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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.
  • Chapter 15 of the Doctor Who New Adventures 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".
  • 95% of the Chris corner of the Charmed fandom consists of little more than rotruting the ever living daylights out of the poor witch.
  • 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 trope is what makes all Shinji/Asuka shipping from Neon Genesis Evangelion possible since Shinji is too cowardly to make advances while Asuka hates his guts with a passion (plus she's afraid of getting too close to someone in the first place). Results may vary from WAFF to horrific, depending on the writer.
  • 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.
  • Rent has Hurt/Comfort Fic that's practically built in, with about half the cast having AIDS and Roger being a recovering drug addict on top of having HIV.
  • Kurt from Glee is tailor-made for this, being an out-and-proud Camp Gay who was bullied severely for it, especially by Karofsky who was revealed to be an Armored Closet Gay himself. Blaine is by far the comforter in the romantic fics, while Finn is the comforter in platonic fics.
  • 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".
    • There's also an enormous number of fics in which Rainbow Dash pushes her flight training too far and injures her wings, either threatening or outright dashing her dream of joining the Wonderbolts. "Rainbow Dash breaks her wings" fics became so ubiquitous that they were eventually banned on Equestria Daily.
      • 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.
  • This is a staple of the Supernatural fandom. Dean in particular gets beat up, guilt tripped, humiliated, has his many insecurities flaunted, is verbally abused, tortured, raped, etc., with alarming frequency. The other characters are in no way protected from this though.
  • 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.
  • Go to Fanfiction.net's Avengers archive. Narrow down the field to "Loki" and "Hurt/comfort." You'll be there for a while.
  • "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.
  • Catherine Anderson has basically built her entire writing career on the published version of this.
  • The Naruto/One Piece fic "Fly Free" is built up around a lot of things, but the cornerstone is Robin playing the role of a comforting adult to a lot of the messed up kids in Konoha... and beyond.
  • A ship manifesto "Horatio Hornblower/Archie Kennedy (Hornblower)" by tanacawyr argues that Horatio Hornblower and his Heterosexual Life Partner Archie Kennedy from Horatio Hornblower are an ideal Fandom for shippers who like their Fan Fic Slashed and enjoy Hurt/Comfort fics. The series has got it all, in the author's opinion: "Beauty, war, danger, drama, fits (Archie's epileptic seizures), hysteria, (almost) canon sexual abuse, swashbuckling adventure, explosions, loyalty, delicious dialogue, devotion, tender midnight confessions, hurt and comfort by the bucketloads." The episode "The Duchess and the Devil" has Horatio sitting by Archie's bedside as Archie catapults himself up in a nightmare, and Horatio gives him a drink of water. Horatio is terrified that he might not be able to save his Archie's life. There's intense hurt/comfort like that in canon. Now, it's no wonder that fans like to elaborate on this subject matter.
  • This is very popular in the Axis Powers Hetalia fandom, especially since it offers many opportunities for it. Because the series has fights (both verbal and physical) be canon analogies for battles or bad relationships, it's easy to depict historic events where one Nation is attacked by another and left to be comforted by a third. Or the attacker, if the author chooses to have them fight against their wishes.
  • An awful lot of Sherlock Holmes fanfiction is thus; Watson ends up on the receiving end more often than Holmes, but it's a close run thing.
  • This is extremely popular in Fire Emblem fandom as a whole. Some of the most beloved hurt/comfort scenarios are:
    • Ike reassuring Soren over his difficult past. The jury is out on whether or not this is redundant given it's already happened twice in canon.
    • Tibarn/Reyson dealing with the Serenes Massacre.
    • Nino/Jaffar is a gold mine for this due to his past as a Tyke Bomb and her being dealt several harsh blows in quick succession.
    • Eliwood/Ninian has this in their supports, but that didn't stop the fans from adding even more.
    • Chrom comforting the Avatar over their role as the intended Soul Jar for Grima.
    • Any Cordelia fic dealing with her unrequited love for Chrom, but especially Frederick/Cordelia.
    • The Avatar promising to make sure Lucina never feels alone or helpless again.
  • The Littlest Pet Shop (2012) story "The Times They Are A-Changin'" identifies itself as one of these, but this tragic tale of the pets' relationships deteriorating when Blythe abandons them and Penny's owners move away also has strong Dark Fic elements.
  • The Family Guy fanfic, "Payback from a Pipe" acts as an epilogue to the episode "Quagmire's Dad." When Stewie finds out about what Quagmire did to Brian, he hunts him down, beats the crap out of him, tells him off about everything that's wrong with him and what he did to Brian, and lastly forces Quagmire to apologize to Brian for attacking him earlier.
  • The Attack on Titan fanfiction, Passionate Pragmatism has a lot of this (which is somewhat to be expected, considering the nature of the series and all the awful things that happen to the characters). In it, Erwin is filled with guilt for everything he's done while Hange tries to convince him that he's a good person.

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