This is when a hero doesn't immediately rescue the Damsel in Distress. He has the means and the ability to do so, but for whatever reason, it's not the right time.
Maybe he has more work to do and doesn't want to be discovered. Maybe the Distressed Damsel is just going to get in his way or complicate matters if she's rescued. Maybe she's actually more insistent that he catch the villain.
Whatever the reason, the hero leaves the damsel in distress (at least for the time being), while he goes off to thwart the villain, find the magical MacGuffin or accomplish some other task.
A sub-trope of Damsel in Distress. Compare Passive Rescue, where someone is given the means to get themselves out of distress, and Something We Forgot, where the hero doesn't immediately rescue someone because they've forgotten about their situation.
- A Sly Cooper animated short had a version of this with Carmalita Fox being left Bound and Gagged while Sly sought out his target.
- Ultra Fast Pony: In "The David Bowie Drinking Game", Rarity gets kidnapped by some diamond dogs. She's a huge masochist and wants to get bound and tortured for a bit, so she asks Spike to wait four hours or so before organizing a rescue party.
- One "Fractured Fairy Tales" segment on Rocky and Bullwinkle had the prince in Sleeping Beauty leave the princess sleep instead so he could make her into a tourist attraction.
- In the Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! episode "Scooby Doo and a Mummy Too", Shaggy leaves the professor Bound and Gagged after getting his word that he's all right. "Groovy. Be back for you later."