Fake relationships! Another one of my favorite tropes - intimacy and domesticity is forced on a couple for work reasons of some kind, or maybe they need to be married for legal reasons... or maybe they're trying to get away from a date who doesn't understand the word "no", or maybe they don't want to have to deal with their parents asking why they're still single. Whatever the reason, it brings about a lot of fun.
Firstly, fake relationships in actual media.
Person of Interest played with this in the episode "The High Road," when John and Zoe pretend to be a married couple freshly moved to the suburbs. I love
what PoI did with the trope - John and Zoe are a fun pair of characters in any situation, but when they're both messing with someone else is probably the best.
NCIS did a story with this trope too, to delve into the UST between Tony and Ziva early on in her time on the show. Looking back at the episode so many years later, how the two of them interact while not!married seems a little strange... but at the time it made for quite the interesting story.
One of the Torchwood companion novels, SkyPoint, does something similar - Owen and Tosh pretend to be married so they can investigate the alien thingamabob of the week. It fits neatly into canon, so the arrangement doesn't end as happily as fic would make it, or as I would like, but I still enjoyed it.
Now, fake relationships in fic!
chellefic's SGA fic titled Catch-19
is a fun "for the green card" subtrope fic - except the green card isn't for staying in the US, it's for staying on Atlantis. SGA, both fic and canon, has a way of making me believe in any ridiculous idea Rodney has, and this one is no different. (There's also a very enjoyable podfic
of the story read by torra, which is worth a listen if you have an hour to kill.)Collar U
, a BDSM AU Fake News fic by SailorPtah, sort of falls under that subtrope too. Stephen's traditional parents don't want to let their young sub go to college uncollared, so his switch BFF Jon agrees to be his dom for the duration of school. I don't really go for BDSM AUs much, but this one is more worldbuilding and "what does queerness mean in this context" than kinky sex, and the relationship development is great.Even a Miracle Needs a Hand
, an MCU fic by victoria_p, is a great example of the "pretending a guyfriend is a boyfriend for the parents" subtrope. Clint and Darcy have romantic tension underlying their interactions throughout, but it's the sudden domestic context and seeing how well he gets along with her family that pushes Darcy to actually make them happen.
thehoyden's Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fic, Opacity of Paradise
, is another really good one. It's not quite a fake relationship - it's more accurate to say they're getting space!married and starting a romantic relationship at about the same time - but there's a big ulterior motive to the marriage that reminds me of this trope.
Last, but hardly least, A Lopsided Symmetry of Sin and Virtue
by language_escapes is a fantastic Elementary take on the "fake relationship for work reasons" subtrope. Sherlock and Joan go undercover to find out where babies are disappearing to, and the forced intimacy of the situation kinda messes with their heads, and stays with them afterwards.