going to dedicate your life to me...? I just saved your life. Why would you want to do that? My efforts to save you will only be made worthwhile if you use your life to fulfill your own desire.
Fenrich: And that is why I'd like to dedicate the rest of my life to you! That is my desire!

Sometimes, the real reason a character is a lackey is that it's an excuse to hang around someone they like. Maybe the character is too shy (or proud) to confess their feelings to the boss/liege/general. Maybe the brass, the parents, or society in general would disapprove of anything other than a purely business-like relationship between the two of them. Maybe the superior themselves would be resistant to the idea. But as an employee, the lackey gets to stay close to their object of affection without arousing suspicions or needing to make any confessions.

There are other factors as well:

  • The superior's job is to watch and take care of the lackey, and this feeds nicely into a sense of being protected and cared for.
  • Being a valued minion feeds nicely into a sense of being needed.

This also works the other way around, where being the boss/liege/general is just an easy way to keep people you like around you without having to actually tell them that, and to inconspicuously provide for their needs. To make this fairer, this usually requires that the lackeys be ambivalent or oblivious to the real reason for their employment.

Compare Old Retainer and Bodyguard Crush. Contrast No Hero to His Valet, and Ignored Enamored Underling, where the underling isn't afraid of rejection and their boss isn't resistant; the boss just doesn't care for them romantically. Not to be confused with Just Following Orders. See also Minionshipping, where the two characters are at a similar level in the hierarchy.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Bakuman。: A supporting character named Nakai is passionate about drawing manga for Aoki, the script-writer he has a crush on. He eventually tells her that he'll draw for her only if she becomes his girlfriend, leading her to slap him and work solo.
  • Beelzebub provides us with a rather interesting and vague example. Kanzaki's underling Natsume is one of the least active members of the supporting cast, usually keeping his hands out of fights and schemes, but has been subtly demonstrated to be extremely clever and intelligent, with strength and fighting skills possibly comparable to Tojo's. Why he plays second fiddle to a defeated boss in a delinquent school that values power over all else is never clarified, but Natsume simply states that he finds Kanzaki amusing and enjoys their adventures. Whether he's genuinely comfortable where he is or has some ulterior motive has yet to be explored but for now, he seems content just tagging along.
  • Bleach:
    • Momo Hinamori becomes vice-captain of the Fifth Division because she's in love with the captain, Sosuke Aizen. Unfortunately, after The Reveal, it turns out this was exactly as he planned.
    • Kiyone Kotetsu's enthusiastic crush on Ukitake can easily be seen as her reason for wanting to be his third seat.
    • The manga companion books state this is the situation between Kyouraku and his vice-captain Nanao, with the excuses apparently going both ways. The reason Nanao is never seen on the front lines? Well, no one knows for certain, but the in-universe rumour mill believes it's because Kyouraku simply can't bear to have her there. And when the readers learn what happened to his previous vice-captain, this begins to make sense. When Nanao's kido barriers are all that stands between Kyouraku and Haschwalth, Kyouraku very nearly admits it, but Nanao hastily cuts him off.
    • Kanae Katagiri is the servant and bodyguard to Uryuu's father, Ryuuken. She's also been devoted to him from the moment they first met as young children. When he suffers from an Heroic BSoD due to his hopes for the future of the Quincies being shattered by Aizen, she pulls a You Are Not Alone speech on him to make it absolutely clear that if he tries to slink off into the Grey Rain of Depression alone, she'll abandon everything to go with him. It's confirmed that she is Uryuu's Missing Mom.
  • In Brave10, the mangaka notes in one of her doujinshi that Rokuro is way too old to be Yukimura's page at 26. Given how the characters usually interact Like an Old Married Couple, it's easiest to take this as the explanation behind it. In the doujin chapter "Inseparable," Rokuro attempts to resign feeling he has failed after his Magical Eye is stabbed out by The Mole and prepares a bunch of documents as recompense, but Yukimura "accidentally" sets them on fire with his pipe then douses them in water, completely ruining them, before telling Rokuro it's easier if he just stays where Yukimura can hear his voice instead.
  • Campione!: Liliana Kranjčar insists that she only wants to serve Godou as his knight and is not in love with him. Somehow, in addition to protecting him, her duties involve preparing his meals, cleaning, mending his clothes, and keeping other women away from him.
  • In The Case Files of Jeweler Richard, Seigi chooses to become Richard’s personal secretary at the end of Act 2 because not working under him means he’d have to prioritize someone or something else and he couldn't bear to do that. He even mentioned that if a conflict between Richard and work came up, he would quit on the spot.
  • In Cross Ange, After Embryo saves Salia from drowning, she falls in love with him, performs a Face–Heel Turn, and becomes his Dragon. There's also some implication that Salia was in love with her Commander, Jill.
  • Dance in the Vampire Bund has Mina Tepes, the ruler of all vampires, enlisting Akira Regendorf of the Earth Clan (a family of werewolves) as her personal bodyguard because she loves him and the rest of the vampire covenant wouldn't approve of such a relationship. It turns out that even he knows, but thinks he is unworthy and monstrous (never mind his crush is an ancient vampire queen).
  • Excel♡Saga: Excel wants to conquer the world, or so she claims. It's really more of an excuse to be with Il Palazzo. In her words, she "writes 'love' and reads 'loyalty'". On the other hand, Hyatt only really follows Il Palazzo because Excel believes in him. Not quite so in the manga, where Il Palazzo seems to have subjected all his underlings to some idiosyncratic form of brainwashing, with funky side effects on their personalities.
  • In the beginning of Eyeshield 21, Mamori became the manager of the Devilbats solely to relieve Sena's workload and stop Hiruma from bullying him. Then the epilogue has her as the manager of the Saikyoudai Wizards, whose captain is Hiruma. Considering the two have had varying amounts of Ship Tease throughout the series, and that they're sharing a car...
  • The Familiar of Zero:
    • The anime has both Louise and Saito ineffectually use this excuse because of the 'familiar/master' thing.
    • When Saito is knighted early in the second season and Siesta is assigned to be his personal maid, she uses it too.
    • Towards the end of the third season Tabitha tries to become Saito's new Bright Lady, complete with a contract kiss.
  • In Fate/Zero, Kayneth Archibald's fiancee Sola-Ui falls in love with his Servant, Lancer, and she becomes increasingly desperate to become (and later remain) his Master instead.
  • FLCL: Commander Amaro towards Lieutenant Kitsurubami. Subverted when he tries to make a pass at her, and she makes it very clear that she can't stand him romantically.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Riza Hawkeye and Roy Mustang. Officially, she's his personal assistant and bodyguard, but their relationship extends back to long before the story began. The manga is more explicit on the "protection" angle, along with the romantic subtext between the two, but there's a law against military fraternization. The author's comments in the third art book confirm that this law is a reason they aren't married.
    • In a non-romantic sense, this also rather appropriately describes Roy's relationship to his True Companions/underlings. Riza and the four male subordinates are devoted to Roy and his goals and would do most anything he asked of them. The Big Bad is also aware of this as well and scatters them across Amestris to weaken Roy's power base and demoralize him. It doesn't work as well as expected.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: 2nd Gig. Gohda suggests this is the reason Batou followed his former military superior, Major Kusanagi, into Section 9. As he's saying this in front of Bateau's colleagues (with the Major listening in) this leads to a Not So Stoic moment on the part of Batou.
  • Gundam:
    • M'Quve of Mobile Suit Gundam may well have had a crush on his commanding officer, Kycilia Zabi, to whom he was very devoted (his last words as he dies are to order a subordinate to send her his priceless Ming vase). They definitely have the Dark Lady/Black Knight vibe going for them.
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam 00, semi-competent antagonist ace Patrick Colasour's motivation quickly shifts from being an arrogant fighter jock to being with his beloved taskmaster of a CO, Colonel TAISAA!!! Kati Mannequin. This is explicitly his reason for joining and later defecting from A-Laws in the second season, even though he's really not up to it - wherever his ColonelTAISAA!!! goes, he will follow. They end up married.
    • Fram Nara from Mobile Suit Gundam AGE was transferred from Second Moon to Char Clone Zeheart Galette's unit as a spy for commander Zanald Beihart and to evaluate if Zeheart was worthy of her brother Dole Frost's sacrifice in the previous second arc. Originally resentful of Zeheart, she eventually warms up to him and considers herself a Morality Pet to her increasingly unstable commander. Before she dies in an attempt to lead the Gundams into La Gramis' line of fire which fails, both share a mutual vision and poignant last conversation. Made more explicit in Memory Of Eden, where Zeheart outright calls her his precious and Fram actually kisses him during their mutual vision. The revelation that Zeheart's dearest dream was to fall in love, get married and raise a family (as he tells Asemu before his death) may have been partially attributed to her.
  • In Hanasakeru Seishounen, Toranosuke seems to be using this to stick close to Kajika. Li Ren doesn't seem opposed to being her guard either.
  • This is how Hayate in Hayate the Combat Butler is initially employed, although the lead girl usually moons over him in private.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War:
    • This is the reason why Kaguya asked Shirogane to run for a second term as Student Council President. Without the student council, they have no excuse to spend time with each other that wouldn't involve admitting their feelings. As for why she asks him to run rather than do so herself; she doesn't feel comfortable calling him anything other than "president" (his first name would be far too intimate and his last name just reminds her of when she used to be cold to him).
    • This ends up getting repeated the following year when Iino succeeds Shirogane and asks Ishigami to be her vice president. Unfortunately, this more or less leaves them in the exact same situation Kaguya and Shirogane were in the beginning of the series. She constantly keeps him busy with work because she knows that he'd just go home to play video games rather than spend time with her if she didn't, while he is left with no downtime to actually talk to her about the nature of their relationship.
  • Kyo Kara Maoh! has Conrad Weller, while he would certainly serve under whoever was Maou (unless they were so evil he fled the country like Adalbert), assigns himself away from all his normal duties to more or less babysit the new king 24/7. Because he is, not to put too fine a point on it, obsessed. When he was a kid this seems to have been Wolfram, but Wolfram wounded him deeply by repudiating him for his human ancestry. So he was bitter for a while until Gunter straightened him out about arrogance, and then he attached himself to Julia. They didn't allow that to be romantic because she was engaged, but then she died, and Shinou set Conrad up to fixate on Yuri instead.
  • In Lord Marksman and Vanadis, this is the reason that Teita continues to serve as Tigre's maid.
  • In Magi: Labyrinth of Magic it's hinted that the real reason Morgiana sticks with Alibaba, even though she's not necessarily obligated to do so, it's because of her feelings for him.
  • In Mouse, the main cast uses it in a way convoluted and straightforward at once: officially Sorata Muon is regularly berated by the three hottest ladies in his art school. Secretly, Mouse's female sidekicks play submissive games with their boss when they're in the mood for this (when they weren't, he got simply tackle-glomped instead).
  • Naruto:
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Evangeline claims that she's only training Negi, Asuna, and the rest of their group so that she can shape them into her "sub-bosses", although from the way she acts (training them, letting them use her resort for vacation, saving their butts from a demon and going sightseeing with them afterwards, etc.) it's fairly evident that she enjoys their company more that she wants to admit.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, both Bridge Bunnies Makoto Hyuga and Maya Ibuki are doing their jobs to stay close to Misato and Ritsuko, respectively, not that either Misato or Ritsuko are interested. Misato, however, is not above taking advantage of Hyuga's crush to get him to do things not covered by regulations — spying, picking up her laundry, the usual. She does feel pretty guilty about it.
  • In One Piece, it seems that post-Time Skip a large number of Marines serve under Tashigi partially because she is an adorable young woman, partially because they are also incredibly loyal to their superior, as Chapter 679 showed.
    • The major example from the series now comes at the end of Dressrosa, where a bunch of pirate captains dedicate themselves to Luffy and become the sub-captains of the Straw Hat Grand Fleet. Luffy is all about freedom and doesn't want to have an armada of pirates under his control, telling them to do whatever they want. They decide they want to serve under him, and so pledge their loyalty to him whether he likes it or not.
  • PandoraHearts has Gilbert Nightray who, despite the fact that he was adopted into a rival noble family, still calls himself the loyal servant of Oz Vessalius. Gilbert himself admits that he just wants an excuse to stay by Oz's side. Not that Oz seems to mind...
  • In the Ruby/Sapphire arc of Pokémon Adventures, it turns out that Wallace stepped down from being the Hoenn Champion to become a Gym Leader so that he'd be able to spend more time with his girlfriend Winona, who had just been appointed Leader supervisor. Unfortunately, having her Champion boyfriend officially ranking underneath her made Winona feel insecure about her own abilities, leading the two to break up.
  • Reborn! (2004):
    • Gokudera. One wonders how far exactly his "loyalty" for Tsuna goes before it starts getting into the realm of making him a Stalker with a Crush.
    • When Squalo first met Xanxus, he could 'feel' his power and anger, and decided to follow him for it.
  • Rozen Maiden: Shinku and Jun's ambiguous relationship largely works on the fact that Shinku, who is not particularly cuddly, can treat Jun as her servant. And he's supposed to be her master!
  • In Saki, this is the reason Hajime is serving as Touka's maid/Mahjong teammate/husbandnote . Touka "bought" Hajime from her father to serve as a maid and mahjong teammate, despite Hajime having quit the game as a result of feeling guilty over using sleight of hand to cheat. Touka then had Hajime wear chains in order to make it more difficult for her to use sleight of hand, but Hajime came to see the chains as symbolic of her bond with Touka and thus refuses to give them up.
  • In Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi, Masamune Takano as the boss uses this as an excuse for his subordinate Ritsu Onodera. Takano is persistently pursuing Onodera who was his ex-boyfriend from 10 years ago and looks for any excuse to spend time with him at work or outside work.
  • Shakugan no Shana:
    • At the very start, Shana was only planning to protect Yuji until he disappeared. Then she found out he wasn't going to. She's not exactly his subordinate, so this might be more of a Bodyguard Crush, but still, she listens to his advice and instructions and trusts him completely. And she is using his MacGuffin as an excuse; it would normally be easy for her to just cut him down since he's technically Not Quite Human.
    • Keisaku Satou uses this to stay close to Margerie Daw.
  • Perfectly describes the relationship between Meganekko Kinon and her boss Rossiu in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Kinon wanted to be around him, so as Rossiu (to no one's surprise) gained power and responsibilities in the new earth government, she followed behind him and learned to be just as organized and disciplined, eventually becoming his secretary of sorts post Time Skip.
  • Tidal Wave of Transformers: Energon started out being passionately loyal to Megatron. After his reformatting into Mirage, he became... well, just passionate.
  • In the Yaoi manga series (and OVA) The Tyrant Falls in Love the relationship between the protagonists uses a lot of this.
  • Bjorn and Askeladd in Vinland Saga. Bjorn fights in Askeladd's crew because he considers Askeladd a friend and wants to look out for him more than anything else, while Askeladd in turn considers Bjorn his only true friend amongst the Vikings.
  • Hak from Yona of the Dawn will simply state that it's his job to stick by and protect Princess Yona when questioned about his loyalty to her. That being said, nobody besides Yona herself seems to actually believe that justification.
  • In Yuri is My Job!, Kanoko has an unrequited love for her Only Friend Hime, but doesn't confess it out of fear that she'll lose Hime's friendship. She envisions herself becoming Hime's maid when Hime marries a wealthy husband, so she can stay close to Hime. Sumika points out that in that scenario, Hime will be married to someone else, but Kanoko says she's fine with that since she knows it will be a loveless Marriage of Convenience.

    Fan Fiction 
  • In Apex Predator, this is basically the reason Hermione agrees to become a "vessel" to the Delacour family, as it justifies her spending time with Harry after he becomes involved with Fleur. In Veela society, non-Veela women can be chosen as servants as they aren't a "threat" to Veela as they wouldn't be able to seduce their mates away but they can be useful assets, Fleur in particular speculating that Hermione's intelligence will be useful in making plans regarding Harry's role in Veela society in future.
  • In Becoming Free, Queen Elsa's lover Freya gets shot by an arrow to protect her. She survives but ends up with a Career-Ending Injury. To give Freya a new excuse to stay around the castle, Elsa upgrades Freya to her personal guard. This works out even better than Freya's old job as a horse farrier because now they have a reason to hang around together.
  • In Beyond the Outer Gate Lies..., the DxD version of Lasciel is in love with Azazel but is too timid to share her feelings, so she works as his lab assistant because it's the best way to remain close to him.
  • A Brief History of Equestria: It's suggested by some historians that the only reason Sullamander got the job of Commander Mareinus' Second-In-Command was because they were lovers. But obviously, this is just Hurricane-era propaganda.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist fanfiction, this is common in both Roy/Riza (as described above) and Roy/Ed fics. Hell, it comes up in pretty much any pairing involving the various members of Team Mustang, but those are the two most popular. Olivier/Miles is another frequent one.
  • Bleach fanfic Chasing the Moon has Byakuya and Yuzu playing both sides of this trope towards each other for years. Things really start to get interesting when Yuzu becomes his vice-captain, and people start noticing the "excuse" part of the Subordinate Excuse. (In the prequel, set ten years before the story, this trope is the reason she joined the Sixth in the first place).
  • A core element of The Confectionary Chronicles is Hermione's devotion to Loki, as while they are very close and Hermione trusts him with her life, she treats him like a god rather than someone she can just call on whenever she needs help, acting as though the greatest boon Loki can give her is just to accept her as his disciple where some of Loki’s past worshippers started calling on him for help with everything once they confirmed he was real. In return for this respect and faith, Gabriel teaches her about magic and takes her on trips even before she starts at Hogwarts, appreciating that she doesn’t expect him to do everything for her.
  • In Ginny Weasley: Double Life, from Ginny’s perspective, her false memories include how she started calling the talking snake Milikan 'Mistress' as a joke, back when they met when Ginny was seven years old, before Ginny decided that Milikan was more than a best friend, was too exceptional to be a pet, and she enjoyed the sensation she felt when Milikan gave her an order. In Ginny's false memories, Milikan accepted Ginny's offer to be her servant but assured Ginny in turn that she would be a treasured and valued servant, promising that Milikan would always accept Ginny's rejection if she asked Ginny to do something she didn't want to do. Even when Milikan tells Ginny that she doesn't have to call her "Mistress" anymore after they're 'officially' married (their hypnotically-induced bond marks them as married in Milikan's culture but they have a ceremony to make it feel more "official" for Ginny), Ginny assures Milikan that she likes using the title, even if she observes that she'll alternate between the title and the name, as she knows that she always has a choice in whether or not to obey Milikan's orders.
    • In the various one-shots depicted in Tales From The Hypnoverse, various characters are hypnotised to remember making a ‘choice’ to become servants to the accompanying snake and are always depicted as happy with their decision.
  • Guys Being Dudes: Arlo theorizes that Cliff only joined Team Rocket because he was attracted to Giovanni, their boss.
  • Many Maleficent fanfics emphasize this in the relationship between Maleficent and her raven-shapeshifter servant Diaval. It is often a plot point that something happens that makes them lose their excuse, and forces them to be open about their feelings, or be separated.
  • Innumerable My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fics have the relationship between Twilight Sparkle and Celestia as this, from one or both directions, with Eternal and Composure probably being the most popular.
  • Grace in the original version of The Night Unfurls, for sure. Aside from her joblessness due to the chaos in Ansur, the reason why she wishes to become Kyril's retainer is to repay the knight who escorted her and her friends to safety, while getting close to the man beneath his exterior as a merciless killer.
  • Al-Cid's assistant is revealed to have a crush on him in The Tainted Grimoire.
  • Whenever Touhou Project introduces another superior/subordinate pair of characters there are inevitably at least a few fics that depict them as this trope, helped along by one of them being canon (Eirin/Kaguya, see below). By far the most popular is Remilia/Sakuya, which might have its origins with Perfect Memento mentioning an in-universe theory about Sakuya being a former vampire hunter who was defeated by Remilia and then decided to serve her.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Maleficent, Maleficent and Diaval start out as real mistress and servant, but at least Diaval comes to care about Maleficent; the other way round is not so easy to tell, because she's an Ice Queen. In the end, Diaval decides to follow her into certain death, despite her telling him that he doesn't have to.
  • Monte Carlo (1930): After having no success wooing Countess Helene in more conventional ways, Count Rudolph poses as her new hairdresser in order to get close to her.
  • In the beginning of The Princess Bride, Wesley is in this type of relationship with Buttercup, but this status quickly changes.
  • An exceptionally dark example is Sunset Boulevard: Norma's butler is her first husband and original director, who is still so devoted to her that he helps encourage her warped fantasies, even about a relationship with another man.

  • One unnamed novel has a young, honorable hero who has no idea he's noble, but a "native" young man he meets on his journey recognises the hero's nobility and voluntarily becomes the hero's "slave", shocking the hero when he realises the situation.
  • In Tsumiko and the Enslaved Fox from the Amaranthine Saga, Jaques volunteers to become Stately House's butler as a way to stay near to Argent, who he has a hopelessly unrequited infatuation for (and is married, besides).
  • Yin Hanjiang from Devil Venerable Also Wants To Know has Undying Loyalty and an equally intense love for his lord Wenren E who he's served ever since Wenren E saved him as a child.
  • Sancho Panza from Don Quixote, especially The Musical adaptation, where he gets his own song about it.
  • The Dresden Files: In the short story Bombshells, Molly comments that getting to learn magic from Harry soothes the pain of being rejected by him.
    I could wait. And in the meantime...
  • Jessica Atreides in Dune points out to Hawat as evidence for her loyalty, that she actually has the power to suborn Duke Leto's power but refuses as that would not only violate the Bene Gesserit Code but would reduce Leto to a cypher and she has no desire to be "married" to a cypher. She is rather content to be The Consigliere.
  • In the Magic: The Gathering Kamigawa novels, Toshi at one point asks for payment for helping Michiko even though he wanted to. He says this was for the sake of professionalism.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Brienne of Tarth joins King Renly Baratheon's personal bodyguard in order to stay close to him; besides being married, after crowning himself he's above her station and inconveniently gay.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Ashes of Love: Kuang Lu is in love with Run Yu, and works for him to be near him.
  • On CSI, Sara is heavily implied to have been in love with Grissom since before the start of the show and took the job in Las Vegas deliberately to be with him.
  • Farscape: Braca. Scorpius. A relationship founded on hard work, loyalty, and occasional licking.
  • Frasier:
    • It's been noted that Martin doesn't need a live-in physical therapist or housekeeper, being quite spry enough to take care of himself as long as Frasier's around, but he liked Daphne so much when he met her that he offered her a live-in position, and she became so attached to the Crane family that she never moved out or switched to a client who didn't treat her like a servant. In one episode where she did miserably prepare to leave after realizing that Martin was doing so well physically she wasn't needed, she may or may not have unconsciously tripped Martin up, which injured him and gave her an excuse to stay.
    • Roz has turned down an offer for a higher-level job more than once because Frasier's her best friend.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Ser Loras Tyrell is the sole male heir of the second-richest family in Westeros, and presumably he has duties in Highgarden and the Reach, yet in Season 2, he chooses to devote his entire life to protecting Renly. Being the Lord Commander of his brother-in-law's Kingsguard is a very convenient way for Loras to be able to spend a lot of time with his beloved, as his frequent visits can be explained away as being job-related. (It doesn't stop the rumours about them from spreading among Renly's followers, however.)
    • Brienne of Tarth is the sole surviving child of Lord Selwyn Tarth (and therefore his heiress), but she neglects whatever duties she presumably has in her home city in favour of dedicating her whole life to protecting King Renly, whom she has feelings for. However, in her case, she has to be content with loving Renly from a distance while she serves as his Kingsguard. What makes her dedication quite remarkable is that, as a woman, Brienne herself isn't obligated—or even expected—to physically fight for Renly when he summons his Stormlands bannermen (which House Tarth is a part of) to his cause.
  • Despite her strait-laced personality, Sakura Nishihori / Bouken Pink in GoGo Sentai Boukenger has a rather obvious crush Satoru Akashi / Bouken Red, to the point where at the end of the series she tags along with him when he leaves the team to go into space to go on a new adventure for Precious.
  • On House, Cameron left House's department twice, and both times he tried to get her to come back. For purely professional reasons, of course.
  • On The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, the eponymous Inspector Lynley uses this to call his partner Sergeant Havers in on every case he can possibly manage after she is demoted in series 3. Oh, she's a brilliant officer and works very well with him, but that has nothing to do with why he wants her around.
  • Kamen Rider Double:
    • This is Kazu's reason for trying to help Saeko overthrow her father. He's upfront about his motives from the start, but she doesn't take him seriously until he becomes the Utopia Dopant, resulting in him killing her when she defies him to help Wakana escape.
    • Kyosui Izumi/Luna Dopant, having fallen in love with Daido who was the last person Izumi saw before his death.
  • In Made For Love, Byron's second-in-command, Bennett, is relentlessly attuned to Byron's every need and is strongly implied to have a crush on him, or at the very least genuinely like him much more than anyone else.
  • Merlin (2008) fans theorize that this is why Arthur keeps Merlin around, despite claiming that he's the "worst servant ever". Combined with their copious Ho Yay...
  • Orange Is the New Black: silent Norma serves Red quite devotedly, like dying her hair or shaving her legs. Since Norma does not need anything from Red and is shown to be as tough as she is in later episodes, fans have to wonder if Norma just likes to serve Red.
  • In Queer as Folk (UK), Vince follows Stuart around from club to club like a loyal puppy because he's had a crush on him for years. A few characters accuse Stuart of purposely not sleeping with Vince because he wants to keep him in this "sidekick" role indefinitely.
  • Star Trek:
    • In the latter Star Trek: The Original Series movies, this may be an explanation for why Spock continues to serve as Kirk's first officer even after he is promoted to Captain himself.
    • Star Trek: Voyager. When Captain Janeway tells her Number Two Chakotay that they need to "define some parameters" about their relationship, he responds with an "ancient legend" about a warrior who could not find peace, until the day he met a beautiful woman warrior whom he swore to serve for the rest of his days.
      Janeway: Is that really an ancient legend?
      Chakotay: No. But that made it easier to say.
  • Josh and his assistant Donna on The West Wing. A few seasons on, Donna has acquired sufficient political savvy that she gets multiple job offers from the outside. She claims it's the White House she's attached to, but truthfully it's Josh. After a conversation in which CJ says that Donna has outgrown her job and she's allowing Josh to take advantage of her (after several seasons of UST that doesn't look like it'll be resolved anytime soon), Donna decides to leave and pursue a career away from him.


    Video Games 
  • In Akane the Kunoichi, Akane is in love with the samurai Goro, whom she serves. Rescuing him from his kidnapper is the point of the game. If you get all the collectables before rescuing him, he falls in love with Akane and they live happily ever after.
  • This is the main reason why Laharl promoted Etna to be his right-hand demon in Disgaea: Hour of Darkness. Having been raised alongside each other, he looks up to her as an older sister and craves recognition from her above all else (not that he'd ever admit it).
  • Final Fantasy XIII had an unintentional example in the original Japanese version. Maaya Sakamoto admitted to voicing Lightning during her scenes with Lieutenant Amodar as though there were affections being harboured. However, Amodar's design hadn't been finalized at this point, and his beta design was a Mr. Fanservice in trunks. His final design is... bigger. Way bigger. Ali Hillis understandably made no effort to repeat the vocal implications for the English version, but Lightning is still wearing a somewhat uncharacteristic smile during the cutscene where she speaks with him.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • In Fire Emblem: Thracia 776, Fred is in love with his commander Olwen, and the ending reveals that they eventually marry (though Fred is consistently teased for being quite a bit older than Olwen).
    • The mercenary Thea from Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade is deeply in love with General Klein and insists on staying with him despite his inability to pay her well, even becoming visibly upset whenever Klein tells her that she has his full permission to leave his service at any time.
    • Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
      • Rennac complains about Princess L'Arachel constantly but "never really tried very hard" to escape her service, according to his ending. L'Arachel/Rennac is second only to Sain/Priscilla in the department of "not" paired endings.
      • Vanessa the pegasus knight will attach herself to Prince Innes as his bodyguard in their supports. Since she seems to be one of the few people in Magvel he openly respects, he's happy to have her around, though he insists that as prince he's responsible for her life.
      • General Selena's undying loyalty towards Emperor Vigarde possibly goes far beyond mere gratitude.
    • Lyre in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn never really liked fighting and only joined the Laguz Army because of her crush on Captain Ranulf (and wanting to be with her twin sister Lethe again). There's also Kyza, another subordinate of Ranulf who is implied to have a crush on him, although in the Japanese version, it's not so much implied as it is outright spelled out. Though Lyre and Kyza are friends, the two often compete for Ranulf's attention.
    • In Fire Emblem Fates, the Cute Bruiser Oboro is specifically said to have a crush on her boss, Prince Takumi. Doesn't necessarily count as Bodyguard Crush note  because despite her fighting skills, she isn't specifically tasked with Takumi's safety. If the player pursues their whole support chain, they will get married and Oboro will be the mother of Takumi's kid, Kiragi.
  • Tali, the resident Wrench Wench from Mass Effect, uses an impending apocalypse as an excuse to follow Commander Shepard, for as much reason as being around them as wanting to save the Galaxy. It might also have something to do with the fact she's been in love with Male Shepard(the option for Fem Shep got edited out) since the moment they met, as the second game reveals.
  • In Suikoden III the only reason that Sarah is involved in Luc's plot is to be near him. They're even Together in Death.
  • In Super Robot Wars: Original Generation, this is kinda... sorta... maybe... the case with Russel Bagman in his "relationship" as subordinate to Katina Tarask.
  • Tales Series:
    • In Tales of the Abyss, it's made clear the Legretta the Quick has feelings for Van Grants, which is part of the reason she stays by his side and helps his cause. As it turns out, her love for him was preordained by a prophecy called the Score, which she hates as she doesn't want her actions to be controlled by destiny. She wants to destroy the influence that the Score has on the world; thankfully, Van Grants wants the same thing, giving her a reason to follow him beyond affection.
    • In Tales of Symphonia, many fans attribute such feelings to Pronyma (toward Yggdrasill) and/or Botta (toward Yuan).
  • In the backstory of Touhou Project, Eirin Yagokoro made the Hourai Elixir, a potion for Complete Immortality forbidden by Lunarian law and punishable by exile, solely because her mistress, Kaguya Houraisan, asked her to. When Kaguya's exile was deemed over Eirin joined the entourage that was sent to retrieve her... and she murdered the rest of them, abandoning her home and position just so she could be with Kaguya and serve her. She even hides most of her abilities from Kaguya, not wanting to embarrass her by having a subordinate more powerful than her.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X: Gwin nurses an unrequited crush on his commanding officer, Irina, due to her bad history with men. So he's content to serve under her and tries to protect her like her brother, Leon, used to.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Songs of Araiah, this is one of the reasons Jason decides to remain as Melissa's servant, especially after it becomes clear that he can leave whenever he wants.
  • Tsukihime has this with both the maids. Hisui, who is Shiki's maid, is very fond of him despite her appearance, and while very straight-laced, often helps him more than is strictly necessary and even bends the rules to assist him sometimes. Kohaku, Hisui's sister, and in most story paths Akiha's maid, switches places so that she attends to Shiki due to their growing relationship in the path where Kohaku is the Love Interest, in the most blatant example of this trope in-game. Less blatantly, Akiha made Kohaku her maid in the first place in an attempt to show her kindness and friendship so as to atone for her father's horrible abuse to Kohaku.

  • Cucumber Quest has Sir Tomato, leader of the BLT Trio and Dame Lettuce. Lettuce not only defects because Tomato did, she pretends to be as dumb as he is.
  • Drowtales: Shala Val'Sharen has an obvious crush on her squad's officer Sarnel Tions Sarghress. She teases him, constantly seeks his attention, and generally annoys him. The two entered into a relationship as of Chapter 38, though how deep it goes is unknown, given the way drow society works in regards to relationships.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Nioi apparently serves Lord Tedd because she likes him a lot and thinks he needs watching over. Lavender (the Uryuom secretary of Mr. Edward Verres) was hinted to be another case and now confirmed.
  • The Fourth:
    • Derk never really shows much inclination towards Lord Skarva's ideals, but nonetheless wants to protect him.
    • Much of Skarva's team of demons, ghosts, lurkins, and flish shows at least mild signs of this.
  • Noblesse: Frankenstein initially joked about being Raizel's butler when they first met in order to shake off a couple of clan leaders. Something happened that made Frankenstein passionately dedicated to Raizel, spending over 800 years looking for him when he went missing & immediately returning to his service upon finding him.
  • In Romantically Apocalyptic, Pilot seems to have a crush on The Captain. Case in point: when Sniper gets swallowed by a whale, Pilot sends him a note saying "Ha ha ha, now Captain and me can finally be together forever."

    Web Original 
  • In the Whateley Universe, Greasy is Peeper's sidekick, no matter how abusive Peeper gets.

    Western Animation 
  • The Steven Universe episode "Rose's Scabbard" reveals, in the most Tear Jerking way possible, that this was the reason Pearl stayed with Rose on Earth to fight against the Homeworld Gems.
    Rose: Pearl...
    Pearl: Yes?
    Rose: I'm going to stay and fight for this planet. You don't have to do this with me...
    Pearl: But I want to!
    Rose: I know you do. Please, please understand: if we lose, we'll be killed. And if we win, we can never go home.
    Pearl: Why would I ever want to go home if you're here?
  • Transformers:
    • Lugnut's loud devotion to Megatron from Transformers: Animated. Megatron is not amused.
    • In Beast Wars, Inferno views himself as a loyal drone completely devoted to his - well - queen. The fact that his Catchphrase is "For the Royalty!" says it all. Megatron is well aware of this and is frequently irritated by it, though having a devoted minion (that's actually useful) makes up for it.
  • At times in The Venture Bros., it seems like The Monarch's henchman #21 stays around because of his attraction to The Monarch's girlfriend/fiancee/wife, Dr. Girlfriend/Dr. Mrs. The Monarch. As of the Season 4 finale he decides that's not a good enough reason and defects to S.P.H.I.N.X.