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A Friend in Need
In calligraphy

A friend in need is a friend indeed.
Proverbial

A profound test of character: someone is in trouble and in need of help. Will you stand by him? Help him? Give him moral support? Let others know that you do so, and face their contempt?

It will cost you. It may cost you a great deal.

While pre-existing friendship is possible, demonstrating The Power of Friendship in a Friendship Moment, the character may also be a Mentor, an acquaintance (perhaps nothing more than someone they are Lonely Together with), or even a stranger who sees the character in need and trusts him. It can create friendship and even the True Companions, and it is certainly the point at which a character knows he has friends. (If they are Vitriolic Best Buds, this may be the point at which the audience realizes they are friends.)

It can also be the way the Worthy Opponent demonstrates his worthiness, and the Friendly Enemy his friendliness, by some act such as acting as Character Witness for The Hero, or preventing him from being stabbed In the Back. In a Betty and Veronica triangle, Betty is the one who will come through — often the point at which Oblivious to Love trope stops.

Conversely, failing at this can be how such groups as the Gang Of Bullies or Girl Posse reveal that they are not really friends.

Chronic Hero Syndrome is a tendency to a certain type of this trope.

Super Trope of Good Samaritan, I Got You Covered, Changed My Mind, Kid, Gondor Calls for Aid, and Greater Need Than Mine. Compare Fire-Forged Friends. Contrast Fair Weather Mentor and Fair Weather Friend. In a more cynical series villains or even protagonists may wind up Dying Alone instead. Also cynical if the person in need happens to be a true odd man out.


Examples:

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     Anime And Manga  

  • Bleach: All the captains of Soul Society and the Vizards joined in the battle against Aizen to help out Ichigo and give him a chance to strike Aizen, letting him know right from the get go that he wasn't alone in this fight.
    • When Rukia was taken back to Soul Society, Ichigo was determined to go rescue her. Same thing when Orihime got captured by Aizen.
    • Also with Chad, who refused to fight a bunch of thugs and Ichigo came to help him.
      Ichigo: "All right. Let's do this, Chad. You keep doing your thing and don't fight for yourself. But fight for me and I will fight for you. If you ever put your life on the line to protect something, then I'll put my life on the line to protect it too."
  • Gankutsuou: Franz. He took his best friend's Albert's place in a duel with The Count, an event both knew would have negative outcomes. Tragically, this causes him to die during the duel; Albert is too late to stop it. Sucks.
  • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni: Used in a pretty dark way - Rena killed a woman who tried to seduce her father for his money (and the woman's lover) and tried to hide it from her friends; however, when they discover the truth, they unanimously agree to help her dispose of the bodies.note 
    • In the same arc, When Rena is affected by the same paranoid delusions Keiichi had fallen to in the first arc, the friends all group together to save her, rather than abandoning her to the unfortunate fate despite/because Keiichi knows that Rena had tried to save him risking her life before.
    • In another arc, Shion decides in Keiichi's place to go kill Satoko's uncle. When Keiichi fails to convince her out of it, he and Rena decide to go along to make sure she's all right and help in the murder.
      • In case it's not too obvious, the "arc" of the entire series more or less happens to be eternally repeating Groundhog Day-style loop
      • Also on a lighter note, the origins of the game club (revealed in the Festival Music chapter) were to help the Hojo siblings cope with the crap they are put through. Partially successful.
  • Pretty much the Aesop of the entire Kokoro Connect series.
  • One Piece: Mr. 2 Bon Kurei (real name Bentham, nickname Bon-chan). His every action outside of when he was part of a Quirky Miniboss Squad is motivated by feelings of friendship and prompts him to take risks even when he has no obligation to do so.
    • In the Alabasta arc, he met and befriended the Straw Hat pirates for all of five minutes before being retrieved by his ship and discovering they were enemies. After the arc ended and they were no longer foes, Bon-chan helped the Straw Hats in their escape from a Marine blockade. While this part was somewhat self-serving since it helps his own escape prospects, when the Straw Hats risk it all to give a farewell to a friend, Bon Chan is so touched he ends up risking his own capture to ensure they can pull it off and get away.
    • Later, during the "Meet Baroque" cover story arc, Bon Kurei gave his aid to Miss Goldenweek and Mr. 5's attempts to rescue Ms. Valentine and the other incarcerated Officer Agents of Baroque Works. This act does result in his capture and sentence to Level Three of Impel Down.
    • After getting out of his cell in the prison Impel Down, Bon-chan offers to help the currently intruding Luffy reach his destination because it coincides with is own goal. He suffers a moment of weakness here and leaves Luffy behind to face Chief Warden Magellan alone, but comes back to rescue Luffy afterward and helps find treatment for his severe poisoning from the loss. The cause for this moment of weakness is that he knows Magellan's reputation and by the end of the arc, it was shown Magellan was powerful enough to simultaneously beat Luffy (the main character), some guy with a type advantage over Magellan's own abilities and several escaped prisoners armed with guns and cannons. After shouting for seven hours straight for Luffy to recover quickly, Bon-chan is himself recovered in time for the breakout. However, the only way the escaping prisoners can get past their final obstacle, The Gates of Justice, is if someone stays behind and opens them from within the prison. While Bon-chan successfully does this, he draws the full attention and killing intent of Magellan, who he promptly challenges alone, with his own eulogy in the background, all while declaring he has no regrets.
    • In essence, this was how Luffy met or helped out his friends, gaining their loyalty. Zoro was about to executed by the marines when Luffy jumped in. He beat the tar out of Arlong for making Nami cry. He helped out Usopp because he saw that Usopp was determined to protect his village. He helped Sanji protect Zeff's resturant ship. He stopped Wapol and defended Chopper's pirate flag. Robin wanted to die, but Luffy saved her. He accepted Franky into his crew, despite being enemies earlier. And he gave companionship and freedom to Brook.
    • This is Luffy in general. You don't even have to be one of his crew mates — you just have to be a friend. Because for Luffy, that's always been enough.
  • Saint Seiya: Shiryu. Even though most of the Bronze Saints are ready to go to great length for one another, Shiryu seems particularly prone to that especially toward Seiya. The most memorable example would be Shiryu willing to bath Seiya's Cloth with most of his blood, aware that it would cost his life, in order to repair it. Without his Cloth, Seiya would not have stood a chance to survive the threat he was facing at the time and thus Shiryu was willing to offer his life for a friend in need.
    • Shiryu's biggest moment of this type was the fight against Perseus Algol, in which he BLINDS HIMSELF to be able to fight him out of his sheer determination to save his friends. An incredible example of Crowning Moment Of Awesome, Crowning Moment of Heartwarming and Tear Jerker all in one.
    • Shun was willing to risk his life to revive Hyoga in the House of Libra.
  • Shokojo Sera: Sara and her friends, especially Ermengarde, Becky and Peter, have one of these moments almost every other episode.
  • .hack//SIGN gives most of the main characters a moment or two like this.
  • THE iDOLM@STER - - Centric part of the plot for the whole show, more visible during both Chihaya's and Haruka's Heroic BSOD's.
  • Holyland: Shin is the only character who always sticks by Yuu no matter what.
  • William from A Cruel God Reigns is this for Jeremy. He continues to be Jeremy's friend even when Jeremy tells him strange stories about why his back is bleeding, acts bizarrely, and makes moves on him. He is first one to notice Jeremy's strange behavior, have suspicions about what is really going on with Jeremy without blaming him, and actively try to help him. William is also the one who convinces Jeremy to come back to school.
  • Variable Geo: Yuka's childhood/best friend, Satomi, has fallen on hard times, ever since her parents died; leaving her to care for herself and her brother, Daisuke, on her own. She barely earns enough to support them, despite working two jobs, due to Daiskue's medical expenses. So she hasn't had time to spar with Yuka like she used to. This made her an easy target for The Jahana Group, who manipulates Satomi into entering the VG tournament. When Yuka becomes aware of the situation, she resolves to save her friend.

     Comic Books  

  • The Flash. He was desperately worried about his dying wife, but he had to look after his two children — until Arsenal cleverly brought his daughter to the League tower. This distracted the Flash's children enough so that Arsenal could look after them all, and Flash, after calling him a friend in need, could join his wife.
  • Omaha the Cat Dancer has a scene when Omaha returns to Mipple City when she learns that her boyfriend, Charles Tabey Jr., has had a mental breakdown. When she visits him at the mental hospital, he is barely coherent with meds and she is extremely upset. On the trip to see him again a bit later, Omaha has a moment where she complains it's not worth visiting him. That's when their mutual friend, Huddle, responds "Well, I guess that depends on whether you are his friend." When Omaha protests, citing their relationship, Huddle answers, "Yes, you are his lover, but are you his friend? Are you prepared to stick with him, even when you don't get anything? If not, then we might as well turn back and go home now." At that, Omaha ponders the point, and tells Huddle to keep going to the hospital.
  • Peter and many characters in Spider-Man, including Mary Jane and Flash. Even random people of New York show surprising courage and humanity when things get tough.
  • After Morbius the Living Vampire is infected with the blood of a demon and is resurrected as an undead, soulless being, one of his oldest friends decides to separate himself from the madness that is Morbius' life. He is chewed out by Werewolf by Night, who tells him Morbius now needs them more than ever. "I guess we see who Morbius's real friends are now."

    Fan Works 
  • In The Lion King Adventures: Simba risks his life many times in order to protect Nala and Haiba, his best friends.
  • A Growing Affection: Naruto's Nakama doesn't hesitate to go AWOL to rescue him after he is kidnapped. Even after Hinata tells them about the Fox Demon, all but one of them are still on board after only a few minutes of discussion.
  • Thirty Seconds Over To Ki Rin: After carrying out the airstrike, Dusk Skyshine discovers that his best friend Dash Firehooves is wounded — and flying a damaged fighter plane. Dusk must shepherd him in to a safe landing, at considerable risk to himself.
  • Turnabout Storm: Both Phoenix and Twilight go through a lot for the sake of Rainbow Dash. In Twilight's case, it shows the sincere friendship she has with her; for Phoenix, it shows his strong bond to his ideals of justice, which also grows into a friendship.

    Films — Animated 
  • Tangled:
    • At the Snugly Duckling, the hook-handed thug shows them the escape tunnel. Later, all of them, and Maximus, come to break Flynn out of prison.
    • At the city, Flynn recruits three girls with elaborately braided hair, and they help Rapunzel with her hair.
  • The Princess and the Frog:
    • The fireflies that guide them through the bayou, and Ray continues to help.
    • Charlotte helps Tiana clean up at her party, even though the prince has just arrived and she has always dreamed of marrying one. At the end, she's willing to kiss Naveen to let him marry Tiana, and seems genuinely upset that it didn't work.
  • In Treasure Planet, Silver intervenes when the crew turn on Jim. And Jim grabs Silver's lifeline before he's tossed from the ship.
  • In Wreck-It Ralph, Ralph, tracking down Vanellope after she robbed him, finds the other drivers beating her up and comes to her aid.
  • The Disney version of The Jungle Book has a song about this, performed by four friendly singing vultures to a depressed Mowgli. They do flee when Shere Kahn turns up, but during the fight they also swoop in and harass the tiger, so it's not like they were lying.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Die Hard: In the first movie, the only person to believe John was the policeman Al, who didn't even know the guy.
  • It's a Wonderful Life, the climax of the movie shows the entire town coming to rally around George Bailey.
  • Newsies: This triggers Jack's change of heart after abandoning the strike; when he sees his friend David and Satellite Love Interest Sarah being threatened by Pulitzer's goons, he weighs in to help them, knowing that he's sacrificing the cushy position Pulitzer promised him.
  • Tropic Thunder: Rick Peck Went all the way to Vietnam to personally give Tugg a TiVo and save him from the Flaming Dragons.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
    • When it mattered most, Jack Sparrow came through for Will Turner- he sacrificed his chance at immortality to save Will's life.
      • And then he does it again to save Angelica.
    • Earlier, in the second movie, Jack came back to the Black Pearl to help fight the Kraken after first abandoning the crew to save his own skin.
  • Elysium: Julio does everything he can to help Max after he's been irradiated, from taking care of him, to unhesitatingly offering him his savings even though they both know it's not enough to get him to Elysium, to joining him on the job he takes for Spider in exchange for help getting to Elysium. Sadly, it costs him his life.

    Literature 

  • In Dan Abnett's Warhammer 40,000 Gaunt's Ghosts novel His Last Command, when Gaunt and his team are brought before a tribunal on suspicion of being Chaos-tainted, Ludd volunteers to defend them. Although he is a junior commissiar, he knows no one else will and that they will assigned someone who hates them if he doesn't.
    • In Blood Pact, when Dalin Criid delivers a report, Hark knows there's another reason because it doesn't take two and he can see Merrt in the hall behind him. Merrt tells Hark that he came for moral support.
  • In William King's Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf novel Wolfblade, while Ragnar awaits his Trial Of The Mystical Jury, his friend Sven stays with him, grousing about the injustice, until their old teacher Ranek comes to send him away, saying his loyalty does him credit but might harm him. Then Ranek explains that he will defend Ragnar, that he volunteered to do so, and that he believes he is not Chaos-tainted.
  • At the end of Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphas Cain novel The Traitor's Hand, when Cain is awaiting the judgment of the tribunal, the colonel and XO of his regiment wait with him.
  • In Ben Counter's Warhammer 40,000 Horus Heresy novel Galaxy in Flames, Tarvitz realizes that the ship following him is under the command of a friend, Garro, and appeals to him, telling him of Horus's treacherous attack. Garro shoots down his pursuers, and then begs him to assure him that he told the truth.
  • In C. S. Lewis's The Horse and His Boy, when Shasta tells the horse that he really needs someone who could tell him whether the nobleman is evil, Bree reveals his speech to tell him that he is. Which gives Bree the opening to suggest that they could run away together.
    • Later, when they meet Aravis and Hwin, Aravis reveals that Hwin stopped her from killing herself before their decision to run away together.
  • In Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files novel Death Masks, when Harry needs a second, Charity, although she despises him, truthfully says that Michael would have helped him, and Shiro volunteers to fill the role. Later, Shiro voluntarily takes Harry's place as Nicomedus's prisoner.
    • In Dead Beat, Harry hears Billy and Georgia talking: Billy wants to help Harry, but Georgia is afraid that his trouble is too big for them, and so they would end up hindering him instead.
    • And in Proven Guilty, Murphy comes along to help him pull a Big Damn Heroes moment even though she's in the middle of leading an investigation and got demoted from head of SI to sergeant for disappearing.
    • As of Changes his friends all show up to help him when he needs it. Not all of them make it out, and Murphy at best is getting a half pay retirement.
    • Ghost Story shows that there were further consequences. Molly's injury left her with a limp, and she's not all there, thanks to being a sensitive who went into battle, surrounded by the psychic effects of death and black magic, not to mention the bloodline curse.
    • In Cold Days every single one of his allies spends at least a few minutes chewing him out, using varying degrees of subtlety, for thinking they would abandon him just because he became the Winter Knight.
  • In Dorothy L. Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey novel Strong Poison, two of Harriet's friends stick by her through the trial.
    • In Gaudy Night, after Harriet has defended his detecting — even if he does it for fun, he does do it, and many people have reason to thank him — and another woman brings up a neighbor who had helped with her drains for nothing because he liked working with them.
  • Ron and Hermione in Harry Potter, who repeatedly risk their lives out of loyalty to Harry when they could easily choose to go about their normal teenaged lives instead. In Ron's case, he's willing to make a Heroic Sacrifice on Harry's behalf as early as the first book.
    • The Marauders (Harry's father and his best friends) all support their friend Lupin instead of spurning him when they find out about his furry little problem (he's a werewolf).
  • In Nick Kyme's Warhammer 40,000 novel Salamanders, Daki'er, when troubled by his discovery of an artifact, appeals to Ba'ken to forget that he is his sergeant and speak to him as his friend; Ba'ken tells him that it does seem that he was intended to find it and touches his arm in support.
  • In Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Gods of Mars, when Xador loses favor because of his defeat at John Carter's hands, all his erstwhile friends fail this utterly, much to Carter's horror. Carter therefore intervenes on his behalf.
    My blood was up. For minutes it had been boiling at the cowardly treatment they had been according this once powerful comrade because he had fallen from the favour of Issus. I had no love for Xodar, but I cannot stand the sight of cowardly injustice and persecution without seeing red as through a haze of bloody mist, and doing things on the impulse of the moment that I presume I never should do after mature deliberation.
    • Later, when a companion proposes a way to escape, John Carter says he can't leave Xodar, and his companion agrees that recapture would be better than deserting a comrade.
    • Still later, Kantos Kan, Carter's Fire-Forged Friends from A Princess Of Mars, pledges his support to Carter after hearing a death sentence on him. Fortunately, this inspires the crowds.
    • In The Chessman of Mars, when Tara is on trial as a Corphal, U-Thor advises her:
      "Yet you do not deny the accusation," said O-Tar.
      "It is not worthy the dignity of a denial," she responded haughtily.
      "And I were you, woman," said a deep voice at her side, "I should, nevertheless, deny it."
      Tara of Helium turned to see the eyes of U-Thor, the great jed of Manatos, upon her. Brave eyes they were, but neither cold nor cruel. O-Tar rapped impatiently upon the arm of his throne. "U-Thor forgets," he cried, "that O-Tar is the jeddak."
      "U-Thor remembers," replied the jed of Manatos, "that the laws of Manator permit any who may be accused to have advice and counsel before their judge."
    • In A Fighting Man of Mars, when Tan Hadron has been condemned to The Death, his fellow prisoner Nur An condoles with him and tells him they will suffer together. Tan Hadron encourages him, reminding him they aren't dead yet.
  • In Terry Pratchett's Unseen Academicals, Glenda and Trev both stick up for Nutt. Trev, in fact, tells Ridcully that Nutt is his friend, and he won't stand for him being hurt.
  • In Winnie the Pooh,
    • Christopher Robin pretends to believe that Pooh is a cloud to try to fool the bees and shoots down the balloon to get Pooh away from the bees.
    • Christopher Robin reads to Pooh when he's stuck in Rabbit's front door.
    • Pooh and Christopher Robin go to rescue Piglet in the flood, and Owl, well-intentioned, goes to encourage him with news that rescue is coming and tell him a story to divert his attention (accidentally endangering as it nearly puts Piglet to sleep and causes him to slip into the flood, but he meant well).
    • Pooh helps Tigger find something to eat.
    • Tigger goes to rescue Rabbit when he's lost in the mist.
    • Piglet volunteers his home for Owl to live in after Owl's is destroyed.
    • Pooh says Piglet would come live with him if he lost his home.
  • In Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Darnay returns to France to save the man who had adminstered his estates while he lived in England; and, of course, Sydney Carton.
  • In Wen Spencer's Endless Blue, Mikhail recalls such moments between him and Turk: Turk's stopping him from committing suicide, and his attacking a man who had hurt Turk, because Turk had bitten the man, and by attacking, he ensured that this was not just a matter of a Red attacking a human.
  • In Patricia C. Wrede's Thirteenth Child, William comes to visit Eff every day when she is recovering from rheumatic fever.
  • In Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, David Logan sacrifices the cotton crop by setting it on fire, to distract the lynch mob from going after TJ. The cotton crop was the only thing generating income for the family at the time. His wife had lost her teaching job (at the fault of TJ), he was unable to return to his railway job because of an injury. Also, this takes place in the 30's.
    • Also, Hammer, David Logan's brother, who lived and worked in the North, had previously been shown to making enough money to buy a Packard car, the same type as a wealthy white family in the area possess. When he receives word about his family's financial difficulties and the immediate need to pay the mortgage (courtesy of a particularly nasty white who wanted the land), he sells the car for the necessary money.
  • In Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows, Badger, Rattie and Mole set out to prevent Toad's insane obsession with cars from ruining him. He escapes their attention by convincing Mole that he needs a doctor. Later, they help him reclaim Toad Hall.
  • In J. R. R. Tolkien's Return Of The King, Faramir overrules the healers in this much: Éowyn can go walk in the garden and look east.
  • In John C. Wright's The Phoenix Exultant, assistance by the Old Woman of the Sea, Harrier, and various Neputanians keeps Phaethon alive and gets him to his ship.
  • In John C. Wright's Chronicles of Chaos — the children for each other, all the time. Plus:
    • Lelaps, set to track them, deliberately leads pursuit away.
    • Hermes offers to Amelia to assist them. They wisely do not trust him but have to get his help.
    • Romus helps against Mrs Wren and leaves Amelia and Quentin with gifts.
    • Miss Daw can not fail to warn Boggins if they try to escape, but she does overlook everything that is not an escape attempt, and dallies when she must tell him. At her request, Corus also lets Amelia escape.
    • Sam picks up Amelia when she tries to hitchhike. She jumps in front of him when Corus shoots.
    • The ship picks them up in the middle of the sea. Victor weighs whether to help the ship even at the price of risking the universe because of this assistance; Colin refuses to not help. And when Amelia goes off to save them all, Vanity and Colin come after her.
  • In Aaron Allston's Galatea in 2-D, when Roger escapes the attack on his life, he deduces that Donna has also been targeted. He goes to her, finds the paintings brought to life haunting her, and when this triggers an attack, gets her away safely.
  • In Terry Pratchett's Only You Can Save Mankind, when Johnny realizes Bigmac has seen his friends crash the car they stole, he is running after him before he even thinks; he stops Bigmac from getting too close.
  • In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero's Daughter, Astreus toward Mephisto, though it takes Miranda a while to figure out how, and then how badly he paid for it.
    • In Prospero Regained, the siblings are always having to rescue each other. And come through.
  • In P. G. Wodehouse's Hot Water, Packy sets out to help Jane and Blair Eggleston out of fellow feeling another pair of lovers. Later, Soup Slattery does something because among his few principles is to never let down a pal.
  • In Teresa Frohock's Miserere: An Autumn Tale, Lucian quickly goes to help Lindsey when he realizes she needs it, without having met her first.
  • In Devon Monk's Dead Iron, when Rose is thrown out of the meeting where the Witch Hunt is started, she resolves that nothing can stop her from helping Mae.
  • In Gene Stratton Porter's Michael O'Halloran, Douglas, in the opening, intervenes when Mickey is about to fight a boy twice his size for cheating him, and makes the other boy cough up the money. Shortly thereafter, Mickey takes in the crippled girl Peaches to prevent her going to the Orphanage of Fear.
  • In Devon Monk's Allie Beckstrom book Magic to the Bone, Zayvion does this, repeatedly, for Allie, such as giving her money for a taxi. She is suspicious of motives, though his working for her father does give her some reason.
  • In John Hemry's Paul Sinclair series, most of the junior officers will stick together, as when they attend Wakeman's trial to provide moral support during Sinclair's testimony.
  • In Poul Anderson's "A World Called Maanerek", Smit thinks he is being this when he suggest that Wanen could watch a woman being lobotomized, have the first chance to rape her, and then throw her out the airlock when she was used up — "tension release" as the Hegemony puts it. Wanen feels an "illogical resentment" for it, and then realizes that he's insane.
  • In P. G. Wodehouse's Jill The Reckless, Freddie thinks he is being this when he goes to the train station where Derek is meeting his mother.
  • In C. S. Lewis's The Four Loves, he notes that friends not only help each other but don't care afterwards. "Don't mention it" expresses what they really feel.
  • In J. R. R. Tolkien's Smith of Wootton Major, the birch that saves Smith from the wind.
  • In Robin McKinley's Sunshine, many people from the coffeehouse help out Sunshine after the kidnapping. Constantine also helps cure her; when Yolanda confirms that he had done so, she is willing to take it as proof of his friendliness, even though he's a vampire.
  • In Beowulf, Wiglaf goes to help Beowulf against the dragon.
  • In Ravenor vs. Eisenhorn, Deathrow appears to save Judika from the warblind in the hollow ays.
  • Winds up being serious subverted in A Song of Ice and Fire with Tyrion and Bronn. Bronn made a point of warning Tyrion just after they met that he was interested in money, not in risking his neck for no benefit to himself. Three books later, when they've become close — Bronn saving Tyrion's life several times, Tyrion using his influence to get Bronn more wealth and power than he could have ever dreamed of — Tyrion finds himself in desperate need of a champion to help prove his innocence in a trial that is rigged against him. Bronn winds up turning him down, reminding him that he did, in fact, make the nature of their relationship clear right up front. Tyrion has to settle for A Brother In Need instead.
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga novel Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, Ivan to Tej and Rish — sheltering them in his apartment and then staging a fake marriage to protect them. The consequences for him snowball. When they are trapped underground, Tej is glad she can be there for him because their situation brings back painful memories for him.
  • In Sarah A. Hoyt's Draw One in the Dark, Tom knows he can't leave Kyrie to fight alone, because she helped him — and because they are both shifters.
  • In Seanan McGuire's Velveteen Vs The Junior Super Patriots, Velma to Yelena when they were both new to the superhero stuff.
  • In Dorothy Gilman's The Clairvoyant Countess, Madame Karitska provides advice and guidance to many people at crucial moments.
    • At one point, she advises Mr. Faber-Jones to come to the hospital and sit with Lt. Pruden while he recovers, because his father is too ill to do so. He does.
  • In Andre Norton's Dread Companion,
    • Kilda, despite needing it herself, is unable to deny food to the creature dogging her steps because she had just learned it may need to reverse a Baleful Polymorph. She throws it some and runs away.
    • Later, she hears someone calling names and realizes she can then escape. After that, the creature, more man-like, is able to confirm that he had returned the favor.
  • In Andre Norton's Ice Crown, Roane helps the kidnapped princess. Later, realizing she can never return to her own people if she goes, she nonetheless goes to help rescue Nelis Imfray.
  • In Andre Norton's Catseye, the fox appeals to Troy, and he helps the kinkajou.
  • In Andre Norton's Storm over Warlock, when Shann is scouting for supplies on the downed ship, a Throg attacks him. He is aided by a thrown rock by a survivor from the human ship.
  • In Andre Norton's Forerunner Foray, Turan uses the last of his strength to save Ziantha from being trapped in D'Eyree's death.
  • In Andre Norton's The Zero Stone, Eet saves Jern and the captive patrolman from the Guild; he points out to the Patrolman that he was lucky that Eet and Jern have an alliance, since he had to rescue both of them.
  • In Ruth Frances Long's The Treachery of Beautiful Things, Puck helps Jenny escape as the cottage is swallowed up the forest.
  • In Julie Kagawa's The Iron King,
    • Meghan frees the ogre Grumley in return for his help.
    • When Shard makes a counter-offer, Grumley refuses to attack his friends.
    • The packrats assist Meghan.
  • Pact has a community of starving artists in Toronto, most of them poor and generally unsuccessful. When Blake, the local Handyman, finds himself threatened by supernatural forces due to his inheritance (and is convinced to actually tell them what's going on), all of them pitch in to help out, in spite of his warnings that people are trying to kill him and worse.
  • Thinner: When his wife fails to believe he is cursed (and in fact conspires with a local doctor to commit him to a Mental Institution should he return home), Billy turns to Richie Ginelli, a Mafioso who he is acquainted with. Richie sends Billy a doctor, then shows up himself to wreak havoc on the Gypsies until they agree to lift the curse. He dies for his troubles, but accepted that fact beforehand.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Simon Tam's rescue of his sister in Firefly. One of the best examples ever. As it happens both The Government and her parents who were supposed to protect her, betrayed her. And her big brother did not.
    • "I didn't think you'd come for me." "Well you're a dummy".
    • "You take care of me, Simon. You always take care of me. My turn."
    • Don't you dare forget that Simon stood beside her on that pyre!
    • And of course, the whole crew coming to rescue Simon and River from that pyre in the Trope Namer for Big Damn Heroes.
    • The whole crew storming into Nishka's fortress to rescue Mal without a moment's hesitation.
    • Mal protects his old war-buddy from an evil Alliance official in The Message. Even though he had just mortally wounded said buddy when he tried to take one of Mal's crew hostage out of desperation. When you can't walk you crawl, and when you can't do that... you find someone to carry you.
    • Mal comes to Inara's aid in Serenity even knowing it was a trap, because he knew she wouldn't ask him into a trap unless she were already caught in it herself.
  • In Teen Wolf, Stiles doesn't waver when his best friend goes through his...wolfish tendencies. He offers support and stands by his side even when he tried to kill him in one of his transformations. So far, he's The Confidant and the Secret Keeper to Scott.
    • Hidden Depths: Stiles is also seen somewhat frustrated with Scott at times, particularly in "The Tell" when he's got things to tell him, but Scott doesn't have his phone on.
  • In Torchwood, after Ianto deceived them all, nearly killing them all, by hiding a Cyberman whom he did not realize was no longer the woman he loved, and the Cyberman was killed, Ianto grieved. Much to his surprise, Jack touched his arm in a gesture of support.
  • Sarah and Chuck unhesitatingly went rogue to try and help their partner Casey when they thought he'd been falsely accused of treason.
    • Similarly, Casey has covered for Sarah and Chuck with Beckman more than once when they bent the rules.
    • In defense of Chuck, his best buddy Morgan attempted to attack a ninja in the pilot. Said ninja promptly beat the crap out of him, but it's the thought that counts.
  • In Star Trek: The Original Series, the Enterprise crew often risk their lives to help a fellow member. In "Amok Time", Kirk was willing to disobey a direct order from Starfleet to help Spock get to Vulcan, fortunately Spock's family matriarch pulls some strings to make sure the Captain is not in trouble. In "Turnabout Intruder", Spock was the first one to believe that Kirk was in another body and defended him when the imposter tried to kill Kirk. In "The Empath", Mc Coy knocked out both Kirk and Spock so that they won't be subjected to a torture that would either kill them or leave them insane and he would be chosen instead of them.
  • In the first episode of Sherlock, when Sherlock is with a serial killer and is on the verge of taking one of the (purportedly) poisoned pills the man had been using to kill his victims, John arrives and shoots the killer through the window from the next building.
    • Sherlock returns the favor in the second episode by saving John and his date Sarah when they're captured by the Black Lotus.
    • In the third episode, when the Big Bad is strapping innocent people to bombs as part of his mind games with Sherlock, John calls Sherlock out for not caring that there are lives at stake. Sherlock shrugs this off, reasoning that caring about people won't help save them, so he won't make the mistake of doing so. Then John gets strapped to a bomb. Guess who decides to start caring?
  • In the Doctor Who story The War Machines, when another man is hassling Polly, Ben tells him to stop and does not retreat from a fight. (Polly starts complaining, but Dodo urges that he was only trying to help.) Then the Doctor shows up looking for Dodo, and Ben stays with them until they close shop, and continues to be involved in the adventure for no more reason than that they need help.
  • Friends: When Monica is stung by a jellyfish Chandler, going above and beyond the call of duty, pees on her to stop the pain. Not only does this disgust their other friends but kills his chances of ever becoming 'boyfriend material' in her eyes. Or so it appears at the time. Joey also tries to help but gets stage fright.
  • From Supernatural: Sam's gone off to unknowingly break the last seal and Dean's been put on ice by the angels. His only hope is to convince his one angelic ally Castiel to help him out. Keeping in mind that this guy was tortured for liking Dean too much, it's kind of a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming when Cas comes through.
  • The original Battlestar Galactica has Apollo and Boomer help clear Starbuck's name in one episode, "Murder on the Rising Star". Starbuck was framed for murder of his rival Ortega by Baltar's former pilot, Karibdis.
  • Starsky & Hutch are willing to go out of their own ways to help each other when each is shot, poisoned or even framed for murder.

    Music 
  • "Lean on Me", by Bill Withers. The lyrics are shown in the illustration on this page.
  • "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon & Garfunkel.
    "I'm on your side/When times get rough/And friends just can't be found

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In Prickly City, Carmen feels small, lost, and rudderless — Winslow offers to carry her for a time — and she feels big.

    Theatre 

  • Timon of Athens plays with this trope. Timon is very generous to his friends at the start of the play— he gives one friend money so he can get married, and bails another friend out of an execution sentence. When Timon goes bankrupt, you expect his friends to repay their debt, but they don't. This act of betrayal is so great Timon becomes a misanthropic hermit and swears to never be kind to anyone ever again.

     Video Games  

  • Chris and Jill in Resident Evil. In Resident Evil 5, Chris even abandons his original mission with Sheva to search for Jill when he finds out she may not actually be dead.
  • Ace Attorney: Phoenix Wright became a lawyer because of this trope. Never mind that said friend is someone Phoenix knew for eight months in grade school, and that he doesn't necessarily even want Phoenix's help in the first place.
  • Aeka's route in Yume Miru Kusuri focuses on this. Kouhei starts as the only person who will speak to her. Except Kouhei still doesn't stand up for her until about 90% of the way through her route because he simply doesn't want to make trouble for himself. The rest of the class is even worse.
  • The rationale behind the various Loyalty Missions in Mass Effect 2, Neverwinter Nights 2, Dragon Age, and Knights of the Old Republic. Examples include:
    • Helping Neeshka prove she is the best thief in the city by breaking into the secure mansion of a famous art collector.
    • Getting Bastila and her mother to reconcile their differences.
    • Reuniting Thane Krios with his son.
    • Getting Alistair in touch with his only remaining family.
    • Helping Jolee's old war buddy with a murder charge.
    • Helping Garrus track down the traitor who sold out his team to the people who killed them all.
    • Killing Flemeth to ensure Morrigan doesn't become her next victim.
    • Helping Khelgar complete his lifelong quest to become a monk.
  • Also the climax of Neverwinter Nights 2, in which Garius tries to get several party members to betray you. Some of them even listen to him, if you were mean to them. Qara is especially hard to keep on your side, especially if you've been getting along with Sand.
    • At the Betrayer's Gate in Mask of the Betrayer, you can set down a Line in the Sand for your entire party. If you treated them well, nobody refuses.
  • The scene immediately after The Reveal in Knights of the Old Republic, if you play it right. After Carth expresses his extreme doubts about your loyalty, you can ask each and every one of your crew if they will stand with you, and all of them back you up.
  • In Planescape: Torment all your party members will one by one confront the Transcendent One and refuse its offer to betray the Nameless One and even attempt to put up a desperate fight against the monster.
  • In Final Fantasy X, the whole gang goes off to rescue Yuna from her marriage to Seymour, despite pretty much effectively declaring war on the Yevon church.
  • When Sora was about to be attacked by Riku, Goofy and Donald Duck stepped in, essentially breaking their promise to their king to stand by the one who held the Keyblade, which at this point, Riku had.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas - Cesar leading Carl to the Wham Mission is what solidifies the friendship between the two.
  • Fading Hearts revolves around this trope, with Ryou trying to help his friends Claire and Rina with their problems. Claire's Jerkass boyfriend is verbally abusing her, while Rina's behaviour is becoming more evasive, making Ryou wonder what is really happening.
  • In Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Elena keeps coming to Nate's rescue despite their prickly relationship, and almost gets killed by a grenade for her trouble. Compare her to Chloe, the sex kitten love interest of this instalment, who repeatedly gets the hell out of dodge and saves her own skin rather than stick around and help Nate.
  • Ursaring from PokéPark Wii says this after Glalie offers him shelter from the cold.
  • In The Witcher one of the added adventures is Geralt repaying Dandelion's debt to a gangster precisely because Dandelion is one of his true, through-thick-and-thin friends.

    Webcomics 

     Western Animation  

  • After an argument with Danny, Sam inadvertently wished they never met, causing a nearby Literal Genie to grant it; Danny ends up losing his powers and memories of her. With a ghost on the loose, Sam goes to great lengths to restore Danny back to normal, struggling since she only has herself to pull the whole thing off, not to mention Danny's great reluctance. He's grateful by end.
  • The song, "A True, True Friend" from the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Season 3 finale is basically all about this trope. In order to break the destiny switching spell, Twilight has her friends help each other out and rediscover what their true destinies are in the process.

     Real Life  

  • According to many YouTube videos, The United States towards Japan.
  • Niccolò Machiavelli recommends this in The Prince. It is tempting to sit on the sidelines or try to claim neutrality if an ally is attacked, but doing this (rightly) makes you look weak and unreliable.


Monster AdventurersGoodness TropesFriend to All Children
The Four LovesSelflessness TropesFriend to All Living Things
Captive DateHeartwarming/Game Of Thrones AscentYou Are Not Alone
Forgotten Friend, New FoeFriendship TropesFriendless Background
Frequently-Broken Unbreakable VowPlotsFrivolous Lawsuit
Evil Is PettyImageSource/Web ComicsFriendship Moment
    WebVideo/University Ever AfterArt Shift

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