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I Choose to Stay

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"Don't take this the wrong way, but I found a place where I can make a difference, where I'm more than Superman's kid cousin. I feel I belong here. Also, I met this boy ..."

At the end of a story about a character being immersed in a new world which they may hate or not, whether they're trapped in the wrong body, warped to another time or dimension, or forced to move in with their in-laws, there is often a scene at the very end where it's all over and now they get to go back to their old, beloved lifestyle.

But... wait! What's this? The new environment has apparently grown on the character so much, that they don't want to go back? They choose to stay in their new environment and live happily ever after?

It can also be a consequence of Heroic Resolve. The hero may have a conflicting choice: yes, he can leave the war and go home, but if he does so, the war will continue and his friends will be killed or enslaved. Perhaps the hero is The Chosen One, and with this role Comes Great Responsibility. By choosing to stay and rejecting the chance to leave, the hero proves that he is not the victim of Deus Angst Machina, but that he willingly accepts the harsh conditions on behalf of the others... the basic definition of heroism.

A Love Interest can also be a factor. Indeed, this trope is often encouraged by a Fantastic Romance. By choosing this trope, the hero may think that You Are Worth Hell or otherwise more important than what's on the other side. No Star-Crossed Lovers here! One does wonder about the person's parents back home if they are underage though, and even if they're not, what about their friends and family? Wouldn't they miss them and/or wonder what happened to them if they choose to stay? Sure they would, but the same applies to all the friends they've made in this new world, and any family that they might have picked up along the way. The decision to stay or leave then becomes a Sadistic Choice.

The opposite of But Now I Must Go and "Leaving the Nest" Song. Often a result of Becoming the Mask. See also Going Native, Home Sweet Home, and Send Me Back. Compare Keeping the Handicap, Stay with the Aliens and Can't Stay Normal.

As this is an Ending Trope, all spoilers are henceforth unmarked. Beware.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Alice in Sexland, Alice makes the heartfelt decision to stay.
  • In the epilogue of Angel Beats!, Otonashi choose to stay back in the afterlife to aid others to pass on even though he has no more regrets left and can leave anytime. It's hinted that he does pass on eventually, though.
  • Rock, from Black Lagoon. He chose to stay with the Lagoon Company, the same pirates who kidnapped him after he learned that his company had decided it was easier to just kill him along with the rest and cover up what they were doing than try to rescue him.
  • Digimon:
    • Digimon Adventure: The Digidestined nearly do this at the end, not wanting to be separated from their Digimon, but are ultimately convinced to go back. Luckily the separation doesn't last long.
    • Played straight in Digimon Data Squad: Marcus/Masaru stays behind in the Digital world with Agumon, even after the gate gets closed, presumably forever.
  • It's heavily implied that this is what ancient heroine Adel from Dog Days did. It's a likely ending for the protagonist, as well, given what a Sugar Bowl Flonyard is, how it allows him to engage in athletics in ways that Earth can't, how he has a girlfriend of sorts there, and how well he fits in with the citizens of Biscotti. And his cousin and his friend from Earth are also both too right to Flonyard, so the same applies to them.
  • In Eureka Seven Episode 47, Eureka said this to Renton when they hugged each other. In the final episode, what she said came true as half of the Coralians left except her. Making her the known Last of Her Kind. In the movie version, she also made the same choice despite knowing life would be harsh because she can get to be with her lover Renton.
    • Same can be said for Renton when he can just leave Gekko after episode 26 but he choose to stay for Eureka's sake. Holland even gave everyone on board the Gekko the chance to leave while they still can in episode 33, but no one did anyway.
  • The heroine of From Far Away stays in the fantasy world she was sucked into, for love of course. She's still able to contact her family via her journals and her and Izark are still trying to come up with a way for them to travel back and forth between the two worlds.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa, Edward and Alphonse Elric decide to stay at the other side of the gate, in what's pretty much our world, so that they can close the gate and stop more people crossing over to Amestris.
  • In the Getter Robo anime reboot New Getter Robo, Ryouma decides to stay in the stay in the Getter world to try to defeat what appears to be the Getter Emperor. It may be because, after feeling the adrenaline high of piloting the Getter Robo, he can't go back to a normal life; it's left ambiguous.
  • A very interesting version happens in Go! Princess Pretty Cure: Towa, freed from being Princess Twilight and now taking up the mantle of Cure Scarlet, decides to join the team after that first transformation. This essentially went against the norm for Heel–Face Turn Cures as Cure Passion and Cure Beat both ran off after their first transformation and spend a few episodes angsting over their actions as Eas and Seiren respectively before ultimately joining their respective teams.
  • In The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, Kyon is given the opportunity to leave the SOS Brigade and Haruhi's fantastic world of aliens, time travelers, and espers, both of which he's complained about for the entirety of the series up to this point, behind him, and start a new life. The offer comes complete with new friends to make and even a potential love interest, but in one of the most moving inner monologues in the series, he decides that he can't leave that world behind, even going so far as to say he'd have to be an idiot to walk away from it all.
    Kyon's Mind: I'll ask one last time. Answer clearly. Don't I find being with Haruhi, and being dragged into Haruhi's troubles fun? Answer me!
    Kyon: Of course I do! Of course it was fun! Don't ask me something so obvious!
  • In a Tear Jerking example, Komugi of Hunter × Hunter decided to stay by Meruem's side until his death, despite knowing doing so would infect her with the toxin killing him and lead to her death as well. They pass away, Together in Death.
  • In Kurage no Shokudo, Youtarou decides to stay with Arashi rather than go back home. Before he makes it official, Arashi tells Youtarou to contact his parents to let them know that he's safe.
  • At the end of the third season of Kyo Kara Maoh!, Yuuri appears to have lost his magic and is faced with another decision of whether or no to stay in his kingdom in the demon world or return home to Earth, and says that he only wants to make sure his older brother Shori can return and he's content with staying in the Demon Kingdom. This is a direct contrast to the end of season two, when he has to make a similar decision and is pushed t return home to Japan. Of course, in both cases, the finality of his choice is averted with the return of his magic ability to shift between realms.
  • Maze Megaburst Space: Maze decides not to return to her home world after defeating the Big Bad of her series.
  • Tohru from Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid has stated several times that she has no interest in going back to her world. However, since she can freely create inter-dimensional portals (even doing so several times to pick up ingredients for a meal), it's more of a change of address than anything else.
  • Now and Then, Here and There ends up with the pregnant heroine Sara sticking around to make the future world a bit less crapsack.
  • Subverted with Vivi in One Piece. She joined the Straw Hats to help save her country and grew very close to them. When the Straw Hats invited her to stay with them as they were fleeing Alabasta from the marines, she nearly considered it and it looked like she was going to join them. Instead, she tearfully told the Straw Hats that she decided to stay and help rebuild her country.
  • Haruhi in Ouran High School Host Club unwillingly joins a Host Club out of debt, and a lot of the show's humor stems from how annoyed she is with the club and their shenanigans, being frequently dragged into their ploys when she'd much rather study or just stay at home. When the time comes around that her debt has been paid, however, (which happens at very different times in the anime and manga), she realizes she's grown to care for the guys and the club so much that she stays with them.
  • Brock pulls this at the beginning of the Orange Islands arc of Pokémon: The Series, deciding to stay with Professor Ivy to help in her research. He rejoins Ash and Misty in the following season, refusing to give a reason why he left her, other than "don't mention that name".
  • Red River (1995)'s Yuri gives up her last chance to go home in order to save Kail, thus fully becoming his partner and Queen. It also crosses with You Already Changed the Past.
  • The main cast of Sengoku Collection are Gender Flipped versions of generals from medieval Japan and China who have arrived in our world. Oda Nobunaga works to return to her world by claiming secret treasures from others. If those treasures are taken, their previous owner can't go home. However, there are several, like Ieyasu, who prefer this world and willingly hand their treasures over.
  • Rumiko Takahashi seems to love this trope.
    • Her first published work, Fire Tripper, is a story about a time traveling girl named Suzuko who finds love in the feudal age, and decides to stay in the past with her new found boyfriend Shukumaru who is really Shuu, a boy from her original time she used to babysit.
    • Her longest work so far, Inuyasha is a story about a time traveling girl, who finds love in the feudal age, and decides eventually to stay in the past with her new found boyfriend (really a half demon with a really long story). The difference in length between the two works? 557 Chapters.
  • Tsukihime has this in spades with Shiki, who is flat-out told by Arcueid multiple times that he doesn't have to help her hunt Dead Apostles anymore. Regardless, Shiki just keeps finding new reasons to stay.
  • The Twelve Kingdoms has Youko decide to stay in the Twelve Kingdoms after finding out how much chaos would be created by her leaving. How she would die within a few years if she left and the way she was generally treated there were also quite the factors to consider.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Misawa apparently stayed behind in the other dimension at the end of Season 3, apparently to live with his "wife", Taniya and because he felt he could be of more use there than back on Earth, where he would always be outshone in dueling by Judai, Manjoume, Edo, and Hell Kaiser.
  • Discussed in Hero Union BBS. After deciding that living in his home universe on earth isn't as great as staying in one of the worlds he saved as a hero, Freeter decides to do this the next time a summoning circle appears. Student wonders why he didn't do this the other 23 times he was summoned to a different universe.

    Comic Books 
  • Subverted in Amulet in that when the heroine announces that she must stay in the fantasy world, her mother declares that in that case, the whole family will too.
  • Astro City: After realizing that she is the reason why the Unbodied is able to attack Earth, American Chibi chooses to stay trapped in their game world to contain it. Honor Guard promises to work on a transdimensional communicator so she can contact them, while her game creator adds new elements to the game to give Chibi friends, allies, and advantages.
  • At the end of the second Catstronauts book "Race To Mars", Pom Pom decides to stay on Mars alongside the Cosmocats, promising to come back on the second trip to Mars.
  • Luke Cage, during Civil War (2006). He told Jessica Jones, his wife, to leave the country with their daughter, but he stayed. There is a war, and he must fight it.
    • Captain America had a similar offer from Cable, who proposed him political asylum in Providence. Captain America rejected it.
  • At the end of Convergence: Shadow of the Bat #2, Jean-Paul Valley opts to stick around to protect Metropolis while Batman goes and deals with Telos.
  • Planet Hulk: The Hulk spent the first few issues plotting to return to Earth and take revenge on his friends for exiling him to a life of slavery. Once he's finally freed by the Silver Surfer, the Surfer offers to return him home; Hulk says that he's already there. Unfortunately, this is only the halfway point of the story...
  • Mister Miracle (2017): The ending confirms that Scott Free (Mister Miracle) has spent the entire series trapped in some kind of false world (exactly what is left unclear — Heaven? Hell? The Omega Sanctum? An extended delusion created by the Anti-Life Equation?). Despite the fact that it's clearly wrong and has inflicted (or merely awakened via natural self-assessment) a great deal of trauma onto him, he ends up defeating its version of Darkseid, rescues his newborn son, and in many ways finds peace with his personal demons, and thus chooses not to escape. For now, anyway.
  • Spider-Verse: At the end, the Uncle Ben of a nuclear wasteland decides to stay in the Marvel Comics 2 universe, deciding that it was time to start trying to be something other than a washed up superhero.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures: This is Bebop and Rocksteady's final fate in the series' main run. Following the duo's banishment by Cherubae into one of Dimension X's Eden Worlds, they genuinely enjoyed the prospect of frolicking around naked as the animals they are at heart. Later on in a short story arc, they get recruited by Krang, Slash, and Bellybomb for yet another attempt at defeating the Turtles back on Earth (after robbing for some clothes, that is), but that plan gets foiled and Leonardo persuades them to send Krang and Bellybomb back to the prison world of Morbus. Once this is done, Bebop and Rocksteady go back to their Eden World and resume their lives of frolicking in peace.
  • While Thirsty Mermaids ends with Pearl, Tooth and Eez turning back into mermaids, they now know how to break the spell — by filling their lungs with sea-water — and they can go back on land any time they want. They consider Vivi a part of their pod and can turn her into a mermaid whenever she wants. It's also implied that they reveal their mermaid selves to the other friends they've made along the way.
  • The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye: Subverted. Nearly everyone thinks Megatron chose to stay behind in the Functionist Universe, either to lead a rebellion or to avoid his trial, but he actually intended to go back and was tricked into going to the wrong teleporter. He decides to make the best of it, at least.
  • Transformers: Shattered Glass: Cliffjumper from Transformers: Generation 1 finds himself in a Mirror Universe where the Autobots are evil, the Decepticons are good, etc. He joins the Decepticons to fight the good fight. When he is offered a chance to return to his own universe, he declines, at least until the evil Optimus Prime is finally defeated.
  • X-Men: X-Tinction Agenda ends with the mutants overthrowing the despotic government of Genosha, who had won their prosperity on the backs of enslaved mutants. However, team member Havok and New Mutant Wolfsbane — who had both been brainwashed into serving Genosha — opted to stay behind to ensure that the nation transitions into one where all human rights are valued (though Wolfsbane's decision to stay is also slightly motivated by the fact her brainwashing compels her to stay with Havok, who she's linked to).
  • The Warlord: Any time Travis Morgan had an opportunity to return to the surface world, he always to chose to stay (or return, if he was forced back to Earth) in the Lost World of Skartaris, as he felt more at home in Skartaris than he ever had on 20th C. Earth.

    Fan Works 
  • Quite common in the Harry Potter fandom. A particularly common variant has two characters get accidentally "bonded" (in Fanon, a magical marriage in which the two parties are connected in body and mind, usually having to live together and spend a considerable amount of time together). The characters in question usually hate each other initially, but as they are forced to be together they become friends and gradually fall in love with each other. When someone finally figures out how to end the bond, one of the following things usually happens: Either they have already figured out that they are in love and they choose to stay bonded, or they are in denial, end the bond, realise that they miss each other and re-bond.
  • A very common aspect of the Human-In-Equestria genre of pony fanfiction. Sometimes, we see this happen with Pony-On-Earth too.
  • Similarly in the Star Trek: The Original Series fandom. Whoops, Author Avatar accidentally bonded with Spock! Can't go find a Vulcan Mind Healer now, we're in the middle of a mission! By the time they do get to one, Spock has fallen in love and they all live happily ever after. Awww.
  • In The AFR Universe fic "Amamiya Family Reunion", Ren Amamiya returns to his small town home after his year-long probation is up. But while he's back home and seeing his parents again, he announces to them that he's only visiting and will be returning to Tokyo because of all the friends he made and to pursue a career in politics.
  • At the very end of Batman: Angel of Death, after a week of recovery from saving Gotham, Selina prepares to leave Wayne Manor for good. Bruce earnestly, albeit inelegantly, asks her to stay, with the obvious implication that they rekindle the relationship she ran away from years ago. After a moment to consider, she drops her bags and joins Dick and Damian in the den.
  • Being Dead Ain't Easy has a very dark version in the penultimate chapters. Seto Kaiba refuses Joey's help and wants to stay in the Soul Room, trapped in his own mind forever.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic The Best Babysitter ends with this trope as a sort of Book Ends moment, since the whole story arc is kicked off by Pinkie Pie (the titular "best babysitter") pulling a very reluctant But Now I Must Go on the protagonist, a young teenager named Jennifer... who ends up going looking for her, somehow finding her way into Equestria and getting into an adventure. Unusually, the tension in the last chapter is less about whether Jennifer wants to stay (between her family situation and her difficulty making friends she has as close to nothing to go back to as she possibly could without being Conveniently an Orphan) and more about whether she safely can, because Equestria's Background Magic Field does strange things to beings who didn't evolve in it...
  • In The Bridge, the Kaiju turned pony Destroyah ultimately decides she wants to stay in Equestria. On Earth her life was nothing but destruction and rage and death. On Equestria, she's come to know friendship and happiness and she likes it.
  • Bubblegum Fury starts with Terry Bogard being warped to Mega Tokyo by a Boomer with teleportation capacities. He's eventually followed by a Not Quite Dead Geese Howard, as well as his brother Andy, Joe Higashi and several other friends of theirs. In the climax of the final chapter, with the portal back to their world about to close, Terry decides not to return with the others, as he's fallen in love with Priss and wants to stay with her. Andy tries to object, but ultimately accepts his brother's choice and bids him farewell.
  • The Differentverse: After Nightmare Moon's defeat, Twilight and Moondancer decide to stay in Ponyville with their new friends, and Marble also decides to stay with Pinkie rather than return to the family rock farm.
  • In Faded Blue, Blue Pearl is offered the chance to leave by Pearl after Garnet captures Steven. Her response is that she is happy with Steven.
  • A Gem, a Human, and a Baby: Despite Greg giving her the opportunity to leave if she wanted to, and seriously considering it, Blue Pearl decides to stay for both his sake and Steven's.
  • In Green Leaves, Team Guy gets warped in the world of My Hero Academia when on a mission, and Neji immediately understands nobody in this foreign dimension has the potential to use the Caged Bird Seal against him, making him desperate to ditch the team. Guy actually validates his wish, reducing him to tears.
  • Hours 'Verse: Yu and Akira choose to stay in Inaba and Tokyo respectively for their third years of high school, given that all the people they've shed blood, sweat, and tears for and with are in those places.
  • The Lion's Den has a negative example of this: at the end, Naegi decides to stay with Ultimate Despair not because he wants to help stop them, but because he himself has fallen into despair.
  • My Little Titan (a Teen Titans and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic crossover): After rescuing the Mane Six (and Spike), whom they've been filling in for while they were imprisoned by the Big Bad of the story, the Titans chose to remain in Equestria, in ponified bodies, rather than return to their original world. They do send a message (courtesy of Discord) back to the other Titans and Batman so they won't worry about the group, letting them know that they've opted to retire from hero work, though they don't say where they've retired to. Also, Melvin manages to bring her little brothers back to stay with her. Starfire's pet Silkie also manages to somehow cross over and rejoin her.
  • The Lost Kingdom:
    • While Kenzi is tempted by the offer to go wandering with Gwaine, she decides to remain in Camelot in anticipation that Bo will return to the kingdom at some point.
    • Once Bo is cured, she and Morgana swiftly convince Merlin to stay in the fae kingdom at least for a while, as they still have to deal with Uther's attempt to arrange marriages for them back in Camelot.
  • At the end of Nescaflowne (a Gag Dub of The Vision of Escaflowne), Hitme returns home as in the original, but quickly realizes that leaving her one true love and a land of fantastic adventures to be an Ordinary High-School Student again was a really stupid thing to do. Thankfully, Juan shows up on Nescaflowne and takes her back with him.
  • New Stars: Clone trooper CT-5599, or Maxx, decides to officially join the crew of the Orville, and explore this new galaxy.
  • Pink Personal Hell And Altering Fate ends this way, with Dominic/Nickel Steel deciding to stay in Ponyville.
  • Done both ways in Six Paths of Rebellion after the Black Rebellion. A large number of Britannians stay in the newly created United States of Japan either because they view it as their home or because they've been disavowed by Britannia. On the flip side, Suzaku leaves Japan for Britannia because he insists that Zero freed it the wrong way and plans to reconquer Japan and rule it as the Knight of One.
  • At the end of Take a Stand: The Broken Mirror, after Doctor Doom has been defeated and dealt with, Rocket decides to stay in the Zootopia dimension with Lylla, not caring that she's not his Lylla.
  • In a roundabout way this happens in White Devil of the Moon. Of the four Inner Senshi only Ami chooses to go to Mid-Childa and continue to study magic and the Moon Kingdom, while the others resume normal lives on Earth.
  • At the end of The Wolf In December, Geralt makes the choice to remain on Remnant, a world where his skills as a Hunter of Monsters make him a hero, rather than a freak of nature like they do back home. It helps that Ciri's world-walking abilities mean she can bring their friends to him, so it's not like he has to abandon his old life forever. In the sequel Yennefer and Regis join him.

    Films — Animated 
  • Arlo the Alligator Boy: Two in succession. First, Arlo chooses not to move in with his birth father Ansel, and instead decides to live with the friends he made throughout his journey, making them his Family of Choice. Secondly, Ansel changes his mind about destroying the Brooklyn boardwalk Seaside by the Seashore and instead lets the gang restore it and live there, so Arlo can remain in his birth place for good.
  • Defied in Barbie in the Nutcracker. The lead female decides she doesn't want to go home, but then the Big Bad, having been thought to be defeated, returns and activates the device she'd been given to send her home. She then vanishes and wakes up in the real world.
  • Disney likes this trope a lot.
    • It's played straight in Brother Bear. When Kenai chooses to become a bear again, it is the least he can do for Koda after all he has done to him. It's repeated in the sequel!
    • And Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Milo chooses to stay in Atlantis while his friends decide to leave with the gold.
    • And Hercules. This one's a bit different, though—technically, Herc had been living as a mortal most of his life, and living as a god would be the "different" bit for him. Not only does he get to keep the girl, he gets to keep the mortal parents he grew up with—who, if the "Zero to Hero" number is any indication, he has been extremely good to with his fame and wealth. (And Zeus can always keep in touch via giant moving statues, anyway.)
    • And in Tarzan. Not only does Tarzan turn down a chance return to human civilization, Jane and her father make a last-minute decision to stay in the jungle with Tarzan.
    • In Ralph Breaks the Internet, Vanellope ultimately decides to remain in Slaughter Race permanently, meaning she cannot go back to the arcade with Ralph. She still keeps in touch with him. Shank even reprograms her code so that she can regenerate if she dies.
    • Frozen II: In the end, Elsa ultimately decides to remain in the Enchanted Forest to guard it and act as a liaison between Arendelle and the Northuldra. The sisters remain in contact with the aid of the elemental spirits.
  • Flushed Away has a slightly altered example. The hero actually does leave but decides to go back in order to defeat the Big Bad and make amends with his Love Interest, and makes it clear that he intends to stay with her as he departs his old home.
  • In the "Den" story in Heavy Metal, the title character chooses to stay in Neverwhere saying "On Earth, I'm nobody, but here, I'm Den!" It helps that back home, he was a scrawny, nerdy virgin, but when he arrived in that world, he had a statuesque physique and hot chicks were throwing themselves at him.
  • Hercules (Pure Magic) ends with Hercules refusing godhood and choosing to stay with Deianira on Earth.
  • Discussed in Justice League × RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Batman confides in Weiss that he feels like he can't compare to the superhumans he works with in the Justice League and becoming a Faunus with a Semblance on Remnant has made him feel like they must feel. Weiss suggests that, after the current emergency is over, Bruce could stay on Remnant and keep his new powers. In the end, Bruce decides he's capable of saving the day just fine as himself and returns to his world with the rest of the League.
  • At the beginning Klaus, Jesper is Reassigned to Antarctica in the form of the freezing island of Smeerensburg. When he eventually fulfills his quota, his father arrives to take him home. However, by that point Jesper has grown to love the people of Smeerenburg, particularly Klaus and Alva, and decides to stay and build a life there.
  • At the end of Leroy & Stitch, Stitch, Pleakley and Jumba decide to forgo the chance to leave Earth and stay as members of Lilo's True Companions.
  • In the end of Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria decide to stay with the circus troupe permanently, as they prove to be even better than their zoo life.
  • Pixar:
    • Has happened in the Cars franchise at least once:
      • In the first film, Lightning is offered the Dinoco sponsorship upon helping The King finish the tiebreaker race, but he politely turns it down and chooses to stay with his official sponsor Rust-eze. He also chooses to stay in Radiator Springs permanently and sets up his racing headquarters there, which puts the town back on the map and restores it to its former beauty.
      • In the second film, Finn and Holley are called away to leave for another mission and want Mater to come with them, but he chooses to stay with his friends in Radiator Springs.
      • In the third film, Lightning happily chooses to keep racing upon succeeding at his bet against Sterling thanks to sharing the victory with Cruz, who finished the Florida 500 under his number. Cruz also decides to stay with Lightning in Radiator Springs so she can be his pupil.
    • Toy Story 2: Woody is torn between going back to Andy and eventually being thrown out, or going to the museum and lasting forever. Woody decides to remain with the Roundup Gang because he doesn't want to break them up, and knowing that if he abandons them, they could go back to storage indefinitely. Understandably, Andy's toys are shocked when they catch up to Woody, especially Buzz, who thinks Woody is throwing his life away. After some insight, Woody changes his mind and decides to go back to Andy after all, but take the Roundup Gang with him.
    • Toy Story 4: Twice with Woody. In the prologue when Bo is being donated she invites Woody to come with her, but he declines and chooses to stay with Andy. In the epilogue, after helping Gabby Gabby find her one true owner and Forky reunite with the rest of the toys, Woody decides to stay behind with Bo, and help other toys find their future owners, as well. Sadly, this means that he must leave Buzz and the rest of the old gang. Therefore, he bids them an emotional goodbye and carries on with his new journey.
  • The Road to El Dorado: Miguel decides to stay in El Dorado ("isn't king kind of a step-down from god?") but at the last second he has to jump onboard Tulio's ship to help him make a clean getaway (they were sealing the city as they left because a conquistador was on his way). Regardless, they decide to blaze another trail in America instead of returning to Europe.
  • Parodied at the end of The Sponge Bob Movie Sponge Out Of Water. After the villain is defeated, Squidward wants to stay on land in his Sour Note form, because, in his words, "I am a god!" However, SpongeBob writes on the magical page for everything to be back to the way it was at the start of the film. With the modification of giving Squidward "rock-hard abs".
  • The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild: At the end, Crash and Eddie decide they want to stay in the Lost World with Buck and Zee. Ellie, after some thought and realizing her brothers truly have become more independent (and with the promise they'll still visit), accepts their decision.
  • During the climax of The Super Mario Bros. Movie, the entire main cast get teleported back to Earth where the final showdown takes place. The ending at first seems to hint that Mario and Luigi went back after they defeated Bowser... until they leave their house and reveal they're staying in the Mushroom Kingdom. However it is hinted that they can go back and forth between Earth and the Mushroom Kingdom freely.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert Bernadette chooses to stay in the outback with a new love interest instead of going back to Sydney.
  • In James Cameron's Avatar, the characters who stay behind include Jake and the scientists. They all committed to assisting the Na'vi. There would most likely be consequences for returning to Earth, but the film does not spell out what, exactly, the crime they would be charged with. Jake feels otherwise. He joins the Na'vi in the most literal sense.
  • Back to the Future Part III: Doc Brown zig-zags back and forth several times. Thrust by accident back into the year 1885, Doc is perfectly fine to settle into the Old West as a humble blacksmith, and gives Marty written instructions on how to fix the Delorean and go back to 1985 without him. However this changes when Marty learns that he'll be shot in the back on Monday. He travels back to 1885 to save him and while they are concocting a plan to use a train to get the Delorean to 88mph and get back to the future, Doc saves a woman named Clara from falling in the local ravine and eventually falls in love with her. Doc gets the idea to stay with Clara until he reveals to her he's a time-traveler and she (thinking he's just lying) breaks up with him, but she later changes her mind and hitches a ride on the train to go back with them. When she nearly falls, Doc sacrifices himself to save her again, Marty goes to the future in the Delorean, and Doc gets stuck in 1885 for good. The Bittersweet Ending is ultimately subverted because Doc built a Steampunk time-travelling train for his own use sometime in the 1890s, letting him go back and give Marty some last advice.
  • Subverted in Benji The Hunted. Benji is looking after four mountain lion cubs when his master comes into the forest by helicopter, looking for him. Benji is very tempted to run back to his master, but he decides that getting the mountain lion cubs a new mother has to come first for now. So he declines being rescued and only welcomes going back home at the end of the movie, once the cubs are adopted by another mother mountain lion.
  • Castaways: Cara and Emily decide at the end to stay on the island even if there's an escape. They have everything there with each other. It's understandable given the outside world is being ravaged by a pandemic and the last ship that might have offered them an escape was manned by human traffickers as well.
  • Seed of Chucky: Chucky reveals he no longer wants to regain his humanity (his motivation in all previous films), preferring to be stuck in a doll body for the rest of his life, because it makes him infamous.
    Chucky: I'm Chucky! The Killer Doll! And I DIG IT!!
  • At the end of Congo, Amy decides to stay with the gorillas she found, leaving behind a parting gift of a flower to her "mama" Peter.
  • In Crossworlds, Joe, er, Joseph is reluctantly pulled into the fight between the Evil Sorcerer Ferris and La Résistance, even though it's made clear that, should Ferris get his hands on the scepter, he'll use it to collapse The Multiverse into a Merged Reality that he would then conquer. By the end, though, Joe has accepted his role in all this and accepts La Résistance's offer to continue working for them as their agent in his home world. As a bonus point, he gets the hot blonde Action Girl he's been seeing in his dreams.
  • Coach in Death Race. His prison sentence ended years prior to the events of the movie, but he refuses to leave because he has nothing to go back to.
  • In District 9, the protagonist decides to stay on the alien ship, intending to return to Earth in three years.
  • In Doomsday, Eden, a native Scot whose mother managed to get her out just ahead of the border being sealed, decides to stay after her mission is complete, and apparently becomes the ruler of the tribe of wild cannibal people by killing her predecessor.
  • Enchanted: Giselle decides to stay in "real world" New York instead of returning to the fantasy world Andalasia, because that is where her real true love lives. She even starts up a boutique. She effectively switches places with her romantic rival, who runs off to Andalasia with the prince.
  • A Far Off Place: At the end, Harry and Nonnie share a goodbye kiss before he has to return to New York. Later, Nonnie and the Colonel are repairing what's left of the Parker ranch when a vehicle approaches. Harry jumps out and the two embrace. note 
  • H. G. Wells' The First Men in the Moon (1964). As the Earthlings prepare to escape the Moon, Cavor decides to stay behind with the Selenites.
  • Groundhog Day: At the end of the film, when the looping stops and the storm ends, Phil declares "Let's live here!"
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005): Arthur is offered the opportunity to return to a recreation of his home on Earth, exactly (well, without the imminent demolition by Prosser) like he left it. He chooses to stay with Ford, Zaphod, and Trillian and continue exploring the galaxy.
  • Hot Fuzz ends with Nicolas staying in Sanford.
  • In Hot Tub Time Machine, Lou chooses to stay his younger self in 1986 and relive his life, instead of going back to 2010 with his friends. Adam also chooses to stay behind, but ends up falling into the hot tub during the return trip.
  • Subverted in Idiocracy. Joe and Rita decide to stay in the crapsack world future rather than take a time machine back to the year 2005. Although it turns out the time machine is actually an amusement park ride called the "Time Masheen", which offers a strange take on history.
  • Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny: In the end, the heroes find themselves in Ancient Greece, but the portal is rapidly closing. An injured Indiana Jones says he wants to stay, as he feels he has nothing left in the present due to his son Mutt being dead and him being divorced from his wife Marion. His companions Helena and Teddy knock him out and carry him through the portal. When he wakes up, he is reminded that his friend Sallah is still alive and Marion arrives and reconciles with him, cheering him up.
  • In The Island at the Top of the World, the Vikings will not let the expedition return to their world unless one of them remains behind as a hostage, to prevent them from divulging the existence of Astragard to the outside world. Professor Ivarsson willingly volunteers to stay, as this represents a chance to relive history. Ivarsson also points out that if someday mankind is ever foolish enough to destroy itself, places like Astragard may become humanity's final refuge.
  • Ben Affleck's character in Kevin Smith's Jersey Girl. For that matter, Dante in Clerks II.
  • John Carter spends half the film trying to figure out a way to get back to Earth/Jasoom, but, at the end, he decides to stay on Mars/Barsoom. As soon as he throws away the transportation medallion, he's ambushed and sent back by Matai Shang. He then spends a decade trying to find a way back to Mars.
  • Subverted in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, when the game is finally over, and everyone can return home, the popular kids can't wait to get back, but Spencer and Martha hesitate, and even discuss this trope. Since both are geeks in the real world and are super awesome and attractive in Jumanji, Spencer offers Martha to stay, but Martha convinces Spencer its not their real lives and that she loves the real him. Spencer still hesitates a little further, but decides to return to the real world.
  • Will stays in the Land of the Lost in the 2009 film adaptation.
  • Captain Algren returns to the samurai village where he had been held after capture in The Last Samurai.
  • Occurs in The Last Starfighter, where Alex overcomes his original reluctance to get involved with Xur and stays with the Star League.
  • Subverted in Lost Treasures Of The Grand Canyon. Doctor Thain offers to stay with the natives in exchange for his team being spared and set free, even though it means he'll die once they realize he isn't a god. As the group leaves the secret city, weeping at the loss of their friend, Thain comes careening down the hill and quickly explains that he decided not to stay after all, distracted his captors by setting a suit of armor on fire and making it seem like it was himself, and that they'd all better hurry up and get out of there before they figure it out. All in the span of about two minutes.
  • Chico decides to stay in the village at the end of The Magnificent Seven.
  • In the Masters of the Universe, the Earth detective Lubic who had been somewhat of an Inspector Javert distinguishes himself in the final battle with Skeletor's forces. He decides to stay on Eternia where he's a hero with a beautiful girlfriend.
  • Subverted and played straight in Midnight in Paris.
    • Adrianna travels back in time from Paris in the 1920s to the 1890s, which she views as the city's Golden Age, and decides to stay.
    • Gil, having traveled from his present of 2010 to meet Adrianna in the 1920s (his idea of Paris' Golden Age) and then gone further back with her to the 1890s, realizes the danger of nostalgia and returns to his present.
  • Mr. Harrigan's Phone: Craig intended to jump a cliff to suicide, but later he decided to throw his old phone into the river so that he won't be depressed by another tragedy and stay in his life.
  • This is what Gonzo in Muppets from Space decides after meeting his long-lost family. While he's grateful for his fellow Gonzos for going through the trouble of locating and visiting him on Earth, he can't go with them, as he wants to stay with his fellow Muppet Show castmates.
  • In My Favorite Martian, Uncle Martin comes to like Tim as a friend and came to see the beauty of Earth after crash landing. Once his spaceship has been fixed, suddenly Martin returns to Tim's house with suitcases announcing that he and Zoot are going to move in with Tim, since he had admited he'd miss the Martian earlier.
    Tim: Martin, I can't miss you if you don't go!
    Martin: Exactly! Isn't it wonderful?!
  • A New York Christmas Wedding: After her two days are up and she and Gabby are married, Jenni tries to invoke this. Unfortunately, that isn't an option and she's sent back anyway to the prime timeline.
  • The Patriot (2000) has a rare villainous example. Colonel Tavington, who has little regard for The Laws and Customs of War, agrees to take responsibility for his own war crimes while hunting down the Colonial Militia so Cornwallis can keep his record clean. He is unconcerned that this will dishonor him back home in England, since he has already decided to settle in America once the war is over.
  • Reese Witherspoon's character in Pleasantville. While David decides to return to the real world, his sister Jennifer chooses to continue living in the TV world.
  • Purgatory: The coachman gives Sonny the chance to join him, no questions asked. Sonny opts to stay in Refuge, with Rose.
  • Two times in Rise of the Planet of the Apes when Caesar chose to stay with his fellow simians and lead them rather than return home with Will.
  • Shanghai Noon: Princess Pei Pei chooses to stay in America, both to avoid her Arranged marriage and to help the Chinese immigrants.
  • Snow Dogs: Ted ends up staying in Tolketna, Alaska, marrying Barb (who's expecting a child) and opening a new dental practice while Rupert takes over his old one in Miami.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (2020), Sonic is forced to leave his home planet, winds up on planet Earth and loses the bag of teleporting rings given to him by his surrogate mother Longclaw. After retrieving the rings in San Francisco, he hesitates before escaping to another world - and is stopped from doing so by Robotnik. After beating him, Sonic decides to stay on Earth and gets adopted by the Wachowskis.
  • Stargate ends with Daniel Jackson choosing to stay on Abydos. This example's a bit different in that Daniel's life back on Earth was fairly crappy — he was the laughingstock of the archaeological community, he'd just been evicted from his apartment and was carrying everything he owned in two suitcases, and a quick line reveals he's a foster child, implying he had no family worth staying for — while on Abydos he was considered a hero and married to the Abydonian leader's daughter. Too bad for him it didn't stick...
  • Star Trek
    • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home: Dr. Gillian Taylor chooses the follow Kirk and his crew into the future with the two humpback whales they're taking there to stop an alien probe threatening the Earth due to the whales being extinct. Gillian explains that she's leaving no one behind and argues that in the future they'll need an expert to keep an eye on George and Gracie.
    • Star Trek (2009): After the demise of Vulcan, Spock is ready to leave Starfleet and help with reestablishing a new Vulcan society. After some words with a very wise old man, Spock reconsiders, remains in Starfleet, reclaiming his place as First Officer of the Enterprise.
    • Star Trek Beyond: Spock once again considers leaving the Enterprise to go aid New Vulcan and eventually breed with a Vulcan woman to help repopulate the species, especially after Spock Prime's passing away, while Kirk wants to leave the Captain's chair considering himself unworthy due to being there because of a bet. After going through a Starfleet colony-saving adventure, both decide to stay on the Enterprise with a newfound appreciation for their roles.
  • In Super Mario Bros. (1993), Daisy kisses Luigi goodbye and says she'll stay in the Mushroom Kingdom, at least until the damage King Koopa did is repaired. In the final scene, she returns to Brooklyn solely to ask for the Mario Bros help again.
    Mario: (to Luigi) She's trying to tell you, she can't leave until she knows where she belongs. If you love her, you'd understand that.
  • In the live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, the Turtles and April are sent back in time to feudal Japan. At the end of the movie, Michelangelo decides he wants to stay since the Turtles had gained the people's respect and adoration and he wouldn't have to live in secrecy in the sewer, Raphael agrees and Leonardo briefly considers this as well. Meanwhile, Donatello and April adamantly want to go back to their modern lives in New York. Ultimately they're convinced to return together, realizing they'll meddle too much in the past.
  • At the end of Thor: The Dark World, Thor decides to go back to earth to be with Jane. He even abdicates the throne of Asgard to do so.
  • In Timeline, archaeologist Andre Marek chooses to stay in 1357 France with Lady Clare (a girl he fell in love with and whom he saved from her historic fate of being murdered) instead of time-travelling back to the 20th century. It is later discovered that the last archaeological find Marek was working on before he went to the past was his own tomb.
  • Happens at the end of the 2002 film adaptation of The Time Machine. This is partly because he's lost everything he values in his original time, and partly because he had to blow up the Time Machine to destroy the Morlocks.
    • However, the act of blowing up the time machine instead of using it to escape himself qualifies as this trope.
    • The end of the film also overlays Alexander's future with his past, showing his friend visiting his now-empty house and offering a job to his house maid. He then tells her that he hopes Alexander never comes back, since it would mean that he chose to stop living in misery and employed this trope.
  • Transformers (2007) has the Autobots staying on Earth. Not that they really had anywhere else to go in that particular continuity.
    • Also notable is one of Bumblebee's only spoken lines: "I wish to stay with the boy."
  • In Tropic Thunder, Tugg Speedman decides to stay behind the village, believing he can become an adoptive father to a local child. Turns out the child happens to be utterly bloodthirsty, and he changes his mind.
  • White Wolves II: Legend of the Wild: At the end of the movie, several of the kids decide to stay in the wilderness longer and finish their mentor's work now that the injured people have gotten medical condition.

  • Amy does this in the last book of the Across the Universe (Beth Revis) trilogy. She refuses to get on the spaceship back to Earth, infuriating her father. Lucky for her, since everyone on the ship was gassed. Including her mother.
  • Ai no Kusabi ends with a very touching, albeit tragic, version of this. Riki could have left Iason to Face Death with Dignity, after he got his legs cut off and the place they were in caught fire. He instead chooses to stay by Iason's side and share One Last Smoke with him before they're Together in Death.
  • At the end of the young adult novel The Ballad of Lucy Whipple (set in Gold Rush-era California), the titular heroine, having spent the entire book whining about how much she hates California, decides to stay there, even after being given a chance to return to her New England home.
  • Eileen/Merope in Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis stays behind in 1941 while the rest of the team return to the future. She had previously promised to never leave the children for whom she became a Parental Substitute, and she keeps her word. It's implied she becomes an ancestor of Colin Templar, despite being born less than ten years before him.
  • In Bubble World, ultimately, Freesia chooses to stay in the real world and be a good big sister to Angel—helped along by her best friend in Bubble World being a virtual construct based off of a real friend of hers. This is also played very darkly when Ricky chooses to stay in Bubble World despite knowing that his life is at risk.
  • In Anne McCaffrey's Catteni series:
    • Zainal, a Catteni military officer mistakenly sent to the slave colony world, Botany (named by the humans placed there) rebuffs several attempts by the slavemasters to take him back home. The first out of spite: he knows the dockmaster responsible for his being there will be punished for it, if he stays long enough for the right people to notice his absence. Later on, it's because he's come to respect the humans who've managed to carve out a place for themselves (one female in particular) and wanted to stay and help them. We find out in a later book that Zainal is also a high-ranking member of his homeworld's La Résistance AND due to be the next vessel for one of the body-snatching Evil Overlords that have enslaved his people and if that happens, things will end badly for lots of people.
    • This also applies to most of the humans placed on Botany. "I dropped, I stay!" becomes something of a slogan/rallying cry.
  • Chrestomanci: In Charmed Life, alternate worlds come in sets of nine and there's usually a version of the same person in each world of the set. Gwendolen moves to a different world and thereby forces all her alternate selves to shift worlds too. They all find that their new circumstances suit them better than the old ones, and turn down a chance to go back.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia:
    • Not explicitly stated as a willing choice in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, where the Pevensies spend 15 years ruling Narnia and grow to adulthood, and their return to our world is unintentional. (Because of Year Inside, Hour Outside, not only do the Pevensies return barely after they left, they're de-aged back to children.)
    • The Last Battle has everyone (except Susan) return to live forever in New Narnia, thanks to them all dying in a railroad accident in their own world. It's implied that Narnia and Earth connect to the same heaven, so they would have gone there anyway, but the choice was in line with this trope.
    • Jill and Eustace also request to stay in The Silver Chair, though Aslan denies it at that point in time.
  • Subverted in Beth Hilgartner's Colors in the Dreamweaver's Loom; the heroine stranded in a fantasy world has grown to prefer it to her own...but a malicious trickster goddess grants her the "favor" of sending her home anyway. (For an extra dose of irony, she ends up at the airport she had earlier claimed was the only home she'd ever known.)
  • Discworld: At the end of Going Postal, Moist sees an opportunity to return to his old life, and has a vision of how that would work out for him. In his own mind, he doesn't choose to stay, but instead decides that as long as he never chooses at all, he can stay as long as he likes.
  • In Gordon R. Dickson's The Dragon and the George, the main character Jim decides to stay in the magical medieval world in which he and his girlfriend have landed. Their modern life really wasn't all that great. And if you're thinking about the technological, medical, and social drawbacks that the medieval world would present to a modern couple? Don't worry, so was the author. It helps that Jim becomes both a magician and a baron as a result of his adventures in the first book, and that he and his wife were already medieval scholars.
  • The Enchanted Files: Late in Diary of a Mad Brownie / Cursed, after her great-grandmother returns to the Enchanted Realm and to her mother, the Queen of Shadows, Ms. Kincaid decides to stay in the Enchanted Realm herself.
  • At the end of the first arc of The Familiar of Zero, Saito goes to battle for Louise instead of flying into an eclipse and returning to his own world. Her response is scolding and a kiss.
  • Paul in Guy Gavriel Kay's The Fionavar Tapestry chooses to stay in Fionavar at the end of The Darkest Road.
  • The Fort (2022): At the end, Ricky passes a test to get into a better school similar to the one he started out in, at the end but decides to stay at his current school with his new friends.
  • In Gene Stratton-Porter's Freckles, Freckles chooses not to go with his uncle and aunt to Ireland but stay with McLean, his Parental Substitute.
  • In Full Metal Panic!, Sousuke finds himself so attached to Kaname and civilian life that, rather than accept Mithril's termination of his bodyguarding mission, Sousuke insists on taking a 50% pay cut so he can continue going to school with her. In the final volume, he not only quits mercenary work entirely, he even breaks out of the Okinawan military base where he was held for medical observation just so he show up to high school graduation on time and give Kaname the Big Damn Kiss they promised each other.
  • The Goosebumps novel "The Haunted School" involves the characters being trapped in Greyworld, a black-and-white alternate universe where those trapped there slowly lose their colors until they're completely greyscale. As the main characters attempt to escape before that happens, it is revealed at the end that Thalia had successfully escaped beforehand but still lost all her colors, forcing her to wear layers of makeup all the time to cover up her condition. She ultimately decides to stay in Greyworld instead of dealing with it in the real world.
  • In The Guns of the South, Colonel Henry Pleasants of the Union Army misses the train he was supposed to take back to Pennsylvania after being released from Andersonville Prison. He decides to stay in the Confederate States, convinced that a talented engineer like himself would be in high demand. Later in the book, he tells his friend Nate Caudell that the other reason he stayed is that he lost his wife just before the war and became something of a Death Seeker; coming to the South gave him a new purpose in life.
  • In Heart of Steel, Julia decides to stay with Alistair, who started the novel as her captor, after he has spent the entire novel risking everything to protect her from her deranged ex turned even more deranged cyborg, and after he learns to be human again.
  • "Here There Be Tygers" by Ray Bradbury involves a benevolent sentient planet and a team of prospectors enchanted by it. They all consider staying and one of them does.
  • A Hero's War: Cato and Landar discuss what they'll do if Morey succeeds in finding a way back to Earth. Cato mentions that he'd ideally like to establish a permanent two-way bridge of some sort and visit his parents, but if it came down to a choice, he wouldn't want to move back; he has a lot more to contribute in this world than he ever did on Earth.
  • In A Hologram for the King, the main character Alan Clay has to go to Saudi Arabia in order to present his company's hologram program to King Abdullah and get them to do the IT for the King Abdullah Economic City. Alan ultimately chooses to stay despite not getting the contract, but he's still confident that he'll convince the king to use his company in another way.
  • Journey to Chaos Zigzags this trope. In A Mage's Power, Eric is happy on Tariatla because he has a job he likes, a number of friends, and "Kasile will kill me if I don't go to her coronation". He has no desire to go back to Threa. Tasio says otherwise and drags him back. Thus Looming Shadow opens with Eric trying to find a way back and exploiting Loophole Abuse to do so. Then Tasio (kinda-sorta) reveals that he wants Eric to stay here too, but an Alien Non-Interference Clause forced his action.
  • In Larry Niven's Known Space saga, the Wunderland War between Humans and the Kzinti (so named because it was fought primarily on the planet Wunderland, a human colony) lasted for just over a century. At the war's conclusion, the human victors offer to repatriate several thousands of Kzinti prisoners of war. Most of them refuse to leave Wunderland because, as the kzinti character Rauragh-Sergeant explains, "This is our homeworld, too. We were born here. Our kit were born and raised here. Why should we want to go to a planet none of us have ever seen?"
  • Zig-zagged in Konosuba: After the second time Kazuma gets killed, he asks Eris to reincarnate him back in Japan, and only agrees to be resurrected because Megumin tricks him to. In later volumes, he plays this straight, recognizing that he's essentially living the life in the Medieval-ish fantasy world, and that resurrecting at this time would be unnecessarily selfish and pointless.
  • In the Land of Oz books, Dorothy returns to Kansas after her first four trips to Oz, but eventually in The Emerald City of Oz chooses to stay in Oz (and bring her Aunt and Uncle to live with her) after they face the threat of having their farm repossessed by the banks and being homeless. It might seem odd that it took that long for Dorothy to decide to stay in Oz given how many back and forth trips she made, but homelessness was the last straw. Her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry are predictably shocked that Oz was a real place all this time.
  • In Laura and the Silver Wolf, the ill girl Laura fulfills her quest in Iceland, after which she is pulled into the real world and even feels better than before. The she decides to go back to Iceland and stay there. She doesn't actually have much choice in the matter. The fact that she is suddenly 100% healthy and not stopped by a nurse can only mean that she is not actually in the real world. This is likely a way for her to choose her Afterlife and she chooses the happier variant Assuming of course this isn't just a Dying Dream.
  • Lizard Music: In the end, the Chicken Man decides to stay with the lizards. Victor would like to stay - the lizards are a cool bunch, after all, and their way of television is actually really cool- but the Chicken Man points out he's got his parents, sister, and school to come back to while the Chicken Man's just a hobo who annoys other people.
  • Nation: Near the end of the book, the God of Death Locaha dubs Mau worthy to join the Perfect World, but Mau turns him down, believing it's more important to try to make this world perfect. Which is exactly what makes him worthy in the first place, Locaha revealing with pride that everyone he's ever given the offer to has made the same choice.
  • In Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, the hero spends the book going to considerable lengths to get the key to go home, and once back home, decides he was better in London Below. Go figure.
  • In No Game No Life, after getting over the initial shock of being transported to Disboard and learning the rules of the world, Sora and Shiro consider Disboard a paradise. They comment on how normally, the protagonist of a Trapped in Another World story does everything to get home, but they considered their lives on Earth to be sucky, where only gaming satisfied them. In Disboard, the best gamer has all the power.
  • Oddly Enough: In the end of "The Giant's Tooth", the giant finally catches Edgar and drags him out of his mouth, then soon flops down for a nap. Edgar, rather than taking the opportunity to escape, chooses to return to his home in the giant's mouth.
  • Orphan Island: When the boat brings Loo to the island and has to bring Jinny away, Jinny decides she isn't ready to leave. She first tries to push the boat out to sea, only for it to keep drifting back to shore. She ultimately drags the boat onto the boat so it can't go anywhere. None of the kids are very happy about this, and don't know what to make of it.
  • Near the start of Overlord, Momonga contemplates that, even if he had a way to return to the "real" world, he'd basically choose between going back to being a underpaid, overworked salaryman with no life and little real future... or stay as an immensely powerful arch-lich, with a magnificent fortress and a cadre of devoted and loyal servants, living in a world that he genuinely loves.
  • At the end of The People That Time Forgot by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tom Billings, having rescued the people that he came there to save, elects to stay in the Lost World of Caspak with his newfound love Ajor.
  • Raymond Rambert in The Plague is a journalist from out of town, who finds himself imprisoned when the city of Oran undergoes a quarantine due the the plague. Initially he goes to great lengths—first speaking with officials, then coming in contact with the shady underworld—to get out of the city, but at the last moment he changes his mind and decides to stay behind and help the other protagonists in fighting the plague, because he couldn't be happy outside with the consciousness that others are still suffering behind the city walls.
  • In Pugs of the Frozen North, Mitzi Von Primm decides to stay with the yetis after having consumed so many snow noodles that her transformation into one is all-but-complete.
    • Helga Hammerfist decides to stay in the Snowfather's palace because it's winter there all year 'round.
    • Shen decides that he and the pugs will live with Sika and her mother.
  • Ranger's Apprentice has pulled this twice now with Will and the rangers. There's not a lot of suspense, though, for anyone who's looked at the title.
  • The Rifter: downplayed— because John finds out that he can't go home from Basawar to Earth, or rather that if he did open the gate between the worlds, it would destroy Basawar, which he would never consider doing. Laurie, however, intends to open the gate; she doesn't care about destroying the world which has brought her great suffering.
  • Pamela Dean's The Secret Country: The children make various decisions at the end. This is a world that they fervently love, but not all of them want to stay there forever. Any who make the decision will have to stay forever. Three do stay, and two bring their parents with them.
  • At the end of Shakugan no Shana, Margery Daw and her Crimson Lord Marchosias decide to stay behind in Misaki City instead of going to Xanadu with the other Flame Hazes and Crimson Denizens as the former desires to stay with Keisaku.
  • In Sky Jumpers, it's revealed that, years ago, when White Rock's guard came to the town of Browning, Brock's father met his mother, and decided to stay there to be with her.
  • In The Ship Who... story Dramatic Mission, actors take an assignment to put on Shakespeare plays for aliens. These are highly advanced Starfish Aliens living on a methane-ammonia world who set up "envelopes'', bodies like theirs, for the actors to inhabit for seven-hour stretches. The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body and the humans quickly find themselves thinking like the Corviki and regretting returning to their own bodies. One actor has recently retired but was bored, and another is slowly dying from the FantasticDrug that gives him enough recall to juggle all the lines of the hundreds of plays he knows. They both revel in the sense of youth and power they feel as alien jellyfish and elect to stay, as does another actor who's in love with one of them, allowing their human bodies to slowly wither.
  • Jon-Tom, the titular Spellsinger, finds a permanent way home in the sixth book, but finds life on mundane Earth boring, so he loads up on music books and chocolate-chip cookies, and returns. Though the seventh book reveals that he's made regular trips back to Earth and brought numorous bits of Earth technology like portable TVs and VHS players back with him. Flores, the cheerleader that Jon-Tom had accidentally summoned in the first novel, had already chosen to stay in the second due to enjoying being in a world where she was free to be an Action Girl and be judged on her brains and skills rather than her looks.
  • Holo from Spice and Wolf choose to stay with Lawrence despite occasions where she could ditch him, such as finding other wolf deities or the location of Yoitsu. Her excuse is "being indebted to Lawrence".
  • In Stardust, Tristran chooses to stay on the other side of the wall with Yvaine. He ultimately settles there and dies there. It helps that, by virtue of being the last surviving male heir, he's now the Lord of Stormhold.
  • In Summer Celebration, the Doctor, after having given birth to Mr. Katan's wife, chose to stay in the settlement where he and Tsiva live.
  • This is a consistent plot point in Robin D. Owens' The Summoning series, where any native of Earth summoned to Amee must eventually face the Snap — the call of Earth — and choose to either return home or stay forever.
  • Sword Art Online:
    • At one point, Kirito decides to give up and tries to convince his wife Asuna that they should just live the rest of their lives in the video game instead of trying to beat it and escape. Asuna quickly points out that is not an option because they would be leaving everybody else trapped as well, and their real world bodies on life support will eventually die, plus she wants to be with him in the real world. Kirito regains his resolve and they continue on the quest to beat the game.
    • Played more straight during the climax of the Alicization arc. Kirito decides to stay behind fighting off Gabriel Miller while Asuna and Alice run off to the World's End Altar, knowing that time's running out and he'll be trapped there for two hundred years. After he wins the battle, he's shocked to see that Asuna has chosen to stay with him as well.
  • The Sword of Saint Ferdinand: King Ferdinand III planned to return to Castile after freeing the city of Seville until Fortún pointed out that he will be leaving the city extremely vulnerable and ripe for the enemy's retaking if he does so. The king realizes that the old soldier is right and swears he will never leave Seville until his death.
  • In Michael Crichton's novel Timeline, historian André Marek decides at the last minute to remain in Medieval France instead of returning to the 20th century. His co-workers/friends go find his grave after they get back to the 20th century and know where to look for it, just to get some idea how he fared.
  • Tortall Universe: In the Trickster's Duet, Aly pulls a twofer: literally, by remaining in the Copper Isles instead of returning to Tortall, and figuratively, by becoming a spymaster instead of a field agent as she originally desired.
  • When deciding whether to stay Trapped on Draconica or go home, Ben tries to Take a Third Option and go home but use his power to travel between worlds to visit Draconica, but Dronor says he has to take that power away. After thinking about his worried sick mother and encouragement from Erowin he decides to go home.
  • The War of the Flowers: Theo is a literal changeling who gets dragged to Faerie. At the end of the book, he finally surrenders his dream of returning to the mundane world in which he was raised, which is fortunate since, by the laws of Faerie, he can't anyway.
  • In one Warrior Cats book, Jayfeather goes back in time to the ancient incarnation of himself. He first sees it just as part of his duty, to make sure he sets certain events in motion so that they affect the future, but then he falls in love. He wants to stay in that time period, but isn't allowed to because he's still needed in the present day.
  • Heather and Veronica of The Wizard, The Witch, and Two Girls from Jersey get the chance to return from the world of The Queen of Twilight to their own world. Heather decides to stay, leaving behind her neglectful parents and continuing her Fantastic Romance and her role as The Chosen One.
  • In Wizard's Bane, the first part of Rick Cook's Wiz Biz, the Wizard is abducted to a fantasy world by a summoning spell, saves the world, is then given the opportunity to return home and turns it down. (Unsurprisingly, since he would have to give up both his love interest and awesome magical powers.) He fails to realize he could have visited and brought back things like reference books, programming textbooks, the recipes to his favorite foods. It wasn't totally impossible to communicate with home either or arrange for visits from there. In subsequent books more Earth people visit the World (either as contract workers or by accident) and some of them stay. Jerry stays on long term contract, so Wiz has some free time and because he is a better teacher than Wiz (though not so good as Karl). Danny found his love too. Mick is torn between his obligations as an Air Force pilot and love to a dragon rider woman; he doesn't stay, and the next opportunity appears only years later.
  • Wolves of Mercy Falls Series: At the end of Shiver, Olivia chooses to try and live with lycanthropy rather than gamble on an incredibly risky cure.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The 10th Kingdom, Virginia chooses to go back to New York (with Wolf, who is from the Nine Kingdoms), but her dad Tony decides to stay in the Nine Kingdoms. Considering the fact that he's a national hero who is good friends with King Wendell in the Nine Kingdoms and a janitor who's wanted for armed robbery in New York, it was probably a wise decision.
  • On ALF, ALF had the opportunity to leave Earth and be with his friends from his home planet, but it would mean having to miss Brian's upcoming birthday, so he stayed. The second time, he fully intended to leave, but the authorities intercepted his message and captured him just as the Melmacian ship was landing. By the wrap-up movie, he once again has no intention of leaving Earth.
  • Amazing Stories (2020): In "Signs Of Life" Sara quits her people's mission, not wanting to be a part of it anymore since she likes life on Earth instead.
  • In the finale of The Americans, the protagonists' daughter Paige decides to stay in America rather than go back to the USSR with them after their cover gets blown.
  • Arastoo has a chance to work at a major forensics lab in Berlin, but he turns it down and goes back to Washington, D.C. to be with Cam on Bones
  • When Buffy the Vampire Slayer is offered the chance to leave Sunnydale for college, she realizes she has no choice but to stay and fight the Hellmouth. Willow, however, does choose to stay, even when accepted to Oxford.
  • Doctor Who:
    • A number of the Doctor's companions leave the TARDIS by choosing to stay somewhere they visit on their travels (though not necessarily hating it when they first get there) instead of going home again, including:
    • The Doctor himself was once an example of this trope. He has always loved Earth, but the Third Doctor hated being exiled there and was constantly trying to get the TARDIS working again. After the exile was lifted, however, he decided that he liked having a home and continued to spend most of his time on twentieth-century Earth. It wasn't until he regenerated into the Fourth Doctor that he decided to resume his wanderings.
    • "Utopia": The rocket that will take the humans to Utopia has an operating system that means someone must stay behind to activate it, that person being Professor Yana, who designed the rocket. His assistant Chantho is perfectly fine with staying with Yana, even though he's tried to persuade her to go.
  • In Elementary, Joan at the end of "M" calls Sherlock's father to ask for an extension after her six weeks with Sherlock was over. Her request is denied but she continues to stay without pay anyways. She lies to Sherlock that his father granted her extension, but he figures out the truth and offers her to stay on as his apprentice.
  • Sometimes on Fantasy Island, a guest will decide they fit their fantasy world much better and become a "permanent resident" of the island.
    • A would-be cowboy finds, rather than the Old West, he's put into the "real West" of modern times but is drawn to the young widow and her son at a ranch and decides to give it a try for real.
    • A lawyer comes hunting his friend, who elected to stay and live out being a swashbuckler type. After various attempts, the lawyer realizes his friend is much happier in this 16th-century world and bids him farewell.
  • Fantasy Island (2021):
    • Ruby is convinced to stay on the island, where she'll remain young and in good health indefinitely (Elena couldn't cure her cancer if she left).
    • Isabel's heartbroken at having left Rachel in the past, and leaps at the offer to stay there permanently with her that Elana provides.
  • The first 3 1/2 seasons of Farscape are all about John's efforts to get back to Earth. However, when he finally gets there, he realizes that A) he's changed too much to stick around and B) the bad guys aren't going to stop going after him so he has to leave to protect Earth. He takes it a step further in the series finale when he closes the wormhole to Earth permanently so the bad guys can't get there... but that means he can never go back. Made even worse since he knows that it's his fault that the Scarrans are even after Earth, having accidentally told their Emperor that there's plenty of their mind-boosting plant on Earth.
  • In Free Spirit (1989), Winnie comes to Earth solely to perform "public service" by helping Gene Harper win a bowling tournament. However, after he wins the tournament, she decides to stick around as a Magical Nanny and housekeeper.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • In "Two Swords", Jaime outright refuses Tywin's command that he accept a release from the Kingsguard to become Lord Paramount of the Westerlands.
    • In "First of His Name", Daenerys chooses to remain in Slaver's Bay to deal with the chaos her campaign has wrought.
    • Jon turns down Stannis' offer to legitimize him as Jon Stark, something he has wanted his whole life, out of his sense of duty to the Night's Watch and realizing that the political squabbling among the kingdoms is nothing compared to the impending threat of the White Walkers and their army of the dead.
    • Jorah chooses to remain by Daenerys' side even after being pardoned and allowed to return by King Robert.
    • Gendry chooses to stay in the Brotherhood without Banners. It doesn't end well.
  • Subverted in one episode of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Series. Amy develops a boyfriend after she time travels into the '60s. However her time watch has a fail safe that'll activate and transport her home after a given time. After a bit of this, Amy decides to stay in the past permanently, sending her watch back in the process. However we find out that the fail-safe was due to the fact that anyone who stayed in the past for too long would be frozen and combust (sorta the timeline's own failsafe). Wayne is force to go back into the past and retrieve her before that happens.
  • In The Invisible Man, after Darien has the Quicksilver gland implanted in his brain, he's forced to work for the Agency because the gland has the inconvenient side effect of causing insanity and eventual death, and they have the only antidote, which needs to be administered regularly. He spends two seasons trying to find a way to either have the gland removed (which they can't do without killing him) or fix the (deliberate) design flaw. Then, in the series finale, the gland is fixed and he doesn't need the antidote anymore, so he leaves to work for the FBI. Then he realizes the FBI are woefully inadequate at dealing with the unbelievable threats he's accustomed to, so he agrees to come back to the Agency and his partner at the end, albeit with some demands.
  • In the final episode of Life on Mars, Sam finally gets back to 2006 — but finds himself bored and unsatisfied there, so returns to rescue his friends in 1973. By jumping off a building and killing himself.
  • Lots of characters on Lost choose to stay on the island, and some of those who've left want to go back. The first to declare that they're going to stay (before the Jack/Locke split) are Rose and Bernard, who join Jack's group but have no interest in leaving because Rose's cancer is cured on the Island and she would die if she left. Eventually, they "retire" to a cabin in the jungle. In the Grand Finale, Jack, Hurley, and Ben choose to stay behind to save the Island from the Man in Black's Evil Plan. Jack dies heroically and Hurley and Ben choose to stay behind and take up his charge as the caretakers of the Island. And then in the "flash-sideways" afterlife, everyone decides to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence except for Ben, who decides he's going to stay behind and work things out with Alex and Danielle before he joins everyone else in wherever they all end up.
  • Lost in Austen: Amanda and Elizabeth Bennet changed places; Amanda going to Regency England and Elizabeth to modern-day London in the New Tens. Both decided to stay in the new place.
  • M*A*S*H:
    • The most prominent example probably comes from the series finale, where Max Klinger, after spending the entire series trying to get discharged from the Army to return home from Korea, elects to stay with his new bride. This was a temporary thing so Soon-Lee (Star Trek alum Rosalind Chao) could find her family, if they were even still alive. In the sequel they found them living in, no surprise, deplorable conditions, helped them out a bit, and when they came to the US, sent money back and tried to arrange for immigration status. The shock came not from Klinger moving to Korea for good. It came from him not bolting back to Toledo the instant the war ended.
    • In "The Late Captain Pierce", Hawkeye gets an opportunity to leave when the Army declares him officially dead. He nearly does so, but at the last minute changes his mind. (Although, to be fair, this is depicted as owing to Hawkeye's sense of duty as a physician rather than any newly-discovered affection for his surroundings.) And the fact that the army would have charged him with desertion, once they got their paperwork straightened out, had nothing to do with it.
    • Radar nearly does this in his final episode, fearing that the unit will fall apart without him. However, when he realizes that Klinger is able to adequately fill what had been Radar's role, he happily takes his discharge.
  • Played straight: Neverwhere, where after getting his life back in London Above, Richard decides to go back to London Below. To be fair, there's a certain amount of ambiguity as to whether Richard really went back or just totally lost it.
  • Odd Squad: Olando wishes to stay in his Headquarters in the event that villains come to raid it again, even though the Golden Sundial that he was assigned to protect is in the safe hands of the Mobile Unit. Boosting this decision is the fear that he won't fit into society because he is a Fish out of Temporal Water and has no knowledge of how society works now that it has evolved. Orla, who was also a Fish out of Temporal Water that got used to how modern society functioned, assures him that villains aren't returning and explains that she felt the same way but found a role in modern society and that he too will find a role to play. He eventually decides to join the Mobile Unit as a Sixth Ranger agent, and by the end of "Odd Together Now", he decides to stay in modern times instead of returning to the time period of 500 years ago that he was comfortable living in.
  • Only Fools and Horses: In the fifth series finale "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?", Del Boy decides to stay in England with Rodney and Uncle Albert, rather than go to Australia with his friend Jumbo Mills to run a car business.
  • Power Rangers Zeo: Billy Cranston began to suffer from Rapid Aging and had to go to planet Aquitar for treatment. He was cured, but he met and fell in love with a native named Cestria, so he decided to retire and stay on Aquitar with her.
  • Quantum Leap: In the final episode, Sam is told he could go back home anytime he wanted to, but the last words of the show reveal that he never did. It's implied that he would go back in a second, if he remembered that he still had a wife waiting for him in his own time.
  • Schitt's Creek: In the penultimate episode, David Rose, having been elated to possibly move to New York with his family and finally get out of the town, first learns that Stevie is not moving to New York. Then, he learns that his fiance Patrick is trying to buy a charming house that David had admired. After heartfelt talks with Patrick and Stevie, David realizes his life is in the town and chooses to stay.
  • Stargate:
    • Jonas Quinn from Stargate SG-1. He later undoes this with a But Now I Must Go.
    • In the Stargate Universe episode "Twin Destinies", when the crew of Destiny are about to go home, Rush asks for 10 people to join him and Young in staying behind. Most of the main cast elect to do so. It was an Alternate Universe, and they all ended up on a random planet 2000 years in the past.
  • In a rather excellent episode of Star Trek: Enterprise named "Carbon Creek", a group of Vulcans get trapped on Earth in the 1950's, specifically in a Pennsylvania mining town. While the other two Vulcans cannot wait to get off this primitive and backward rock, the third Vulcan becomes enamored of the planet, developing a fondness for baseball, I Love Lucy, and even getting something of a human girlfriend. Of course, by the time the Vulcans send a ship to retrieve them, he claims this trope.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In the two-part episode "Unification", Picard discovers that Spock has gone to Romulus. But, when he finally finds him, he sees that Spock has been helping a youth movement interested in reunifying with their Vulcan cousins. Though, the movement is undermined by the Romulan government, Spock tells Picard that he'll stay to help them start over.
    Spock: An inexorable evolution toward a Vulcan philosophy has already begun. Like the first Vulcans, these people are struggling to a new enlightenment and it may take decades or even centuries for them to reach it but they will reach it$ and I must help.
  • In the last episode of The Strange Calls, Banks, the fish out water in the small town of Coolum, is offered a promotion back in the big city. He chooses to stay at his job instead, partly out of love and loyalty for Gregor.
  • Tracker (2001) ends with Cole choosing to return to Earth to be with Mel. Good thing, too, since we learn the fugitives also seemed to have returned...
  • In True Blood, Hoyt had moved to Anchorage a couple seasons ago after breaking up with Jessica and ending his friendship with Jason. In the final season, Hoyt's mother is killed and he returns to Louisiana to identify her body, and brought his new girlfriend Brigitte for moral support. But over the course of the season, Hoyt and Jessica slowly fall back in love, while Brigitte starts bonding with Jason. After Brigitte and Hoyt break up, she's prepared to fly back to Alaska, but Jason realizes he loves her. The show isn't clear on whether Brigitte flat-out stayed in Louisiana to be with him, or if she (more realistically) went back home but maintained contact with Jason then moved, but in the Distant Finale they're Happily Married in Louisiana with several kids.

  • Dutchmiller makes this choice at the end of The Strangerhood to stay with Catherine and raise their child.
    Dutchmiller: I'm not going. My place is here now.
    Catherine: Oh Dutch, do you really mean that?
    Dutchmiller: Are we still in danger of being burned alive?
    Catherine: No.
    Dutchmiller: Then absolutely.

  • Doctor Steel, "Land of the Lost":
    In the Land of the Lost
    In the Land of the Lost I rock
    And I$m never going back, never going back
    Cause now I rock in the Land of the Lost
  • Origami Angel: The core theme of Somewhere City is the singer's trips to Somewhere City, a place he goes when he feels sad because his life is better there. In the final track, "The Air Up Here", he reaches out to an old friend after an extended visit, saying that he's "never gonna come back home again"; it has nothing to do with anything bad they did, he just likes Somewhere City more and he feels like he belongs there.
    I'm finally somewhere that I have to be
    Where I've been living peacefully and happily
    To paradise out of a catastrophe
    And I feel worthwhile now
    'Cause the city never lets me down

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In Retail, while most of the employees chose to find new jobs immediately rather than stick around for the liquidation sales after Grumbel's files for bankruptcy, Crystal stays at Marla's suggestion so she can put she was a store manager on her resume. Lunker also elects to stay in order to help Crystal close the store.

  • In Brigadoon, it is explained that people from the outside world are not trapped in Brigadoon, unlike its inhabitants. But if they really desire to live there forever, The Power of Love will let them stay. And so Tommy ultimately decides to go back to Scotland rather than settling down with his Disposable Fiancée.
  • In the 2014 Bordeaux production of Jean-Philippe Rameau's Les Indes galantes, Emilie ultimately chooses to stay in Turkey with Osman rather than return to France with her first love Valère.

    Theme Parks 
  • CineMagique at Walt Disney Studios Paris, is about a man getting teleported into the world of film, and while trying to escape he forms a relationship with a princess, who at the end is unable to come into the real world with him, so he decides to remain in the film world so he can be with her.

    Video Games 
  • The narrator of the Saladin campaign in Age of Empires II who was captive for 20 years decides to stay and explore the Middle East after the 3rd crusade ends.
  • Kyouko and Kouin in Aselia the Eternal - The Spirit of Eternity Sword choose to stay at the end, though Kaori decides to go home without her brother, who is neither staying or returning, exactly.
  • Implied for future plans in BlazBlue. At the end of one of her story branches in Calamity Trigger, Litchi Faye-Ling is asked that if she ever finds the cure for Arakune, she'll just go back being a scientist in Sector Seven. Her response? She already chose to settle at Orient Town permanently once it's over, people needed her there. In the end of ''Central Fiction'', she fulfilled this after coming to a conclusion about finding the cure (she didn't find it, but is convinced to return to her normal friends).
  • Brown Dust II: After the warlock is slain, Lisianne chooses to stay in Lugo Village to help out in the aftermath since they basically lost their leader.
  • Brütal Legend has perhaps the fastest use of this trope ever. Eddie Riggs finds himself sucked into a Heavy Mithril fantasy world, which is a paradise for a die-hard metalhead like himself. He decides he wants to stay in this world forever pretty much as soon as he arrives.
  • Happens during the intro to Cirque De Zale, with Alexander deciding that he would rather stay in the alternate world and start a circus rather than go back to his homeworld. Justified since Alexander's life sucked in his previous world, so having a chance to start anew seemed quite appealing to him. Later on in the game, Alexander chooses to stay again, this time on a deserted island.
  • In Deathsmiles each character has two different endings: one where they go through the portal back to the human world to see their family again or stay there with their friends. The sequel makes the latter choice canon for all of them.
  • At the end of Doom 64, Doomguy decides to stay in Hell to make sure the demons never menace the world of the living again. Over time he is driven mad by the toll that constantly fighting demons takes on his mind, and he is found by the Night Sentinels, who take him into their ranks. After a serious powerup by one of the Maykrs who rule over the Sentinels, he soon becomes one of the order's only survivors after the order is betrayed by both their superiors and one of their own, and goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the forces of Hell, becoming the Doom Slayer of Doom (2016) and Doom Eternal.
  • In Act 1 of Dragon Age II, Ferelden is being rebuilt after the end of the Blight, and Aveline and Fenris both wonder whether Hawke might return home instead of staying on in Kirkwall. Hawke can express some interest in the idea, but events ensure they remain in Kirkwall for the duration of the game. It helps, however, that their hometown, Lothering, was completely destroyed by the Blight to the point that it could not be rebuilt anyways, leaving little if anything for Hawke to return to.
  • In Dragon Quest VII, Prince Kiefer chooses to remain in the past after falling in love with the dancer Lala, giving his gear to the Hero just as they return to the present and leaving a tablet behind that explains his fate.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion: One minor quest-giver in the Shivering Isles DLC is Pyke, an adventurer from Cyrodill who decided to explore the titular Isles when the portal opened up, but instead of going insane, dying, or both in whatever order, he found love with a resident named Zoe Malene and decided to settle down with her.
  • In The Evil Within 2, we meet Stefano Valentini, a Wicked Cultured Mad Artist who kills people and takes pictures of their last moments or mutilated corpses for his art. Before he formally introduces himself to Sebastian, we see him setting up a Mobius agent to be his next photograph. The man begs for his life, and tells Stefano that he can help him escape STEM, the simulation they're all inside, but Stefano only replies with confusion as to why he would want to leave, since now, with the simulated town of Union in ruins, he can kill and make art at will with no consequences.
  • Fate/Grand Order: In Asterios the Minotaur's backstory, he eventually managed to find the exit to the Labyrinth, but he was so guilty about all the people sacrificed to feed him that he went back into the Labyrinth and decided to wait until a hero would come and slay him.
  • Saber in the Unlimited Blade Works Good End and Rider in the Heaven's Feel True End in Fate/stay night, the first more so than than the latter because up until that point we constantly heard that it was not going to happen. Archer was sort of tempted to in the UBW endings, but only because he didn't want to make Tohsaka sad. But there was no place for him, and even one Servant is hard enough to support without the Grail. It didn't stop her from trying to get him to stay, but stops and realizes that if even if he did stay that he couldn't be saved from the ideal that ultimately betrayed him.
    • Tsukihime does this as well with Ciel. Despite the implication or perhaps statement that she was going to leave/already had left in the closest-to-canon ending, she's still around in Kagetsu Tohya. Apparently, she has to go stamp out the evil Dead roaming around. You know, the ones that are completely mindless mooks and barely a threat to muggles when the Church doesn't care about them anyway. Apparently it just wouldn't be safe unless she stayed for at least a full year after Roa is gone. *Cough*
  • Fatal Frame: In the True ending, Mafuyu chooses to stay with the ghost of Kirie, to comfort her and provide her with companionship as she spends eternity keeping a Hell Gate shut. Later games imply that he died down there.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy V: The Dawn Warriors chase after ExDeath to another world, and after a harrowing battle, manage to defeat him, but as he begins to recover from the fight, the decision is made to seal him on this world. One warrior, Dorgann, hesitates to do so, but eventually relents. However, when the party prepares to head back, he instead chooses to stay and watch over the seal. He turns out to be the father of Bartz Klauser, the lead character.
    • Inverted in Final Fantasy X, in that Tidus would choose to stay but (depending on how you take the sequel) must leave along with the Aeons.
      • Also totally defied with Auron. As Yuna is preforming the ceremony to send Sin's corpse to the Farplane she stops when she sees Auron disappearing too. He makes her to keep going telling her " your world now."
    • Brutally defied in Final Fantasy XIV. In Patch 3.55, "The Far Edge of Fate", the death of Illberd while holding Nidhogg's eyes and combined with the brutal deaths of a resistance performed by Illberd has lead to the creation of a new Primal. Knowing what's going to happen, Papalymo decides to use Tupsimati to create a similar prison attempted to be used on Bahamut Prime five years earlier. When Yda realizes he means to sacrifice himself to use the needed aether to create the prison, she refuses to leave his side, forcing Papalymo to ask Thancred to get her out. You're given the choice of either staying or going, but if you choose to stay, Papalymo sighs sadly and blasts you away to safety.
  • In the Fire Emblem series:
    • Ninian in Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, if you get her to A support with Eliwood. Even knowing her lifespan will be greatly shortened by staying on Elibe.
    • Also, in Fire Emblem: Awakening in her solo ending Noire decides to stay with her mother Tharja, her father, and later her baby self. It's speculated whether she did it to keep an eye on the mentally unstable Tharja so she won't neglect/abuse her child self, to prove that her complicated relationship with her mom has been mended, or (most likely) a mix of all the above.
    • In Fire Emblem Fates, if Female!Corrin marries Odin or Laslow in the Revelation route, they will stay and rule Valla with her, rather than return to their home, the world of Awakening, permanently. Notably, the other Ylissean character, Selena, doesn't have a special epilogue and uses her usual epilogue ending, though it can be assumed she would stay as well, due to the fact that Male!Corrin is still King of Valla.
  • Guilty Gear: At the end of Revelator, Axl Low, the charming and funny British time traveller who has spent the whole series trying to find a way back to his old time, is finally given a chance to go home but can't bring himself to abandon his friends, so he chooses to use his power to help Anti-Hero protagonist Sol Badguy save his own timeline instead.
  • Tarnum in Heroes of Might and Magic damned his soul in the first episode of the Chronicles series, and spent the rest of his now immortal existence righting wrongs in an attempt to redeem himself. In the Might campaign of Heroes IV, Tarnum finally proves himself worthy to enter paradise after he helps a young barbarian reunite the scattered Barbarian tribes without repeating Tarnum's past mistakes. Tarnum refuses the afterlife and stays to provide further guidance for his people.
  • A plotline from Hometown Story has a foreign girl wash up on the village beach and get taken in by the local fisherman. The two eventually develop feelings for each other, but the girl also becomes increasingly homesick. The player character eventually acquires a boat ticket that can bring the girl back home and the fisherman purchases it in a surge of I Want My Beloved to Be Happy. One Deus ex Machina-inducing item later, the boat ticket is thrown in the ocean by the girl and she decides to live in the village permanently.
  • Ikemen Sengoku: The main character who was sent back in time to Japan's Sengoku period initially plans to spend only the three months in it needed to wait for the wormhole that forcibly sent her to manifest again, but her growing attachment to the friends she's formed in that time and her developing feelings for one of the men there too eventually cause her to decide to stay in the past. Sasuke, who was sent back in time with her too, also makes the same choice as her to stay in the past in most routes.
  • At the end of the second Jak and Daxter game, everyone decides to stay in the Bad Future because it's actually the present and young Jak has to go back in time anyway.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: In the end, the Link and Zelda of that era decide to stay on the surface rather than returning to Skyloft. It's a Foregone Conclusion, considering this game's place on the timeline.
  • After the events of The Longest Journey, April Ryan has developed the ability to shift between Stark (her home) and Arcadia at will. She chooses to remain in Arcadia, and by the time she loses the ability to shift, we see that she doesn't feel great about her decision.
  • The suboptimal good ending of Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer has the player forced to stay in the city of the dead to stop the spirit eater curse from passing on. Your Love Interest will stay, too.
  • Rika in Phantasy Star IV chooses to stay with Chaz at the end of the game, and is warned that life will be painful and difficult but that she is their hope. Ultimately, that is because she was created to give humanity a chance to survive through her genetically-enhanced bloodline, in anticipation of the remaining climate control systems from the Mother Brain-era failing. In effect, Rika and Chaz are part of an Adam and Eve Plot, sort of.
  • At the end of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice, Apollo chooses to stay in Khura'in and help oversee the reconstruction of the nation's justice system rather than return with Phoenix and Athena.
  • It's done a couple of different ways in the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series.
  • A line during the ending video for Return to Zork implies that the player character has come to see the Great Underground Empire as their home and intends to stay there.
  • In Riviera: The Promised Land, Ein will choose to stay in Riviera if the love meter of any of the girls is high enough. Otherwise, he will return to Asgard with Rose.
  • Some heartwarming moments in the Shall We Date? series features a Happy Ending with The Heroine staying with her love interest.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic: The Sith Inquisitor PC binds a total of four Sith ghosts for use as power sources and defenses. At the end of the class story they have the option to uphold their end of the bargain and release them from service... except for Horak-mul, who stays with the Inquisitor because traveling with them is more fun than being stuck on Hoth where they found him.
  • In A Story About My Uncle: After thinking about it for some time Maddie decides to stay with the Strays. The same thing happens to Fred, after the main character convinced him to.
  • Thomas of Suikoden III was kind of forced to become the master of a castle. But when he finds out he can no longer stay at the castle, he decides to stay despite the consequences.
  • Happens in spades in Super Robot Wars Advance. Both protagonists Axel Almer or Lamia Loveless infiltrated the enemy group, one that supports peace instead of eternal war as their former group Shadow Mirror wished, but due to other circumstances, they end up unwittingly molding with the community and agreeing with their ideals, thus when the Shadow Mirror calls them to betray the old party and return to them, they chose to stay on the new group, having agreeing to the new ideals and betray the Shadow Mirror.
  • Super Robot Wars X: In the endings of both the normal and IF routes, Lelouch (Due to him wanting to lay low after Zero Requiem) along with both protagonists choose to stay in Al-Warth rather than return to their respective worlds.
  • The hero of Tachyon: The Fringe, Jake Logan, who was wrongfully exiled from Sol, will choose to settle down with his Mission Control love interest at the end of the game if he sides with the Bora. Averted if he sides with Galspan, who will instead reward him with a ticket back home.
  • Tales of Hearts does a "normal" variation sometime in the middle of the game. The quest passes through the hometown of party mage Beryl, who has every reason to stay: the quest is outrageously dangerous, she wants to be with her Gramma, she wants to protect said hometown, etc — and yet she finds she can't just let her True Companions walk out of her life.
  • Undertale:
    • In any of the Neutral Endings, Asgore offers you the chance to stay with him if you choose to spare him after defeating him in your fight. However, it's not to be; if you don't kill Asgore, Flowey does it himself.
    • In the True Golden Ending, this is one of the two choices you can make once you've reached the surface and Toriel asks you what you plan to do next. If you tell her that you want to stay with her, she'll gladly adopt Frisk (your Player Character). When you make this choice, the ending post-credits scene of the game is a brief scene of Frisk sleeping in their bed at night, with Toriel peeking in long enough to leave them a slice of pie for when they wake up, just like she did near the beginning of the game. The other option you can choose is an example of But Now I Must Go.
  • At the end of Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria, the pocket dimension created by Lezard Valeth within Yggdrasil begins to break down upon his death. The immortal vampire Brahms, realizing he has become mortal in this dimension, willingly stays behind to die.]]


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • 3Below: In the series finale, Krel decides to remain on Earth because he sees the planet as his new home and he wants to stay with all the friends he made.
  • Beast Wars: After the Predacons are seemingly destroyed in "Victory", Dinobot chooses to stay on the planet by himself, as his only place on Cybertron would be as a criminal and prisoner. Of course, when it turns out the Preds were only Faking the Dead, the wars resume and the rest of the Maximals stay as well.
  • Ben 10:
    • In Ben 10: Alien Force, Grandpa Max chooses to stay in the Null Void and help the inhabitants recover from the depredations of D'Void aka Dr. Animo. He eventually returns to Earth in the season finale.
    • In Ultimate Alien, Charmcaster stays behind in her home dimension, sealed off from the outside world forever, in hopes of finally freeing it from its evil ruler.
  • Blackstar: In the last episode, a rescue ship from Earth (piloted by Blackstar's beautiful girlfriend, no less) navigates the black hole, finds John Blackstar on Sagar, and offers to take him home. He very nearly takes her up on it, but he finally decides that he's too important to the natives' rebellion against the Overlord, and he chooses to stay. The last scene is her returning to Earth, and sending a message ahead that she wants to come back with proper military forces to help John defeat the Overlord.
  • Captain N: The Game Master: The pilot. After saving the day, Kevin is offered the choice to return to Earth. He chooses to remain in Videoland, where he is a superhero hanging out with a hot princess and his favorite videogame characters, rather than go back to Earth, where he is a normal boy having to deal with chores, school, and a nagging mother.
  • Centaurworld: At the end of "The Rift, Part 2", after the gateway is reopened, Horse chooses to remain in Centaurworld instead of returning home with Rider in order to help the centaurs prepare for the coming war.
  • The final episode of Dungeons & Dragons (1983) that was never made would have ended with the kids finally going home, except for Inept Mage Presto, who would have stayed behind to train to become a proper wizard.
  • G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero: In "World Without End", several Joes find themselves in an Alternate Universe where Cobra took over the world. Steeler, Clutch, and Grunt are terrified to find skeletal remains with dogtags with their own names; clearly, whatever Cobra did, their own counterparts in this world didn't survive it. Steeler eventually finds out that this isn't the only difference; in this reality, the Baroness is a double-agent, who was also his counterpart's lover in this world. After she and the heroes are able to help start what she calls "the First Cobra Civil War", and they find a way back to their world, Steeler decides to stay behind with her, saying there's really no-one waiting for him back home; Clutch and Grunt choose to stay behind too, upset at what happened to their alternate selves hoping to help bring Cobra down.
  • In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983), Queen Marlena was once an astronaut from Earth who crash-landed on Eternia. When her ship was repaired, she decided to stay, because she and King Randor had fallen in love. She married him and became his Queen. In the episode "Visitors From Earth", astronauts from Earth crash-land on Eternia. When their ship was repaired, they offered to take Marlena back with them, but she said her place was with her beloved family.
  • Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous: When the kids finally have a plan to get off the island, Ben Pincus opts to remain behind, reasoning that their Character Development is only possible because of their experiences there and afraid of reverting back to their previous self. The other campers begrudgingly agree, but then take as much time as possible circling waiting for the stupidity of that decision to sink in.
  • In the Justice League Unlimited episode "Far from Home", Supergirl, Green Lantern, and Green Arrow are abducted into the future by the Legion of Super-Heroes, who are desperate for help defeating a powerful supervillain. Supergirl elects to stay in the future afterward, thus pulling a Prophecy Twist, since the Legion's records said she disappeared from the present, which they had previously interpreted to mean she'd die.
  • Kion decides to return to the Tree of Life after seeing that Zira is dead and the Pride Lands are at peace in The Lion Guard and become king, as he's fallen in love with Queen Rani. The rest of the guard joins him as Vitani formed and leads her own Lion Guard.
  • My Little Pony:
    • In the 2-part series premiere of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Twilight Sparkle goes from thinking all the other ponies in Ponyville are crazy and wanting nothing more than to finish her job and return to Canterlot, to wanting to stay where all her newfound friends are.
    • In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls, Sunset Shimmer had been planning to return to Equestria with a brainwashed army in tow, but after being defeated, is left in the human world by Twilight Sparkle to hopefully learn about friendship from the main cast. The second movie has her remain there by choice in a form of self-exile, while the third movie has a deleted scene where she realizes she now feels at home in the human world and has no interest in living in Equestria again.
    • My Little Pony: Make Your Mark: At the end of "Roots of All Evil, Pt. 2", Sparky decides to stay with his adoptive pony father Hitch, who had been worrying about the day he will have to let Sparky go with his own kind, the dragons. Spike, who was raised by Twilight when he was a hatchling himself, gladly accepts Sparky's decision.
  • The Owl House:
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power:
    • When finally in direct communication with Bow after her presumed death in the Fright Zone (and a fair bit of Catra hinting at her being tortured into compliance), Entrapta admits that she would rather remain with the Horde as they give her the resources and supplies to experiment to her hearts content.
    • She later tries to make a same choice when Bow and Adora try to rescue her from Beast Island, additionally reasoning that there's nothing left for her off the island, but Adora manages to lure her back.
  • Star Wars: The Bad Batch: In S1 E16, Crosshair refuses to leave Kamino with the Bad Batch at the end of the episode, preferring to stay behind and return to the Empire.
  • Star Wars Rebels:
    • "Legacy of Mandalore": At the end, after reconnecting with her family, Sabine chooses to stay behind to build the Mandalorian Resistance against the Empire.
    • "Through Imperial Eyes": The rebels mount an operation to rescue Agent Kallus because his cover is in danger. At the end, he chooses to stay because he believes he can do more from the inside, unaware that Grand Admiral Thrawn is now aware of his treachery and plans to Feed the Mole.
  • Transformers: Prime: Ratchet opts to remain on Earth, helping humanity reverse engineer Cybertronian technology to defend against Decepticons. This is after Cybertron is restored to habitable status.

    Real Life 
  • As described in An Anthropologist On Mars, a painter received a concussion from a car accident. Afterwards, he was unable to see in colors, and couldn't read written words. Though he recovered his ability to read, he remained completely colorblind. Not only that, but he was unable to remember color; he knew what colors things originally were, but he could not see them in his mind. The whole world resembled a "dirty" ashen world to him, and he fell into a depression for a while. After a year or two, though, he saw his vision as being "more refined" than "normal" vision. When a suggestion was made at this time about a surgery that could possibly restore his color vision, he turned it down, preferring to stay in the world he had grown used to rather than to readjust to the old world.
  • In the 1960s, Fred Rogers hired Ernie Coombs to work as his understudy in Canada to do an early version of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood on the CBC TV network. After three years, Rogers decided to return to the US, but Coombs decided to stay in Canada and created his own landmark children's TV series, Mr. Dressup.
  • Timoleon of Corinth, after removing the tyrant Dionysius II from Syracuse, chose to stay there rather than return home, because he was a tyrannicide in both cities, but at home, he was also a fratricide (he brought down a Corinthian tyrant who was his brother, so naturally the people's reaction was mixed to the extreme).
  • Kalaupapa, Hawaii was founded in 1866 as a leper colony where Hawaiians with Hansen's disease—aka leprosy—were sent until 1969. By then, the disease was treatable, but when the state government tried to close the colony, many former patients wished to stay because they knew their disfigurements would make returning to normal society all but impossible and they had formed a community among themselves. As a result, they've been allowed to remain in Kalaupapa to live out their lives. As of the 2010 census, less than a dozen of the original patients remain, all quite elderly, and most of the site is now a National Historic Park.
  • Pedro I of Brazil was the heir to the Portuguese crown, living in Brazil as Prince Regent while it was a United Kingdom to Portugal. In 1821, the Portuguese Constituent Cortes were inclining to return Brazil to its former colony status, (which caused revolt among Brazilians who would oppose any political regressions) and one of the Cortes' demands was that Pedro would go back to Portugal. On 9 January 1822, he was presented with a petition containing 8,000 signatures that begged him not to leave. He replied, "Since it is for the good of all and the general happiness of the Nation, I am willing. Tell the people that I am staying." Eight months later, he declared the Brazilian independence and in December 1st was crowned Emperor of Brazil. After years of rule and a series of conflicts involving the Portuguese throne, Pedro abdicated and left to Europe again.


Video Example(s):


Buck decides to stay

Buck is offered the chance to finally leave the dinosaurs' land at the end of the Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs, and actually considers it for a moment, but ultimately chooses to stay when he realizes Rudy is still alive.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / IChooseToStay

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