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Hurt/Comfort Fic
"And nothing makes us identify - feel with - another person as immediately as empathy for their pain. It's instinctive. It's the root for the highest of human virtues - compassion - and the lowest of human evils - sadism. In HC, one can shade into another and it's okay because no real people are being hurt during the filming of this fanfic."

A Fan Fic about comforting one who is hurt. Usually based on either Break The Stoic or Break the Cutie, often to the point of Woobiefication: a regular character is damaged, either emotionally or physically, and another character (usually the character's partner, love interest, a teammate, or a Mary Sue) must comfort them. This comfort can become...intense. Alternatively, the author can create a Sympathetic Sue to get damaged so the author's favorite canon character can comfort him/her. A story can take place after specific episodes or installments of canon, or else the writer creates a new predicament. (The real trouble arises when they're not very novel about it, or pick a sensational situation that doesn't really fit the mood of the original series.)

Conversely, the above methods are often used by fanfiction authors as a way to force together two characters that would otherwise be at each others' throats or have nothing to do with one another. Maybe the characters don't know each other too well, or maybe they wouldn't get along well under normal circumstances, but once they see that poor kid bleeding on their doorstep there isn't much alternative to taking them in and nurturing them back to health....

Often used as part of Shipping. Sometimes, Ron the Death Eater is responsible for the "hurt" part and Draco in Leather Pants is responsible for the "comfort" part. (In fact, the derivation implied by those Trope Namers is quite common, typically with Hermione on the receiving end.) At other times, the characters stick to canonical roles (if not canonical characterization). In cases of physical hurt, it may be accidental or deliberately inflicted, but almost always there's some thinly-veiled reason why the injured cannot be taken to get medical attention (at least at first), which would involve them being cared for by mere strangers (with medical training) rather than someone who cares.

Fanwriters love this device because it gives the characters a situation which they both must struggle to overcome, without the author having to think too hard to create a believable plot. These types of fanfics will often be riddled with fluff and overly dramatized scenes in which the injured character lays out their entire tragic past for their rescuer to sympathize with (since Most Fanfic Writers Are Girls, part of this might appeal to women's tendency to value emotion and vulnerability), and more often than not transforms the characters' relationship from strained to romantic without much explanation in the interim, regardless of either character's gender or preference.

Can occasionally be done well, if the affliction is realistic and the story is well-written. Done especially often in medical show fandoms and buddy shows.

Often effective when combined with the Morality Pet, but ineffective when combined with Wimpification. Compare After Action Patch Up.

Common setups:

Examples

  • The Very Hungry Nematode is a SpongeBob SquarePants fanfiction that involves Squidward (reluctantly) taking care of a sick Spongebob, who has a bad case of the suds. A bit funnier than the usual angsty/shippy example, mainly because Spongebob is taking advantage of Squidward's hospitality so he can spend time with him, and it emphasizes the brotherly relationship between the two characters.
  • This The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess fic focuses on Telma the bartender comforting Link after the events and ending of the game.
  • This fic has Harley Quinn and Abel from The House of Secrets acting both as victim and comforter to each other.
  • "Tails Returns": Cosmo is hurt and Tails is the healer.
  • "Memories That Haunt", a Firefly Maliver fic (Captain Mal Reynolds and River aka Break the Cutie). Warning, lemon, rape (as drama), and angst. Good fic if you like that particular pairing.
  • Doctor Who New Adventures
    • Chapter 15 of the novel Set Piece by Kate Orman is actually called "Hurt/Comfort". In fact most of Orman's Doctor Who novels have at least one chapter like this.
    • Chapter 5 of the NA Human Nature, by Paul Cornell, is titled "Hurt/Comfort".
  • The "Springsteen Trilogy" by Ars Longa is a Star Wars example. Callista just left Luke and Kyp heals him. But Kyp was molested on Kessel so now he's bi and Luke is the healer. It just gets weirder from there.
  • This fancomic for the Sherlock Holmes movie. Notable because both characters know perfectly well that they're in a Hurt/Comfort fanfic. Holmes isn't too pleased about always having to be the sick one.
  • "Yellow Submarine" is a Harry Potter Hurt/Comfort fic. In an interesting variant, not only does the rescuer immediately find the rescued a doctor rather than trying to physically heal her himself, the story only really starts years later, as they both begin to heal the emotional wounds of the other.
  • Many Star Trek fics involve Spock being comforted by his lover (usually either Uhura or Kirk) over the destruction of his home planet. Just as many involve Kirk being comforted by his lover (either Spock, or McCoy, or Uhura, or insert-literally-ANY-character-here) over some horrible event in his past, usually child abuse, Rape as Backstory, Tarsus IV, his troubled youth years, etc. Chekhov tends to be tortured and comforted later by Sulu a lot, too.
  • A number of Star Trek: The Original Series fics, such as "Perdition's Flames" and "Memories Born Of Fire" center around the aftermath of "Amok Time", with Kirk helping Spock recover from the emotional trauma.
  • A lot of Film Brain fic falls under this category, mostly helped on by his Break the Cutie arc in Kickassia. As an interesting contrast, the other main woobie of the fandom is usually left broken.
  • The Ace Attorney fandom is a hurt/comfort goldmine, in part because the "hurt" part is as easy as trapping Edgeworth in an elevator or earthquake. One popular example of the genre is a (clean) Kink Meme fill called Sleepless.
  • There's a recurring Hurt/Comfort Fic plot in the Carly/Freddie fic fandom in iCarly, that involves having Freddie hooked up with Sam, then playing Sam's violent and abusive tendencies from the show straight, without any of the Rule of Funny that it has on the show itself. An example can be found here: Candles.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
    • It has a lot of this type of fic. "Out in the Cold" and "Kindness's Reward" both revolve around one of the mane six (Twilight Sparkle and Fluttershy, respectively) finding, taking in, and falling in love with The Great and Powerful Trixie, humbled and suffering after the events of "Boast Busters".
    • The Cupcakes Chronicles was based on the infamous Cupcakes fanfic, except Rainbow Dash is instead saved at the last minute by Applejack, but after she had her wings cut off.
    • The widespread variations of Rainbow Dash Hurt/Comfort aren't just relegated to fanfiction stories. Ask Blind Rainbow Dash takes the form of an "Ask pony" tumblr in which Rainbow Dash is stricken with blindness and must adapt to her new life without the use of her eyes, being cared for by Twilight Sparkle and routinely wearing a collar and leash in order to be guided around.
    • "A Sight For Really Sore Eyes" is a classic hurt/comfort fanfic: love, accident, guilt, comfort, and finally shipping.
    • A Canterlot Wedding Aftermath is another example
  • "An Evening at the Airport", a long Tintin fanfic has a scene of this between Tintin and Martine. However it is a more subtle version of this as it is pretty understated and Martine's problems are shown as being more existential than the result of some trauma.
  • In "The Adventures Of Blinky Bill", Shifty Dingo and Nutsy already have a strong hurt/comfort type of friendship in the canon, with Shifty usually being the hurt one and Nutsy being the comforter. In the Mother's Day episode, Shifty helped reunite Nutsy with her long lost father. In the Wedding Picnic episode, the children started bullying Shifty after Marcia bit him, causing him to cry so Nutsy put her arm around him as she led him into class. In the Apple Thieves episode of season 2, Shifty is accused of stealing apples and starts crying so Nutsy hugs Shifty and lets him cry on her shoulder. The fanfic Scars Are Forever by Canzet Yote takes this trope Up to Eleven when Shifty gets tortured and Nutsy stays by his bedside while he's in a coma and later in the same fic, his big brother Danny commits suicide. Cue Shifty crying niagra falls and Nutsy cuddling him.
  • "Force Of Good", a Tomb Raider fanfic that has Lara visited by an angel-like being after the death of her mother in Legend.
  • "Plankton's Eye View" is a SpongeBob SquarePants fanfic that focuses on Plankton's life after ten years in prison, his hurt, bitterness, regret, and his Heel-Face Turn. The comfort character here is Howard, the Original Character who allows Plankton to experience friendship again after so many years in loneliness. Crowning Moments Of Heartwarming abound.
  • "Fix You" is a Superjail! fanfic that focuses on the Mistress comforting and healing the Warden while Superjail's inmates are rioting.
  • If a Touhou fanfic/doujin is centered around Mokou, it will have a certain degree of this. If the other central character is Keine, expect a lot of WAFF. If the other central character is Kaguya, the line between 'hurting' and 'comforting' can get extremely blurred.
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