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Wife Husbandry

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"I'm just waiting for my wife to grow up."
Grover Cleveland, after a reporter asked him why he wasn't married yet. (The quote is unconfirmed, but events bear it out.)

A story where (usually) a man falls in love with a woman, having raised her from childhood. She looked up to the man, thought of him as a father figure or beloved uncle, a guardian, counted on him to be there when she needed him, etc. In the more extreme cases, she might have even vowed to marry him when she came of age.


Then, when She Is All Grown Up, the girl decides she is in love with the man, or he with her, or both.

Nothing is ever said about how inappropriate, and even creepy, this is in current society. If the man was a real parent, this would count as incest, but of course they're Not Blood Relatives (but given how relationship dynamics work in real life, genetic relation is not the most important factor in a formerly parent-child relationship anyway, so it's still probably toxic). Often, the story tries to excuse the man's behavior by claiming that he resisted the idea of a relationship, but the girl convinced him. Advanced cases can have him trying to play The Matchmaker with her and men her own age despite his Matchmaker Crush; he may even be Oblivious to Love because of it. This makes it less creepy, in that he didn't plan it in advance, and it is what she wants as well.


A source of Values Dissonance in older works, because it used to be common practice for noblemen to marry younger daughters of friends and acquaintances, so this trope would have occurred a lot both in fiction and real life. It was quite proper for a man to fall in love with his ward and for them to marry if she felt the same. Even in modern times, some people argue that this is not a problem so long as the former child is now an adult and able to properly consent.

Known in Japan (and for a while on this wiki) as the Hikaru Genji Plan, after the main character in The Tale of Genji, who kidnapped a young girl from a life of poverty for the purpose of marrying her once she grew up. The current name is a pun, as Husbandry is the act of raising something (animal husbandry, plant husbandry, etc.), and also contains the word Husband.


A subtrope of Age-Gap Romance. Often overlaps with either May–December Romance or Mayfly–December Romance, depending on the age gap and whether one of the lovers (typically the older one) is Long-Lived or Immortal. Compare Pygmalion Plot, Jail Bait Wait, Teacher/Student Romance, and Parental Incest. See also Father, I Want to Marry My Brother.

Note: A child simply meeting an adult and then them moving on to a romantic relationship when both are adults is not this trope, nor is it for teacher/student relationships that become romantic. The adult must actually raise the child as their legal guardian.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Black Butler: Happens in the second season, considering Alois' whole life is a bit of Fridge Horror. After his little brother and entire village are killed, this already slightly off boy (who laughed cheerfully as he robbed the dead) begins living as a true city street rat. Knowing how things like that work out, and especially after seeing his reactions to things later on, it's quite obvious that this young boy solicited himself for food or shelter before he even hit a double digit age. Think about this: Jim is only around 11 when he goes to Earl Trancy's manor. There, he living with a bunch of boys in the same condition, being bathed and treated like cattle, all while being a sex slave to an old man. At the age of 11. It's quite obvious even then he is not a virgin, as he dolls up and puts on a beautiful red robe, seducing the old man expertly until the guy's kissing his feet. He even becomes the favorite boy, taking place for the man's son who vanished as a baby - the real Alois Trancy which allows him to take the name Alois after Claude kills the Earl. Episode 8 shows that Alois was raped by the former Lord Trancy. It's implied that this helped make him so Ax-Crazy — he's shown to have been a little off-kilter even before the event, having joked about his entire village dying and happily looted their corpses when they did, his violent tendencies seem to date from it, not to mention his compulsive promiscuity.
  • Bunny Drop is a story about an immature manchild who learns to grow as a person after adopting his grandfather's six-year-old illegitimate daughter (a.k.a. his aunt). The series ends with a Time Skip showing the two falling in love and deciding to marry after The Reveal that they weren't actually related.
  • Otaku No Musumesan has a very literal instance in which the landlady, Taeko, was raised since elementary school by Sousuke, an aspiring manga artist, after her grandfather, her previous guardian, died. To solve an inheritance dispute when Taeko turned 16, the two get married, but the story makes it clear that love for each other strongly influenced the decision.
  • Parodied in Carnival Phantasm, where Aoko tries to do this with Shiki.
  • Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water:
    • It is initially averted between a then-teenage Electra and Nemo, when she decides to keep her feelings for him a secret after accidentally overhearing that he viewed her as a surrogate daughter to replace his own children who he believed had both been killed (ironically she was on her way to confess her love to him at that time). They later get together anyway: she finally manages to reveal her true feelings (and how!) after Nemo is reunited with his real daughter Nadia years later.
    • In the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, Marie and Samson have married. In the series leading up to this, Marie is a precocious pre-adolescent Tag Along Kid. Samson never shows strong feelings toward young Marie, except a generally-protective Big Brother Instinct. In this epilogue, years have passed, Marie is a young adult, some off-screen romance has happened, she has married the older man and is pregnant with their first child. Because this romance didn't start in childhood it's not so creepy, and in the context of the setting (early 20th-century Europe) it's not even unusual.
  • City Hunter:
    • Umibozu had taught the girl Miki to fight when she was a child, and protected her for a while. When she's grown up she reappears, wanting to marry him. Umibozu doesn't, but they end up running a restaurant together; exactly how close they are stays vague in the anime, though in the manga they eventually marry. Ryo Saeba refers to this as the former trope namer for this trope, the Hikaru Genji Plan.
    • Later Umibozu convinces Ryo to take a job to bodyguard a little girl by claiming he could pull this and she's going to grow quite beautiful. It's not clear how serious Ryo was about this, but he completed the job even after declaring he wasn't patient enough to pull it off... But she's fallen for him anyway, though she won't act on it knowing he's actually in love with Kaori.
  • In Desert Punk, the title character takes on little Kosuna as an apprentice for this very reason. It's notable that this was actually her suggestion, which she supported by providing a picture of what she (falsely) claims is her mom.
  • Inverted in Kure-nai: while Shinkurou is very protective of the little girl he's caring for, any romantic affection seems to occur solely on Murasaki's side (notice her Meaningful Name). Then again, considering Murasaki's Big, Screwed-Up Family, this can be seen as played straight from their part.
  • Amaterasu and Lachesis' relationship in The Five Star Stories is like this, but since they're more or less the only two Physical Gods in their universe it's excusable. Who else are they gonna be with?
  • Gender Inverted in Shakugan no Shana, where a female Crimson Lord by the name of Pheles raises a boy named Johan and the two later fall in love after Johan was grown up.
  • A rather horrific, twisted version in Kaze to Ki no Uta, wherein Auguste manipulates and abuses his young nephew/foster son/ actual son, Gilbert, having the young man love him unconditionally while having complete control over him. He eventually engages Gilbert in a sexual relationship (when Gilbert is nine) so as to keep him just as obedient forever. This is just the beginning of the crap that Gilbert has to go through because of his curse.
  • In the Bastard!! (1988) manga, Dark Schneider rescues a dark elf girl named Arshes Nei and then pursues a sexual relationship with her once she comes of age. (Of course, Dark Schneider isn't exactly meant to be a paragon of moral behavior...) Comes off as far-less squick since, being a Dark Fantasy setting, they're both pretty much immortal by definition (one being a demi-deific sorcerer, the other being a Drow) - at the very least, they each have potential lifespans that reach well into multiple millennia, so the years matter less.
  • Full Metal Panic!:
    • Everything short of explicitly stated to have been successfully executed by Gauron with the twins Yu Fang and Yu Lan. The twins are so completely heartbroken by the fact that he's on the verge of death that they willingly undertake a suicide mission at Gauron's behest, rather than outlive him, and Melissa Mao at one point notes that they seem to be devoid of any emotion other than total despair. Being able to see him again is the only thing that brings them a shred of happiness. In fact, their grief over Gauron's impending death is used as a narrative counterpoint and equivalent of Sousuke's sadness at being separated from Kaname (as Mao notices that Sousuke's eyes and expression are exactly the same as Yu Lan's).
    • Apparently, as clarified further in the novels, he tried to execute a Hikaru Genji Plan with the young Sousuke, but failed completely. He pretty much told 12-year-old Sousuke, "Why don't you come to my camp? There's food, ammunition, and AS parts there." (Which sounds suspiciously like a "There's candy over in my van, little boy" scenario.) Knowing Gauron, it's highly doubtful that his plans were anything pure and kindhearted. Of course, Sousuke refuses, and Gauron spends the next five years unable to forget "beautiful" Sousuke.
  • ½ Prince character Zhuo Lin Bin, aka Wicked, the Unlucky Childhood Friend, eventually raises Lan's daughter and is tricked into agreeing to marry her. Zhuo is reluctant at first, as he always loved her mother father parent. He is also concerned about the age difference, but since humans can live over 200 years in that time, it's not a major issue.
  • It is mentioned by Ranmaru's parents in The Wallflower anime as a way that Ranmaru can capitalize on his Arranged Marriage to Tamao... by the end of the episode they have a Hikaru Genji moment... which is quickly ruined.
  • Psychic Squad:
    • The handler of Naomi Umegae attempted to raise Naomi (age 16) into his own ideal bride. The training was sufficient that Naomi found it difficult to outright say she hated it, but an encounter with Kaoru awoke her resistance and she began making him pay. She also soon after changed her codename from "Kittycat" to "Wildcat." In what may be a Shout-Out to another entry on this page, the manga chapter this took place in was titled "Princess Maker".
    • The director of BABEL wants this to happen with The Children (age 10) and their handler Minamoto (age 20), as it's the best way to make sure they won't become supervillainesses. Yes, all three of them. Weirdly enough, Minamoto's mother also wants this as well, as do The Children. Minamoto does not. Glimpses of the future show that this will eventually happen with all the girls, starting with Kaoru.
  • In the manga Franken Fran, Fran is asked by a patient to impregnate her with the DNA of her dead best friend and love interest after it's revealed her friend sabotaged her marriage because she wanted her for herself. The patient specifically requests that the resulting baby be male, since, as Fran puts it, the patient "finds men easier to love". This isn't even the most disturbing story from that manga.
  • Part of the plot of the 2009 anime adaptation of The Tale of Genji (see Literature example below), Genji Monogatari Sennenki.
  • In Osamu Tezuka's Phoenix: Life, Aoi falls in love with the girl he adopted when she comes of age, but she only thinks of him as a father. This ultimately leads to his Heroic Sacrifice, as he feels he has nothing left to live for.
  • This is pretty much the relationship between Moeko and Mariya in the shoujo manga series Kindan (by Osakabe Mashin). Not that Mariya even really bothered waiting until Moeko grew up.
  • Inverted in the manga Until Death Do Us Part, where the heroine who ran up to the protagonist for rescue and help early on later revealed that she's staying with him not only to be rescued, but also because he's her future husband. The two she told this to were shocked on finding out and told her not to tell the protagonist about it, though she seems set on making said prediction come true. The heroine is twelve and the protagonist is in his mid-to-late twenties, which would make this a lot more squicky if not for the fact that there is no romance to speak of at this point and she is a powerful precognitive, so the foretold marriage could be decades off.
  • In The Bride of Adarshan, the main character, Prince Alexid is forced into a political marriage with the youngest princess of a conquered nation (a nation Alexid was largely in charge of conquering). How young? Ten. To the story's credit, this is treated as pure politics, even as Alexid and Justinia do grow closer to each other, with Alexid taking on a Guardian/Big Brother role towards her. And the story clearly implies that that will mature into something real by the time Justinia comes of age, assuming they survive the political shenanigans around them.
  • In the Peacemaker Kurogane manga, this was what the old merchant Yamatoya does with Suzu after Suzu's master was killed and he was left all alone starving in the streets. Although he's old enough to easily be his grandfather, he apparently picked up Suzu entirely for the purpose of raping him and making him his "pet". Suzu wasn't the only one, however — two twin kitty boys were also picked up by him for this purpose. Suzu does end up getting revenge on him, however. To put it in Suzu's words:
    Suzu: Thank you for picking me up from the streets. Unfortunately, your enjoyment is based on another's tears.
  • In D.Gray-Man, the Noah Sheryl can be viewed as this. He's... a bit too affectionate towards Road, his adopted daughter. Not to mention that it's pretty much stated outright that the only reason why he got married was just so he could get Road as his daughter. Hum. Although to make matters more confusing, she's Older Than She Looks and at least 45 years old. She might well be older than him.
  • Berserk:
    • This is very disturbingly done with Princess Charlotte and the King of Midland. She grew up to look exactly like her mother, the Queen of Midland. Unfortunately, this also caused her father to go from being a Papa Wolf to lusting after her himself and trying to have his way with her soon after having Griffith put to the torture for getting to her first soon after Guts left the Hawks. Very, very disturbing indeed.
  • In the Gankutsuou manga (which should be noted for veering far, far away from the anime, and containing a thousand times more depraved content) Villefort is revealed to have made his daughter Valentine into a replacement for his first wife. He made her wear the same clothes her mother wore, and... did stuff to her that a father shouldn't do to his daughter. Of course, this change seems to have been made to erase any doubt that Villefort is a depraved villain that deserves what's coming to him. Let's just say that even with all that, the Count's punishment for him still seems overboard and insanely gruesome.
  • Inverted and subverted in My-Otome. Nina is desperate for the love of her adoptive father Sergay Wong who only thinks of her as his daughter. Her friend Arika also falls for him, and that's almost as awkward for Sergay since he suspects (correctly) that Arika is the daughter of his former love, Lena Sayers. It should also be pointed out that it was Nina who decided to play off this trope and wanted to become an Otome in order to be more like Lena who Sergay had a crush on as a boy. Sergay doesn't find out Nina's feelings until late in the series, when he actually does get a chance to play this trope straight and yet he can't do it because he thinks of Nina as his own daughter. His failure to reciprocate on her feelings nearly causes The End of the World as We Know It. Note that this only occurs in the anime.
  • Gender Inverted in Code Geass, where C.C., an immortal woman, bestows telepathy on a Chinese Street Urchin named Mao. However, he loses control of it, profoundly affecting his sanity, and the pair move into the wild where she practically raises him, during which time he falls in love with her. In his madness he comes to believe this was her intent for him, but it was all in Mao's mind.
  • Kaguya Hime: It's unclear just how planned this was, but Shoko adopted Akira just to spite her ex-husband and forbade her from calling her "mother" from the start, with the words "I don't intend to ever be your mother". By junior high school Akira is forced into a homosexual relationship with her stepmother and frequently poses nude for her to draw.
  • Weiß Kreuz: Persia I/Saijou Takatori is a Dirty Old Man who did this to Sano and Uno, two girls that he bought as children, enslaved and trained to be deadly bodyguards, used as sex toys, and was planning to have Mamoru marry one of them to ensure heirs.
  • In Loveless when Soubi's parents die (he is about 5 at the time) he is raised by his teacher Ritsu, we later find out that Soubi lost his virginity to Ritsu and that the two shared a sadomasochistic servant-master relationship.
  • An inadvertent version almost happened in Volume 4 of Ooku. As she lay dying at age 27, Shogun Iemitsu the Younger asked the former abbot (and only true love for all that his infertility obliged her to bear the children of several other men) Arikoto to guide the eldest of her daughters as a father. Clueless Chick Magnet that he was, Arikoto had no idea what feelings his charge was developing towards him until the teenage Shogun Ietsuna gave an Anguished Declaration of Love as he carried her to safety during a disastrous fire. As soon as a proper audience could be held, Arikoto made his feelings about the matter clear by formally petitioning to be dismissed from his duties in the Inner Chambers.
  • In Hana to Akuma, the entire plot is centered around Hana and Vivi falling in love with each other after he raised her as a foundling, despite the fact that most of the story happens when Hana is 10 and Vivi is a centuries old demon. Vivi attempts to resist this attraction by going to the demon world for awhile in a Jail Bait Wait.
  • Occult Academy: Implied by the ending and Gender Inverted. 17 year old Maya's fallen in love with 23-year-old time-traveled-from-13-years-in-the-future Fumiaki, but he makes a Heroic Sacrifice. So she takes 10-year-old current-day Fumiaki in hand, and we see that 13 years later, they're at least living together.
  • In the Vampire Princess Miyu manga, Miyu accuses a Shinma male that she's chasing after of wanting to do this to a human little girl named Ruri, whom he raised after her parents died. He sees her more as a Replacement Goldfish for his dead little sister, though. It doesn't matter that much in the end, since she still sends him back to the Darkness. Ruri is later Happily Adopted by humans.
  • Infamously done in Bunny Drop. After the Time Skip, Rin realizes she has feelings for Daikichi, who raised her and is her father-figure (though technically she's his aunt, as she's the daughter of his grandfather). In chapter 54, it is shown she was adopted by Daikichi's grandfather and they really aren't blood-relatives. Rin takes the news quite well. The anime and Live-Action Adaptation ignore the timeskip and focus on the two as being family.
  • Implied in Saber Marionette J in the very final last episode, where a young elementary-age Cherry is still in love — and lust — with Otaru, even after she's been reborn as a fully-organic human girl, along with her sisters, Lime and Bloodberry, who he's now raising as his adopted daughters.
  • During a flashback in Fairy Tail, Markarov takes the then eight-year-old Erza to Porlyusica for treatment. Markarov comments that Erza will be very beautiful when she grows up. Porlyusica, who knows very well that Makarov is a Dirty Old Man, asks if he's planning on seducing Erza later. Makarov nervously replies that he wasn't. Knowing Makarov, it's likely the thought had occurred to him, but it's not something he'd actually carry out.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • Clearly discussed (in a strangely gender-flipped way) when some of the girls are plotting to raise Negi (their ten-year-old teacher) to be the perfect boyfriend. Explicitly called the 'Reverse Hikaru Genji Raising Plan'.
    • Additionally, Asuna has a clear crush on Takahata, who helped take care of her when she was young. He objects to the idea, though the reason he gives isn't her age, but rather that he doesn't feel like he deserves to be loved. Twisted as it turns out that Asuna is much older than Takahata, though she spent most of her life with the appearance and personality of a five-year-old.
  • In the last few chapters of the manga version of His and Her Circumstances, Asaba acts as a surrogate father to Yukino and Arima's daughter Sakura, who is in love with him. He tries to back off years later, but she will have nothing of it.
  • Played with in Black Jack. Pinoko is physically a perpetual child but mentally considers herself to be eighteen years old, with some justification. She sees Black Jack as her husband, while he sees her as his daughter.
    • The episode The Fabricated Wedding features a young woman with cancer who wishes to marry the next man she sees before she dies. Her father calls his friend (who is also the girl's Honorary Uncle) to be that man though Black Jack beats him to it. After the woman is cured, she meets Black Jack again after a Time Skip and mentions that she is now engaged to her father's friend.
  • Plays a prominent role in My Daddy Long Legs. An Anonymous Benefactor chose to send Judy to high school, getting her out of a hated orphanage. Over the years, he tries to steer her life in certain directions, although she puts up a good fight. It turns out that he's her love interest, Jervis Pendleton. It doesn't seem that he intended to marry her in the beginning: the romance developed as she wrote letters to him over the course of her high school career. However, the relationship may be Squickier in the anime than in the novel because Judy is underage when she first begins writing to him.
  • Similar to the Black Jack example but gender inverted, hints of this are appearing in Kaze Hikaru between Mabo and Osato. Mabo is an 8 year old orphan who ends up in the care of Osato, who thinks of Mabo as her child and once stated that she wishes he'd call her "mom", but Mabo has developed a crush on Osato and has outright asked her if she would be his bride in the future. That being said, she hasn't outright turned him down, merely stating that she won't marry him for as long as he's shorter than her.
  • Invoked, but later Played for Laughs inThe World God Only Knows: Keima's 17-year-old inner self was swapped into his 7-year-old body in order to rectify any threats to his past, leaving the the inner self of 7-year-old Keima in the former's 17-year-old body. Cue the Jupiter Sisters (two of them at least) looking after him, and then trying to implant the image of their respective hosts in the mind of kid!Keima so that he will remember her once he grows up.
  • Yuri Kuma Arashi: After eating Reia, Yurika watched over Kureha while pulling nearly everyone's strings in order to make her into the bride that Reia could not be for her—and eat her.
  • Suggested by Komachi (who is a girl about six years old) in Samurai 7 about her Precocious Crush on Kikuchiyo, a huge, steam-powered cyborg.
  • Elias in The Ancient Magus' Bride said this trope is one of the reasons he takes Chise under his wings (aside from making her his apprentice) though we don't actually know if he's serious or not. At the very least, other magicians and magical beings believe him and constantly call Chise his bride/fiancee. According to Lindel, it's actually not uncommon for a magician master to marry his/her disciple.
  • Invoked and subverted in Minamoto-kun Monogatari, appropriately due to the plot following beats of Genji before it. The protagonist Minamoto's aunt Kaoruko wants to morph him into a more confident Casanova by directing him towards girls that match personalities with the ladies Hikaru Genji bedded and romanced in his tale—and this also includes a little girl, Shian, as his "Lady Murasaki". However they hold off on actually seducing her for the time being, and have Minamoto simply spend time with her to make him get used to being around girls in a platonic sense and to give him a surrogate little sister.
  • Gender-inverted and implied in Food Wars!. Akira Hayama was adopted and raised by Jun Shiomi, who is about 12 years his senior, though given her appearance and the fact that he is the one looking after her, you wouldn't be able to tell that at first glance. The series final fanbook reveals that Akira was the only one among the main characters who got married, and although it's not stated to whom, all clues point to Jun.
  • Ghost Sweeper Mikami: In the episode where Mikami is turned into a child by the Devil Piper, at one point Yokoshima is looking after her while she sleeps and begins to fantasize about doing this to her, in the scenario that she doesn't get back to normal. Thankfully, Mikami (telepathically) snaps him out of it.
  • Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon: Following the end of Inuyasha, there was a lot of speculation about how the relationship between Sesshomaru and Rin, the human girl he took in, ultimately turned out. In the sequel mainly written by Katsuyuki Sumisawa, it's been confirmed that they got married. Since the original author of Inuyasha, Rumiko Takahashi, said that Sesshomaru was like a parental figure (even using the word hogosha which means "parental figure" or "legal guardian"), then it makes Sesshomaru and Rin getting married this trope.

    Comic Books 
  • Superman:
    • In Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #57, Superman is turned into a baby by some Red Kryptonite, and Lois Lane tries to raise him so that when he reverts to his real age, he'll want to marry her — and so does Lana Lang. In the end, their plans work...but not as intended, since the Superman in question was from an alternate universe, and he ends up returning home and marrying his universe's Lois and Lana.
    • Two issues later, Lois Lane uses a time machine to travel back to ancient Krypton to steal Kal-El's father for herself so she could be her mother. After she finally remembered that Krypton would explode someday, she decided to leave and restore the timeline to normal with her time pod.
    • It happens in Lex Luthor: Man of Steel when Lex Luthor creates the superheroine Hope to serve as his own private Superman as well as concubine. He sacrifices her to discredit Superman.
    • Lex Luthor does this a lot. In The Supergirl Saga, the Lex Luthor of a Pocket Universe created a protoplasmic Supergirl with the appearance of Lana Lang. While he doesn't end up with her, she clearly adores him sexually and later has a relationship with his main universe double.
  • In Captain Atom, the hero's daughter, Margaret, begins a relationship with Jeff Goslin, her godfather. Not her father, but the implications are the same. The subtext, incidentally, was that she really did have romantic feelings for her father, and was (barely) sublimating them by dating Goslin, who was her father's best friend in addition to being her godfather.
  • In American Vampire, Jim Books' goddaughter Abilena fell in love with him. Jim always thought of her as a daughter and never realized she saw him as something other than a father figure until the night she gave him a passionate kiss.
  • In Garth Ennis's The Punisher MAX series, it is revealed that antagonist Nicky Cavella was raised by his aunt and given a... very special birthday bedroom present. Regularly, apparently. While still referring to herself as his aunt. It gets better: she acquired guardianship over Nicky by convincing him to kill his entire family and frame his uncle/her husband for the crime.

    Fan Works 
  • When Anko has trouble finding a boyfriend in Anko's Boyfriend, she decides that she can raise one and chooses Naruto, figuring that he'll latch on to the first person who shows him affection.
  • In Sibling Love, Elesis became a Yandere for her younger brother, Elsword, after he innocently proposed to her when he was 4 years old, and has since made it her sworn duty to raise him to be the perfect husband and kill anyone who she deems a threat to their relationship.
  • It's implied that the Plain Doll is responsible for this with the Hunters in The Man Who Sold the World.
  • Similarly, a certain segment of the X-Men fandom does the same for the Age of Apocalypse versions of Sabretooth and Blink.
  • Apparently there is a camp of fanfiction writers for Fate/stay night that use this angle on Archer and Rin.
    • Specifically, these fanfics follow on (sort of) from the "Childcare is War/Together with House Husband" doujins where Archer is summoned by the Tohsaka sisters (Sakura and Rin) prior to the fourth war.
  • In Hera x Male!Reader - Change For the Better, Hera decides that her surrogate son Y/n would make the best choice for a husband when she gets sick of Zeus' philandering ways and decides to remarry.
  • Neji and Hinata from Naruto are sometimes portrayed like this in fanwork, since Neji has become Hinata's protector and guardian in canon. Due to the fact that there is only a year difference between them, many fans actually make Hinata little in a lot of fanfiction and fanart, with Neji taking care of her, before the romance happens. Rock Lee's Springtime of Youth did not help stop this interpretation.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers fics have several of these.
    • The Spain/Romano pairing. Romano used to be under Spain's care as a kid, with Spain doting on him and Romano getting jealous whenever Spain paid more attention to his brother than to him. In modern times, Spain's still very affectionate towards the grown-up Romano, and Romano still has his Tsundere streak. They're not quite an Official Couple, but the subtext is definitely there.
    • The America/England pairing, actually called the "Reverse Hikaru Genji Plan" in Japanese fandom, is a more complicated example: England and America used to be in a happy big brother-little brother relationship. Then America grew up, decided he didn't want that kind of relationship with England anymore, and broke away from him. It's implied that the two still care about each other after that event, but that the nature of their affections has changed, with England going from Parental Substitute to blushing Tsundere and America from adoring little brother to an equal who enjoys riling England up. Not an Official Couple either, but the subtext is heavy.
    • While they haven't had half the subtext these two other couple had (at least in the strips), a potential relationship between France and Seychelles could certainly be seen as an example. The Gakuen Hetalia game (written by and illustrated by Himaruya himself) shows a younger France playing with a child Seychelles in a beach as he helps raise her and then bringing her to the High School A.U. where the "story" sets in, and one of the game's endings has him hugging a blushing Seychelles and being snarked at by her.
      • Often in fanon, France is portrayed this way towards young Canada too.
    • J-fen seems to be fond of equaling the Japanese colonization of the Taiwanese islands with Japan raising his younger sister Taiwan as a prospect wife.
      • There are several China/Japan works (mostly in the Japanese fandom) where Japan is the "wife" being husbanded. This is of course an extension of China being portrayed as the big brother who raised the other Asian countries. However, when China is shipped with other Asian nations, he is rarely shipped with them being portrayed as children. It looks like that's a special "privilege" reserved for Japan.
    • Any nation who was ever responsible for raising a nation in their childhood falls into this. Currently in fandom, England's the biggest bait for this. Having had the largest empire in history, and having the most ex-colonies appearing in the series, it's not that hard to put him in this position. Evidence: The Commonwealth of Nations. America/England was already explained in detail above. There are tags on the Kink Meme (the section where they organize the fills) just for England and his Commonwealth. On dA, some memes include a "Draw England as a pimp with his colonies" section.
    • This is also the portrayal used by Turkey fans, in regards to the Turkey/Greece or Turkey/Hungary pairings.
      • And one or two Egypt/Greece fanworks, but not half as strongly.
  • Lenore and Ragamuffin from Lenore the Cute Little Dead Girl are prone to this, mostly due to the fact that he takes care of her, being her guardian and friend at the same time. Even though she's often paired with him when she's a child, because Lenore can't practically grow up physically. Still, there are instances when fans make Lenore older just to avoid any Squick.
  • Star Wars: both the Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan and Obi-Wan/Anakin slash pairing. In fairness, the last two are described as "equals" and "closer than brothers, closer than lovers" in the Revenge of the Sith novelization but ... still. note 
  • Flippy and Flaky from the Happy Tree Friends are really often prone to this, especially their humanized versions. Many times, Flaky is drawn as a little girl, while Flippy is a mature guy who takes care of her. They are sometimes portrayed in romantic situations even when Flaky is little.
  • Some Gorillaz fanwriters have this happen between Noodle and either Murdoc or 2D (or, very occasionally, Russel). A less-squicky-than-usual variation in the fic A Man Out Of Time involved, thanks to time travel, Noodle meeting and falling in love with Murdoc's sixteen-year-old self, then using another time jump to allow her thirty-six-year-old self to come back to Kong and meet the forty-year-old Murdoc.
  • legolas by laura: Legolas adopts the eponymous Laura as his sister, or daughter, or something - it's unclear - when she's a baby. Ten years later, he rescues her from orcs, and agrees to "be her boyfriend". Even though she's still ten. The So Bad, It's Good quality of the fic suggests that either it's a Troll Fic or the author was also ten, and the Beige Prose makes it far less squicky and more funny than it sounds.
  • In the Oneiroi Series (an Order of the Stick fanfiction series), Xykon practically raised Tiasal/Deirdre, and he has this weird thing going on where he's almost but not quite started a sexual relationship with her. Unlike the other examples, he never exactly planned on it and she's the only one who's actually interested in the sex, but he uses it to manipulate her. (And Word of God says that he gets enjoyment out of it despite being a walking skeleton because it gives him a power trip.) The trope is also inverted with Deirdre as she actually forces her father (who also practically raised her after a while) into sleeping with her. And she's implied to be planning on doing the same to her uncle (who raised her while her dad didn't), and Word of God says that she wants to do it to all the men who were involved in raising her. She has issues.
  • Mao and C.C.'s relationship is explored in-depth in Code Geass: Mao of the Deliverance, with plenty of backstory and flashback, including the implication that C.C. had sex with him when he became a teenager, increasing his Yandere Fanboy treatment of her Up to Eleven.
  • Deconstructed and played for squick in certain Twilight fanfics.
    • In one story called Seven, Jacob proceeds to consummate things with Renesmee (who looks eighteen but is chronologically and mentally seven years old, hence the title), and she is frightened, confused and unwilling throughout. In its mirror story Eighteen, the situation is reversed where Renesmee is chronologically seven but has the looks and mind of an eighteen-year-old. In this one, she rejects Jacob, finding the whole situation disgusting and twisted, and decides to run away from it all with Claire in tow.
    • Claire and Quil are the subjects of this in the story Resisting Devotion. Claire has just turned eighteen and Quil decides to make his move after 16 years of waiting until she was of legal age. Claire, however, is horrified to learn that Quil imprinted on her and wanted her since she was a toddler. Quil tries to win her over by saying they're "destined" to be together, but Claire rejects it, plans to get a restraining order out on him, angrily declares their friendship is over and that she can't forgive him. On top of all that, it turns out that Claire is also a lesbian, so it never wouldn't worked out anyway.
  • There are a few My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfics that pairs Twilight Sparkle and Spike, as well as Twilight and Celestia, her own mentor/ruler/sun goddess. Discordlestia fics themselves sometimes depict Discord as Celestia's own mentor who did this to her as well - or vice-versa.
    • The story Groomed To Perfection by Rainbow Bob has Discord mocking Celestia for it, implying that she did this to Twilight, and that it was exactly the same thing that he himself had done to her in the past.
      Discord: "I couldn't be prouder of you, or love you anymore than I already do."
    • The MLP Loops: Suspected to be the case, but ultimately averted, in Loop 194.5 - before they Awoke, Celestia had promised a six-year-old Twilight that she would officiate Twilight's eventual wedding when she was ready, but had said it in a manner that sounded like she was proposing. They clear up the misunderstanding after both are Awake. Twilight herself notes that she considers such a relationship odd, since she normally views Celestia as a second mother to her.
  • In The Swarm of War, Alena was incorporated into the Swarm when she was about five. She is currently an adult with the title of "Queen-consort of the Overmind"... which chapter 60 shows to be no formality.
  • Maximum Squick factor version in the Hivefled 'verse; Condesce effectively raised the Grand Highblood since she was the equivalent of an eight-year-old and he was an infant, and their relationship has been at least vaguely sexual and possibly more since he hit puberty.
  • In The Taste of Your Magic, Bellatrix explains to Narcissa that because of baby Harry's already great magical power, the two of them can raise him to become one of the greatest wizards of all time, with the two witches as his queens of course.
  • In the Legend of Zelda fanfic, The Ways of Ruto, the Zora Princess attempts this on Link with an artifact that can change his age at her command, regressing him to a child that she can raise to love her. Unfortunately, it only changes his body, not his mind, so it amounts to her keeping him locked in a room with only her visiting him, waiting for Stockholm Syndrome to take effect.
  • In Their Bond, Impa has been Zelda's Guardian since her birth. Impa was the closest thing Zelda had to a mother growing up, while Impa considered her a mixture of sibling, daughter, and trainee. In adulthood, Zelda finds her relationship with Impa changing to become far less familial than it used to be. The ethics of this relationship are discussed in chapter 42. A psychiatrist eases Impa's worries, clarifying that she didn't groom Zelda and that their relationship is neither unnatural nor psuedo-incestuous.
  • Offspring makes note that Link and Mipha have a Childhood Friend Romance but, due to how Zora age in comparison to humans, Mipha was more like a mother towards Link. When Link got older, Mipha fell for Link. The two ended up married with kids when Link was in his teens; however, Link soon lost Mipha in the Calamity.
  • In Raising Link, a fairy leads a nine-year-old Link to the Temple of Souls, and Cia and Lana need to figure out what to do with him. Cia advocates keeping him and raising him to be their lover.
  • Deconstructed in You Are Mine. As his adopted daughter Agnes grows and becomes attractive to him, the idea of this comes to Frollo's mind. Wife husbandry isn't uncommon, but the problem is that Agnes sees him as a father. Frollo doesn't particularly care and ends up raping her.
  • White Sheep (RWBY): Variant. In the first chapter, Salem reveals that she took in Cinder as Jaune's babysitter specifically so that they'd grow up to give her lots of grandbabies. She is rather put out that they grew up Like Brother and Sister instead.
  • A Diplomatic Visit: Discussed briefly in chapter 14, where Celestia mentions that there are some who would claim she picks her students so she can train them up and then make them a part of the Royal Harem. She points out that first, she doesn't have a royal harem, and second, that would fall under this trope, and the practice of such has been illegal for centuries. The second story confirms that Celestia has long viewed Twilight as a daughter (and still does) and not a potential love interest.
  • Thundercracker's Glory: Early on, Skywarp jokingly suggests Megatron is planning this for Thundercracker's niece Glory (a sparkling who has recently come to live on the Nemesis since he's her only surviving relative). Thundercracker is not amused.

    Films — Animated 
  • Gender flipped and used jokingly (probably) in Disney's The Princess and the Frog by Charlotte at the end who, upon Tiana's marriage to Naveen, asks how old his brother is. Cut to her dancing with Naveen's very much younger brother, who replies, "I'm 6 and a half." How does she respond? "Well, I've waited this long!"

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Dark Knight Rises Bane is Talia's protector from childhood. It is implied that his love for her is more than platonic.
  • This is the plot of The Bow by Kim Ki-duk. The main character is an old man, who lives in seclusion on a boat with a 16-year-old girl, whom he found at an early age. It is agreed that they will marry when she turns 17. The girl trusts him absolutely, up to the point when she meets a young boy, who plans to take her away from the old man. The old man eventually marries her, but after the ceremony he rides with her on another boat, then makes her go to sleep by playing a song and jumps into the water happily, drowning himself. The girl wakes up at the bigger ship with a spontaneous orgasm. She acts like she has intercourse with a man, and it ends with blood on her crotch. She rides off with the boy.
  • Happens in the French movie Le Bossu (a.k.a. On Guard), with the girl having fallen in love with her guardian and him initially resisting. It still fails not to seem creepy, mostly because he became her unofficial adoptive father sometime when she was one year old, and she went with unnerving speed from regarding him as "Papa" to thinking of him as "husband on the hoof" once she learned he wasn't any blood relation.
    • In the latest adaptation (Le Bossu was originally a swashbuckling novel, as mentioned below), Lagardère (2003), he marries her widowed mother instead.
  • Part of Holly Golightly's backstory in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Holly married Doc Golightly when she was thirteen, with the implication that young Holly was a rural Street Urchin and it was simpler for him to marry her than adopt her.
  • I Love You Rosa: When 20-year-old Rosa's husband dies, under Jewish law his little brother Nissim is expected to marry Rosa, despite the fact that he's only 11. Soon after, Nissim runs away from home and Rosa takes him in. They embark on an odd relationship in which she is his guardian but also his semi-fiancee, with Nissim fully expecting to marry Rosa when he's old enough. (He eventually does, after various plot complications.)
  • Inverted in Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders, when a man accidentally turns himself into a baby, and his wife is left to raise him.
  • The movie/play Gigi is about an adolescent girl raised to be a wealthy man's ideal mistress (not wife, just mistress), but he ends up falling in love with her and marrying her.
  • Inverted in the 2009 movie Orphan- the titular character is actually a thirty-something year old adult who tries to come on to her legal guardians, and kills them when they refuse.
  • Narrowly averted at the end of An American in Paris.
  • The film (and presumably the literature it's based on) Portrait of Jennie does an odd variation on this when an artist meets a mysterious, too-young girl. Jennie promises him that they are meant to be together and that she will grow up for him... and does. Very quickly. Of course, she's already dead. Despite this description, it's a beautiful film.
  • In Hideo Gosha's Kai (桨), a man buys up the pre-teen daughter of a poor family and has her trained as a geisha. In the following years, she develops romantic feelings for him.
  • Definitely invoked in Georgy Girl, where family friend banker Leamington has watched the spirited Georgy grow from child to woman, and makes her the outrageous (by today's standards) offer to be his mistress. By the time she's finally willing to give in it's to become his wife — in order to keep the baby's she's been tending. It's implied that by now their promise is in form only, neither looks satisfied after the ceremony.
  • A slightly different version occurs in Great Balls of Fire, where it's suggested that Jerry Lee wanted to marry Myra to raise her (and train her in wifely obedience before she'd be old enough to "Get Ideas").
  • In Park Chan Wook's Thirst (2009), Tae-ju is adopted by Mrs. Ra with the intention of raising her as a wife for her son. The protagonist Sang-hyeon becomes her lover, alleviating the misery of her loveless marriage and the slave-like relationship she has to both her husband and foster mother. Then he turns her into a vampire.
  • Bicentennial Man: The Martin household's Robot Butler, Andrew, loved helping Sir in raising Miss and Little Miss since they were young girls. When Little Miss was old enough, she asked him indirectly about marriage, but chickens out and married someone else. Andrew goes away for a few decades, but when he returns, he meets Portia, Little Miss's Identical Granddaughter, and pursues a relationship with her, eventually getting married, making this a Zig-Zagged example.
  • In Womb a woman gives birth to the clone of her dead boyfriend, raises him like a son, and eventually has sex with him.
  • In Legacy: A Mormon Journey Eliza tell the gentleman who's trying to court her that she's sworn to marry Jacob because he was like a father to her when she had no one. He's the kindest man she knows. The gentleman tells her that marriage is a great reward for kindness.
  • In the horror film Embryo, Rock Hudson plays a scientist who experiments on a female fetus, accelerating its growth until it's a beautiful and accomplished young woman, at which point they have sex. The young woman then discovers that her body will soon disintegrate due to Rapid Aging, kicking off the "horror" part of the movie. The movie ends with the woman dying of old age while at the same time giving birth to the child she conceived with the scientist.
  • Played straight, and for romance, in The Chechahcos. Dexter and Riley, two bachelor Alaskan gold miners, become guardians to Ruth, who is about six. Time Skip 12 years later, and Ruth is a grown woman in love with Dexter, and the maid is joking about Dexter having a baby.
    Ruth: [embraces Dexter] No longer your little girl, but your— [kisses him, skips away]
  • Final Girl: Unintentionally on William's part, but by the time Veronica is 18 years old, she is romantically interested in him. He carefully declines her.
  • In The Scorpion King, this trope is never explicitly spelled out but its established that Memnon wants to make the Sorceress his queen and that he has been keeping her his prisoner since she was a child. The viewers can draw their own conclusion.
  • In The Lion in Winter the marital rift / civil war between Henry II and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine exists partly because the aged Henry took Alais as his mistress. Alais is a Princess of France, whom Eleanor had taken into her household as a ward when the girl was 8, with the plan to marry her to one of her sons (the future Richard I) when she was old enough. Alais is a young woman by the point the movie takes place, and Henry probably wouldn't actually have been involved much in her raising, but still. Bonus points for the fact that Alais is actually Eleanor's ex-husband's daughter by his second wife, which causes political problems, because they can't just simply reneg on the original engagement promise and keep her around as Henry's mistress. (Eleanor's problem with it seems to be part jealousy - she and Henry had been a rare royal love match a few decades earlier, so she took the mistress thing harder than most queens would have - and part a sense of being betrayed by her foster daughter.)
  • A gender inverted version is explored in a 1973 Turkish film called Sultan Gelin. Beautiful young Sultan note  is married off to the sickly son of the wealthiest man in the village in exchange for a hefty bride price, however the bridegroom dies during the wedding night. Sultan's parents don't want to give up the money they received and her in-laws don't want to give up the brand new "helping hand", so a brilliant solution is found in betrothing her to the late groom's 5-year-old brother. The in-laws then proceed to happily dump all of the child's responsibility on Sultan's head, who becomes his full-time caretaker while fully expecting to marry him when he's older. Unsurprisingly, this plan does not go very well.
  • Under Suspicion: It's eventually revealed that Chantal was the daughter of Henry's law partner and that they met when she was 11. After Chantal's father died when she was 14 Henry apparently became her unofficial ward and started taking a more active role in her life...and sometime after she graduated from high school they got married. Victor accuses Henry of grooming Chantal, and this is implied to be why Chantal was so highly suspicious of Henry's encounter with Camille, Chantal's 13-year-old niece.

  • Takura from Anthologies of Ullord starts off with her father effectively selling her to Shadi to pay off his debt. Shadi then becomes her guardian and raises and protects her (despite her having been a teenager when they met). And a few years into her adulthood, her friend/servant-like relationship to Shadi becomes romantic and sexual after she presses for it. And they remain a couple afterward.
  • Older Than Print: The Tale of Genji: (Genji Monogatari) from Japan. Plagued by forbidden feelings for the Emperor's wife, Fujitsubo, (his step-mother), Hikaru Genji becomes obsessed with her ten-year-old niece, Murasaki, who is the spitting image of her. After encountering resistance from the girl's guardians, who feel she's currently too young to be courted, he kidnaps her. He once had a debate with a friend over the idea that the perfect wife is one a man has raised and moulded himself, so he sets out to do exactly that with Murasaki. Years later when Genji 'adopts' another girl, Tamakazura the daughter of his best friend, he tells Murasaki that it is perfectly harmless and platonic, he is being a father to the girl since hers can't be, etc. To which she replies dryly that as she recalls their relationship began in much the same way and has, if she is not mistaken, become anything but platonic and paternal!
  • Jack Vance plays with this in The Palace of Love, with the villain cloning a girl who spurned his lechery years ago and arranging for the clones to receive various upbringings which (according to his thinking) should make at least one of them susceptible to him. Not played completely straight in that he doesn't do the raising himself, though he does direct the manner of it. It still proves his undoing, though, because the hero protagonist has learned of the plan and figures (correctly, as it turns out) that at least one of them has to know which of several potential suspects is the man she was raised to love.
  • Phenomena contains an odd case of this, albeit gender-flipped. Through the story is there a woman called Tarkan's woman, and one never gets to know much about her. It's strongly implied that they are romantically involved. Then it's revealed that she was the one that brought him to King Veha when he was a baby, and as the King was very busy, she apparently came back and raised the boy herself every now and then. One day, after he left Tarkan to rule the country for a while, King Veha returns and finds Tarkan and this woman doing something (presumably sexual, but it's not specified), and it's implied that they are now married. As punishment for this taboo relationship, he decides to banish them; she is sentenced to become an immortal Ominous Owl, and Tarkan to be an evil thought/idea until some chosen children can defeat him once and for all. This leads to the Phenomena being written, and thousands of years later, the story begins.
  • Paul Féval's swashbuckler novel Le Bossu ("The Hunchback"). Rather on the creepy side, since the knight of Lagardère also raised Aurore when she was a child. Surprisingly, it hardly raises an eyebrow from anyone (political intrigues excepted) that they do love each other and get married in the end. Well, this is one of those older works, written in 1858.
    • To be fair, he did miss a few crucial years of her development, having left her as a child in a convent while he was chasing the bad guys across half of Europe, only to find a beautiful young lady when he came back. A beautiful young lady who (as described in long, loving detail by her mother) happened to be a (slightly) more feminine version of her father, the infamously gorgeous Philippe de Nevers, of whom Lagardere had been very, very fond. And perhaps not entirely in a platonic way, either, since during their first visit to Philippe's grave Aurore muses about how deeply Lagardere loved this noble man she did not know - and how he will never love her quite as much. Granted, all this probably adds more to the creepy factor, rather than taking away from it, but, for what it's worth, the issue is sort of discussed... just not from a modern point of view.
    • And if you go by the book, rather than the movies (where he is played by much older actors), Lagardere is barely an adult himself, being around 18 years-old when he finds himself acting as a father figure, and he never purposefully raises Aurore with the intent of marrying her later on — on the contrary, he is constantly trying to keep his feelings in check and distance himself from Aurore without actually hurting her. All in all, he's doing some rather fancy footwork to ensure both her honor and her happiness are preserved, and also that no one manages to kill her in the meantime. Oh, and that she does not kill her own mother because of him. It actually takes some heavy duty convincing from Aurore to accept her as his fiancee.
  • Averted in the early 19th century novel Belinda. Clarence Hervey raises Virginia St. Pierre and gives her an education a la Rousseau's Emile. Then, after some particularly Contrived Coincidences, he figures out that she is incredibly insipid, due to his teaching, and instead falls for the titular Belinda.
  • Subverted in Charles Dickens' Bleak House; while really grateful to him, the heroine essentially tells her guardian that she loves him as a daughter and not as a wife.
  • Played straight in The Count of Monte Cristo. Edmond Dantes (as the Count) rescues Haydée (the Albanian-Greek daughter of Ali Pasha) from slavery when she's a child. He raises her as his daughter, though the two fall in love once Haydée becomes an adult.
  • Anthony Trollope's The Way We Live Now plays this realistically and tragically: Roger's love for Hetta (who has the added bonus of being his cousin) is portrayed as more pitiable than creepy. She isn't into it, though, and ends up with a guy closer to her own age.
  • In Henry James's first novel, Watch and Ward (1878), Roger Lawrence is 29, wealthy, and unsuccessful at love. He decides to adopt 12-year-old Nora Lambert after her father commits suicide as a result of Roger's refusing him $100. Roger plans to raise Nora to be the perfect wife. Years later, Nora has romantic entanglements with two other men and rejects Roger's proposal, feeling duped by the whole arrangement. Roger eventually rescues her from a bad situation, and a grateful Nora marries him.
  • In the novel (and anime, and films) Daddy-Long-Legs, the main character Judy ends up marrying her patron. At least in the novel, Judy's interaction with the titular Daddy-Long-Legs ( aka the eccentric millionaire Jervis Pendelton, her roommate Julia's uncle) is limited to the letters she sends to him, so they don't really have an actual relationship until she meets him in person (not realizing he's her patron) and they begin a romance. Additionally Judy's about eighteen when the story starts, so it's more 'paying for her to go to college and embark upon a successful writing career' than raising her on his part. On the other hand, he does occasionally abuse his authority as her patron to interfere with her relationships with other young men, particularly her best friend Sallie's older brother, Jimmie McBride.
  • In Chapter Fourteen of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, a bit of backstory (about the enslavement of the Winged Monkeys) mentions this trope. In the past, the Sorceress Gayelette in the North (implied to be someone other than the Good Witch of the North that Dorothy met, but the latter only gets a name in adaptations and second-party continuations) couldn't find a suitable husband, so she picked an attractive little boy and had him raised to be her ideal husband.
  • The story "The Education of Betty" from L. M. Montgomery's Further Chronicles of Avonlea. Best friends fight over girl. The one who marries her quickly dies, so the other becomes a sort of unofficial godfather to his best friend's daughter. He falls in love with her, but knows how inappropriate it is, so he tries fixing her up with his nephew. She'll have nothing of it, and marries him anyway.
    • Also appears in the titular short story from The Doctor's Sweetheart and Other Stories. Doctor John is thirty when he first meets the eight-year-old Marcella, and "[h]e had the most to do with bringing her up..." and "Marcella was one of those girls who develop early... at fifteen, she was a woman, loving, beautiful, and spirited." The Doctor realizes he loves her, but vows not to put himself forward as a suitor, given her age and inexperience; but it's too late and she already loves him, anyway, so: " day, just a month before her sixteenth birthday, the two came hand in hand to Miss Sara and me... and told us simply that they had plighted their troth to each other." Of course her legal guardian uncle interferes and takes her away; but she comes back to marry the doctor when she is twenty-one, as she had promised.
  • In Junichiro Tanizaki's Naomi, Joji tries this with the fifteen-year-old of the title, rationalizing that it gives him time to scope out his potential bride.
  • In G. K. Chesterton's story "The Vanishing of Vaudrey", this is Vaudrey's motivation for adopting Sybil Rye. She's horrified when he proposes to her, and her refusal is what motivates him to plot the revenge that leads to his own death.
  • In P. G. Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster stories, Roderick Spode and Madeline Basset come close to this sort of relationship, although Spode was merely a friend of her family's, and not her actual guardian. Of course, we're not supposed to like either of them, so the inherent squick, when they finally get together in Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves, is likely deliberate.
  • The plan of the Duke in James Thurber's The 13 Clocks, having kidnapped the Princess Saralinda as child and raised her. He's under a curse, but on her birthday, he will be able to force her to marry him.
  • This was Humbert Humbert's motivation for marrying Charlotte in Lolita. Of course, he wasn't really planning to wait that long — and didn't have to, thanks to Charlotte's fortunately timed death. Taken even further when it's revealed that he was planning on impregnating Dolores so that by the time she's aged beyond his interest, he will already have the next Lolita.
  • Robert A. Heinlein did this a lot:
    • Time for the Stars ends with the spacefaring Tom Bartlett returning to earth to marry his great-grandniece, whom he's been in telepathic contact with since she was a toddler. What's more, she's descended from Tom's identical twin brother, so in genetic terms Tom is marrying his own great-granddaughter.
    • In Time Enough for Love, Lazarus Long (under an assumed identity) adopts a young girl named Dora on a pioneer planet after her parents die in a fire. She discovers who he really is and upon reaching her majority, knowing he's only been waiting for that to move on, she asks him for Someone to Remember Him By. This makes him apoplectic until he realizes that she is very much serious. In his own words he coolly calculates that he can afford to spend the time to make his adopted daughter's 'pitifully short life' happy and marries her. She winds up being the greatest love of his life.
    • Also in Time Enough for Love Lazarus initially balks at having a relationship with his Opposite-Sex Clone twin "daughters" (that he's had a hand in raising since birth), but eventually caves.
    • There's a gender-switched, time-travel version of this in Time Enough for Love that continues into later books: Lazarus meets, falls in love with, and eventually marries his own mother as a grown man.
    • In The Door into Summer, a thirty-year-old man, and an eleven-year-old girl who thinks of him as an uncle, use cryogenics to "even things out": he goes into the deep freeze first, for thirty years, while she waits ten years, then goes in for twenty years, so eventually they both come out and he's still thirty and she's twenty-one.
  • A series of '70s spy/mystery stories had Jeff Pride become the guardian for Anglo-Japanese Cherry Kobayashi when she was six. The stories are set somewhere between ten and twelve years later, she's grown to be very beautiful and sexy, and he's horrified at her romantic feelings toward him. One of the funnier parts is his outrage when told that the counsellor at her school approves of her intentions because he's not blood-related. The series ends with the situation unresolved.
  • Inverted by Raul and Aenea in the last two books of the Hyperion Cantos. Raul's hired as Aenea's bodyguard when she's eleven and he's 27, and is with her as a guardian for the next five years, until she sends him out on a mission for her. But Aenea is a messiah figure with knowledge of the future and Raul is sort of dense, so he's mostly there to fight people and lift heavy objects, and some of the off-color remarks she makes about their future relationship go right over his head. Due to the relativistic effects of travel he's still 32 when they next meet but she is nearly 22, and she immediately begins a sexual relationship with him.
  • In The Thorn Birds, this is the sole plot of the book. Especially awkward since the man in question is a Catholic priest. Father Ralph first meets Meggie Cleary when she's just nine years old, and is an integral part of her life for the next ten years. After she grows up and marries another man, they reunite and have a brief, torrid affair which results in the birth of a son, Dane. When confessing to his superior, Father Ralph even admits that if he had met Meggie as an adult, the affair would never have happened; it's specifically because he had known her from childhood onward that he developed feelings for her.
  • In Sidney Sheldon's Master of the Game, as a child Kate MacGregor vows to marry David Blackwell (who is about twenty years older than her); as her father died while she was a baby, he's one of the few adult men in her life and by far the nicest to her. She eventually succeeds at this plan once she's an adult, even though he does all he can to discourage it.
  • In P. C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath, villain Gerridon takes in the abandoned Jame at age seven with the express plan of bringing her up to be his replacement bride and replacement sorceress. Unfortunately for him, his retainers subvert his brainwashing intentions ... Made somewhat more squicky by the fact that Jame's mother is Gerridon's sister, Jamethiel and that Gerridon sent her there explicitly to ensure the birth of his future bride. Of course, Jamethiel is also Gerridon's wife... the Kencyrath have no problems with incest. In fact, due to their magically robust genes, incest is a good way to create more powerful children.
  • The novel Fire and Hemlock has a variation: while Tom is not involved in raising Polly per se, he is her moral support when her parents aren't there for her. She befriends him at age eleven or so and when they discuss what she should call him, she suggests "Uncle Tom." It also stresses the angle that she is the insistent partner, writing what amounts to a self-insert romance novel about them as a tween, while he tries to distance himself by dating a woman his age.
  • The oldest and most elaborate printed version of Beauty and the Beast, written in 1740 by Villeneuve, uses a gender-reversal of this as one of its many subplots. The Beast, once restored, recounts how he was tended in boyhood by his nurse, an evil fairy in disguise, but as he grew older she began to treat him less like her charge and more as a lover, hoping to seduce him into marriage. His growing refusal of this lead to his enchantment by the spurned fairy.
  • What Augon Hunnamek had planned for Jessamin in Infanta. As Jessamin turned out to be the mortal avatar of a sea-demon called The Serpent who Devours, that didn't turn out well.
  • Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar series has a major villain, Hulda, who uses this as her means of ascending to power. She poses as a nursemaid to Princess Elspeth of Valdemar, intending to corrupt her and become the power behind the throne when she grows up (never mind that the Companions would never have Chosen her in that state, and only a Herald can be Monarch). When that plan fails, she does the same with Prince Ancar of Hardorn — becoming his lover in the process — and succeeds in having him usurp his father's throne. It is later revealed that she did all this as an agent of the Eastern Empire.
  • He doesn't raise her, but Drizzt Do'Urden from the The Dark Elf Trilogy clearly thinks of the human girl Catti-brie, whom he met when she was about ten, as something like a little sister. However, as she grows up, she seems to have fallen for him, and he doesn't even notice until she's already involved with someone else... at which point, with some more overt hinting from her, he finds himself very attracted to her. Some years later, they finally connect.
    • Even more squicky is Drizzt's relationship with his sister (though they are actual siblings). She seemed taken with him from the time he was an infant, and did most of the work in raising him. At his graduation from the warriors' academy, he is repulsed by the drug-fueled demon orgy and leaves. His sister follows him, and tries to seduce him. He is about as repulsed as ever, thankfully... drow are messed up.
  • In Anne McCaffrey's Damia, the titular character falls in love with Afra, her mother's best friend and right hand man, who is twenty four years older than she is and literally helped raise her from the day she was born.
  • In the prequel Pegasus books, Tirla marries Sascha (thirty-something) on her sixteenth birthday, or pretty much the instant she was legally allowed to. Although he hadn't raised her since birth, he had taken on a protective, father-figure role in her life since she was about age twelve.
  • Robin McKinley has so many May December Romances that it was inevitable that a few would fit this category. This includes Aerin/Tor, and Rosie/Narl from Spindle's End, but the most straightforward example of this trope is in "Touk's House", a modification of the Rapunzel story. After a woodcutter steals herbs from a witch's garden, the witch Maugie requests a baby girl in exchange. But in this case, it's so she can raise a wife for her half-troll son. (Who is, yes, around, older, and helping to raise the child.) Needless to say, Erana's not too happy when she grows up and figures it out. But it works anyway.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Daenerys was intended to be married to her older brother, her only family, but he sells her to a warlord instead.
      • Jorah, who became a sort of father figure and protector, seemed to be hoping it would work out this way.
    • It's strongly implied that Petyr Baelish is doing this to Sansa Stark. He has her pass as his bastard daughter and has requested a kiss on the mouth from her when they were alone. It's also implied that Sansa is acting as a Replacement Goldfish for her mother, who looked just like Sansa and whom Petyr loved. Oh, and that he first laid his lecherous eyes on her when she was eleven (and Catelyn was still alive) already made her uncomfortable.
    • Craster the wildling simply breeds his own harem, marrying all of his daughters and killing his infant sons to remain unopposed.
    • Being set in a relatively realistic medieval world, some of the minor characters are married couples where one partner or the other is severely younger than the other one. These are generally political rather than romantic relationships, and generally the older partner is supposed to wait quite a while until the younger one has grown up, but there is still quite a bit of Deliberate Values Dissonance to the whole thing. Tyrek Lannister (13ish at the time) is literally married to an infant, whom he has to help raise, which leads to some very Black Comedy when he probably dies, leading to some people in-universe commenting how the girl is now the only one in the Kingdom to be widowed before she was weaned.
  • The villain in Sandra Brown's novel Fat Tuesday. And after his bride figured out just how crooked he was, he threatened to replace her with her little sister.
  • In the Belisarius Series novel Fortune's Stroke by Eric Flint and David Drake, Empress Shakuntala was raised and trained by the great warrior-assassin Raghunath Rao since age 10, and is desperately in love with him. Unusually, their biggest obstacle isn't age - she considers marrying men who are even older, for political purposes - it's the caste difference. She is very much the pursuer, and although Rao returns her feelings, he is entirely aware of how inappropriate they are, and goes to great lengths to try to dissuade her. Since Everyone Can See It, their friends eventually start pushing them together.
  • In Cold Copper Tears, thirty-plus Garrett teams up with street kid Maya, whom he'd saved from her stepfather's molestation as a young girl. Now eighteen, she repeatedly declares her intention to marry him. They do hook up, but she eventually married someone else because Garrett was too immature about commitment. Not as creepy as most, as he was never actually her guardian and she always saw him as more hero than parent.
  • When Sarek appears on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Picard mentions in passing that he had attended "your son's wedding" some two decades earlier. So...whom did Spock marry? The EU novels come to the rescue: Spock married Saavik, to whom he had been a surrogate parent.
    • Oddly enough, in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Saavik briefly played a nurturing role to the (young but rapidly aging) Spock, including mention of the fact that he is going through Pon Farr. Since that is a case of Mate or Die, she may have taken the logical (if, to us, squicky) choice. (This is confirmed in the novel Unspoken Truths, which says that she had a bit of squick about it herself, but saw no logical alternatives.)
    • The Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations novel Forgotten History has a scene set shortly after Spock starts looking after Saavik, which says that by Vulcan standards he is not a parent in any sense, apparently just to reduce the squick level of their later relationship.
    • In the Star Trek: The Original Series novel "The Vulcan Academy Murders", Dr. Daniel Corrigan, a middle-aged human doctor, has had a highly successful partnership with the Vulcan healer Sorel, and has become something of a favored uncle to Sorel's daughter T'Mir. Years later, when T'Mir returns from several years studying xenobiology at Starfleet Academy, she and Corrigan become bond-mates. Subverted in that 1) Corrigan underwent an experimental neural treatment that he and Sorel pioneered that had the side benefit of extending his life-span, and 2) he hadn't allowed himself to consider T'Mir as a life-mate or wife, until she proposed to him.
  • In the first book in A Series of Unfortunate Events, Count Olaf tries to marry his young ward Violet. He didn't use a "position of trust", though — he tried to force her so he can inherit her and her siblings' money.
  • In S.L. Viehl's Stardoc series, this turns out to be exactly why Grey Veil created Cherijo in the first place. Retconned later, when it's revealed that Cherijo turning out to be an Opposite-Sex Clone was a surprise to him, as every other clone was male. It turns out that his assistant was an alien, who deliberately messed with his experiment to create a female clone. The trope may still be in effect, since that was the man's intention after Cherijo grew up.
  • An odd version occurs in Kushiel's Dart: Anafiel Delaunay adopts both Phedre and Alcuin and believes that both will eventually come to see him as a father/mentor figure. Both of them, however, fall in love with him, and Alcuin eventually finds the courage to make a move.
  • The Obsidian Trilogy: Played somewhat worryingly straight in Mercedes Lackey's and James Mallory's series. The human Wild Mage Idalia and the elven warrior/Dragon Mage Jermayan are in love. Elves, however, marry for life, and only once, and like most elves, Jermayan's people can live for much longer than the healthiest human. After they reconcile themselves to this, Idalia dies as part of a price for a powerful spell she cast. Then the queen of the elves has a child...and the child has most of Idalia's features; apparently reincarnation is something elves believe in. He notes that now they're both elves, "eighteen years is not so long to wait".
  • Happens via time travel in The Time Traveler's Wife in a Stable Time Loop: When the unwitting Time Traveler Henry meets Clare for the first time, she immediately starts a relationship with him and eventually marries him. Only after this does he begin to time travel to various points in Clare's childhood, causing her to fall in love with him over time until they meet as adults.
  • Daisy Ashford's Victorian classic The Young Visiters lightly touches on this; the middle-aged Mr. Salteena is fond of having young women come visit him so that he may present them to proper society; he proposes to his latest female friend, Ethel, only to have her turn him down, all done in genteel form of course. His heartbreak is tempered by Ethel's new gentleman friend getting him a peerage.
  • In the Twilight series, male werewolves sometimes "imprint" (a sort of one-way soulmate-recognition thing) on girls while the girls are still toddlers or even infants (as Jacob does on Bella's baby daughter Nessie). In such cases, the male werewolf becomes a sort of uncle/older brother figure, or even a father figure, to the child, and it's assumed that of course she'll want to marry him once she's of age. To quote the series, "why would she say no?" It's also discussed how sad it is that the relevant werewolf is going to have to wait fourteen years to have sex with his adopted daughter.
    "You never saw a real parent so jazzed to play whatever stupid kiddie sport their rugrat could think up. I'd seen Quil play peekaboo for an hour straight without getting bored. [...] Though I did think it sucked that he had a good fourteen years of monk-i-tude ahead of him until Claire was his age." Making things convenient for Jacob, Nessie will age faster than Claire.
  • Something akin to this happens in Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson. The main character, Jane, had an imaginary friend named Michael when she was eight. He was much older than her, and it's established that he doesn't know how he came to exist, just that he takes care of children by being their imaginary friend and has been doing this for quite some time now. As the story progresses, they eventually meet again when Jane grows up and fall in love. Toward the end Michael gives up his immortality to be with Jane. A bit disturbing, considering Michael is, in all probability, extremely old.
  • The disturbing aspect of this is the entire point of the Fyodor Dostoevsky short story "A Christmas Tree and a Wedding." Made even worse because the real motives of the older man are to get at the girl's finances, with him mentally calculating how much interest her bank balance will accumulate in the years before she comes of age.
  • In The Idiot, by Fyodor Dostoevsky, that is the future Totsky originally planned for Nastassya Filippovna and one of the reasons she feels herself unworthy of Prince Myshkin's love.
    • Though it was actually Mistress Husbandry in this case, And it didn't remain a plan. Though it's not explicitly stated, it's clearly understood that Nastassya was either coerced or manipulated into becoming his kept woman when she was 16, which situation went on for a few years until she couldn't take it anymore. This can lead to Fridge Horror when you realize all her unbalanced and self-harming behavior, as well as her total lack of self-esteem, can very well be attributed to the trauma of being a sexual abuse victim, which remains unacknowledged and untreated due to Values Dissonance.
  • In Emily of New Moon and its sequels, by L.M. Montgomery, this is what Dean Priest plans for Emily. Yes, he saves her life the first time they meet. Yes, he's the only adult who understands Emily and she's the only person (other than her now-dead father) who was ever his real friend. But he's old enough to be her father, and at their first meeting he's saying things like "Your life belongs to me, now," and "I'll wait for you," and "One day I'll teach you all about lovers' talk." In the third book they actually get engaged, but Emily breaks it off. Eventually Dean is able to be reconciled to her as a friend.
  • A boatman tried this in one of the short stories from the book Cuentos de Angustias y Paisajes, the girl who called him dad, she apparently drowned. However, it was noted she was an excellent swimmer and a man she seemed to fancy disappeared around the same time.
  • In the 19th-century book series Elsie Dinsmore, Elsie's father's best friend Edward Travilla complains frequently that he and Elsie aren't closer in age, because she'd be the perfect bride. He starts saying this when she's seven, right after she's been encouraged to call him her Uncle Edward. She marries him as soon as she hits 22, and the entire family rejoices. Her parents had her quite young, so Edward Travilla is only about 16 years older than she is, but since he begins talking about wanting to marry her when she's a small child, and remains a huge influence in her life (taking her side against her insanely controlling father, trying to break things up with her first lovenote ), he comes off as creepy rather than romantic.
  • In Jane Austen's Emma, the titular character falls in love with her sister's brother-in-law, who has been something like a real elder brother to her since childhood. He even remarks to her that he has been in love with her ever since she was thirteen at least. Not quite as overt as other examples, since there was no intent and both parties had no idea they were in love until Emma had a presumed suitor, but still mildly squicky to modern readers.
    • In the modern-era remake Clueless, this character is replaced by Cher's "ex-stepbrother" (his mother was married, to then divorced from, her father), who is only two or three years older than Cher. This cuts down on the squick considerably.
    • More clearly the case with Fanny and Edmund in Mansfield Park. Although Edmund is only seven years older than Fanny, he is her only true friend and plays a very great role in forming her mind and character.
  • In the Tudor/Elizabethan period novels by Mercedes Lackey and Roberta Gellis, the elven warrior Denoriel is Elizabeth Tudor's destined protector starting several years before her birth. When Elizabeth is 14, Denoriel (and his sister Aleneil) deal with Elizabeth's awakening sexuality by getting her into Denoriel's bed. To be fair, in that era a 14-year-old female was old enough to be a mother, and Denoriel was a "safer" lover than some of the humans who were sniffing around the third in line to the throne. But this doesn't stop Denoriel from being simultaneously aroused and squicked by the idea.
  • Spider Robinson wrote a short story, "Soul Search"(featured in the anthology Time Travelers Strictly Cash), which asked what happens when you have a universe with both reincarnation and cryogenics. At the end, when one character dies, the man who loves her tracks down the baby she was reincarnated as and adopts her, intending to marry her in eighteen years.
    • Her plan had been this as well, but a bit more sinister version: cryogenics comes in because she was going to kill the three children she'd determined had the highest chance of being her late husband's new form, in hopes of the soul returning to the frozen, now-healed body. When her life is eventually threatened by a lab accident, the people working for her - the man mentioned above included - allow her to die. However, he'd determined that a soul grows in maturity with each life, so it's with the hope that she's better in her next life that he prepares to enact the Hikaru Genji plan.
  • In The Accursed Kings, new King Philippe V promises his five-year old daughter to the grown-up duke of Burgundy, who accepts after seeing that she has no physical deformity, and sends her off to be brought up in Burgundy.
  • Marius, the ancient Roman Vampire from Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, encounters a female vampire named Eudoxia who does this with a young mortal whom she eventually plans to turn into a vampire companion, and urges Marius to do the same. Once he finds Amadeo (later known as Armand), he does.
    • Don't forget about Claudia (though perhaps to a lesser extent) as it's implied that she and Louis (one of her 'vampire fathers') have romantic feelings for each other, which is a source of squick when you remember that Claudia has the body of a six-year-old and Louis was in his twenties when he became a vampire.
  • Frankenstein's parents are a semi-example. His mother was the daughter of his father's best friend, and he adopted her after said friend died.
    • And in a strange variation of Wife-Husbandry in the same novel, Elizabeth was adopted by Victor's parents in the hopes that she'd marry Victor when they grew up. So this isn't so much adopting a child to marry her yourself, but adopting a child so she'll marry her brother.
  • In Maggie Furey's Aurian books, Aurian is raised by her deceased father's friend Forral, from the age of seven to around eleven, complete with Aurian claiming that "I'm not going to marry a prince, I'm going to marry you." When Forral leaves after injuring her during their sword training, Aurian goes on to study magic at the Mage's Academy and becomes the Archmage's protégé. When Forral later returns, they both find themselves attracted to each other, and eventually after much angsting they consummate their love. It helps (or just makes it worse) that Aurian is a mage and thus immortal.
    • Far worse is the Archmage Miathan's perverse lust for Aurian once she "matures" upon the return of Forral into her life. While he's been raising her to be a loyal ally, he gradually goes from benevolent father to attempted rapist.
  • In Peace Like a River, Jape Waltzer's "daughter" is really a girl he bought off some guy in Utah. He freely admits that he's "raising himself a wife", apparently planning to marry her when she's a bit older. However, Davy absconds with her (presumably with her consent) before this happens.
  • In the Rendezvous with Rama sequels by Gentry Lee, Nicole des Jardins's daughter Simone Wakefield's life pretty much is this trope. The man she chose to marry at fourteen, Michael O'Toole, is not only fairly old (in his sixties if memory serves), but also her stepfather for all intents and purposes. He helped deliver Simone at birth, actively raised her and her siblings, and fathered Simone's half-brothers with Nicole. Granted, the Wakefield/O'Toole family were not exactly suffering an embarrassment of riches in the human gene pool, but still. Squick.
  • V. C. Andrews:
    • In Child of Darkness, Celeste is adopted by a wealthy woman whose father-in-law has fallen for Celeste, and wants to marry her when she is a little older or at least convince her to have a child with him so the child can inherit the family's money. They drug and rape her when it becomes clear their little scheme isn't going to work.
    • Garden of Shadows, the prequel of the Dollanganger Series, gives the backstory of the Dollanganger children's grandparents, Malcolm and Olivia. Malcolm and his half-brother Christopher's mutual parent was their father Garland, whose second wife was Alicia, the daughter of one of his friends. Garland didn't raise Alicia, but he knew her from the time she was a little girl, helped to provide for her and her mother after her father's death, and married her once she was of legal age. As Alicia confides to Olivia (the protagonist), "He kissed me when I was fourteen. We knew then, you see."
  • In Malevil, Emmanuel is torn on his precise relationship with fourteen-year-old Evelyne. He is trying to raise her as best he can, for her sake and the future of mankind after World War III, but he realizes that their relationship is not entirely adopted father/daughter and borders on paedophilia. He recognizes his Dirty Old Man habits and understands that if Evelyne grows to be beautiful then he has most likely raised a bride for himself.
  • In Edith Wharton's novel Summer, Lawyer Royall takes in Charity when she is 5 and then drunkenly enters her room in an attempt at starting a sexual relationship when she turns 17. He continues to make advances, proposing to her twice.
  • The world of Dragonlance has a race of Lizard Folk called "draconians", all of whom are the result of the eggs of good dragons being stolen and subjected to evil magics which transform what's inside of them; instead of baby dragons hatching from them, multiple draconians hatch from a single egg. Draconians were created to be reliable soldiers for the Big Bad of the story. However, only male draconians were ever hatched. Eventually, after thirty-some years pass in The 'Verse, readers learn that eggs containing female draconians do exist; they were never hatched because there was concern that if draconians reproduced, then they would become too numerous to control. The adult male draconians embark on a quest to find the female eggs and hatch them, in an effort to keep their race from dying out one by one. They succeed, and find themselves in the position of raising twenty baby females to adulthood. No matter who these females conceive children with, it will end up being somebody who remembers them as babies.
  • The world of A Brother's Price has a huge deficit of men. Few are conceived, fewer are born, so monogamy is not only impractical but totally unheard of. When a man marries, he marries all the sisters of a family - sisters who are themselves the children of several sisters married to one man. Not all of the sisters will be of age, and the husband is expected to raise and dote on his child brides just as he would with the children he fathers on their older sisters.
  • 1632 has a mix between this and Perfectly Arranged Marriage. Princess Kristina of Sweden (9) and Prince Ulrik of Denmark (28) were set up in an Arranged Marriage. Subsequently, Ulrik became Kristina's guardian, and the two have been quite fond of each other (Kristina being Wise Beyond Her Years helped). Here, the romantic relationship (or expectation of one) came before the adult became the child's guardian. Also played with in that in most cases of Wife Husbandry, the older male is the dominant one in the relationship, where here, Kristina is already bossing Ulrik around. Still, at least life with Kristina will never be boring.
  • One Miss Marple short story, "The Herb of Death", features an older man in love with his ward. When she doesn't return his affection, he murders her rather than letting her marry another man.
  • In "Skrut" ("Скрут") by Maryna and Serhiy Dyachenko (in Russian) this is the main villain's backstory. The horrible spider monster used to be a knight who saved a little girl on a battlefield, and decided to raise her to become his wife. When she grew up she rejected him as a husband because she only could see him as a father. Betrayed by his beloved, the knight turned into a monster.
  • Henry does this unintentionally in The Last American Vampire. He raises the orphaned Virginia Dare after the slaughter of the Roanoke colony, which left Virginia the only living survivor and Henry a vampire. When she reaches maturity, he's more than a little disturbed to find himself attracted to her, until she climbs into his bed and makes it quite clear the interest is mutual. He marries her, then later turns her (at her request). This also has some major unintended results, that span most of the book.
  • In the Erebus Sequence, it's downplayed and gender-swapped with Lucien (protagonist of the first book) and Rafaela (his eventual love interest). She's not that much older than him, and is more his nanny and maid than mother figure, but their relationship nevertheless started out as caregiver-and-kid.
  • In Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill, women are no longer born naturally; they are artificially engineered in laboratories, and trained to be perfect wives and companions for men. The "Father", the ruler of the Euro-Zone, designates Isabel as his future wife from the day of her design. He doesn't raise her himself (since all girls are brought up in the School), but does visit her to groom her for their future marriage, as well as instructing the chastities to shape her into the kind of woman he wants. Ultimately subverted as Isabel is Driven to Suicide rather than face the prospect of living as his wife.
  • Averted in The Goblin Emperor; one of the potential brides suggested is a baby, but Maia argues that it would be nonsensical to marry her, as the sole purpose of arranging a marriage for him is to produce a heir to the throne, and it would be years before she could even possibly get pregnant.
  • The story "'Sieur George" by George Washington Cable has the title character raise the daughter of the woman he (apparently) once loved; when she's sixteen, he points out that it would now be scandalous for them to be living together... unless, of course, they were married. She promptly leaves their small apartment and never speaks to him again.
  • In a sense this is what happens between Lord Vincent Stanton and his cousin Adrienne in the Satanic Gothic romance Lord Satan by Janet Louise Roberts. Adrienne is seventeen, has lived a working-class life, educated by her father; now he's just died and she's prepared to earn her own living. Vincent, who appears to be about forty, invites her to live with him. He treats her as more of a daughter at first. Since she's so young and likes fairy tales and "toys" (objets d'art), he infantilizes her and calls her "child" and "little girl". She's just lost her father, so responds as younger than she is. As they fall in love he begins to see she really is a woman and respects her judgment; she realizes that he is a devil, but actually devoted to justice and healing, and she stands up for herself on the matter of joining Satanic cults and the like.
  • The Demolished Man has an accelerated version — as part of her treatment for the trauma she's undergone, Barbara D'Courtney is mentally regressed to childhood and placed in Lincoln Powell's care. Over the course of the three weeks it takes to regain her adult personality, she falls in love with him.
  • In The City Without Memory, Squirrel is The Unfavorite in her noble family since her very birth, and Veri-Meri (a spy in her brothers' service) is the only one to cheer her up and keep her company, all the while telling her she is to be his wife, period. She already shows signs of Stockholm Syndrome when the friendly treatment and compassion of the main characters, as well as the start of a healthy romantic relationship with a Nice Guy, break the spell, and she runs away.
  • Raven in The Black Company has this come up accidentally. When Darling, the little girl he sort-of adopted and raised in hiding, becomes a young woman she starts crushing on him (as basically the only man she knows). After arranging other guardians he fakes his death and makes a run for it when he figures out what's happening.
  • The romance between the main characters in Lynn Flewelling's Nightrunner series thankfully isn't an example of this trope (it's more a mentor/apprentice thing), but this trope is referenced in the first book. An oracle tells Seregil that he "will be father, brother, friend, and lover" to his 16-year-old new apprentice Alec, and that Alec is "his child now" (i.e., his responsibility). Seregil's reaction is basically to admit to the "father/brother" part in a metaphorical sense (Alec had been recently orphaned when Seregil found him and needed a bit of mature guidance still, and Seregil introduced him to society as his legal ward in their cover identity),note  and he happily embraces the label "friend." But he gets squicked at the very idea of "lover", for a number of Unequal Pairing reasons as well as at the juxtaposition with "father/brother". Fast forward to a year later in book 2, when Alec has a couple of sexual experiences with women (which Seregil had been encouraging), and Seregil finds himself falling for the youth despite his own better judgment.note 
  • Forgotten Realms: Mirt the Moneylender, the Author Avatar of Ed Greenwood, rescued his wife-to-be Asper from a sacked city as a baby, raised her as a daughter, and continues to think of her as his "little girl" after marrying her.
  • Fred, The Vampire Accountant: Gideon, who is an ancient dragon, is betrothed to Sally and pretends to be her slightly-older playmate. It is unclear how much Sally knows about this arrangement or what she thinks of it.
  • A reluctant example (on the part of the guardian) in Maurine Whipple's novel of pioneers in southern Utah The Giant Joshua. Abijah and Bathsheba adopted the protagonist Clorinda while she was a young orphan. When she is 16, Mormon prophet Brigham Young asks Abijah and Clorinda to marry. Abijah reluctantly thinks "it was enough to have to raise her without having to marry her" but they obey.
  • Fu Manchu: Attempted. A year after Dr. Petrie marries Fu Manchu's former servant Karameneh, their daughter is born, but she supposedly dies when she's just three weeks old. It turns out she was kidnapped by Fu Manchu or one of his servants, and raised for the purpose of bearing a son for him when she's old enough (he specifically states that no romance is intended, just using her to bear his child). This is thwarted when she meets and falls for Alan Sterling (the narrator of The Bride of Fu Manchu) instead, and Fu Manchu, seeing his plan has effectively been sabotaged (however unintended), releases her to be with him.
  • Deconstructed in Rob Roy. Rashleigh Osbaldistone tried to groom Diana Vernon when she was a teenager, earning her undying hatred when she realized the reason that he was such a nice mentor to her.
  • The Elenium:
    • As a young man, Sparhawk acted as Ehlana's personal tutor and champion until his exile. Ehlana treasured how safe she felt whenever he was around and decided she was going to marry him well before she reached puberty and made good on the decision when he returned. Sparhawk tried to resist as he felt it was inappropriate but she ultimately won him over.
    • Danae settled on the older Talen as her future husband while even younger than Ehlana, helped along by being the goddess Aphrael. Sparhawk recognizes the instant she made the choice and that, much like him, Talen had both no clue and no chance of escape.
  • A downplayed and subverted example appears in the Ursula K. Le Guin novella The Wild Girls. The main (human) antagonist wants to marry the 13-year-old slave girl Mal, but promises not to consummate the marriage until she's 15, the generally practiced marriageable age in their society. He claims he only wants to marry the girl now so he won't have to compete with other men for her hand when she comes of age. Turns out he never even intended to keep his promise.
  • In Priory Of The Orange Tree, the immortal sorceress Kalyba raised the orphan Galian Berethnet like a son and then fell for him when he was grown. Since he couldn't see his mother-figure as a wife, she made herself look like a woman he did love, Cleolind, and married him. When he figured it out, he was so horrifed that he hanged himself. Ead and the other protagonists are disgusted when they learn this, but Kalyba waves it off as love being "complicated" when you're immortal.

    Live Action TV 
  • A gender inversion occurred on Angel, between Connor and Cordelia; later lampshaded in the comics with Connor's line about "My first time was with a woman who changed my diapers?!" (Though she didn't actually raise him.)
    • Also lampshaded in the series:
      "Angelus: She's practically your mother. There should be a play."
    • It is played with when it is later revealed, that Cordelia had died/ascended and not been resurrected/returned as they thought. It was actually an ancient Lovecraftian terror inhabiting Cordelia's body. This doesn't keep it from being any less creepy, but it's not Cordy's fault.
  • If you think about it, eventually inverted on Farscape: In the time-travel episode "Kansas", 16-year-old John Crichton loses his virginity to Chiana, and gets his memory of the event muddled. Years later, he meets her for, from her point of view, the first time and rather quickly takes her as a little sister or occasionally even daughter figure, which works really well to her benefit, considering he has little reason to trust her at their first meeting otherwise. Yeah.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Given the Targaryen tradition for sibling marriage, Viserys likely had this in mind for Daenerys, whom he helped raise in exile.
    • Craster breeds his own harem, marrying his daughters and exposing his sons.
  • One sided version: In the Murder, She Wrote episode "A Murderous Muse," the manager Byron has been pressuring his student Leslie to marry him. The twist is that she isn't quite 18 yet, and Byron has raised her like a father since she was 8 years old.
  • In Carnivàle, Jonesy was a surrogate father/uncle figure to Sofie when she joined the troupe at a young age, and by the time the series is set (where she is around 18 or 19) it's quite clear he has feelings for her.
  • Friends: Monica starts dating Richard, a friend of her parents whom she has known since she was a child and who is twenty years older than her. Her friends and family are disgusted by their age difference, but Monica and Richard actually have a very healthy and loving relationship with each other. However, they ultimately break it off because Monica desperately wants to be a mother, but Richard doesn't want to have any more children at his age.
  • Criminal Minds:
    • An episode focused on a family whose tradition it was to "make wives" for their sons. They would do so by having the boy pick a girl he liked and then the whole family would abduct her and murder her parents. Aw, bonding.
    • The episode "Hope" took the most disturbing elements of this trope and distilled them into the creepiest possible form. The unsub kidnapped a little girl with whom he became obsessed and waited for her to grow up. After Hope's suicide, he kidnapped her mother, with the intention of "creating a new Hope," i.e. an infant and his own biological daughter to be his new bride.
  • Played with and ultimately subverted in regards to River Song from Doctor Who. She's been adventuring with the Doctor her whole life and she's admitted that that's what led her to love him. It's working in reverse, too; the Doctor is young right now compared to River and as they're adventuring together, he's begun falling in love with her. Strictly speaking, she probably doesn't remember their real first meeting, because she was a newborn and the Doctor was initially unaware of who she was. From the Doctor's perspective, he first met her as an adult. See, it's a bit of big timey wimey, wibbly wobbly ball....
  • The Twilight Zone (1959)
    • The episode "The Fugitive" features an alien king who has disguised himself as an old man on earth, where he uses his powers to entertain children. He is close friends with a little girl but is eventually discovered by his people, who want him back. He says he knows it would be thousands of years before he could leave the job. He eventually returns to his planet to be king, but takes the little girl with him, where the epilogue heavily implies the little girl might eventually become a queen.
    • A disturbed, gender-inverted example is heavily implied to happen at the end of the episode "A Short Drink from a Certain Fountain". The story has a wealthy, old man fighting to keep up with his selfish, gold-digging and far younger Trophy Wife. He then gets rejuvenated via an experimental serum. By the end, he's regressed to an infant due to the serum not being perfected. As a kind of Poetic Justice for her self-serving ways, the man's wife now has to take responsibility and raise what was her husband now as her son and the roles will be switched by the time he reaches her age.
  • Gender-inversion on Parks and Recreation: Tammy One, the terrifying tax auditor first wife of Ron Swanson. She delivered him as a teenage candy-striper, she apparently played no small part in his rearing, and taught him at school. This is a particularly strong form in that she actually intended to marry him the whole time.
  • Gender-inversion again in The Originals. The current Big Bad of the series, Marcel, was adopted by the hybrid vampire Klaus when he was a human child in the 1800s, and was raised by both him and Klaus' sister Rebekah. Years later, Rebekah and Marcel fall in love with each other, much to Klaus' displeasure. It's heavily implied that he and Rebekah still have a thing for each other.
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Requiem for Methuselah" the Immortal Mr. Flint has created and educated a female android to become his mate. Unfortunately her hormones first start moving for Kirk. Even more unfortunately the powerful conflict between her new desires and her long standing filial love for Flint kills her.
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation S2 E6 "The Schizoid Man" dying scientist Ira Graves is desperately in love with and very possessive of his young assistant Kareen, who we are informed has lived with him on his isolated planet ever since she lost her parents while "very young", essentially being raised by him. Initially subverted in that even the creeptastic Graves is too ashamed to make a move on her, but he goes on to proposition her after he takes over Data's body.
  • Once Upon a Time in Wonderland as Gender Flipped. Amara took Jafar in as a child, raised him, trained him… then they make out when he's older. Slightly lessened due to the fact that Jafar has a new actor when he's older, while Amara still has the same actress, and so she appears to not have aged at all. This is possibly intentional, and implies she uses some magic to stay young.
  • Father Brown: In "The Prize of General Gerard", the General had adopted a young Chinese girl named Jia-Li. As she matured, Gerard's nephew Edward (whose mother had married Gerard after his father's death) had fallen in love with her, but Gerard made it quite clear that he planned to take Jia-Li as his mistress, her own desires be damned, and further planned to have Edward committed to keep him away from her. Considering that Jia-Li ended up murdering Gerald, one may safely assume that the attraction was one-sided. Oh, and Gerard had also killed Edward's father and married his mother. What a sweet guy.
  • A very weird case from Mystery Science Theater 3000. Joel, creator of the Bots, has always been the father figure to them. Except in Wild Rebels, where he and Gypsy have a few romantic moments, such as Joel cheering her up when she's depressed (even if he almost suffocates so he can talk to her clearly) and giving her a serenade later on.
  • In season 2 of The Musketeers, Rochefort thinks this is the case with Queen Anne, who he mentored as a child. Unfortunately, she does not return his feelings.
  • In season 2 of Orange Is the New Black, we find out in flashbacks that Vee seduced RJ, who was her foster son in all but name, once he grew up. Subverted in that she was only doing it as a ruse to get revenge on him for trying to start his own business without her.
  • Into the Badlands: Very much implied between Quinn and Jade, his soon-to-be second wife who just so happened to be his son's childhood friend and secret lover. Also downplayed in season two between he and Veil when he forces her to marry him, because then you remember that it was mentioned in season one that Quinn gave an infant Veil to her adopted parents as a gift for saving him (and Veil is around the same age as Jade and Ryder). An then you remember that he's always had this creepy fascination with her since season one.
  • In the Star Trek: Discovery episode "Vaulting Ambition" Terran Emperor Philippa Georgiou implies this was the relationship between Mirror!Burnham and Mirror!Lorca. Lorca started out as a father figure to Burnham, and then became "something more" (she flat-out calls this "grooming"). It's further implied he's trying to recreate this relationship with regular universe Burnham.
  • Taken: In "Charlie and Lisa", Mary Crawford and Dr. Wakeman, whom she called "Uncle Chet" as a child, start a clandestine sexual relationship which lasts for nine years. It is something that they had both wanted since she was thirteen.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Older Than Print: King Conchobar of Ulster intends to pull this off with Deirdre in The Exile of the Sons of Uisnech, but Deirdre falls for Naoise before he can make his move.
  • Classical Mythology: Gender-swapped in the myth of Persephone and Adonis. Aphrodite once entrusted Persephone with a mortal boy, Adonis. Persephone raised him, but when he came of age she fell in love with him and refused to give him back to Aphrodite. Finally, Zeus decided that Adonis will spent one third of each year with Persephone, one third with Aphrodite, and one third wherever he wishes.
  • The Bible:
    • In Book of Ezekiel 16:8, God Himself uses this as a metaphor for how His relationship with the Israelites was supposed to work out.
    • Subverted in the Book of Esther. Mordecai doesn't marry Esther, even though he's supposed to as a kinsman redeemer. She married King Xerxes instead. Though, there is some debate among scholars as to whether she was actually abducted after her marriage to Mordecai.
  • According to traditional Islamic sources, The Prophet Muhammad was betrothed to Aisha, the daughter of his best friend Abu Bakr, when she was six and she moved in with him three years later.

  • Judge Turpin tries to pull this with his ward Johanna Barker in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, since she reminds him so much of her mother Lucy, for whom he had a major lust and whom he eventually raped. It doesn't work because Johanna wants nothing to do with him in that way and seeks to elope with Anthony the sailor once she finds out what her adoptive father's intentions are. When Turpin finds this out, he is furious enough to have Johanna thrown into a madhouse, where she is eventually rescued by Anthony. And her real father, the title character, eventually catches up to Judge Turpin and takes very bloody revenge upon him.
  • In Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado, Ko-Ko attempts to marry his ward, Yum-Yum, though by the end he's paired off with Katisha, a woman closer to his age.
    • It's hinted that Katisha had also tried to do this with the much younger Nanki-Poo.
    • They do it again in Iolanthe, where the Lord Chancellor eventually convinces himself that he can marry his ward Phyllis. He doesn't get to, though.
      • The weird version, deliberately contrasting with the authors' other "straight" examples. The Chancellor is portrayed as a sympathetic rather than manipulative figure and didn't actually raise Phyllis. Being the legal guardian for orphans in the region is part of his government position. Even his self-stated "susceptibility" to teenage girls ends up justified, as in the back of his mind he's never forgotten his apparent teenage wife who died a quarter-century earlier.
    • And in The Pirates of Penzance (notice a trend here?), Frederic's onetime nursemaid Ruth, who is the only woman he has seen in 13 years, convinces him that she is a beautiful woman, and that he should marry her. This plan falls apart the second he sees a group of girls his own age.
    • In H.M.S. Pinafore, little Buttercup, the captain's nursemaid, ends up marrying him.
  • Used in Molière's comedies School for Wives and School for Husbands, where in both cases a male character has a female ward they plan to marry — this doesn't end up working in either case, as the girls confront their patrons and earn their freedoms. By the way, in School for Wives, the man's definition of "perfect" is "as idiot as possible".
    • Ironically, while the would-be husbands are the butt of the comedy in both plays, Molière himself did end up marrying a girl who had been a young member of his theatre company, and was rumoured to be the daughter of his long-term mistress (scholars now think she was probably her niece). They even played the lead roles in the first public performance of School for Wives.
  • This plot is lampshaded and averted in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, as while Jack/Ernest has his excessively pretty ward Cecily being raised in the countryside like male characters in similar comedies, he is not interested in a romantic relationship with her. His best friend, however, is.
  • In Beaumarchais' play The Barber of Seville (and the operas based on it, of which Rossini's is the most famous), Doctor Bartholo plots to marry his ward Rosine (Bartolo and Rosina in Rossini). Count Almaviva and Figaro foil the plot. In the play, it's implied that it's just because she has been left a large dowry by her natural family and he wants to keep it for himself. When he realises the man she eloped with is very rich and will let him keep it, he's contented. However, Rossini's opera suggests that Bartolo has some real attraction to Rosina too, as he proclaims that he only becomes more charmed with her the more scornful she becomes of him.
  • The plot to Arthur Miller's A View From the Bridge. However, Eddie Carbone cannot admit to himself or anyone else that he has romantic feelings towards Catherine, his wife's sister's daughter. Every time someone hints he might have "too much love" for Catherine, he says he isn't that kind of person. Tragedy results.
  • Done in A Little Night Music, but subverted. A paraphrased line: "Just imagine, a few years ago, you were Uncle Frederick. And now, you're Darling Frederick." *Giggle* *Cue squirming and uncomfortable audience.* The girl discovered that it was just a crush and Frederic discovered his true love in a former mistress. His 18-year-old ex-wife ran off with his son, who was the same age.)
  • In the 17th-century play The London Cuckolds, one of the title characters has a girl raised in the country to be so much of an idiot that she'll believe just about anything anyone tells her (except that she does know trees don't have rats on them), and when he brings her to town to be his wife, Hilarity Ensues (no, really). Initially he doesn't plan to consummate the marriage, telling her instead her "wifely duties" are to guard his nightcap in full armor, but the two main characters of the play end up interfering with that plan.
  • In The Lion in Winter, Henry has raised Alais with the intention of making her his daughter-in-law, though she becomes his mistress in the meantime. When he decides to disown his sons, he then plans to annul his marriage to Eleanor, make Alais queen, and have sons by her instead.
  • In Pagliacci, this is a possible interpretation of Canio and Nedda's marriage, as we learn that Nedda was an orphaned Street Urchin whom Canio took in. The libretto doesn't say how old she was at the time, but most productions do portray her as much younger than her middle-aged husband.

    Video Games 
  • Bakumatsu Renka Karyuu Kenshi Den. Heroine Shizuki Rin is adopted by male lead Iori, who was in love with Rin's mother.
  • In Fate/Grand Order Murasaki Shikibu, the writer of the original Tale of Genji, pens a script where her character, Gabriella, married her adopted father Miguel, something pointed out by the other characters as not being too surprising given her past work. At the end we learn this was actually a subversion, as Miguel only thought of Gabriella as his daughter and was never romantic towards her, only marrying her to protect her and insure she could live comfortably after he passed.
  • The Princess Maker series of video games have this trope as a possible ending if you develop a close enough relationship with the girl you raise from age 10 on (the youngest you can make the "father" in a later version of the game is 16). It should be noted that, depending on which guardian spirit you have, she will also frown on it but all will approve because they're not blood related and they truly love each other. The only requirement is that the girl have max relationship with her "father" and not have promised to marry anyone specific (since those marriages takes priority over this one). The girl herself can have any non-marriage profession ending, including being queen through her own abilities rather than through marriage.
  • In Soul Nomad & the World Eaters, Hawthorne is revealed to be a serial perpetrator of raising, sexually abusing and 'disposing of' female children, his daughter Tricia being the latest victim. Although he is killed before this happens in the normal storyline, in the Demon Path, he succeeds and breaks her utterly. The Nereids' plan for Penn is similar to this since due to their status as a One-Gender Race they need a male from another race in order to breed.
    • The Nereids' plan is slightly less squicky since its clear that they care dearly about him as a person and not just as breeding stock. With this example, Penn is in for an... interesting life.
  • The Sims:
    • It's quite possible in The Sims 2. Basically, it involves taking a child-Sim away from its parents, and sending it to live in the same house as an adult Sim, who from then on takes care of it and acts as a surrogate parent. When the child grows to be an adult, the relationship score should be high enough for them to fall in love and marry.
    • In The Sims 3 it's easier, since you can have children not related to you from the get-go.
    • In The Sims 4, the relative check stops after a few generations. Hypothetically, a Sim can marry and have children with their great-grandchild. Under most circumstances this wouldn't happen for obvious reasons, but if you've turned aging off or turned the great-grandparent into a vampire, you can cause an extreme variant of this trope to occur.
  • A gender-reversed variant in Chrono Trigger - talking to the right people reveals that caveman Kino was found as a child by Nubile Savage Ayla, who raised him. They end up marrying after the credits. Ayla's somewhere in her twenties at the time, Kino in his late teens.
  • In Crisis Core, the Final Fantasy VII prequel, one of the little girl NPCs in the slums apparently wants this relationship with her uncle. If you bother the conversation a little further, you find out that it's just from her point of view, sure, but the girl's uncle is DON CORNEO, the notorious mobster and pervert from the original game. He also apparently laughed and patted her head or something similar when she told him she wanted to marry him. Not only is he ugly as sin, he's well-known for being a creeper and morally impossible. So...
  • In the Soul Series, Setsuka realized she was in love with her mentor and father figure after he succumbed to the injuries sustained in a fight with Mitsurugi.
  • The protagonist Rex Raglen can fall under this in Agarest Senki if you get the True Ending. He can get every single woman who's not part of his ancestor's harem and all of them raised him up.
    • Leonis from Agarest Senki ZERO also fall under this. Most of the women he can romance has raised him as a baby. (He even considers Alice as his surrogative mother and Mimel as his older sister)
  • Inverted in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. Micaiah found Sothe as a child and raised him but due to her long lifespan, she looks younger than Sothe in the current game. However, they are so far ahead of everyone else as a canon couple that they start out with max support for each other. You HAVE to go out of your way to make them not end marrying each other.
  • In Koei's renderizations of the Sengoku Era of Japan (Samurai Warriors, Kessen, etc), Hideyoshi Toyotomi is constantly courting Oda Oichi, a girl 11 years younger than he is. She always rejects him and even calls him a persistantly annoying monkey in the Samurai Warriors series. She later marries the young pretty boy lord Nagamasa Azai and has a daughter who is later known as Lady Yodo. After Nagamasa is killed in a battle against Oichi's brother Nobunaga, Hideyoshi helps raise the young Yodo and she eventually becomes his concubine, producing a son named Toyotomi Hideyori.
  • In Harvest Moon 64, Elli's potential suitor was the baker Jeff, who had at least a supporting role in parenting her (presumably her grandmother Ellen was dominant). He arrived in Flowerbud a decade prior when he was twenty. Elli is roughly ten years his junior.
  • This can be done by the player in Crusader Kings: the PC take an opposite-gender youth from his/her court (or the court of a lord willing to send his/ her child or retainer's child away), mentor the child, then marry him/her once s/he reaches 16. Eugenic-minded players tend to do this on a large scale: seeking bastards, children of low-ranking nobles or commoners with promising stats and/or traits, raising them or tasking their most skilled retainers to raise them, then marrying the grown children to themselves, or their children, or their other relatives in order to strengthen their dynasty. If anything, players are encouraged to do this due to the way the game's mechanics work: by giving the player's dynasty members the right spouses, it's possible for it to end up with several characters whose stats go through the roof, allowing the player's realm to expand and dominate its rival and neighbors thanks to the hypercompetent generals, lords and councilors serving an equally talented sovereign.
  • Subverted in RuneScape: Char suggests this of Zaros: he raised her after the extinction of her race, trained her as a dancer, and she's very attracted to him, but even Char admits it's unclear whether Zaros reciprocates, or is even capable of romance.

    Visual Novels 
  • Daughter for Dessert gives this a whole new dimension with the protagonist and Amanda, given the incest factor.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry has Irie, the closest thing Satoko has to a (non-abusive) guardian, who says that he wants to marry Satoko when she grows up. He may have been joking, though; then again he also really likes girls doing cosplay and has quite the range of options prepared too... and since this is Higurashi, it would still be one of the least screwed up things in the series.
  • In Umineko: When They Cry, it's revealed that Kinzo had this relationship with his daughter, Beatrice II, because he deluded himself into thinking that she was the reincarnation of her mother and his beloved mistress, Beatrice Castiglioni. Unfortunately for him, she didn't return his feelings... even though Kinzo had a child with her.

  • In Daily Grind between Howlett and Jolene. Even with as many mitigating circumstances thrown in as one can possibly imagine, it is still creepy. A man serpent of Howlett's obvious moral qualities ought to have rejected Jolene's advances rather than declare that reaching a certain chronological age magically makes her able to make her own decision. Of course, their relationship is completely non-sexual, and Howlett is only five years older than Jolene, but even Howlett seems creeped out a bit by the whole thing. He just hasn't figured out how to defuse it without someone getting hurt.
  • Mandy and Grim in Grim Tales from Down Below. While Mandy never exactly looked up to him, Grim was a major part of her childhood. He used to treat her like his snarky niece, then several years later, he married her.
  • The Dr. Steve/Oasis relationship from Sluggy Freelance has a few overtones of this. After raising Oasis to adulthood and taking control of her brain, Steve's plans include having her give him firsthand accounts of a lesbian date and wearing skimpy clothes while she serves him food.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court: At least two of the people Jones dated were people she helped raise from childhood.

    Web Original 
  • The "Majou Shuukai de Arimashou" ("An Encounter With Witches") art meme consists of "Before" and "After" Pictures showing a witch taking in an abandoned child, and the same people years later (with the grown child as servant, bodyguard or apprentice, but all too often as the witch's husband/wife). Of course, this trend sparked controversy in western part of fandom due of romanticization of child grooming.

    Western Animation 
  • Gargoyles
    • A rather unusually creepy example, where Goliath's clone Thailog creates clones of the other Manhattan Clan's gargoyles as his family... including one to be his concubine. And he designed her by mixing DNA from Demona (Goliath's Psycho Ex-Wife) and Elisa Maza (the human protagonist and Goliath's current Love Interest).
    • Princess Catherine, as a young adult, escaped to Avalon along with the Magus (who was roughly the same age as her), Gargoyle eggs, and the child Tom. The Magus later narrates a Flash Back to Goliath, detailing how as Tom grew up, his and Catherine's relationship started to become less child-parent and more romantic. Eventually they began living as husband and wife, raising the young Gargoyles as their own children.
  • In the second Muzzy in Gondoland movie, Corvax's plan to kidnap the daughter of Bob and Princess Sylvia is so that he can marry her and become king. This is pretty creepy since said daughter is still a baby.
  • Onyx Equinox: The Flashback Episode reveals that Mictlantecuhtli kidnapped Mictecacihuatl as a baby to make her his bride, and raised her himself. However, it's somewhat downplayed in that he clearly only wanted a wife for ceremonial purposes, and never did anything sexual with her.
  • Inverted in Ugly Americans: Mark Lily agrees to raise Callie's sister Lilith (who ages one year per day) so she will marry Dwayne Boneraper when she comes of age. He treats her like his own daughter, but before her wedding ceremony she reveals she plans to kill both Callie and Dwayne before marrying Mark.

    Real Life 
  • Filmmaker Woody Allen and Soon-Yi, the adopted daughter of his then-girlfriend Mia Farrow. Cue massive amount of speculation and squick in the media. (However this was, according to both, actually averted. Woody was never a father figure to Soon-Yi - that was André Previn - and both barely talked to each other before 1990.)
  • U.S. President Grover Cleveland took a major role in raising his goddaughter Frances after her father died. During his administration, rumors abounded that the bachelor president was going to marry Frances' mother. Those rumors turned out to be a generation off.
  • Catherine the Great's ninth lover Alexander Lanskoy was a rare gender inversion. He had been raised in the Palace together with Catherine's illegitimate son (as well as her future twelfth lover, Zubov). When Lanskoy died at 26, Catherine (then 51) wrote to a friend: "I thought I was going to die with grief; I had raised this young man, he was gentle, obedient and grateful, and I had counted on him for support in my later years..."
  • The notorious Chinese pirate Ching Shih took over the pirating business after her husband died, and then married her adopted son Cheung Po Tsai (modern Pinyin: Zhang Baozai). Supposedly, Cheung Po Tsai was also the lover of both Ching Shih and her husband after they adopted him at the age of 15.
  • Due to the infamous one-child policy in China, and the accompanying widespread infanticide of infant girls, there are now people who do this so their sons can have wives. It's pervasive enough that there are now detectives whose entire careers are dedicated to finding people's daughters and bringing them back... just as there are people who make livings kidnapping and selling girls for wives.
  • Adult male baboons sometimes abduct subadult females from their mothers and raise them apart from the troop, as a safer alternative to fighting over potential mates. The male grooms and guards his captive like a protective father while he awaits her reproductive maturity.
  • John "Johnny Appleseed" Chapman apparently attempted this.
  • WB Yeats did a subverted version of this trope. In his younger days he pined after Maude Gonne, who spurned him and married an abusive monster named John MacBride. After John MacBride's death Maude still refused Yeats' offers of marriage, so he finally proposed to Iseult Gonne, Maude's illegitimate daughter, who was born before her marriage to MacBride (he was 52 and she was 23). She turned him down, but apparently they became good friends and Yeats was something of a father figure to her.
  • Something like this happened in the Bloomsbury Group. Vanessa Bell (sister of Virginia Woolf) had a daughter, Angelica, with Scottish painter Duncan Grant, her lover at the time. Present at the birth (aside from Vanessa's husband!) was Grant's lover David Garnett, who afterwards wrote to a friend, "I think of marrying it. When she is 20, I shall be 46 – will it be scandalous?". When Angelica Bell was in her early twenties, she did marry Garnett, who had remained a close friend of her parents.
  • Female spiders of certain species prefer to mate with males they are already familiar with. Some particular orb weaver males will find an immature female and move in next door, so to speak, in an attempt to pull this off.
  • Chinese man Deng Jianguo married his goddaughter Huang Ziqi. The writer of the article asks, "What is the ethics?"
  • George Takei once said, "If you can't find a good man, raise one." This is a joke referencing the fact that his husband, Brad Altman, is 17 years his junior. However, they do not fit the trope in real life.
  • Speaking of Rousseau, he was taken in by Françoise-Louise de Warens when he was 15 and she was 29; he thought of her as his maman, but they became lovers when he was 20.
  • Philippe de Mezières' "Letter to Richard II" contains a section arguing for this practice. It's pretty creepy to read (it uses comparisons such as animal training and bending saplings), but isn't really evidence for medieval opinions on marital best practices as a general rule; the main goal was to persuade Richard to accept the French's offer of a peace treaty whose terms would include his marriage to Isabel, the daughter of Charles VI of France. (The argument for marrying an underage girl doesn't come up until the last section.) Richard did marry Isabel in 1396, when he was 29 and she was 6 — an unusually young age even for a medieval bride — as he was also interested in ending the war (although it was in an "off" stage at the moment), and probably wanted more time to grieve his (age-appropriate) first wife, with whom he had had a Perfectly Arranged Marriage until her death in 1394, although he had to remarry because they had never had children. The terms of the treaty included a number of stipulations for what to do if one of them decided they didn't want to consummate the marriage when Isabel was of age. The decision wasn't terribly popular among the nobility, many of whom preferred to continue the war (and also wanted the succession locked down). At any rate, Richard was deposed and murdered before any of that became an issue.
    • This was quite common among medieval nobility - not for reasons of the men commonly having a sexual interest in barely pubescent girls, as A Song of Ice and Fire makes it come across, but primarily to 'secure' the inheritance (primarily land) of an orphaned girl with no brothers in the hands of some man. The consummation of the marriage was supposed to wait until the girl actually was old enough to bear children.note  (Which is only sensible, if you consider that a barely pubescent mother would have a much higher risk of dying during the birth and taking the all-important heir with her.) Eleanor of Aquitaine was orphaned at 12 or 15 (her birth year is uncertain) and was married by the King of France 3 months later, but didn't have any children until she was at least 19. Later on, she married the more age-appropriate Henry II, King of England, and they then took her ex-husband's daughter (from his next wife) Alys in as a ward when she was 8, with plans of marrying her to one of their sons (Richard I). But somewhere during the raising of that girl, Henry II apparently took her as his mistress instead (at least there were widespread rumors, prompting the Pope to push for the wedding sooner rather than later) and then Henry II died and Eleanor prevented the marriage from going through. There are exceptions to the waiting rule, of course, like Margaret Beaufort, whose father died in battle when she was just a baby. The king then gave her wardship to a noble whom her father hadn't intended for the role, who almost immediately married her (aged between 1 and 3 years old) to his own son (age 2). However, this marriage was dissolved 3 years later and Margaret never considered it legal.note  Her wardship was then won by another noble, who apparently successfully groomed her, because when he (age 24) finally married her (age 12), this marriage was the one she always considered her 'true' marriage and she made sure she would be buried beside him some 50-odd years later. In any case, this was in the War of the Roses and people were dying left and right, so he quickly impregnated her, then got captured by an enemy and died of the plague before the baby was even born. This child was the man who later won the English throne from Richard III and so became Henry VII - and the birth at the mother's underdeveloped age of 13 was so traumatic that she never got pregnant againnote , despite surviving another 2 husbands after this.
  • The country singer Randy Travis was discovered as a teenager by a promoter who became his legal guardian, and when rumors came up that he was gay, she married him.
  • The second wife of famous Polish astronomer, merchant and one-time Mayor of Gdansk Jan Hevelius, Katharina Elisabeth Koopman, was a daughter of his neighbor Nicholas Koopman and 36 years his younger. Fascinated by the astronomy, she became Hevelius' student, and eventually grew infatuated with her teacher, finally marrying him after his first wife died. She was sixteen at the time, Hevelius more than fifty, but for all indications they were pretty Happily Married, jointly practicing astronomy and managing Hevelius' family brewing business.
  • In a Gender Flip, Mandukhai Khatun adopted a young boy named Batu Mongke (said to be the last living legitimate descendant of Genghis Khan) and saved his life after an early childhood of illness and neglect and raised him to be her husband, the eventual Dayan Khan. Mandukhai was at least 15 years his senior and had already been married and widowed by the time she adopted him, but by all accounts their marriage was a happy one since and they even opted to stay together after it would have been possible to separate without negative consequences due to her being past reproductive age, and together they reunited Mongolia.
  • Thomas Day had no luck getting a woman to marry him, so he and his friend John Bicknell arranged to take on two foundling girls as apprentices to their friend, Richard Edgeworth. He renamed the girls Sabrina and Lucretia and moved them to France to be taught in isolation along the lines Rousseau recommended. He decided Lucretia wasn't smart enough and dismissed her. Then he moved Sabrina back to England and began tutoring her himself, doing things like dripping hot wax on her arms to teach her stoicism and firing blanks at her skirts to teach her calm nerves. Edgeworth eventually convinced him that the experiment was not successful, and Day sent her off to a boarding house, then eventually hired her as a housekeeper. He ended up proposing marriage, which she accepted, but then called it off when she turned out not to be as meek and obedient as he preferred. She went back to the boarding house where Bicknell found her, told her of the original plan, and after she confronted Day through a series of letters and received confirmation but no apology, proposed to her. Bicknell and Sabrina married, started a family, and Bicknell died a few years later. Someone published a book about Sabrina, and Edgeworth followed up by publishing his own memoirs, stating that Sabrina had always loved Day. Sabrina publicly denied this, saying she was miserable with Day, and that he treated her like a slave. After she was widowed, both Day and Edgeworth contributed to a small yearly stipend. After Day's death, his widow continued the stipend. Sabrina found work as housekeeper for Charles Burney and became the general manager of his three schools. She lived to the ripe old age of 86 and asked that no one bring up her humble beginnings or Day's treatment of her.

Alternative Title(s): Raise Your Own Wife, Hikaru Genji Plan, Reverse Hikaru Genji Plan