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Hurt/Comfort Fic

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"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."

Also known as "whump", a Hurt/Comfort Fic is 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.

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Vice versa, the above methods are often used by fanfiction authors as a way to pair up 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 reason given 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.

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Fanwriters love this device because it gives the characters a situation which they both must struggle to overcome, without having a lot of other characters or outside obstacles intruding. These types of fanfics will often be either sweet and fluffy or dramatized scenes in which the injured character lays out their entire tragic past for their rescuer to sympathize with, and more often than not transforms the characters' relationship from strained to romantic in ways that would not always fit with canon.

Can 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.

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Common setups


Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • "Tails Returns": Cosmo is hurt and Tails is the healer.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Light Within Us Black Bullet fanfic has some moments of this.

    Comic Books 
  • This fic has Harley Quinn and Abel from The House of Secrets acting both as victim and comforter to each other.
  • "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.
  • Underneath the layers of religious conversation and fight scenes, Angel Of The Bat is mostly a story about Cassandra Cain trying to overcome her own self-hate and struggle to view herself as a complete person worthy of love, as opposed to a weapon. She ends up finding that comfort through her newfound faith and her family. Also, Stephanie Brown's entire subplot is focused on trying to overcome the pain of Batman attempting to make her an Unperson, and is only resolved when he acknowledges his fault.

    Film — Animation 
  • In Now That You're Bleeding, after years of self-hatred, Self-Harm, and depression, Elsa has to learn break down her barriers with the help of her sister Anna.
  • To A Merry Christmas is a Slash Fic where Belle comforts Aurora about her traumatized past at a Christmas party. It quickly turns less platonic than Belle had intended.
  • "The Rehabilitation Of Dawn Bellwether", focuses on Bellwether getting paroled after 4 years in prison, trying to clean up her act, being on the receiving end of scorn from all of Zootopia, being haunted by her worst actions in the past, and, throughout all of it, forming a bond with a wolf OC named Vernon Hunter, who also has his moments of being comforted himself, like when Bellwether goes with the ZPD after being suspected of a local terrorist act, and then when she performs a [1] to save the city.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • 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 Sherlock Holmes (2009). 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.
  • A lot of Captain America: The Winter Soldier fanfic focuses on Bucky coping with the psychological trauma of seventy years of brainwashing and memory erasure from HYDRA, usually with Steve as the main comforter. miles to go before i sleep is one such example.
  • A lot of Maleficent fanfic is about this, as the movie itself is about Maleficent being hurt and comforted. Some fanfic focuses more than the movie on the relationship with Diaval, like for example "Aftermath"
  • The MCU fic Born of the Same Impulse combines this with Peggy Sue. Tony Stark is sent back in time and manages to prevent Ultron, Sokovia, and Civil War. But he is left to deal with the lingering PTSD and trust-issues that were a consequence of the events that he's undone, plus the paranoia that some other disaster might take their place. The Avengers spend the majority their time trying to cheer him up and get him out of his shell, even though Tony can't really tell them about his issues, because they technically don't exist anymore. Tony himself plays the role of comforter in his interaction with his fellow time-traveller, Stephen Strange, who has now lost his powers, and struggles with existential crisis as he relives his accident and the long road to recovery.

    Literature 
  • "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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • "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 (NAs and EDAs) have at least one chapter like this.
    • Chapter 5 of the NA Human Nature, by Paul Cornell, is titled "Hurt/Comfort".
  • 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.
  • This applies to a recurring 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.
  • Horatio Hornblower:
    • A ship manifesto "Horatio Hornblower/Archie Kennedy (Hornblower)" by tanacawyr argues that Horatio Hornblower and his Heterosexual Life Partner Archie Kennedy 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 friend's life. There's intense hurt/comfort like that in canon. It's no wonder that fans like to elaborate on this subject matter.
    • Much Ado about Shakespeare: Love's Labours Won: Archie's trauma of past rape and panic attacks appear in full force. Horatio is only happy he can assure him that he's his best-est, closest friend and most competent-est officer. And they have a Relationship Upgrade: they go from friends to boyfriends.
    • Harboured & Encompassed: Hurt and comfort is present in almost every chapter. There's Archie's epilepsy, his PTSD, his frequent panic attacks and his sleeplessness, then there's Horatio's fear of heights and a subsequent panic attack, and also Jack's attack of Horatio... lots of time is devoted for them to worry over their boyfriend, to comfort him and make it all better.
  • The 1977 Starsky & Hutch fanfic Mojave Crossing is an early and influential example of the genre.

    Video Games 
  • This The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess fic focuses on Telma the bartender comforting Link after the events and ending of the game.
  • 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.
  • The Walking Dead fanfic Old Scars follows the stories of Clementine and an Original Character as they both struggle to cope with their traumatizing pasts with the help of their new companions.
  • "Force Of Good", a Tomb Raider fanfic that has Lara visited by an angel-like being after the death of her mother in Legend.
  • The Super Mario fanfic "A Sick Day", where Luigi catches a cold. Hilarity Ensues as Mario (and a friend) nurse him back to health.
    • From the same author, there's "Helpless",in which Mario's allergies get the best of him.
  • Let Me Float, from the creator of Freedom Dies With Me, is a very...interesting take on this. Partly from the fact that the Hurt and the Comfort are the same character from two different timelines. One is a Sash Lilac who drowned and returned as a sort of water spirit, the other is also a Sash Lilac that was rescued by the No-Zone after her Carol betrayed her. The former appears one day while the latter is having a swim, and they set about dealing with the former's hydrophobia.
    • Abandoned Heroism, a later fic from the author, is very similar if not an outright Spiritual Successor; only instead of a normal Lilac and a wraith-like Lilac bonding, it's a depressed, homeless Lilac getting some comfort from an asexual, Red-Scarf-aligned Millanote .
  • Her Fractured Spirit is a fanfic where Callie suffers PTSD after the events of the single-player campaign. Her cousin Marie tries to help her recover.

    Web Comics 
  • Axis Powers Hetalia fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: Even though this story's genres are romance and drama with some comedy sprinkled in, throughout the story, Germany and Japan have to comfort Italy whenever his insecurities arise, from never being able to get a lover to his inner demons...
  • The Housepets! fic All Cats Go To Heaven is about Marvin getting hit and killed by Sasha's drunk father and Zach tries his best to comfort Tiger who has become a tearful, violent, manic-depressive wreck (even moreso than usual). As Tiger opens up to Zach, we learn that he has one heck of a Tear Jerker backstory and had virtually no friends and was horribly abused by other dogs before he met Marvin.
  • While the first story, First Contact, in the Golden Age series has minor shades of this, the second story, The Great Escape, is this in spades.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 

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