A situation where one character who is known for supporting and helping another is suddenly in need of support, only for the person they supported to come through for them.
Whether it's because of Character Development or a hidden Chekhov's Skill that never proved to be much of an asset until now, the normally reliant character gets their chance to take the active role in the relationship and the helped becomes the helper. The reversal in roles can be emphasized with dialogue (such as the Trope Namer Stock Phrases - "You carried me, now let me carry you") or by making the moment visually a clear parallel of earlier scenes, only with the parts switched around.
An alternative form of this trope is for the one helping the helper to be a third person who had witnessed and was moved by the first's helping nature.
This often involves the character that normally needs to be helped playing with Took a Level in Badass, at least for this one occasion.
Compare Rescue Reversal and Wounded Hero, Weaker Helper, in which the hero's helper wasn't necessarily helped by him before. If the rescuer-turned-rescuee tries to thank them, they may say You Would Do the Same for Me.
- In Attack on Titan This is what Armin goes out of his way to do, at least when it comes to Mikasa and Eren. While it turns out neither thought he was The Load, he does try to go out of his way to make sure that he isn't useless.
- Ayakashi Triangle: At the start of the series, Matsuri has been protecting Suzu for years because she's the ayakashi medium, but she learns to use her status to gain more power and fight alongside him. Eventually, it gets to the point where Suzu ends up saving Matsuri from Garaku and giving her own Declaration of Protection. As Matsuri had tied up his self-worth in being the one to keep Suzu safe, he's quite ashamed.
- Ciel of Black Butler frequently goes through hell and high water to save his fiance Lizzie from certain danger in both the manga and anime. In the manga Ciel is cornered by man-eating zombies so Elizabeth finally gets her chance to show off her hidden badass side and rescue him.
- Both Seigi and Richard manage this for each other in The Case Files of Jeweler Richard.
- After three volumes/8 episodes of Richard providing Seigi with knowledge, advice, and emotional support, Seigi rushes in to help Richard deal with his family and his Dark and Troubled Past.
- After Seigi helping him through his difficulties in London and most of six volumes of Seigi acting as Richard's loyal assistant, Richard is furious when Seigi doesn't ask for help dealing with his biological father and intervenes to force Seigi to accept his help.
- In The Demon Girl Next Door, Yuko has ended up doing this for Momo twice.
- In the most straightforward sense, at the end of the first volume; when Momo got sick, Yuko had to prop her up and walk her home.
- In the fourth volume, Momo physically manifests as the dark form she took in a dream while saving Yuko from her nightmares, and suffers a severe case of Power Incontinence that drains her mana nearly to the point of dematerializing. Yuko saves Momo from disintegrating to a core, but Momo is still left even weaker than Yuko afterwards. Yuko then has to help Momo get to a magically-charged spring in the nearby mountains (which Yuko had accidentally been to before when she fell asleep on a train) to recover her mana, and Yuko even ends up having to fight a familiar that's guarding the place.
- Dragon Ball:
- Dragon Ball: Subverted in the Red Ribbon Army Arc. Goku's friends realize that he intends to attack the Red Ribbon Base, so they decide to band together to save Goku. Before they have reached the Base, though, Goku has already crushed the whole Army.
- Dragon Ball Z:
- After saving Gohan and Krillin from Nappa, Goku sent them away so he could fight the much more powerful Vegeta without worrying about their safety. Then when Goku got into trouble during the fight, Gohan and Krillin returned to save him.
- After Piccolo sacrifices his life to save Gohan, he goes through Hell and beyond to bring his mentor back to life. He also rushes Frieza when he almost kills Piccolo.
- When Goku falls sick during the battle with the androids, Yamcha, who has been protected and saved by Goku several times, physically carries him back to his house and helps care for him along with his wife.
- Adult Gohan in Dragon Ball GT. Having been saved multiple times throughout the series by both his father and Piccolo, it's Gohan, untransformed and in a suit no less that charges into the battle his father is losing against Omega Shenlong to pull the injured Super Saiyan 4 Goku to safety. With his brother Goten working as distraction, to boot.
- In the Happy Happy Clover Manga series by Sayuri Tatsuyama, Clover's best friend Mallow is prone to getting sick a few times in the series mostly due to catching a cold. In a later volume, Clover catches a stomach ache as a result of her worrying about Mallow since she can't find a future job to work with. When Mallow along with Kale and Shallot sees Clover fall to the ground suffering from the pain, Mallow orders her friends to take Clover back home and decides to look up about dealing with stomach pains and other illnesses. At the end of the chapter, she reveals that Clover didn't eat breakfast since she was worrying about Mallow not being herself lately. Mallow later apologizes and tells Clover and friends that she wants to be a nurse.
- Mazinger Z: For all times Kouji shouted "You are always getting in the way!", "Stop hindering me!", "I could have won without your help!", etc. to Sayaka there were only so many times where Sayaka had been hurt or her Fem Bot disabled and he carried her back home in arms (one episode closed with a snapshot of Mazinger carrying Aphrodite in arms while they arrived to the Institute). In one occasion the roles also were reversed where Sayaka carried Kouji.
- Moriarty the Patriot has a few versions of this, mostly centered around William:
- William is normally the center and leader of his crew, but during The Final Problem, most of his associates make an effort to help him from his self-destructive despair cycle, including Moran hoping to do most of the final murders, and Fred making the effort to tell William how special he thinks William is. William has made a point to recognize and affirm the value of each of their lives and they are desperately trying to repay the favor by affirming his...although only his Mirror Character Sherlock's attempts seem to make it through.
- In The Valley of Fellows, Sherlock has switched around on William, saying that William had recognized and affirmed his life and choices when they first met, so now he is dedicating himself to helping William find himself on uncertain footing after he survived The Final Problem.
- My Hero Academia: After Class 1-A manages to convince Izuku Midoriya to return with them to U.A., they first help him by letting him use them as support to walk the way back, and then by standing next to him when the people living in the now fortified school demand that he be kept out of school, with Uraraka taking Izuku's hand, telling him it is OK and turning to give the people a piece of her mind.
- Sakura during the Chunin Exams. With Naruto and Sasuke out for the count, Sakura is left on her own to defend them. At first she is handily outclassed, but soon resolves to, for once, let the boys watch her from the background rather than lagging behind them all the time.
- Once he starts taking levels in badass, Naruto does this repeatedly to his teachers. Most notable are him fighting Pain instead of Hokage Tsunade, and showing up in the nick of time to save Kakashi from Tobi. Kakashi even mistakes Naruto for his own teacher and Naruto's father Minato.
- Played with in the Pain fight - after defeating Pain's bodies, and getting the real Pain to revive all the villagers killed, Naruto collapses from exhaustion. A newly revived Kakashi is there to literally carry him back to the village.
- Also in the Pain arc, Hinata jumping to protect a wounded Naruto from Pain. She gets curb-stomped, but her defeat makes Naruto almost release the Kyuubi, turning the tide of the battle.
- Konoka to Setsuna in the Cinima town chapter of the Kyoto arc of Negima! Magister Negi Magi. Setsuna had always carried Konoka bridal style while protecting her. Having just unlocked her hidden healing abilities to save Setsuna's life, Konoka held Setsuna in the same manner to fully illustrate the reversal of roles.
- Subverted in One Piece. After spending most of his life being saved and protected by his older brother Ace, Luffy goes through hell and beyond to save him from execution. Just when it looked like Luffy succeeded, Ace dies saving him, protecting him to his very last breath. Luffy doesn't take this well.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica: In the original timeline, as shown in episode 10, Madoka was a magical girl and Homura was the Muggle Best Friend who had to be saved by Madoka several times. Homura's wish when Madoka died was to go back in time and protect Madoka as Madoka had protected her. However, in the final episode, when Homura is about to turn into a witch out of grief at not being able to defeat Walpurgis Night, Madoka steps in and helps her, making the wish that would wipe herself and all witches from existence.
- Rebuild World: Sheryl and her gang of Street Urchin have been protected, rescued, donated to, and trained by Akira, being his Morality Pets, in part due to him strongly believing in the pop concept of Karma. The help they've been able to offer him in return has been minor things like storing his Cool Bike, selling his relics, information, and their training together making him stronger too. This all changes when a Mega-Corp put a 50 billion aurum bounty on Akira and he's forced by Yanigisawa back into the slums. With Sheryl's prideful smile before the sunset, Akira finds himself with a veritable fortress Home Base and small army at his back, alongside a general Misfit Mobilization Moment of his friends to repel The Siege.
- Revolutionary Girl Utena: Utena frequently acts as the prince to Anthy, coming to her rescue when she's getting abused, and making a Declaration of Protection to save her from her Fate Worse than Death. She succeeds. In the movie, Utena turns into a car so it's Anthy's turn to save her as she drives them away from the influence of Akio and the school.
- Seraph of the End: Mika and Yuu frequently make Declaration of Protection towards each other. However, on one occasion Mika makes a grand show of fighting his way through an entire army in order to get to Yuu. He carries him in a Bridal Carry to safety and tries to get him to wake up. Yuu wakes up on his own and saves Mika from his pain by getting him to drink his blood. Afterwards, Mika complains "What's the deal with that? I was supposed to rescue you."
- Yu-Gi-Oh!: Seto saves Kisara's life twice, and she repays the favor in spades.
- Superman often saves Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Supergirl, but sometimes (often when there's Kryptonite around) they return the favor.
- In The Last Days of Superman, the Man of Steel is dying. Supergirl, the Legion of Super-Heroes, and even volunteers from places as Kandor and Atlantis set out to fulfill all pending tasks which Superman intended to do to protect the future of mankind before his passing.
- Supergirl's Greatest Challenge: When the entire Legion of Super-Heroes apparently lose their powers, backup member Supergirl must cover up for the whole team.
- One 80's story, "A Friend in Need", entirely focuses on Jimmy providing support when a Kryptonite cloud poisons Superman.
- A Crown of Stars: When the crew returns to retake their world Misato insists on taking riskier front-line roles in operations; such as subduing Don Barceló and leading the assault on the UN Fleet command ship. Her argument is that as one of the few natives in the crew with actual military experience, she's the best person for the job especially since Rei cut off their reinforcements from Avalon. Though it seems the real reason she putting herself in danger is so her former charges won't have to anymore.
- To Heal A Hero: A terminally ill Laurel spends most of her time acting strong to reassure those around her. People have to repeatedly tell her that it's okay to grieve and be afraid and that they are going to support her.
Thea: You fight for this city, you fight for Sara, you fight for me, and it's about time you let someone fight for you, and whether you like it or not that's going to be me.
- Quite a number of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfics involve this, typically with an older Spike taking care of the Mane Six or his other friends.
- In Memory Of: 40 years after the events of Friendship is Magic, Twilight is an aged, grey mare who mostly retains her high spirits and is taken care of by Spike, who remains youthful. What makes this one even more tragic is Spike is still quite young and childlike and while he's doing everything in his power to keep Twilight healthy, he doesn't know what to do and arguably makes stuff worse in the end, leading to Twilight's implied death. Given that Twilight must've only been in her early 60s at this point, this was quite an early death at that.
- Carry Me Home is a particularly sad story about Spike carrying his best friends home after an increasing number of time skips. The first three chapters of the story focus on a middle-aged Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and Applejack respectively and while they're melancholy in tone, they're not necessarily tragic. Stuff starts to go south when Spike has to help Starlight Glimmer enjoy her final days before The Disease That Shall Not Be Named claims her life and tend to Pinkie's final party. After several more years, and after Pinkie Pie's apparent death, Spike has to watch Rarity die in his arms. Rather fittingly, the final chapter takes place long into the future where an immortal Twilight now has to take care of an aged Spike.
- Zigzagged in It Takes a Village where the Mane Six do still care for Spike, but he tries to take care of them in areas where they can't. Played literally in the latter half of the story where Spike carries Twilight home while reminiscing about how she used to carry him home after one of their old adventures.
- The Bleach fanfic series Heirverse has this in Cold feet with the usually heartless, untouchable Aizen breaks down in relief following an absolutely hellish decade of trying to protect Gin, letting Gin finally play his role of Living Emotional Crutch straight.
- Card Captor Rad:
- Perceptor wanting to protect Rachel from Megatron, like she tried to do for him.
- It's turned back on High Wire when Rad pulls this to be a distraction for Cyclonus.
- Kara of Rokyn: As soon as she hears Superman and Lex Luthor have been completely missing for over one month, Supergirl -who had moved to another planet- drops everything right away and travels back to Earth in order to lead a search-and-rescue operation. When her behavior is questioned by her boss, Kara replies her cousin did the same thing for her, and now it's her turn to save him.
- For Those We Cherish: After the Faunus woman who was carrying her younger siblings finally collapses because of her wounds, Aethon decides that rather than kill he decides to help her keep her promise towards her younger siblings. Obviously a reference to the events on Rynn's World.
- In Hellsister Trilogy, Dev-Em saves Supergirl's life and later she repays the favor by protecting him from Darkseid.
- Boldores And Boomsticks: Just as Grendel is about to kill Lillie, Nebby evolves into Solgaleo and joins the fray. Before he starts fighting he takes a moment to speak to her.
Nebby: LILLIE, YOU'VE WATCHED OVER ME FOR SO LONG… LET ME PROTECT YOU NOW.
- In the Sherlock Holmes fanfic A Study In Situations, one drabble talks about the relationship between the Irregulars, Holmes, and Watson. Holmes employed them and sometimes saw that they got education or apprenticeships, and Watson dealt with physical and emotional injuries. At the end, a pair of policemen drive off a group of armed criminals attacking the two, and Holmes realizes that the constables are significantly older former Irregulars.
- During Manehattan's Lone Guardian, in addition to subduing a gang of thieves, Leviathan takes it upon herself to capture enemy agents that the city's police department can't catch by themselves. After she eventually suffers a nervous breakdown following her release from a Lotus-Eater Machine-esque illusion, Officer Coffee assures her that the department's ready to return the favor and provides her with an escort back to the station.
- Encanto: The Familia Madrigal has spent the last fifty years since the Encanto came to be protecting, guiding, and helping their fellow refugees build up their village. The Madrigals work without complaint, without payment, and just do it to prove they are worthy of their magical gifts. After the climax when Casita, the Madrigal home, breaks apart after the family's issues come forth and inadvertently end the Encanto and their magical abilities, the family Madrigal find the townsfolk coming to them to aid in rebuilding Casita.
Lay down your load,/ We're only down the road./ We have no gifts but we are many,/ And we'll do anything for you.
- Slight variation: In Quest for Camelot, Garrett is blind and has a falcon companion who "is [his] eyes." At the end of the movie, Garrett and his love interest Kayley must navigate an Absurdly-Spacious Sewer which is very dark. Garrett helps Kayley through the tunnel, telling her, "Don't worry, I'll be your eyes."
- In How to Train Your Dragon (2010), Hiccup takes care of Toothless for a majority of the story, from bringing him food to helping him fly after losing part of his tail. By the end of the story, it's Toothless's turn to help Hiccup when Hiccup loses his left foot and hasn't adjusted to walking with an artificial foot yet.
- Yellow Submarine has the Beatles (dressed as Sgt. Pepper's band) accidentally awakening the slumbering Blue Meanies. As they are under attack, Ringo jumps into John's arms and is carried about throughout the blue detonations going off. When the coast is clear, John is now in Ringo's arms.
- The page quote comes from a scene in Serenity where Waif Prophet River takes on an entire army of Reavers alone, just to get a medical bag for her wounded caring brother. Good thing she excels at kicking ass.
"She always did love to dance..."
- Murder by Death: Jessica Marbles is expected, along with her nurse. Enter a little old lady pushing an even littler older lady in a wheelchair — the one in the wheelchair is the nurse.
- Spider-Man Trilogy:
- The first film has the scene on the bridge, when the stones and other assorted items thrown by New Yorkers in the general direction of the Goblin (at least one hits him on the head) allow our friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man to recover momentum and save the day.
- By the climax of Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man has spent the past two movies protecting New York City, and has just saved a train from being destroyed. The citizens on-board carry the injured Spider-Man to safety inside the train and attempt to protect him from Doc Ock. Doc Ock gets past them easily, but the scene is still a heartwarming moment.
- Also from Spider-Man 2, Peter, having lost his powers, runs into a burning building to save a child. When Peter has to jump over a large gap in the floor, he doesn't quite make it all the way but manages to throw the kid onto the other side while nearly falling into the fires below. The child immediately starts pulling at Peter's hands to get him up, even though it's clear she can't do much.
- The Amazing Spiderman has a construction worker (who is the father of the boy Spidey saved earlier on the bridge) summon his fellow crane workers to move their cranes in such a way that an injured Peter can get to the Lizard faster. It's kind of like the city saying "We're on your side."
- A literal example of this trope appears near the end of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in what could very well be considered Sam's most awesome moment:
Sam: [hoisting Frodo over his shoulders] I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you!
- It happens in the book as well, with much the same line.
- In the climax of Avengers: Endgame, after Captain America finds himself standing alone against Thanos' entire army, he hears the voice of Sam Wilson/The Falcon, who was one of the heroes killed in Infinity War, leading those same resurrected heroes into battle to Cap's aid. The nature of the trope is emphasized by the same Running Gag from The Winter Soldier to signify how The Falcon is no longer Cap's inferior but his equal: "Cap, it's Sam. On your left."
- Star Wars:
- One that spans across movies: when Rey finds Luke Skywalker living alone on the Jedi Island on Ahch-To, she's shocked and dismayed to find him a bitter shadow of himself deeply resentful of his own legacy, rejecting all connections with the Force and even throwing his own lightsaber off a cliff when she first returns it to him. However, through the process of training her, he's able to let go of his guilt and rediscover his faith and himself and in the Force. Later, in The Rise of Skywalker, a guilt-wracked Rey returns to that same island after learning that she's Palpatine's granddaughter and almost succumbing to the Dark Side. Tossing what remains of the Force Tree onto a bonfire, she takes Luke's old lightsaber off her belt and throws it into the fire...but Luke's Force Ghost catches it, and emerges from the flames to rekindle her hopes the way she rekindled his.
- An even bigger one happens on a galactic scale in the climax of that same movie. The Rebel Alliance has spent most of the past six movies fighting the Empire basically on their own. The common people of the galaxy didn't help at the battles of Yavin, Hoth, Endor, Starkiller Base, or Crait. The Resistance fleet launches a last-ditch desperate attack on the Final Order fleet at Exegol, but quickly find themselves outnumbered and outgunned. Commander Poe Dameron starts apologizing to his troops, when suddenly he hears Lando Calrissian hailing him on his earpiece. Cue a massive fleet of thousands of civilian ships coming to the aid of the Resistance and swaying the tide in their favor.
- The death of Hans Richter in 1633 is somewhat more indirect than most examples ( Hans's sister Gretchen is hundreds of miles away from the battle, and in no immediate personal danger), but still absolutely qualifies:
''Just an orphaned brother, in the end, flesh of his sister's flesh. She had been his steel angel, often enough. Now, he would be hers.
- The end of Cryoburn: Gregor asks to be a pallbearer at Aral Vorkosigan's funeral.
"The man has carried me since I was five years old," answered the Emperor of Barrayar. "It's my turn."
- In The Dark Tower, Roland the gunslinger is nearly dying of thirst when he meets Jake in Book 1. Jake brings Roland water from the pump in the way station to revive him. After Jake returns in Book 3, there is a moment in the tunnels under Lud when Jake is dehydrated, and Roland mu on the island of Ahch-To, st get water for him. He briefly remembers what happened at the way station and notices that he is now returning the favor Jake did for him back then.
- The Dresden Files: Skin Game: Dr. Waldo Butters has been saved by Harry Dresden many times, first being from a necromancer attacking Butters at the morgue. Even in this book, when Butters feared Harry went bad, Harry still moved to protect Butters from harm. Now at the climax, Harry is the one down from a medical condition and Butters is the only person left standing to defend the house they are in and the children inside. After a minute of fear paralyzing him, Butters chooses to be a hero. Taking Harry's duster for protection, he rushed out to fight two century-old villains and their cult, on the slim hope of victory or if nothing else, delay them until help arrives. During this moment, Harry is able to find strength enough to throw the broken Sword Fidelacchius, the Sword of Faith, to a woman of deep faith, hoping she could remake the Sword. The woman misses the catch and the hilt lands in the hands of Butters as he is about to be killed. However, his courage, his actions, and his faith in good overcoming evil, of one person making a difference, of doing rather than trying, of having faith in the self to do things one held impossible, awakens the Sword in a new form. It is a form of a beam of angelic white light that cut through the villain's sword with ease.
Butters: "Don't worry, Harry. You've done enough. I got this."
- In Ivanhoe, Rebecca nurses Ivanhoe back to health. Later he comes to save her from being burned as a witch.
- Happens near the end of the Dragonlance Chronicles with Raistlin and Caramon.
- In To Live, Fugui carries Jiazhen on his book when she becomes too weak to walk. When she tries to protest, he tells her that he is showing his love for her.
- A plot in the Puddle Lane books revolves around an iron boy and a sandalwood girl travelling to the Silver River so they can bathe in it and become human. At one point, the bridge they're crossing collapses and the iron boy sinks to the bottom. The sandalwood girl (who is very light) pulls him to shore. Later, they're caught in a grass fire and the iron boy (who isn't flammable) puts the sandalwood girl (who is very flammable) on his shoulders and carries her through the fire.
- In The Adventures of Superman episode "The Defeat of Superman", Jimmy Olsen (usually the rescuee), with the help of a hint from Superman (usually the rescuer), finds a way to neutralize the Kryptonite radiation.
- Sherlock: Sherlock and John have saved each other's asses more often than once-without the other knowing. When the other is threatened you know that one of them will do something to keep the other safe.
- In Smallville, Clark has saved Chloe's life many times without her knowing; once she learns his secret, however, there are many heartwarming scenes in which she protects him insteadnote .
- In the second season of Buffy, Drusilla is physically healed in the same episode that Spike is horrifically injured, and she says a line very like this. The rest of the season has their relationship entirely inverted.
- 30 Rock:
- There's Kenneth and his mother: "You carried me for nine months, now let me carry you."
- Added with Jack has been given advice on how to deal with his overbearing mother. When he takes that advice to action via phone call, it backfires... horribly.
Jack: Hello mother, so nice to hear your voice. No, I am not on anything. I know that things have been difficult for you lately and I was thinking you carried me for nine months, let me carry you now. WELL RIGHT BACK AT YOU COLLEEN! That's right! You cut Pops balls off! And left him in the street to die!
- The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: The Stranger's supernatural presence seemingly causes Largo to badly twist his ankle — a literal death sentence to Harfoots, who are always on the move and have to cart their homes with them — but The Stranger, maybe out of guilt, volunteers to help drag the Brandyfoot family cart and not let them get left behind.
- Mordred is glad to take care of an injured Morgana, in thanks for her previously caring for him.
- The first season is mainly made up of Merlin and Arthur repaying each other for the continual saving of each other's lives.
- Guinevere travels to Ealdor with Merlin to defend his home against bandits, telling him that it's repayment for the time he saved her from being executed as a witch. She ends up saving his mother's life.
- At the end of the third season, the future knights of the Round Table all pledge their fealty to Arthur for past deeds rendered toward them. It's especially touching since Arthur is asking them to help save his father, and many of them have good reason to hate Uther's guts.
- Doctor Who: Whenever a Companion shows up to save the Doctor's hide. Sometimes, they show up en masse. Subverted and almost lampshaded in "The Name of the Doctor" with the Doctor's plea to Clara:
Doctor: Just this once, let me save you!
- The West Wing: After Josh is diagnosed with PTSD and fears that he'll be fired as a security risk, Leo assures him that it won't happen, with the parable of the man who fell into a hole. Later, when a Republican committee threatens to out Leo for falling Off the Wagon during the first campaign, Josh does everything he can to stop it.
Josh: I'm gonna help you, 'cause you know why?
Leo: 'Cause you walk around with so much guilt about everybody you love dying that you're a compulsive fixer?
Josh: No, Leo, no, it's 'cause this guy's walking down the street and he falls into a hole, see?
- Often happened in understated ways between Robin and Much in Robin Hood. At one stage Much trips over and urges Robin to carry on.
Much: Don't worry about me!
Robin: I like worrying about you!
- House: Doctor Wilson spends so much time caring for his maladjusted, emotionally crippled best friend that it's a wonder that he has time to practice medicine. Whenever Wilson faces a crisis, however, House will usually provide support — albeit in the most ass way possible.
- Used literally at the end of Chinese Paladin: when Tang'yu and Ah Nu have been turned into birds. Tang'yu, due to a prior accident, is wingless, and Ah Nu carries him.
- In Princess Returning Pearl, Er Kang has always been the stronger half of his relationship with Zi Wei, with Zi Wei always being the Damsel in Distress that needs rescuing. Then in series 3, Er Kang finds himself in a vulnerable situation, and it is only with Zi Wei's both physical and emotional support that he survives the ordeal.
- Lost in Space (2018): In the Season 1 finale, after being protected by his family for the whole season, Will Robinson is placed in a position where he has no choice but to be brave and save them instead. When challenged on this, Will insists that now it's his turn to protect them.
- The Ultra Series features this trope every now and then, to signify the bond between earthlings and their Ultra-protectors.
- In Ultraseven, humanity's saviour from alien invaders, Ultraseven, suffers a defeat after a brutal Curb-Stomp Battle by Alien Guts and was crucified alive. Cue the Terrestrial Defense Force developing the Magnerium Medicalizer to recharge Ultraseven's energy, resurrecting the Ultra and allowing him to turn the tide of battle against the aliens.
- Ultraman Tiga ends with Ultraman Tiga getting defeated by Gatanothor and turned into a statue. However, he was ultimately resurrected by the Power Of Hope from children all over the world, allowing him to unlock his Golden Super Mode and fight Gatanothor to the finish.
- A much earlier episode of Ultraman Tiga has Tiga being defeated by Alien Kyrieloid in a brutal Curb-Stomp Battle; however upon Tiga's defeat, the citizens of Tokyo are more than eager to help the Ultra by shinning lamps, torchlights, glowsticks, and every source of light available to help Tiga recharge himself and return for a second battle.
- Ultraman Mebius, with friendship as its central theme, frequently have this trope in effect. One notable episode have Mebius being defeated and crucified alive by Alien Glozam, and the GUYS crew recreating the Magnerium Medicalizer from Ultraseven to resurrect Mebius.
- Ultraman Ginga have the two main Ultras, Ultraman Ginga and Ultraman Victory, defeated by the near-unstoppable Chimaera Kaiju, Five King, and reverted to statues. However, the UPG then revives the Ultras with energy cannons, recharging their energies to the max and effectively bringing them back from the dead.
- In Ultraman X, X gets swallowed alive by Bemstar, an exceptionally powerful kaiju who then retreats to the surface of the moon to recharge itself. The XIO immediately trails Bemstar to the moon and uploads a new energy weapon to recharge X's energy for him to break out and fight a second time.
- Ultraman X receives another favor from the humans when he gets petrified alive by Gargorgon; the XIO then assists X by blasting Gargorgon's eye, reverting the petrification and allowing X to return to normal.
- Schitt's Creek: David is usually the emotionally vulnerable one between him and Patrick, But in the season 5 episode "Meet the Parents", David comforts and supports his boyfriend throughout the entire episode, most notably when Patrick struggles to hold back tears while confessing how afraid he is to come out to his parents.
- In the original The Lone Ranger tv show, Tonto finds a wounded Texas Ranger named Reid after he survives an ambush and nurses him back to health. As a child, Reid found a wounded Tonto and nursed him back to health after his village was massacred.
- The Rolf Harris song "Two Little Boys" — when Joe and Jack are children, Jack breaks his wooden horse and Joe offers him a ride: "Did you think I would leave you crying when there's room on my horse for two?" Later, when they've both grown up and are cavalry officers at war, Joe's fallen to the ground and Jack picks him up on his horse, saving his life: "Did you think I would leave you dying when there's room on my horse for two?"
- Bill Withers' song "Lean On Me" has long been used as an anthem for this attitude.
- In the Shuujin-P Vocaloid song and New Millennium trilogy finale "A Faint Wish", Rin tells Len that he has always been there for her and it's his turn to go on after seeing a long montage of times when Len has died for her.
- In the Warhammer 40,000 novel Rynn's World, Captain Cortez saves a mother and her children (one of whom is just a baby) from being murdered by Orks. Chapter Master Pedro Kantor is less than pleased with this development, as there are (to his knowledge) only a dozen or so Crimson Fists left after the destruction of their monastery, and they cannot afford to bring refugees along. But Kantor says that the family can tag along as long as they can keep pace with the Space Marines, which anyone will tell you is no small feat. After a while, the mother becomes tired and unable to keep up. Kantor moves to the back of the column, to (as the reader is led to believe) "grant her the final mercy." As he kneels next to the mother with his wrist-mounted storm bolter pointed disturbingly close to her head, we believe he's going to kill her. Then, after the mother pants that she tried, but her children were just so heavy, Kantor (who, I feel the need to stress, did not want her there in the first place) says, before picking her up in his arms and carrying her the rest of the journey to rejoin their remaining battle brothers, with the following:
Kantor: You did well to bring them this far... It is time that someone carried you now.
- Kairi in Kingdom Hearts when she discovers Sora has turned into a Heartless to recover Kairi's heart and they are about to be attacked by heartless. "This time I'll protect you."
- In Siren, Blind Seer Miyako has to use player character Kyoya's eyes to navigate around the stages during Escort Missions. Later on, well after the two get separated, Kyoya gets caught in a blacked-out room with a bunch of shibito standing between him and his goal. Then he hears Miyako's voice in his head, prompting him to use her eyes. This allows him to see the auras of the shibito and run past them in the darkness. It is revealed soon after that Miyako is already dead at this point, but she goes on to serve as Kyoya's Spirit Advisor for the Final Battle.
- In BioShock 2, Eleanor, after getting her Big Sister suit and breaking you out, basically says this as she's lifting you to your feet. "You fought for me, Father, Now let me fight for you."
- In ICO, Yorda ends up carrying Ico to safety.
- In the ending of Dissidia [duodecim] 012 Final Fantasy, when the Warrior of Light is at the brink of death protecting Cosmos from an army of Manikins, Cosmos sees he's in danger and unleashes her power and sacrifices herself in order to save him.
- In Final Fantasy IX, when Zidane suffers Heroic BSoD after being told he's supposed to destroy the world, his whole party shows up to throw The Power of Friendship right back at him until he feels better.
- Idol Manager: In story mode, the agency is housed in a building owned by a man named Fujimoto, who used to run a brothel in it and provides the seed money for the talent agency run by the Player Character to start getting into more legitimate business. During the earlier stages of the game, Fujimoto is able to loan the Player Character money at zero interest in exchange for favors should it ever be needed. Past a certain point of the plot, Fujimoto will have cleaned up his act enough to no longer be able to provide those loans. He will then promptly turn out to be on the market for a large infusion of cash himself and ask the Player Character if they happen to have a large quantity of money to spare in exchange of a favor from him. Giving him the money will properly start an entire subplot centered around him. The fact that he's asking for money after having been the one to provide the seed money for the agency isn't lost on him.
- Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story has Rika and Ren, a pair of Magical Girls. The former helped the other overcome her suicidal depression from years of being bullied and having problems talking to people and helped her make friends, becoming quite close to Ren in particular. Then in turn, when the darkest secret of Madoka's Magical Girls hits home and Rika takes it particularly hard, Ren is able to help Rika overcome the shock and horror as Rika had once helped her.
- In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, essentially all of the game's final act is the people Snake helped throughout the series making last stands at various points in Outer Haven so that he can break into the server room. For all intents and purposes, Raiden does this for his entire fourth title, with one of his first lines being "Okay, Snake, now it's time for me to protect you."
- As much as people hate to admit it, the Last Story of Sonic '06 features something like this. Princess Elise, who has been carried around and rescued by Sonic for most of the game, finally repays Sonic for all his hard work by bringing him back to life, after he had just been murdered by Mephiles the Dark.
- In the first Gabriel Knight game, the first time Gabriel infiltrates a Voodoo conclave, he nearly dies and has to be rescued by Grace. The second time he infiltrates a Voodoo conclave, the cult has captured Grace, and Gabriel needs to rescue her.
- For most of the Mass Effect series, Shepard spends much of his/her time helping his/her crew members with their many, many problems, trying to get their heads cleared up and deal with their inner demons. This gets noticeably reversed in Mass Effect 3. While Shepard still helps out his/her friends, s/he also begins edging closer to the Despair Event Horizon as the war goes on and gets more hopeless. Those same friends, particularly Garrus, Liara, Tali, and Joker attempt to return the favor and do everything they can to keep Shepard from giving up.
Shepard: There's only so much death and destruction you can take before...
Garrus: Before your friend picks you up, dusts you off, and reminds you that you're the best damn soldier he's ever served with.
- Logical extreme: Effectively, Shepard has been saving everyone in the galaxy (repeatedly). At the end of Mass Effect 3 pretty much the entire galaxy joins the fight to make sure that Shepard can reach his/her destination. At which point, Shepard once again has to make a decision to save the galaxy.
- This is an actual role in many MOBA titles such as Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars and League of Legends. The "carry" is usually a Glass Cannon who has a tough time early game because they cannot take a lot of punishment. These are often kept alive by a Support and ideally other members of the team until later in the game when they are able to deal so much damage in such a short period of time that they can "carry" that same team to victory.
- Yoku's Island Express: The three Unders who Yoku frees from Screetch's crystal imprisoning spell work together to help Yoku when he is trapped by the God Slayer.
- Throughout Warframe, the Tenno are guided and aided by the Lotus, who even puts herself at risk to help them personally during The Second Dream. In The New War, it is the Operator and their Alternate Self the Drifter who help restore the Lotus, with the quest ending in an inversion of The Second Dream — where once the Lotus carried the Tenno to their Transference chair to restore their strength, now the Tenno carry the Lotus to her sanctuary in Lua to restore her strength. The dialogue that follows is a mirror of that from The Second Dream.
- When the protagonist of Daughter for Dessert comes home smashed after a night at Heidi’s Bar, Amanda implores him to let her take care of him like he used to take care of her before helping him into bed.
- Bam was practically raised by Rachel and he grew so dependent on her that he followed her into the titular Tower of God as she abandoned him. Through a series of misfortunes, she becomes paraplegic. That is when Bam decides to become her legs instead so that they can scale the tower together. Then it is subverted by Rachel trying to kill Bam, revealing that in fact she is completely healthy and the misfortunes were staged plans. After Bam's disappearance, she gets the support of their unwitting True Companions.
- The Owl House: Over the first half of the series, Luz Noceda serves as Amity Blight's strongest supporter, giving her the strength she needs to break out from under her mother's thumb and be her own person, to the point that she falls in love with her and the two girls start dating. This situation is reversed in the latter half of the series, since with Luz's own emotional health taking a downwards spiral from all the guilt and trauma the world subjects her to, her now girlfriend Amity steps up and is able to give back all the love and kindness that Luz showed her, while serving as as Luz's emotional anchor through Luz's depression.
- Superman: The Animated Series: Zig-Zagged in the episode "Superman's Pal". Superman and Jimmy Olsen protect each other during the fight, but ultimately Jimmy takes out Metallo to save Superman.
- Similarly, later Superman animated series My Adventures with Superman has Jimmy and Lois use Jimmy's online presence to rally Metropolis to help starve Parasite of power, with Lois outright calling it the city's chance to save Superman after all the times he's saved them.
- In Steven Universe: Future, after Steven Quartz Universe suffers a mental breakdown due to all his unresolved past trauma and corrupting himself into becoming a kaiju-sized monster, all of Steven's friends and family, the ones he selflessly helped and saved in the past, come together not to fight his monster form, but to hold him.
- It is and has long been common for elderly parents to be looked after by their children.
- In a version that spans centuries to repay the debt, Marquis de Lafayette fought and lead the armies of the Continental United States. He was a great ally to Washington and helped the United States win their war of independence in the late 1700s. When France was being invaded by Germany in World War I in the early 1900s, the USA returned the kindness by sending forces to help them. Colonel Charles E. Stanton reached the tomb of Lafayette and said, "Lafayette, we are here!"note
- This is probably the aspect of the evacuation of Dunkirk which made it such a morale booster (to the extent that Brits will still boast about it to this day) despite ostensibly being a humiliating defeat — civilians who'd been reliant on the armed forces for so long were suddenly needed to literally carry them to safety. As a result, the British were all but ready to roar to the Axis, "We Will Meet Again!" even as the coming Battle of Britain was about give them their darkest time and their finest hour.
- The Siege of Weinsberg in the Holy Roman Empire during the Middle Ages provided a literal example. After a hard-fought battle, the besieging King Conrad III negotiated a surrender, intending to destroy the city and imprison its defenders, but offered to let their wives go free with "anything they could carry". Seizing on the opportunity, the women of the city then left all their possessions behind and literally carried their husbands out on their shoulders. Upon seeing what they had done, the king burst out laughing and accepted that he had been outsmarted before letting them go free as promised, saying "a king should always keep his word."
- Another literal example famously happened in the 1996 Summer Olympics. In the women's gymnastics team finals, the United States held a very narrow lead over Russia, and the first four American women landed poorly on vault - an event the US had never won gold in before and dominated by the Soviets for decades. The last American woman, Kerri Strug, badly damaged her ankle on her first vault, but limped back to the tumbling track to try again and landed cleanly on one foot, cinching the gold. The famous photograph of Strug being literally carried to the podium by coach Bela Karolyi◊ because her leg was hurt too badly to walk is one of the most iconic photos of the 1996 games.
- Mel Gibson helped Robert Downey Jr. out, kept a roof over his head while he was unable to find work, all he asked in return was for Robert to help the next guy in need. Said person turned out to be Mel Gibson himself after his drunken rant against Jews.
- A mass example of this occurred at X Japan's 2008 Tokyo Dome show. Lead singer Toshi broke down in tears when performing "Forever Love" - which was last performed by the band at guitarist Hide's funeral - and the crowd promptly took over his singing duties as he regrouped.
- Earlier, Ann Sullivan came to Tuscumbia to teach the young Helen Keller, who was, at once, blind, deaf, and mute. Later, Keller assisted her old teacher Sullivan, paying her eye surgery and setting up a fund for her in the event Keller predeceased Sullivan.