Subotai: He is Conan, Cimmerian. He will not cry, so I cry for him.
Sometimes, even if the sadness one feels is like the weight of the entire world on his shoulders, a malignant combination of cultural brainwash like Men Don't Cry and personal trauma has sealed a person to his or her feelings, and the tears simply refuse to flow despite the soul-crushing grief he or she is bearing.
There is, therefore, no stronger action that dictates a person's love, sensitivity and kindness than having him cry in his friends' place, to bear their pain for them so that they can have the courage to live on.
Compare Trying Not to Cry.
- Miki for Yuu in Marmalade Boy, when she learns that he's a Stepford Smiler who believes he's an illegitimate son.
- In Black★Rock Shooter, Mato, Yuu, and Saya all cry for Kohata when her love letter is posted on a bulletin board for the entire school to see. Saya cries right in front of her, which is not a good thing, as it causes her to realize what a terrible thing has happened to her and develop an otherself.
- A pair of knights in The Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer has a strange version; Hanako the Mantis Knight is stoic and strong, so when she got injured, the (unharmed) Mouse Knight Taiyou would cry in her place.
- In Fist of the North Star, when Asuka, Ein's adopted daughter, was asked why she is not crying at her father's funeral, she replies, "If I cry, Daddy won't be able to rest." Kenshiro hugs the brave little girl with warmth and kindness and weeps Tender Tears of sadness in her place.
- In Monster, Wolfgang Grimmer holds a traumatised little boy and starts crying over him, causing the boy to slowly come out from his BSOD and return Grimmer's hug. What makes this especially heartwarming is that until that point, Grimmer himself had been Unable to Cry due to the horrific abuse he had suffered during childhood.
- Edward Elric, the burnt-out hero of Fullmetal Alchemist, irritably asks his childhood friend Winry "What are you crying for?" after she admits to having opened his pocket watch. She replies "Because you won't, neither of you will! So now I'm crying for you both!"
- To elaborate, the pocketwatch had the date the boys left their hometown and served as a reminder for their mission to restore what they lost. Winry in turn is crying because of what the boys have lost and the journey ahead. Subverted later on after Ed saves her from Scar and they promise that the next time she cries for him, it will be tears of joy. Said promise was completed when she happily wept as Ed and Al returned, having gained back what they lost and more.
- Rock, the only truly decent human being in the Crapsack World of Black Lagoon, listens with sadness and horror rather than disgust at the coldly delivered "The Reason You Suck" Speech by Gretel, a little girl so traumatized by rape and torture with her twin brother Hansel back in Romania that murder has become the sole source of joy for them. He holds her in a tight embrace and weeps, begging her to accept the possibility that there is hope, and still a possibility of a new and happy life for a little girl like her. This act of sincere kindness, so alien to Gretel, was enough to move even a mass murderer like her to blush like a real little girl for the briefest of moments... and then one of the saddest moments of Does Not Know How to Say "Thanks" ever. Her version of thanks was to offer herself sexually to Rock, truly thinking that is the only way an adult will appreciate her in return.
- In Fruits Basket, Mayu said she cried in place of Hatori. Hatori demurs, and Mayu demands her tears back with interest.
- Inuyasha: Jaken does this on Sesshomaru's behalf when Rin dies.
- After the ending credits in episode 3 of the second season of Gundam 00 we see a scene where Marina and Setsuna are talking, and he says all he knows in life is fighting, then she starts crying, and when Setsuna asks why she cries, she replies "because you can't".
- In Baccano! Jacuzzi tells Nice that one of the reasons he cries so much at the smallest things is so that his tears can make up for all the times she wants to cry but has to stay strong.
- In the first episode of Ballad Of A Shinigami, Momo is in tears at the end, and is called a crybaby by her fuzzy sidekick. She replies, 'The dead cannot cry, so I cry for them.'
- In Black Butler, episode 24, when Ciel is about to die, he comments that Elizabeth will probably cry a lot. Sebastian adds that Lizzie will cry for two, as she knows he never cries.
- In Spiral, at his mother's funeral, a young Eyes asked that his best friend Kanone do this for him from then on; Kanone promised. (Though he's never shown to do it on-screen, he's still largely emotional enough for the two of them.)
- In the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga, Shadi cries for the mummies in a museum, due to his belief that they suffer a Fate Worse than Death.
- During one point in ∀ Gundam, after Diana and Kihel have switched identities, "Diana" and her courtiers visit the gravesite of Kihel's father. Though she would very well like to grieve, the ruse -though initially only meant for fun- would be exposed and the relations between humans and the moonrace could break down, and so "Kihel" instead cries passionately in the stead of the original.
- In Scryed, after Kimishima dies, Kazuma shows a face of stoic acceptance, going on about how he's used to pain, loss, abandonment and all that stuff... but his Morality Pet, Kanami, who has demonstrated a psychic link with Kazuma's inner self, has other thoughts.
Kanami: You're lying! You're sad too! Really sad! So I'll cry. I'll cry for you, too.
- Literally true for Princess Laura in Serendipity the Pink Dragon. Because she is a princess and not allowed to openly express her emotions, there is a race of creatures on the island that will do it for her. When she is sad, they wail and produce endless streams of tears; when she is happy, they bounce around joyfully.
- In Star Trek fandom, there were several poems and stories about Spock that had either Christine Chapel or Dr. McCoy saying "I weep for you, you will not weep for yourself." In the narrative poem "Lament for the Unsung Dead" by Jane Peyton (written years before Slash Fic), Spock wasn't able to save Kirk's life. He comes to Christine asking how do you go on when you've lost a friend. Life goes on, she says, you meet other people. There are no others, he says. And that's when she realizes that she has walled off her own emotions... I couldn't even cry for him.
- In the Sherlock fic Alone On the Water, the following is said in John's narration:
"She holds me while I have an honest-to-God sobbing breakdown of the sort that I probably ought to be embarrassed about, but somehow living with Sherlock's perpetual detachment has left me remarkably unselfconscious about whatever it is that I feel myself. I've become an avatar for his humanity. I must express all the emotion that he suppresses, so I end up doing double duty."
- In the Criminal Minds fanfic To live again Annie (who's not a big weeper herself) cries for Gideon when she realizes just how broken he really is.
- In the RWBY/Warhammer 40,000 Crossover The Death Korps of RWBY Ruby does this for the protagonist, a Imperial Guardsman of the Death Korps of Krieg after he relates some personal tragedy to her. And for someone who is normally an emotionless husk, he's touched by it.
- Up to Eleven in chapter 191 of Tales of Fairies, where after Tartaros Juvia cries for Gray, Natsu, Gajeel, Wendy, Sting, and Rogue after the loss of their parents.
- The Trope Namer comes from the film Conan the Barbarian (1982). Conan tenderly dresses the corpse of Valeria, the love of his life, as he prepares her funeral pyre for her journey to Valhalla. Yet for all his love, any tears that are left from his Men Don't Cry upbringing in childhood have been dried away by his twenty years of pitiless slavery. His best friend, Subotai, silently sheds Tender Tears as the Wizard asks, "Why do you cry?" To which the warrior answers: "He is Conan, Cimmerian. He will not cry, so I cry for him."
- Near the end of Lawrence of Arabia, Lawrence and his Arab followers have succeeded in defeating the Turks, but their own internal squabbles have doomed any attempt at forming a united post-independence government before it began, leaving Lawrence broken and disillusioned. Sherif Ali storms out and begins to weep, which leads to this exchange with Auda abu Tayi.
Auda: Do you love him?
Ali: *angrily, with tears running down his face* No, I fear him!
Auda: Then why do you weep?
Ali: If I fear him, who love him, how must he fear himself who hates himself?
- In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Mantis does this for Drax when she uses her Empath Touch to feel his pain over the murders of his wife and daughter.
- In James Swallow's Warhammer 40,000 Horus Heresy novel The Flight of the Eisenstein, Keeler cries over the news they brought Dorn; they have broken a brother's heart.
- From Ink Exchange, the second book in the Wicked Lovely series; "Then he was beside her, lifting her hands to his lips, crying tears she wasn't able to shed." The characters are, respectively, Niall and Leslie.
- Happens in House of Chains, the fourth volume of the Malazan Book of the Fallen. Trull Sengar cries when they are told that Onrack the Broken's former wife, aka the Goddess of the Apocalypse has died, because his friend is physically incapable of tears. Even if he were, it would be against his cultural norms, so Onrack is genuinely taken aback by the gesture.
- Played straight in The Godfather. In the opening chapter/scene, Bonasera, the undertaker, is pleading for Vito Corleone to avenge his brutalized daughter. When describing the state he found her in at the hospital, he says "She couldn't even weep for the pain. But I wept."
- In Alethea Kontis's Enchanted, Sunday runs to Rumbold, saying goodbye to his dead mother and Unable to Cry; she holds him and cries herself.
- In The Bible, Aaron's sons were struck dead by God because they offered strange fire. Moses told Aaron that he was to continue about his priestly duties rather than engaging in mourning rites, but that all of Israel would mourn them.
- Nezumi's case in Broken Gate is something of a variant in that, while she doesn't express emotions by the way of being an Emotionless Girl, however, while she doesn't feel or express her emotions, it doesn't stop other things from feeling the emotions she would have otherwise felt, along with expressing them, i.e the "ills" from behind the gate making something of whimpers and pained wails as to mourn and the fact that her minions destroy just about everything in a rage. This is aptly alluded to in chapters 11 and 12, with them being titled "The Rage She Didn't Possess" and "The Sorrow Couldn't Feel nor Express".
- In a Kokin Shu poem, the narrator anthropomorphizes a nightingale's cries, and- noticing that the nightingale is shedding no tears- offers to share their tears with it.
- Something similar happened in Star Trek: The Next Generation when Data's 'daughter' became capable of emotions he himself couldn't feel. Data, as an android, was incapable of actual emotion. In their final scene together before she died, Lal tells her father that she loves him and he expresses regret (such as he is capable of) that he cannot return the emotion. She says that it's OK, she'll feel it enough for both of them.
- Played quite literally in "Sarek". Sarek's Bendii Syndrome causes him to lose the emotional discipline that Vulcans are so proud of and famous for, potentially putting him in a situation of compromising a very important diplomatic mission. The solution is for him to mind-meld with Captain Picard, allowing Picard to (privately, and rather explosively) express all of Sarek's pent-up emotions while Sarek carries out the negotiations.
- Attempted in Macbeth: Siward refuses to mourn his son's death in battle. Malcolm offers to mourn for him, but Siward refuses that too.
Siward: Had I as many sons as I have hairs, I would not wish them to a fairer death: and so, his knell is knoll'd.
Malcolm: He's worth more sorrow, and that I'll spend for him.
Siward: He's worth no more. They say he parted well, and paid his score: and so, God be with him!
- A variant occurs in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. After Ike's father Greil dies, Ike tells Rhys a story Greil used to tell him about how the more tears are shed for someone, the more blessings they receive in the afterlife. Being The Stoic, Ike finds himself unable to cry, so he asks Rhys to cry in his place.
- In Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, right before the final battle, Lyn cries in place of Hector for his recently deceased older brother Uther, in a Shout-Out to an earlier scene in which Hector tells her about how he tried to cry when his and Uther's parents died, but he simply was unable to.
- Another variant occurs in Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones if you take Eirika's path. When it becomes clear beyond any shadow of a doubt that Lyon cannot be saved, Ephraim tells Eirika that it's all right to cry, and to cry for him as well.
- Sapphire in Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice has been Unable to Cry all her life, and is commonly thought to be heartless (an assertion she does nothing to dispute.) When her mother died, she cut a lock of her hair and placed it in the coffin. Almaz was the only person outside of her immediate family who noticed, and she first fell in love with him when she heard him tell the other guards that she grieved more than they realized. Several years later, she told Almaz how much this had meant to her, and she was surprised to find that he started crying. "If it would make you happy, I'll cry for you as much as you want!"
- Suikoden V: This is invoked by Miakis, when Lymsleia refuses to cry over her parents' deaths to deny the Godwins the satisfaction of breaking her. So Miakis holds her and cries in her stead.
- Most of the Mane Six in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Tanks for the Memories" join Rainbow Dash in crying over her pet tortoise Tank's impending dea er, hibernation. When Twilight comments on how ridiculous the scene is getting, Pinkie Pie says she's mostly crying on Twilight's behalf; in a subversion, Pinkie doesn't cry for Applejack because she respects that she "cries on the inside".
- In certain cultures and eras, it was common (especially for rich people) to hire professional mourners for funerals, and these people were usually women. This is a surprisingly common phenomenon - we see it in Ancient Egypt, but also China and India, and even certain parts of medieval Europe. In China, this custom allegedly still lives; Chinese professional mourners, apart from crying, also do things like sing songs and recite eulogies.