Stay with Me Until I Die
A character, often (but not always) a sickly child, knows she is about to die and asks another, usually an adult, to stay with them until the time comes. Very commonly, this invitation is reserved for someone special to her. As mentioned already, it is not just about dying children, but children make it more heart-wrenching, since it's plain wrong for them to die before the adults around them. Sub-Trope of Please Don't Leave Me. Defiance of Dying Alone. Related to You Are Not Alone. Pretty much guaranteed to be a Tear Jerker. An excellent way to give The Stoic a Pet the Dog moment, since it doesn't require them to actually show any emotion - just being there at all demonstrates kindness. See also Mayfly-December Romance. A cruel subversion may occur if the person being asked to stay becomes Distracted from Death. Sometimes, this is why you Don't Fear the Reaper, Death him/her/itself gives you company. Death Trope. Expect spoilers.
Examples (remember, this is a Death Trope!):
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Anime & Manga
- Averted in Vandread. On one planet, the main cast are helping out the sickly people. Bart befriends the Ill Girl Shirley and tells her about adventures they've been through. She begins to make a small doll of Bart as a memento to remember her by, when the alien Harvesters attack. He promises to protect her from it, and Shirley asks that he return to her afterwards. While Bart is up there, having a spectacular Big Damn Heroes moment for her entire planet, poor Shirley succumbs to her disease. As for the doll, she never finishes sewing the hair onto it, so Bart shaves off his hair completely to match it instead.
- In Hunter × Hunter, the Chimera Ant King Meryem is fatally poisoned by Netero's suicidal Rose Bomb attack. He faces his death with dignity and seeks out Komugi so he can play a few more games of gungi with her. He warns her that the poison inside him is contagious and that she will die if she stays near him. She refuses to abandon him since knowing him allowed her to feel true happiness. After a few games (in which she remains undefeated), Meryem finally succumbs to the poison and asks Komugi to stay with him until the end. Komugi holds his hand as she too succumbs to the poison.
- Somewhat displayed in Kakashi's death in Naruto. At first it appears that he dies alone, but he gets an internal dying dream sequence where his dead friends, teacher and father all greet him. Although it's clear he dies, it's unclear at what point he actually dies - is it right away? Is it gradual? Is it when he sees his father?
- In Claymore, as Tabitha lies dying of her wounds, her last request is for her beloved captain Miria to hold her hand—which Miria fulfills, of course.
- In The Punisher MAX story arc "Man of Stone", Frank was just beginning to like a woman who is his female counterpart when she steps on an old mine in Afghanistan. She has two requests for him, one of which was to hold her until she died.
- In the "Wolf at the Door" arc of Fantastic Four, Reed tries to talk a man out of committing suicide - only to learn that he's terminally ill and is terrified of Dying Alone in a hospital bed. Reed gives him a number to call when the time comes, promising that he'll be there even if he's fighting Doctor Doom when he gets the call.
- Optimus Prime, as the Big Good of the The Transformers, has done this for more than a few characters in the comics. Notably, in at least two instances, he has unhestatingly abandoned his weapons and stayed with a fatally injured Decepticon, taking genuine pity even on the likes of Scorponok and Iguanus, staying with both until they died of their wounds. In spite of trying to kill Optimus for the better part of several million years in their respective stories, both Decepticons in both continuties are comforted by Optmius being the last person there with them.
- In Kyon Big Damn Hero, Yuki invoked this trope by calling Kyon after she learns the IDSE scheduled her deletion. She didn't die though, because she never considered Kyon would react by using his Trust Password on Haruhi.
- In Uplifted Admiral Jalina'Calis watching the sunset over the North African desert with Erwin Rommel promising her that the desert would be her people's new home.... It was just... D'awwwww
- The Total Drama story, Legacy features an inversion. The dying contestant is unconscious and so can't ask, but Chef Hatchet stays with her of his own accord because he thinks it important that she not die alone.
- In Fragile Thread, we have this with Mako, when she summons Ryuko to be by her side as she commits suicide,however, she did tell her she was free to go if that was too much.
- RoboCop 2. The boy Hob is mortally wounded by Cain's attack. RoboCop finds him and says he's going to call for medical help, but:
Hob: Don't leave me.RoboCop: I won't leave you. [takes Hob's hand]
- In X-Men, Storm does this for the artificially mutated Senator Kelly.
- In Heat, Al Pacino's character, the cop, shoots Robert De Niro's character, then stays with him out of Not So Different companionship.
- Righteous Kill has this in the end except Al is the one asking Robert for this moment.
- Collateral's ending when Vincent (played by Tom Cruise) dies and asks Max (Jamie Fox) is this moment.
- In The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Tibby spends the night with Bailey in the hospital before she dies after ending her cancer treatment.
- In Quantum of Solace, James Bond stays with a mortally wounded Mathis and comforts him. Much to Camille's shock, as soon as Mathis dies, Bond steals his wallet and throws his body into a dumpster. Bond merely comments that "He [Mathis] wouldn't care."
- Not a word is spoken by either character, but near the end of The Good The Bad And The Ugly Blondie encounters a mortally wounded young soldier and, knowing the kid won't make it, Blondie covers the him with a makeshift blanket (his duster) and offers the dying boy one last smoke before death takes him.
- Izzy tries to get Tom to do this in The Fountain. Considering the fact that the message of the movie is that death should be accepted gracefully rather than fought desperately, it can be argued that this trope is a central motif to the film. In his head at least, Tom does get to do this for her in the end of his story.
- One of the tracks for the film is "Stay With Me" by Clint Mansell.
- At the climax of The Proposition, Charlie shoots his villainous brother Arthur, who then hobbles outside to die. But since they're still brothers, Charlie goes out too and they watch the sunset together.
- Subverted in Way Of The Gun when Sarno discovers the mortally wounded Abner. Sarno is clearly anxious to resume the hunt, but feels too guilty to leave Abner before he dies. Abner isn't actually that close to death, so he just keeps rambling on his final words, occasionally pausing just long enough for Sarno to think that he's finally died before resuming. Finally Abner tells Sarno that he'd prefer to die alone, so Sarno awkwardly but gratefully takes his exit.
- Gafinilan and Mertil from Animorphs.
- Snowden from Catch-22.
- In the first Incarnations of Immortality book, mistakes occasionally bring Thanatos to the side of dying people who don't actually need him to judge them. He stays with them anyway.
- In the Alex Rider books Yassen Gregorovich asks Alex to stay with him.
- In The Hunger Games, Katniss stays with Rue and sings to her as she dies.
- In Artemis Fowl, Turnball Root willingly does this with his wife as she heads into certain death at the bottom of the ocean.
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the resurrected forms of James, Lily, Sirius, and Remus stay with Harry as he walks to meet Voldemort in the forest, prepared to sacrifice himself.
- Harry: You'll stay with me?James: Until the very end.
- When Jesus was being crucified most of his followers had fled, but His mother, John and a couple of other women stood by the cross until He died.
- This is more of a subversion as at the Last Supper Jesus actually predicted that his followers would betray him. The episode in Gethsemane, where Jesus asks his disciples to stay with him while he wrestles with his impending death and they all instead fall asleep comes very close to this trope, though.
- Defied in The Children of Húrin, where Gwindor begs Túrin to leave him as he's dying to go save the woman they both love.
- Invoked in Beastly. After Kyle is shot, Lindsy wants to go get help for him. He has a vision of Dying Alone in an ambulance, and begs her to stay with him, since he'd rather die with her with him.
- The eponymous hero of Rudyard Kipling's The Miracle of Purun Bhagat in The Second Jungle Book, a Hindu holy man who is supported by an animal companion:
Purun Bhagat dropped fainting by his side, for the chill of the rain and that fierce climb were killing him; but first he called to the scattered torches ahead, 'Stay and count your numbers'; then, whispering to the deer as he saw the lights gather in a cluster: 'Stay with me, Brother. Stay - till - I - go!'
- Also in The Second Jungle Book, Akela's death in Red Dog.
- Rest Calm, by Nightwish.
You are the moon pulling my black waters
You are the land in my dark closet
Stay by my side until it all goes dark forever
When silent, the silence comes closer
Live Action TV
- On Doctor Who, Rose got the Doctor to take her back to the day her father died (hit by a car), because in the original history he died alone which was a regret of her mother's. Rose held his hand as he died. (She did try to save him at first, but doing that broke reality because they'd been to that time before and interfering with your own interfering is bad.)
- In "Blink", Sally Sparrow stays with Old!Billy "until the rain stops."
- Buffy does this for the sexbot April, when the latter breaks down and runs out of gas.
- Ironically this causes Buffy to lose an opportunity to save her mother's life, or at least be there when she died.
- In Criminal Minds, the killer from " Pleasure Is My Business" asks for Hotch to do this. He does. "You're the first man who didn't let me down."
- Gideon did it more than once also, of his own accord, memorably for one of the unsubs in "Open Season".
- Garcia does this for a victim in "Exit Wounds". When Morgan asks her why (as she'd run directly towards the killer), she told him that when she was shot, the only thing she was thinking was that the last thing she was going to see was her shooter's face and she couldn't let the victim die like that.
- The whole team gets in on this. There's a woman trapped in her car, which she thinks is going to explode. While they're frantically trying to defuse the bomb, Morgan insists on staying with her at her request. The others are, understandably, distraught at this choice. Later, Prentiss tries to defy this trope, but he insists on staying with her while she's "dying".
- In Star Trek: Voyager, the Doctor is told "if you stay with me, I won't be scared" by his dying holographic "daughter".
- Another one in which Tuvok agreed to stay with a little girl who is really an old woman so that she won't be afraid.
- In Prison Break, Michael stays with Roland until he takes his last breath. Luckily, he goes quickly as sirens can be heard in the distance.
- Happens word-for-word in Grey's Anatomy.
- Cruelly subverted with Denny. After Izzy spends weeks by his side, falling in love with him, she's not there when he dies.
- In Stargate Atlantis ("Poisoning the Well"), the dying scientist Perna asks Dr. Beckett to stay with her. He then kisses her forehead.
- In an episode of Touched by an Angel, a young prostitute is brutally beaten by her customer. As she lies dying in an alleyway, Andrew, the Angel of Death approaches. Not realizing who he is and assuming he's just a random pedestrian, she begs him to stay with her, never knowing that he's come to do exactly that.
- In the two-part NCIS episode Engaged, Gibbs and Zivz travel to the Middle East to rescue a captive Marine. While there, Ziva bonds with the Marine's commanding officer Captain Quincy. He is shot in the neck during the rescue, and despite being surrounded by both his squad and the Corpsman, he asks Ziva to stay with him. She does.
- Cruelly subverted in in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Kira Nerys' father Kira Taban was shot by the Cardassians. Although she was by his side for most of it, she left with the rest of her resistance cell to the kill those responsible despite him begging her to stay. Her father died alone, calling out her name, and she only missed it by a matter of hours. It haunted her for the rest of her life.
- The episode that reveals this, "Ties Of Blood and Water", also has a Cardassian who became a surrogate father-figure to her dying. After learning of something he did during the Occupation she storms off, only to be convinced to return as "he doesn't deserve to die alone." She returns and stays with him until he dies, and then buries him next to her father.
- Inverted in chinese drama Sword and Fairy: a mortally-wounded Ling'er spends her last moments assuring her husband that he is not alone and that she will never leave him.
- In the finale of Merlin, a dying Arthur asks Merlin to hold him as he dies.
- 'Just - just - just hold me. Please.'
- The last shot of the series finale of Lost is a bird's eye view of a mortally wounded Jack Shephard stumbling along and eventually falling over on his back. As he lies there dying, Vincent the Labrador walks up and lies down beside him so he doesn't have to die alone.
- Inverted with Breaking Bad; Mike's last words are basically demanding that Walt leave him alone and in peace as he dies.
- In the last episode of Angel, Wesley is mortally wounded by Cyvus Vail. Illyria asks him if he would like her to lie to him now. Hours ago Wesley refused to ask Illyria to spend the day with him as Fred, claiming it would be a lie. This time he gratefully accepts her offer. "Fred" holds Wesley's hand, reassuring him that they will be together soon. Wesley dies peacefully in the arms of the girl he loved.
- In Les Misérables, the dying Fantine sings "For God's sake, please stay til I am sleeping" to Valjean.
- Also, Eponine stops Marius from getting help for her, saying it's too late and that she just wants him with her as she dies.
- Hamlet doesn't ask, but Horatio stays with him until he dies, bidding him farewell with the famous line "Goodnight, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest." Many directors have Horatio cradle Hamlet's head in his lap, or something similar.
- The play Touch invokes this trope off-stage. The murdered wife apparently asked one of her kidnappers to do this. The moment of peace just before she died left a smile on her face, which, ironically enough, causes more anguish for her family and friends when they find out about the smile and what happened to her.
- In the end of Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, Zoe actually has to talk her long-lost little sister Faith into dying and all she asks in return is to play with her for a while.
- In Knights of the Old Republic 2, you can talk Visas into killing herself in order to weaken a major boss. If she agrees, she then asks the Exile to stay with her until she passes away. You can agree or take The Dark Side path.
- In Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 4: The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood, after Guybrush is stabbed in the chest by LeChuck's Cutlass of Kaflu, Elaine becomes distressed and runs to Guybrush's side, cradles him and stays with him until he breathes his last, even going so far as to reject LeChuck's advances and watch him regain his voodoo powers from La Esponja Grande and become the demon pirate once again. (Funny thing is that Guybrush never asks her to stay with him until the end, though she tries reviving him and he barely regains consciousness as he mumbles "Is that you, mother? I washed my hands..." and later asks her in his final words to destroy LeChuck for him, a vow she tearfully accepts.)
- Kleine from Fire Emblem: Shin Monshou no Nazo asks her stepsister Katarina to stay with her during her last moments. She does so.
- Kingdom Hearts II: After Axel's suicide attack, Sora stays by him as he's fading away. Axel doesn't ask him to; he just does.
- Project Zero 2: Wii Edition: In the Shadow Festival ending, Mio stays with Mayu as the Repentance engulfs them both. The game closes with their bodies shown Together in Death.
- A rather haunting example occurs in Majora's Mask if you save Romani Ranch and speak to Romani and Cremia on the last day. Cremia, apparently realising that even the ranch is not safe from the impending apocalypse, asks Romani to sleep with her in her bed tonight, knowing that neither of them will be alive by the next day...