Ace: I'm dying very soon.
Batman: Yes. [Beat] I'm sorry.
Ace: Could you stay with me? I'm scared.
[Batman sits on the swing next to her and silently offers to hold her hand]
A character, often (but not always) a sickly child, knows she is about to die and asks another, usually an adult, to stay with them until the time comes. Very commonly, this invitation is reserved for someone special to her. As mentioned already, it is not just about dying children, but children make it more heart-wrenching since it's plain wrong for them to die before the adults around them.
Sub-Trope of Please, Don't Leave Me and Comfort the Dying. Defiance of Dying Alone. Related to You Are Not Alone. Pretty much guaranteed to be a Tear Jerker. An excellent way to give The Stoic a Pet the Dog moment, since it doesn't require them to actually show any emotion - just being there at all demonstrates kindness. Often paired with Died in Your Arms Tonight. See also Mayfly–December Romance. Compare Dying Truce.
Death Trope. Expect spoilers.
Examples (remember, this is a Death Trope!):
- Battle Royale has Takako ask Hiroki if he'll hold her until she dies because she knows it'll only be a few more minutes.
- In Claymore, as Tabitha lies dying of her wounds, her last request is for her beloved captain Miria to hold her hand—which Miria fulfills, of course.
- In Hunter × Hunter, the Chimera Ant King Meruem is fatally poisoned by Netero's suicidal Rose Bomb attack. He faces his death with dignity and seeks out Komugi so he can play a few more games of gungi with her. He warns her that the poison inside him is contagious and that she will die if she stays near him. She refuses to abandon him since knowing him allowed her to feel true happiness. After a few games (in which she remains undefeated), Meryem finally succumbs to the poison and asks Komugi to stay with him until the end. Komugi holds his hand as she too succumbs to the poison.
- Somewhat displayed in Kakashi's death in Naruto. At first, it appears that he dies alone, but he gets an internal dying dream sequence where his dead friends, teacher, and father all greet him. Although it's clear he dies, it's unclear at what point he actually dies - is it right away? Is it gradual? Is it when he sees his father? Further subverted in that the death doesn't stick.
- Averted in Vandread. On one planet, the main cast is helping out the sickly people. Bart befriends Shirley and tells her about adventures they've been through. She begins to make a small doll of Bart as a memento to remember her by when the alien Harvesters attack. He promises to protect her from it, and Shirley asks that he return to her afterwards. While Bart is up there, having a spectacular Big Damn Heroes moment for her entire planet, poor Shirley succumbs to her disease. As for the doll, she never finishes sewing the hair onto it, so Bart shaves off his hair completely to match it instead.
- In the "Wolf at the Door" arc of Fantastic Four, Reed tries to talk a man out of committing suicide - only to learn that he's terminally ill and is terrified of Dying Alone in a hospital bed. Reed gives him a number to call when the time comes, promising that he'll be there even if he's fighting Doctor Doom when he gets the call.
- While he doesn't die, William of Moriarty the Patriot invokes this in The Final Problem when he tells Sherlock the reason he chose Sherlock to be his killer is because he wants him and him alone to be at his side when he dies.
- In The Punisher MAX story arc "Man of Stone", Frank was just beginning to like a woman who is his female counterpart when she steps on an old mine in Afghanistan. She has two requests for him, one of which was to hold her until she died. The other was a thing that Frank is good at.
- A non-fatal example; In the final days of the "Metal Virus" arc of Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW), Cream and Gemerl fight Zeena for her Chaos Emerald while she is in control of a horde of Zombots. Though they successfully take the emerald, Cream catches the infection and realizes she can't go back to their friends without risking their lives. She then gives the emerald to Gemerl and asks him to leave her behind, saying she'll just cover her eyes and pretend it's just a scary movie. Without any hesitation, Gemerl throws the emerald into a portal to their friends and carries Cream away from the Zombot hordes, promising to stay with her until she's well again.
- Optimus Prime, as the Big Good of the The Transformers, has done this for more than a few characters in the comics. Notably, in at least two instances, he has unhesitatingly abandoned his weapons and stayed with a fatally injured Decepticon, taking genuine pity even on the likes of Scorponok and Iguanus, staying with both until they died of their wounds. In spite of trying to kill Optimus for the better part of several million years in their respective stories, both Decepticons in both continuities are comforted by Optimus being the last person there with them.
- In the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "Smurfette's Inner Beauty", as Smurfette under the effects of the Spell of Syphonia becomes so incredibly aged that she is near death, she asks Empath if he would stay beside her if that was going to be her last night alive, and Empath agrees, sleeping in the infirmary bed next to hers and holding hands with each other until morning. Fortunately, Smurfette survives into the next day, which is when a Magic Kiss restores her to her full youth and beauty.
- In Fate/Parallel Fantasia, False Rider, San from Princess Mononoke, lacks a Master to supply her with energy and is dying as a result. She uses her Noble Phantasm to summon her mount, Moro, even though it uses up more of her energy because she would like some companionship, especially from her adoptive mother. Before they both disappear, they run into Illya and True Berserker and Illya chats with them until the end.
- In Fragile Thread, we have this with Mako, when she summons Ryuko to be by her side as she commits suicide, however, she did tell her she was free to go if that was too much.
- In Kyon: Big Damn Hero, Yuki invoked this trope by calling Kyon after she learns the IDSE scheduled her deletion. She didn't die though, because she never considered Kyon would react by using his Trust Password on Haruhi.
- In Uplifted, Admiral Jalina'Cal is watching the sunset over the North African desert with Erwin Rommel, who promises her that the desert would be her people's new home... It was just... D'awwwww
- The Total Drama story, Legacy features an inversion. The dying contestant (Gwen) is unconscious and so can't ask, but Chef Hatchet stays with her of his own accord because he thinks it important that she not die alone.
- Izzy tries to get Tom to do this in The Fountain. Considering the fact that the message of the movie is that death should be accepted gracefully rather than fought desperately, it can be argued that this trope is a central motif to the film. In his head at least, Tom does get to do this for her at the end of his story.
- One of the tracks for the film is "Stay With Me" by Clint Mansell.
- In Heat, Al Pacino's character, the cop, shoots Robert De Niro's character, then stays with him out of companionship.
- In Quantum of Solace, James Bond stays with a mortally wounded Mathis and comforts him. Much to Camille's shock, as soon as Mathis dies, Bond steals his wallet and throws his body into a dumpster. Bond merely comments that "He [Mathis] wouldn't care."
- At the climax of The Proposition, Charlie shoots his villainous brother Arthur, who then hobbles outside to die. But since they're still brothers, Charlie goes out too and they watch the sunset together.
- Righteous Kill has this in the end except Al is the one asking Robert for this moment.
- In The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Tibby spends the night with Bailey in the hospital before she dies after ending her cancer treatment.
- Rio Lobo: Averted. McNally specifically apologizes that he can't do this to Forysthe, who tells him he understands and to go chase down the train robbers.
- RoboCop 2. The boy Hob is mortally wounded by Cain's attack. RoboCop finds him and says he's going to call for medical help, but:
Hob: Don't leave me.
RoboCop: I won't leave you. [takes Hob's hand]
- Subverted in Tombstone: Wyatt Earp is with Doc Holliday at his deathbed, but Doc tearfully begs him to leave the room so he won't see him die. Wyatt obeys and Doc dies alone.
- Subverted in Way Of The Gun when Sarno discovers the mortally wounded Abner. Sarno is clearly anxious to resume the hunt but feels too guilty to leave Abner before he dies. Abner isn't actually that close to death, so he just keeps rambling on his final words, occasionally pausing just long enough for Sarno to think that he's finally died before resuming. Finally, Abner tells Sarno that he'd prefer to die alone, so Sarno awkwardly but gratefully takes his exit.
- In X-Men, Storm does this for the artificially mutated Senator Kelly.
- In the Alex Rider books Yassen Gregorovich asks Alex to stay with him.
- In Artemis Fowl, Turnball Root willingly does this with his wife as she heads into certain death at the bottom of the ocean.
- Gafinilan and Mertil from Animorphs.
- Invoked in Beastly. After Kyle is shot, Lindsy wants to go get help for him. He has a vision of Dying Alone in an ambulance, and begs her to stay with him since he'd rather die with her with him.
- The Bible: When Jesus was being crucified, most of his followers had fled, but His mother, John and a couple of other women stood by the cross until He died.
- This is more of a subversion, as at the Last Supper Jesus actually predicted that his followers would betray him. The episode in Gethsemane, where Jesus asks his disciples to stay with him while he wrestles with his impending death and they all instead fall asleep comes very close to this trope, though.
- Snowden from Catch-22.
- Defied in The Children of Húrin, where Gwindor begs Túrin to leave him as he's dying to go save the woman they both love.
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the resurrected forms of James, Lily, Sirius, and Remus stay with Harry as he walks to meet Voldemort in the forest, prepared to sacrifice himself.
Harry: You'll stay with me?
James: Until the very end.
- In The Hunger Games, Katniss stays with Rue and sings to her as she dies.
- In Jane Eyre, despite being calmly resigned to her fate as she succumbs to consumption, Helen Burns still pleads "...don't leave me, Jane; I like to have you near me." She ultimately dies as she and Jane sleep in each other's arms.
- In Les Misérables, Éponine makes this plea to Marius when he finds her dying after Taking the Bullet for him. He obeys and she dies resting her head in his lap.
- Inverted in The Little Prince. When going to see the Snake and allow him to bite him, the Prince asks the Aviator not to come with him, as he knows what he'd see would upset him. The Aviator, fully convinced the Prince is going to die but realizing he can't stop him, refuses to let him go alone.
- The eponymous hero of Rudyard Kipling's The Miracle of Purun Bhagat in The Second Jungle Book, a Hindu holy man who is supported by an animal companion:
Purun Bhagat dropped fainting by his side, for the chill of the rain and that fierce climb were killing him; but first he called to the scattered torches ahead, 'Stay and count your numbers'; then, whispering to the deer as he saw the lights gather in a cluster: 'Stay with me, Brother. Stay - till - I - go!'
- Also in The Second Jungle Book, Akela's death in Red Dog.
- In On a Pale Horse, mistakes occasionally bring Thanatos to the side of dying people who don't actually need him to judge them. He stays with them anyway so they won't die alone.
- The Survivalist by Jerry Ahern
- Played for drama in "The Web". John Rouke finds himself in an apparently peaceful town untouched by World War Three. He discovers too late that the residents have made a pact to commit mass suicide once their resources run out, and finds himself tied to a bed by a lonely woman who doesn't want to die alone.
- General Varakov has found out that WW3 was only a precursor to The End of the World as We Know It. He arranges for his young secretary to go back to the Soviet Union so she can be with her family when she dies, but she chooses to remain with him instead.
- Rest Calm, by Nightwish.
You are the moon pulling my black waters
You are the land in my dark closet
Stay by my side until it all goes dark forever
When silent, the silence comes closer
- In the season 2 premiere, Angel revisits a hotel whose guests he left to a demon that feeds on fear 50 years earlier. After defeating the demon, he finds that the demon kept one single victim alive this whole time, who's now an ancient woman. Cue this trope.
- In the last episode, Wesley is mortally wounded by Cyvus Vail. Illyria asks him if he would like her to lie to him now. Hours ago Wesley refused to ask Illyria to spend the day with him as Fred, claiming it would be a lie. This time he gratefully accepts her offer. "Fred" holds Wesley's hand, reassuring him that they will be together soon. Wesley dies peacefully in the arms of the girl he loved.
- Batwoman (2019). In "Take Your Choice", Kate Kane is given a choice of saving Alice—her evil twin sister, or Beth—an entirely decent twin sister from an alternate universe where she never suffered the events that drove Alice insane. When Kate turns up to see Alice she thinks Kate has chosen her to live, but Kate reveals that she's already saved Beth and has just come to give her sister what comfort she can as she's dying. Unfortunately holding her sister as she's dying only puts Kate in striking range when Alice makes an unexpected recovery.
- Inverted with Breaking Bad; Mike's last words are basically demanding that Walt leave him alone and in peace as he dies.
- Buffy does this for the sexbot April, when the latter breaks down and runs out of power. Ironically this delay causes Buffy to lose an opportunity to save her mother's life, or at least be there when she died.
- Criminal Minds:
- The killer from "Pleasure Is My Business" asks for Hotch to do this. He does. "You're the first man who didn't let me down."
- He also does this for Erin Strauss in "The Replicator".
- Gideon did it more than once also, of his own accord, memorably for one of the unsubs in "Open Season".
- Garcia does this for a victim in "Exit Wounds". When Morgan asks her why (as she'd run directly towards the killer), she told him that when she was shot, the only thing she was thinking was that the last thing she was going to see was her shooter's face and she couldn't let the victim die like that.
- The whole team gets in on this. There's a woman trapped in her car, which she thinks is going to explode. While they're frantically trying to defuse the bomb, Morgan insists on staying with her at her request. The others are, understandably, distraught at this choice. Later, Prentiss tries to defy this trope, but he insists on staying with her while she's "dying".
- When Rossi's first ex-wife reconnects with him, she reveals it's because she has ALS and wants him to help her end her life before she deteriorates. When he comes back and tells her he can't, she tells him she already knew that. What she really wanted was for him to be with her as she died, since she'd already taken the pills to commit suicide herself.
- Daredevil (2015). Wilson Fisk does a delightfully twisted version after he arranges for the assassination of the inmate who previously dominated the prison he's incarcerated in. The man is shown on life support as Fisk tucks into a steak dinner beside him.
- On Doctor Who, Rose got the Doctor to take her back to the day her father died (hit by a car) because in the original history he died alone which was a regret of her mother's. Rose held his hand as he died. (She did try to save him at first, but doing that broke reality because they'd been to that time before and interfering with your own interfering is bad.)
- In "Blink", Sally Sparrow stays with Old!Billy "until the rain stops."
- Ezel: Eyşan's final request as she lays dying is for Ezel is to remain by her side.
- Happens word-for-word in Grey's Anatomy.
- Cruelly subverted with Denny. After Izzy spends weeks by his side, falling in love with him, she's not there when he dies.
- In The Leftovers episode "The Prodigal Son Returns", lethally wounded Wayne asks this of Garvey when the latter finds him in a diner bathroom stall, even getting him to humor a last request where he grants a wish.
- The last shot of the series finale of Lost is a bird's eye view of a mortally wounded Jack Shephard stumbling along and eventually falling over on his back. As he lies there dying, Vincent the Labrador walks up and lies down beside him so he doesn't have to die alone.
- In the finale of Merlin (2008), a dying Arthur asks Merlin to hold him as he dies.
'Just - just - just hold me. Please.'
- In the two-part NCIS episode "Engaged", Gibbs and Zivz travel to the Middle East to rescue a captive Marine. While there, Ziva bonds with the Marine's commanding officer Captain Quincy. He is shot in the neck during the rescue, and despite being surrounded by both his squad and the Corpsman, he asks Ziva to stay with him. She does.
- In Prison Break, Michael stays with Roland until he takes his last breath. Luckily, he goes quickly as sirens can be heard in the distance.
- Scrubs: In "My Last Words", JD and Turk give up their Steak Night to stay with a terminal patient after they learn he doesn't have anyone left to come and visit him. Eventually George admits he's getting tired and asks if the duo will be there when he wakes up from a nap. The duo assure him they'll wait around for him and JD's narration informs us that George never woke up.
- Happens several times in Smallville.
- Kyla dies in Clark's arms after sincerely apologizing for her actions and begging him to stay with her.
- Evan ages to death while Clark holds him, with his final words being "I wish you had been my father, Clark."
- In Stargate Atlantis ("Poisoning the Well"), the dying scientist Perna asks Dr. Beckett to stay with her. He then kisses her forehead.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
- Cruelly subverted when Kira Nerys' father Kira Taban was shot by the Cardassians. Although she was by his side for most of it, she left with the rest of her resistance cell to the kill those responsible despite him begging her to stay. Her father died alone, calling out her name, and she only missed it by a matter of hours. It haunted her for the rest of her life.
- In "Ties of Blood and Water", Kira reunited has a Cardassian who became a surrogate father-figure, as he is nearing death. After learning of something he did during the Occupation she storms off, only to be convinced to return as "he doesn't deserve to die alone." She returns and stays with him until he dies, and then buries him next to her father.
- Star Trek: Voyager:
- In "Innocence", Tuvok agrees to stay with a little girl who is really an old woman from a species who age backwards so that she won't be afraid.
- In "Real Life", the holographic Doctor creates a family for himself on the holodeck. Unfortunately his daughter 'dies' in the program; the Doctor wants to shut it down rather than experience the emotion of loss, but is persuaded he has to see it through, being told by his daughter, "If you stay with me, I won't be scared".
- Inverted in Chinese drama Sword and Fairy: a mortally-wounded Ling'er spends her last moments assuring her husband that he is not alone and that she will never leave him.
- In an episode of Touched by an Angel, a young prostitute is brutally beaten by her customer. As she lies dying in an alleyway, Andrew, the Angel of Death approaches. Not realizing who he is and assuming he's just a random pedestrian, she begs him to stay with her, never knowing that he's come to do exactly that.
- In Tut, the dying Pharaoh asks his sister to "stay with him... until the end." She does.
- John's death in The Adventure Zone: Balance; he asks Merle to stay with him on the beach in Parley as he dies.
- Hamlet doesn't ask, but Horatio stays with him until he dies, bidding him farewell with the famous line "Goodnight, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest." Many directors have Horatio cradle Hamlet's head in his lap, or something similar.
- In Les Misérables, the dying Fantine sings "For God's sake, please stay 'til I am sleeping" to Valjean.
Eponine: Just hold me now, and let it be / Shelter me, comfort me
- Also, Eponine stops Marius from getting help for her, saying it's too late and that she just wants him with her as she dies.
- The play Touch invokes this trope off-stage. The murdered wife apparently asked one of her kidnappers to do this. The moment of peace just before she died left a smile on her face, which, ironically enough, causes more anguish for her family and friends when they find out about the smile and what happened to her.
- Borderlands 3 has a rather unexpected case of this during the "Moxxi's Heist of the Handsome Jackpot" DLC: one sidequest sees you helping out a defective and benign Loader named Joy who asks you for help fulfilling an unusual request: having a picnic with a friend. Once you successfully gather the supplies and set things down at the picnic site, Joy rewards you with cash before asking you to sit down with them and dropping a bombshell: his power core has been dwindling all this time and he knew all along he wouldn't have much time, so he wanted to cross off his bucket list before expiring. After cheerfully thanking the player and commenting "I had a nice day...", his power core finally gives out, with his body collapsing in front of the player.
- At the end of Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, Zoe actually has to talk her long-lost little sister Faith into dying and all she asks in return is to play with her for a while.
- Clarisse from Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem asks her younger stepsister Katarina to stay with her during her last moments, which she does. It's even more meaningful since up until then Clarisse had treated her little sister like shit.
- Kingdom Hearts II: After Axel's suicide attack, Sora stays by him as he's fading away. Axel doesn't ask him to; he just does. Sora's like that.
- In Knights of the Old Republic 2, you can talk Visas into killing herself in order to weaken a major boss. If she agrees, she then asks the Exile to stay with her until she passes away. You can agree or take The Dark Side path.
- A rather haunting example occurs in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask if you save Romani Ranch and speak to Romani and Cremia on the last day. Cremia, apparently realising that even the ranch is not safe from the impending apocalypse, asks Romani to sleep with her in her bed tonight, knowing that neither of them will be alive by the next day...
- Minecraft: Story Mode: Magnus and Ellegaard attempt to defy this, telling Jesse that s/he should go check on the survivors instead of staying with them, but Jesse can choose to ignore this request and kneel beside them until they pass away.
- Project Zero 2: Wii Edition: In the Shadow Festival ending, Mio stays with Mayu as the Repentance engulfs them both. The game closes with their bodies shown Together in Death.
- Return of the Obra Dinn: When First Mate William Hoscut sees Thomas Lanke, who had been fatally knifed In the Back, Lanke begs him not to leave him, and Hoscut keeps his promise. Lanke then tells him to tell Peter Milroy's mom that he tried his best to save Milroy from getting killed. Hoscut, in a panic, calls out for Henry Brennan to bring in the surgeon's kit, but by then it's too late, as Lanke dies by Hoscut's side. So heartbreaking.
- SOMA has Sarah Lindwall ask Simon to not only turn her life-sustaining machine off, but to stay with her until she dies. It's up to the player if either of those requests gets fulfilled.
- In Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 4: The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood, after Guybrush is stabbed in the chest by LeChuck's Cutlass of Kaflu, Elaine becomes distressed and runs to Guybrush's side, cradles him and stays with him until he breathes his last, even going so far as to reject LeChuck's advances and watch him regain his voodoo powers from La Esponja Grande and become the demon pirate once again. (Funny thing is that Guybrush never asks her to stay with him until the end, though she tries reviving him and he barely regains consciousness as he mumbles "Is that you, mother? I washed my hands..." and later asks her in his final words to destroy LeChuck for him, a vow she tearfully accepts.)
- If Vincent manages to kill Leo at the end of A Way Out, he will stay with him until he passes, despite their earlier animosity, as a sign of respect and apology. Leo isn't capable of asking him to do so, but passes relatively peacefully as a result.
- Fate/stay night: When a bystander witnesses Lancer and Archer fighting, Lancer stabs him fatally. Rin, Archer's Master, tells the bystander that she'll sit with him until the end. Subverted when she realizes that it's Shirou, the boy Sakura is in love with (and who Rin has a not-insignificant crush on as well); she burns her one-of-a-kind magic pendant, which her family has kept for generations, to save his life.
- After having been fatally wounded, one of the Big Bad's from Full Metal Daemon Muramasa, Chachamaru, asks the lead hero Kageaki to stay by her side until she expires. He obliges. This is mostly a result of the time they spent together. Sure, Kageaki was brainwashed but to Chachamaru that time meant a lot to her.
- In this page of Goblins, all the mortally wounded creature Klik wants is a hug from his friend Dies Horribly.
- Kevin & Kell inverts the trope: After Spork Johnson gets a job with his dung beetle co-workers at the Alaska branch of Dewclaw's Fine Meats, they need to stay in a motel for the winter during their seasonal shutdown. It's here the dung beetles remind Spork that they won't survive the winter due to their short life spans. They tell him they will leave him with dozens of eggs so he will have co-workers for his project, which is to harvest the waste of DFW's prey to keep other predators at bay and corner the market. They promise to keep Spork company until they die.
- When Ace, a teen with incredible Psychic Powers, is about to die in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Epilogue," she asks Batman to stay with her until she passes away, and he agrees to do so. His presence allows her to die in peace, preventing her from psychically blowing up the city with her death agony.
- This is what the male curlew does for the female curlew in The Last Of The Curlews.
- Parodied in The Venture Bros., where a mook asks Brock Samson to stay with him and sing a Technotronic song for him in his last moments. Despite insisting that he might possibly survive his injuries, Brock begrudgingly goes along with it.