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"You stay alive, no matter what occurs! I will find you. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far, I will find you."—Hawkeye, The Last of the Mohicans
A quite common variant of The Quest, this plot has two people who have become separated by fate or circumstance, and thus cannot be together. One or both will try to search for the other, promising that they will never stop until they have reunited with their loved one.
Often, the missing person will be a lover, but sometimes this plot takes the form of a parent searching for a child, a brother for a sister, or someone searching for a lost friend. They will usually have to undergo a long journey, while facing many hardships along the way, before they can find the person they're looking for.
They may never find each other, or the other person may be long dead, but don't expect them to stop looking even when confronted by proof of such. Such plots usually have a message about the ability of love or friendship to endure through all things.
This is the much more proactive version of I Will Wait for You, although not specifically for love interests.
If Bob wants to find his lost love, Alice, but Alice doesn't necessarily want to be found, then that crosses over into Stalking Is Love.
- A Duracell Bunny commercial has the toy bunny and his duck companion being left out in a picnic. They seek out to find the owner, but the duck's battery runs out halfway. Bunny drags his friend along, and one fine morning they are at the gate of their little owner's home. Cue Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
Anime and Manga
- This is the main plot after the time skip in Naruto. Naruto has sworn to save Sasuke from darkness and Sakura loves him to the point where she will kill him to save his soul.
- Teppei Takamiya in B't X, a Seiya-expy, breathes by this trope. He's a Determinator that won't stop until he has rescued his younger brother.
- Kenshiro's search for Yuria, his kidnapped girlfriend, in the first Rescue Arc of Fist of the North Star.
- Spike Spiegel's search for Julia which makes up the Myth Arc of Cowboy Bebop.
- Used in Project ARMS, when Ryo and his allies spend most of the series trying to find and rescue Katsumi.
- Seiya and his sister Seika in Saint Seiya should have been a very fine example of this, if not for the author seemingly forgetting about it and had to make a huge Ass Pull to tie this loose plot in the last manga arc. Though, cheers go to said sister for going in a forbidden ground in Greece all the way from Japan.
- During the Orichalcos Arc of Yu-Gi-Oh!, Yami loses a duel due to being tempted by the Seal's dark powers and should have his soul taken, Yugi sacrifices his own soul instead. Yami spends the rest of the season vowing to find Yugi and redeem himself for his mistake.
- Claymore has Claire telling Raki she will find him when they are escaping Ophelia and need to go separate ways. It results in them looking for each other for years, even after Claire hears that Raki has been taken to the North, which was entirely destroyed during that time.
- Haji in Blood Plus spends many years searching for Saya after the Vietnam War incident, only finding her many years later in modern day Japan.
- In Millennium Actress, Chiyoko (the titular actress) spends most of her life searching for a man she briefly knew (and fell in love with) as a girl. She doesn't find him as he died not long after they parted company, a fact which she never learns. In the end, she decides she doesn't much mind not finding him, since chasing after him is what she really loves.
- The basic plot of the two Eden of the East movies is Saki searching for Akira, finding him, and then almost immediately losing him again. Rinse and repeat.
- After wandering for two years on his quest for revenge, Guts returns to his safe haven to find his lover Casca gone. When Guts gets his bearings straight, he sets out on his quest to find her.
- Claire and Chane to each other in Baccano after the Flying Pussyfoot incident. They do reunite, and rather quickly compared to most examples.
- In The Secret Agreement, Iori has always been able to sense where Yuuichi is, and at the end promises that as long as Yuuichi is running from him he will follow behind until Yuuichi gives up.
- The very beginning plot of Eureka Seven movie. Eureka gets kidnapped, Renton sets out to find her for 8 years.
- Deconstructed in Black Butler where it begins with the standards boy-searching-for-girl plot where spoiled prince Soma traveled to England to rescue the girl he loves, Meena, who was taken away from him by an Englishman. He eventually found her... but it turned out that she was perfectly happy with said Englishman, having taken great lengths to sneak out of India with her lover... and that not she never wanted to be with Souma, but she hated him for being a Royal Brat. Having gone through Character Development, Soma accepts this and parts ways with her.
- Y: The Last Man: In light of the sudden Gendercide, Yorick has no short supply of female attention, but his primary motivation for most of the comic is finding his girlfriend, Beth, who was last seen in Australia.
- In Winter War, this is the motivation of several members of the Hueco Mundo mission. Nanao and Sora are straight examples, looking for her MIA captain Kyorakou and his imprisoned sister Orihime respectively. Ikkaku starts out as a subversion, since he knows his best friend Yumichika has either turned traitor or been taken captive and Brainwashed and Crazy, and his reaction to either is "battle to the death". The group finds Orihime fairly easily, and Ikkaku- after finding out exactly what was wrong with Yumichika, fighting him, and Yumichika being restored to normal- settles on My Fist Forgives You.
- The Voltron: Legendary Defender fic Across the Multiverse has Akira/Keith chasing Takashi/Sven/Shiro across the realities to be with him after Takashi dies in the GoLion continuity. This would be heartfelt and romantic if Akira/Keith wasn't a selfish bastard.
- Many a Fire Emblem Awakening fic has Robin's spouse embodying this trope if Robin sacrifices themselves to end Grima. It's especially prominent in fics pairing the female version with Chrom.
Film - Animated
- Also several of The Land Before Time films.
- Finding Nemo: Marlin the clownfish searches for his son.
- Bolt. Bolt, a dog actor searches for his owner, Penny.
- One Hundred and One Dalmatians: Pongo and Perdita search for their 15 lost pups... and find 84 extra.
- An American Tail, and the first sequel to a lesser degree. The others, not so much. The song "Somewhere Out There" from the first movie is absolutely made of this trope.
Film - Live Action
Etienne Navarre: And know this - if you fail, I will follow you the length of my days. And I will find you.
- The Adventures of Milo and Otis is about two friends, a dog and cat, who go on a journey to find each other after becoming separated.
- The premise of the movie Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey where the pets travel cross country to find their owners.
- The City of Lost Children might count, and this trope is pretty much the entire plot of A Very Long Engagement.
- Last of the Mohicans:
Hawkeye: No, you submit, do you hear? You be strong, you survive... You stay alive, no matter what occurs! I will find you. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far, I will find you.
- The John Wayne movie The Searchers.
- And on that token, the movie Hardcore as well.
- A particularly Narmy example would be Dennis Quaid in The Day After Tomorrow.
- The Vanishing (US version). Sandra Bullock goes missing; her boyfriend
Jack BauerKiefer Sutherland looks for her for years.
- Ditto for the original Dutch version. A slight variant, in that after three years of searching, Rex doesn't believe Saskia will turn up alive. He's still consumed by his desire to find out what happened to her.
- Frantic. Guy's wife gets kidnapped, he spends the rest of the film searching for her.
- The Princess Bride, played tongue in cheek and straight at the same time, which is what makes that movie great.
Westley: Hear this now: I will always come for you.
Buttercup: But how can you be sure?
Westley: This is true love - you think this happens every day?
- And near the end:
Westley: I told you I would always come for you. Why didn't you wait for me?
Buttercup: Well... you were dead.
Westley: Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while.
Buttercup: I will never doubt again.
Westley: There will never be a need.
- The movie Taken is about one man's search for his daughter, though everyone remembers the very Papa Wolf quote by the protagonist to said daughter's kidnappers.
- From the Lord of the Rings' second movie The Two Towers, when the Dunlendings began raiding the villages, a mother sends her two children away on their only horse. Before they leave, she tells them that she would find them again. And of course, she does.
- Thorold Stone (Jeff Fahey) in the Christian movie Revelation from the Apocalypse film series is looking for his wife and daughter who disappeared in the Rapture and will do anything to get them back, eventually realizing from the people he meets in the movie that he will have to put his faith in Jesus Christ in order to see them again.
- In Tribulation, Tom Canboro is separated from his wife Susan when he was in a coma from the automobile accident and spends much of the movie looking for her. He does find her among a group of persecuted Christians, thankfully.
- In Jumanji, when Alan tries to find his family, he finds out that his father abandoned his business and devoted the rest of his life trying to find his missing son to no avail.
- In Ranger's Apprentice, Halt swears this when his apprentice Will is kidnapped by Skandian slavers.
- The narrative poem Evangeline by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is about a woman searching for her lost lover.
- The climactic plot point in Young Wizards: A Wizard Alone where Kit, ensnared in the mind-universe of autistic wizard Daryl, goes missing and Nita has to find him.
- This is the plot of Koji Suzuki's Paradise, in which the main character's quest to find his kidnapped wife continues through three lifetimes.
- One of the Kesh stories in Ursula Le Guin's novel Always Coming Home is about a young woman who goes missing. Her boyfriend is desperate to find her again, but it's only a fragment, so we never learn if he does.
- Henri Tod tries to find his Dead Little Sister in The Story of Henri Tod. Unfortunately he is betrayed and killed in the process.
- "I'm a-going to seek my niece."
- Used as a threat in Exile's Gate. Vanye tells Chei, who's not quite a prisoner, where he can clean himself up, and adds, "I will find you down by the water. I will find you down by the water--or I will find you. Do you hear me?"
- In PG Wodehouse's A Damsel In Distress, Maud is kept prisoner at Belpher Castle to prevent this. She keeps breaking loose.
- In Warrior Cats, the SkyClan leader Cloudstar and his mate Birdflight are separated for good when SkyClan is forced to leave the forest and Birdflight stays behind as a ThunderClan cat because her kits are too young to travel. The two promise to find each other in the afterlife, and they eventually do, after many years.
- In 'Northern Lights' Lyra's quest begins when her friend Roger goes missing and she determines to find him. She takes a while to fully shoulder this responsibility or, debatably, realise it's there to shoulder, but when she does it's with a vengeance; she throws rescuing her imprisoned uncle into the mix, just in case one globe-trotting rescue mission wasn't enough, and at some point her plan to save Roger turns into plans to save all the children that have been taken. This becomes a running theme of the trilogy; Lyra's quest to reunite with Roger turns into a plan to reunite and reconcile with his ghost, after her initial quest fails, Will spends a good amount of time in 'The Amber Spyglass' hunting for the kidnapped Lyra etc etc.
Live Action TV
- On Lost, Sayid before the crash had been searching for his love Nadia, and he eventually finds and marries her after being rescued, although it ends tragically.
- Penny also has been searching for Desmond for the years that he's been on the island, and eventually sends a rescue boat and does find him.
- And of course, one can't forget Michael and his search for WAAAAAAALLLLLTTTTT after he's kidnapped off a raft by The Others in Season 2.
- In Firefly, Simon had already done this for River before the opening.
- In Space: Above and Beyond, Nathan West shouts this to his starcrossed love interest Kylen, after he fails to hide himself on the ship about to fly her off Earth and is taken away by security. The next scene sees that ship being bombarded to smithereens by the Scary Dogmatic Aliens.
- Wizards of Waverly Place: Justin says this to his Vampire girlfriend when the only option for her survival is for her to surrender to a Mummy's control. He does eventually find her again, but it doesn't end well.
- A particularly heart breaking example in Farscape, the second part of the Peace Keeper Wars; D'Argo, fatally wounded and planning to hold off the attacking Scarrans so that his friends can escape, tells a weeping Chiana that he'll find her in their next lives as she's dragged away by Crichton.
- Stargate SG-1: In the first episode, Daniel's wife Sha're, as well as Skaara, are taken as Goa'uld hosts, and Daniel (and Jack) vow to get them back. It's why Daniel initially really wants to be on SG-1, so he has a better chance at finding Sha're. They eventually find both of them - but only Skaara is eventually freed from his Goa'uld. Sha're is taken out by Teal'c before her Goa'uld can kill Daniel.
- Within Temptation's "Somewhere."
I'll find you somewhere
I'll keep on trying
Until my dying day
I just need to know
Whatever has happened
The truth will free my soul
- Also, the Moody Blues' song "I Know You're Out There Somewhere."
- Judas Priest "Worth Fighting For"
- Clannad's Award Bait Song I Will Find You for the movie Last of the Mohicans
- Orpheus to Eurydice in Hadestown
Wait for me
I'm coming soon
- The Temptations: "Since I Lost My Baby."
- In Moira, Elefseus travels across the land for years looking for Artemisia, the twin sister he was separated from long ago. He does eventually find her -- dead in the water.
- Benjamin Britten's "church parable" Curlew River: nameless Mad Woman wanders far and wide for her missing young son. She eventually comes upon the child's grave, where an apparition of the child appears and consoles his mother, assuring her that they will meet in heaven.
- Aida (the musical, not the opera): As they are buried alive together, Radames swears he and Aida will find each other again, even if it takes a thousand lifetimes. Also example of the power of love.
- Note: it does take around a thousand lifetimes. At the end, their reincarnations meet up in a museum in modern times and are instantly drawn to each other
- In the Dark Side ending to Knights of the Old Republic Bastila gets fed up with waiting and trying to hold the decaying Sith Empire together, and sets off after Revan, never to be seen again.
- Ditto the Exile in the sequel.
- The game Braid - for all the Epileptic Trees surrounding it, on the surface it's about a guy finding the Princess who left him.
- Liara's hunt for Shepard in the interim between Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2.
- In the second half of Beyond Good and Evil, Jade's uncle Pey'j gets kidnapped and becomes the designated Distressed Dude of the plot. Naturally, Jade swears she'll find him, no matter where he is. "I'll find you, Pey'j, no matter what... hang in there."
- A big chunk of the Kingdom Hearts series revolves around Sora traveling across different worlds, looking for the friends he was separated from at the start of the first game.
- Axel: "Go on, you just keep running. But I'll always be there to bring you back!"
- This is the motivation for several Fire Emblem characters to join your army.
- Blazing Sword has Priscilla looking for her brother Raymond, Rebecca looking for her brother Dan, and Natalie looking for her husband Dorcas.
- The first 8 chapters of Sacred Stones revolve around main character Eirika trying to find her twin brother Ephraim.
- In Path of Radiance, Marcia is looking for her brother Makalov and Sothe is looking for his Not Blood Sister Micaiah. Makalov is found halfway through the game, but Sothe doesn't find Micaiah until sometime between the end of this game and the beginning of the sequel.
- Pretty much the whole cast of Fire Emblem Awakening say this at the very end, if the player chooses to have the Avatar pull an Heroic Sacrifice to eliminate Grima forever.
- In a non-"joining the army to find someone" example, Thracia 776 has Fin's ending. As the war properly finishes, he starts looking for Nanna's Missing Mom Princess Lachesis (and he's all but stated to be Star-Crossed Lovers with her and Nanna's birth father in this game), yet he never seems to find finds her.
- One possible ending of Dragon Age Origins has The Grey Warden searching for Morrigan. The Witch Hunt DLC gives the Warden a chance to succeed. Notably, this example isn't necessarily a romantic chase. The Warden in the DLC always goes after her, whether it be out of romantic love, to honor an old friendship, to find answers to questions left open, or to call her out for stealing away during the Final Battle.
- In Dragon Age II, Leliana does it for the mysteriously-disappeared Warden.
- Forms the basis of the plot for Silent Hill 1.
- In Planescape: Torment, Fall-From-Grace will promise this to The Nameless One if you get the Good Ending, where The Nameless One is allowed to die and becomes a petitioner in Hell for his past crimes.
- Heavy Rain is about Ethan's determination to do anything to find his son.
- Ecco the Dolphin's motive in his first game is to find his family, who have been stolen by a storm. The trope's even mentioned in the only official vocal song about the series.
- Dragon Quest V is the game where the whole plot is about finding someone. First off, Pankraz's desperately trying to find his wife. He passes on the mission to his son when he realizes he can't go on any more. After the Time Skip, The Hero, while trying to find his mom, marries a girl, But then he gets saperated from his lover and children, leaving his twin offspring growing up into kid heroes trying to find their parents and then their grandma.
- Fallout 3's player character, the Lone Wanderer, starts out leaving Vault 101 to find the Disappeared Dad.
- In Fate/stay night's Fate Route, it is assumed that this is how Shirou reacts to Saber's departure. Luckily for him, Merlin made a prophecy about Saber in relation to this situation:
...If you want to meet again, two miracles must occur; One must wait continuously, one must pursue endlessly... They must realise that it is impossible to succeed, yet at the same time be capable of enduring patiently.
- Fragile Dreams Farewell Ruins of the Moon is about the hero, Seto, trying to find the silver-haired girl, Ren. In this example, they did not actually know eachother and only met for a brief moment. The story takes place After the End, and before Ren, the only other human Seto had ever seen was an old man he lived with who had since passed away. Seto looks for Ren on his journey to the "tall, red tower" where he was told he might find survivors.
- At the end of Chrono Cross, Kid promises that she'll use her newfound powers to find Serge in the timelines, no matter how long it takes.
- Ariel, the main character of Drowtales, swears this regarding Faen.
- This Xkcd strip.
- The Beast Legion In Issue 4 Dragos swears he'll find Xeus one day & kill him.
- In Beast Wars, Airrazor and Tigatron promise this to each other when they are abducted by aliens.
- Said word for word by Wolverine to Mystique in Wolverine and the X-Men.
- Spoofed in the opening of every Bounty Hamster episode where we see Casey's Dad shouting "I'll come back for you!" as she drifts off in the escape pod. A Gilligan Cut then has Cassie saying "But he didn't...so I went looking."
- Voltron: Legendary Defender:
- The reason why Katie Holt created her "Pidge Gundersson" persona was to infiltrate the Galaxy Garrison and search for her missing father and brother. It takes her a while, but she finds them.
- At the very end of the series, the lions take off and leave... almost surely to find Allura after her Heroic Sacrifice.
- Avita Sharanski, wife of dissident Natan Sharanski, led a worldwide campaign to urge the Soviet Union to release him from The Gulag. Which is also a Real Life example of Power of Love, as well as (according to Natan's accounts) Power of Trust, and Power of Friendship.
- A really touching case of this trope in Imperial China involved a high official whose concubine mother was sold away from the family when he was only two. Fifty years later he resigns all his offices and informs his family that he will not return until he finds his mother - and then he does! The lady proves to be alive and well at seventy-plus and her now important and wealthy son proudly brings her home along with his half siblings, nephews and nieces from her later marriage in a true happy ending.
- The manga author Noriaki "Tite" Kubo revealed on Twitter that Bleach's tenth year of publishing was incredibly hard on him due to stress and bad health.. Then a letter gave him his spirits back - it was from a deceased 10-year-old Ill Boy, whose Last Request was to have an anonymous letter with encouraging words given to him after his death. At the end of the reveal, Kubo asked for leads about the boy's family's whereabouts , intending to find them. And around a year later, he did.