From Fanlore
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Synonyms: enemy!slash, foe yay, foe-yay, villain x hero
See also: Enemies to Lovers, Hatesex, Love-Hate Relationship, Wrongshipping, Buddyslash
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Enemyslash is the term for slash between characters who are canonically enemies, antagonists, or rivals, sometimes to the point of obsession. Slashers who like enemyslash read the sparks and anger that fly between these characters as a form of UST, and think that nothing says love like a black eye or a night spent handcuffed to the railing outside your beloved's apartment. [1]

It has been referred to as the "fight-fight-shag model" of slash. [2] The TVTropes wiki calls it Foe Yay (a riff on the similar concept HoYay) and gives this description:

"So there's these two guys, right? And they spend 95% of their time thinking about each other, what the other one's planning or doing, and whenever they converse their dialogue is incredibly emotionally charged. Fortunately, there's a nice family-friendly explanation: they're arch-enemies, right? Right..." [3]

On the Con.txt list of suggested panels for 2006, the appeal of enemyslash is described as follows:

It's all those heated glares and the way they turn being enemies into a shared obsession: when they're saying "I hate you" in canon, we're sure what they mean is "I love you." [4]

Enemy Het

"Enemy het" does not really exist as a specific genre (although when it is written it is sometimes called hatesex.) This is, perhaps, primarily because relatively few source texts have a canon male/female hero and nemesis pairing with this type of violent, dynamic, mutually obsessive relationship. Examples include Avon/Servalan in Blake's 7 and possibly Kira/Dukat in Star Trek: DS9. Another is the canon Alejandro/Heather in Total Drama.


Sometimes enemyslash pairings are deadly enemies from day one, such as Xena/Callisto or Blake/Travis, and spend a lot of time trying to kill each other.

It is also extremely common for enemyslash pairings to have been very close friends at one point, but become enemies because of a falling-out or sudden yet inevitable betrayal. (In Smallville fandom, the inevitable final break between Clark Kent and Lex Luthor was often referred to as "the Rift.")

Often, as in classic enemyslash pairings like The Doctor/The Master or Giles/Ethan, "the Rift" happens before the start of canon, and so if fans want to see the "good times" in the relationship, or are curious about the exact circumstances of the rift, they have to write it for themselves.

In non-sf/f shows, enemyslash is usually less about a dramatic battle between arch-enemies, and more about characters who are simply forced to work together but strongly dislike each other, such as House/Foreman. However, unlike buddyslash, in which the characters may not like each other at first, in enemyslash the obsession never becomes a friendship.

Issues in Fanworks

Complaints about enemyslash fanworks tend towards the extremes: either they stay enemies, and reviewers complain that their relationship isn't plausible, or by page two, they're already all fluffy-bunnies about each other, and reviewers complain that they're being written OOC, or in a way that takes all of the fun of enemyslash out of the story.

Fan Comments

“But why do you ship a hero with the villain??! Its so problema-“ “For the angst Karen. I need some drama before they fuck. It aint that deep.“[5]

Hero x Villain ships are not the same as abuse.

Having a villain change and develop so that they can be in a healthy relationship with the hero is okay. Enemies to friends to lovers is a pretty common trope.

Reimagining the scenario so that they can be happy together is okay. Your AUs aren’t trivializing abuse, they’re imagining a scenario in which things could have worked out differently.

Even if you do portray their relationship as unhealthy, you aren’t supporting abuse. It’s okay to explore these dynamics through fiction.

This has been a PSA.[6]

Example Pairings


  1. ^ Skinner/Krycek in this case
  2. ^ dsudis, Nothing to see here, move along Posted Dec. 16, 2007. Last accessed November 16, 2008
  3. ^ Tvtropes, Foe Yay wiki entry Last accessed November 16, 2008
  4. ^ Proposed panel description for Con.txt 2006 Posted May 31, 2005. Last accessed November 16, 2008
  5. ^ ruletogether
  6. ^ Dec 13th, 2017 by shippy-mcdiscourse