Amy: [Leela, you were out for] two weeks. Fry never left your side for a minute.
Zoidberg: And he talked nonstop, like a parrot of the sea, he was!
Fry: I thought if you heard a familiar voice, it might help you wake up.
Leela: (hugs Fry) You could really use a shower.
Fry: You too.
If a character, often a hero, is in a coma, unconscious, ill beyond lucidity, has had their soul stolen, has just had major surgery or whatever, then the odds are that they will have a friend or family member who refuses to leave their side. Ignoring all distractions and necessities, they will keep watch over them. Other well-meaning characters may urge the watcher to go take care of themselves, but their efforts always fail. As long as their charge is helpless, the watcher isn't going anywhere.
The watcher may keep their vigil until they pass out from exhaustion, usually slumped over their charge's bed. Sometimes they'll be reawakened only when their charge comes to. Other times they're found by a third party who was just coming to see if they could talk the watcher into going home and resting this time. Having realized its futility, they will make do with a Comforting Comforter.
You might well find this trope in a Sick Episode or Fever Dream Episode (though in the latter it can be tricky to tell what's going on...) Occasionally emotion has nothing to do with it. Maybe the unconscious is the primary witness in a murder case, and the watcher is a detective waiting to spring the second there's a flickering of consciousness, for example.
Sometimes they are trying to save the unconscious person from the terror of Dying Alone.
See also Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!.
- Berserk subverts this when Guts leaves Casca in the elf mine, where Rickert and Godo are supposed to look after her while he is off slaying demons and avenging the Hawks. Turns out that was maybe not such a good idea, as Casca, insane as she is, has left off on her own, starting the Rite of Birth arc. When they do reunite, the mine, one of the last safe havens they had, is destroyed and their relationship has become quite sour.
- Claymore: Clare suffers a serious injury after a fight against a very strong yoma and as a result, she is Asleep for Days. During this time Raki stayed by her side praying for her to wake up.
- In Dragon Ball Z, Chi-Chi remained by Goku's side, caring for him, during the entire time he was sick with the Heart Virus. Yamcha also helped, only leaving to help the others with the Androids.
- Mikiya Kokutou visits Shiki every damn week for two years that she spends in a coma in The Garden of Sinners. This even earns him the nickname "Puppy-kun" among the hospital staff.
- The title character of Haruhi Suzumiya herself did this for Kyon after he gets stabbed but she thinks he fell down the stairs. It's complicated.
- Kaguya-sama: Love is War has an entire chapter of Kaguya sitting by Shirogane's bedside in the hospital after he collapsed from a combination of overworking and stress. It's implied that she had already been sitting there for several hours when the chapter begins (since he passed out around lunchtime and the establishing shot of the hospital shows that it's dark out).
- In Kanon, Yuiichi is staying by Makoto's bed, as she's supposed to die that night from high fever. He falls asleep and wakes up in the morning thinking she died and he wasn't there for her - only for her to crack a smile at him.
- In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, Fate wakes up from having her Linker Core absorbed and discovers her familiar Arf asleep at her bedside; Lindy, who is still awake and has recently arrived, notes she has been there since the previous night.
- Mazinger Z: Sayaka to Kouji in episode 52, when he was hospitalized after being badly wounded in a battle (she was also feeling guilty since they had got a fight before — they bicker constantly, but this time it was serious — and she had refused backing in battle). And Kouji to his little brother Shiro in Mazinger-Z versus Great General of Darkness when he fell into a coma after a ceiling crumbled onto him.
- Whenever Naruto is in the hospital, Shikamaru is inexplicably sitting in his room. The first time, it was coincidental; he was there to visit Choji, who had been hospitalized for overeating. The second time, it was more likely intentional, as he presumably was also visiting the other injured members of his five-man team.
- Repeatedly done by Asuka and Rei for Shinji in Neon Genesis Evangelion several times throughout the series (Shinji does a lot of waking up in the hospital). The tension that results when Asuka does it makes for some of the show's best scenes.
- Also, Shinji remained by the side of a comatose Asuka in End of Evangelion. However the usual connotations of "caretaking" are subverted rather harshly.
- This happens in Player Kill, when Yonggi spends the night at the hospital after Gihoon gets blinded by Harata for sparing him.
- Pokémon: In the episode "Charizard Chills", Ash's Charizard nearly dies after a fight with a Poliwrath freezes it and nearly extinguishes its flame. While Charizard was unconscious, Ash stayed up through the night to keep it warm. It is this vigil that finally drives the previously prideful and disobedient Charizard to take a level in kindness and begin to listen to Ash for the first time since evolving into Charmeleon.
- Princess Mononoke: After Ashitaka awakes the day after his gut shot, San mentions that he should thank Yakul who hasn't left his side the entire time while he was asleep.
- The titular character of Ranma ½ does this, in female form, for a sickly young boy. He had nearly died the night before because he would only accept his medicine if she delivered it with a kiss, and she felt responsible for the situation. Predictably, by the time he wakes up she has fallen asleep on his bedside, so the first thing he does is try to kiss her again, and gets a pounding for his efforts. He never did find out that it was the doctor who gave him the medicine.
- Yomiko in the Read or Die OVA does this with Nancy.
- In SHUFFLE!, when Asa wakes up in the hospital in Episode 20 after collapsing at the end of the previous episode, Rin is asleep at her bedside.
- Soul Eater:
- After Maka is paralyzed, she has to tell Soul to go home. The scene seems to imply that he hadn't left her before then.
- Similarly, after Soul had his torso bisected by Chrona, Maka stopped short of doing this for him (and was implied to have stayed by his side while he was unconscious after surgery).
- In Before Watchmen: Minutemen, Hollis Mason stays by the Scout's side as the poor kid dies from radiation poisoning.
- In Excalibur, Nightcrawler keeps a constant vigil with Rachel/Phoenix after she lapses into a coma following the defeat of Necrom.
- Subverted in Legion of Super-Heroes story The Great Darkness Saga. Saturn Girl stands by Lightning Lad's side after her husband falls into a fever-induced coma, but she has to reluctantly leave him when a Servant of Darkness attacks the Legion HQ and injures Cosmic Boy.
- In NYX, Kiden finds her former teacher nearly dead in a bathtub after a suicide attempt, and after getting her to the hospital, stays by her side until she regains consciousness.
- In the last arc of Runaways, Molly keeps a vigil over Klara after the latter is magically knocked out.
- Happens in a Star Trek: The Next Generation Annual. Including the falling asleep by his side thing. Understandable in that not only is Data his closest friend, but Geordi's the one trying to repair him so it's probably better that he sticks around.
- Advice and Trust:
- In chapter 3, after retrieving Asuka from the Sea of Dirac, Shinji and Rei stood by her bedside in the hospital room until she regained consciousness.
- In chapter 8 when Ritsuko comes around after getting hurt Maya is by her side. She had spent hours waiting for her waking up.
Maya:"I... I don't know, Akagi-sempai. I... I left Central Dogma as soon as the combat alert was over and came straight here. I... um... [...] I... haven't left your side since then. That was... um... last night. Afternoon... er..."
Ritsuko(thinking):....you haven't left my side since the end of the fight, and I woke up with you asleep on my leg and holding my hand.
- Defied in chapter 11 when Shinji is hospitalized. Asuka wanted to stay by his side, but Misato convinced her to go home instead, pointing out that she was the only pilot available in the event of an Angel attack and would best be able to protect Shinji if she was well-rested.
- Sort of discussed in Star Trek: The Original Series fanfic Something Wicked This Way Comes. Spock is comatose, possibly dying, after shielding Kirk from a psychic attack. Kirk wants to stay by his friend's side, but given what is happening, he is needed on the Bridge. McCoy keeps the vigil for him.
- The Lord Inquisitor does this in All This Sh*t is Twice as Weird when the Lady Inquisitor catches up to the rest of Haven's evacuees after almost performing a Heroic Sacrifice to save them. She needs medical treatment and rest, but he's not leaving her while she gets both.
- Contrary to the canonical example above, a lot Berserk fanfics centering on Casca getting cured of her insanity involve Guts never leaving her side until she awakens (since in most of these fics, Casca goes into a coma-like state as part of the healing process).
- In Betray Me Not, Biscoe, William, and especially Mika when Brandon is injured and eventually dying of hemorrhagic shock after the surgery to get the anti-necrolyze bullets out of him. Mika, however, spends the night preventing Norton from waking him up abruptly and ends up sleeping on top of him.
- The Child of Love:
- When Asuka collapses in chapter 2 Shinji remains by her side the whole time examining her.
- In chapter 6 Rei and Shinji keep watch over her when she faints in Misatos living room.
- In chapter 7 Shinji got knocked out during a battle and slept for two days. Asuka stood sleeping by his side, waiting for him to wake up.
- Children of an Elder God: After her transformation into a Deep One, Ritsuko fell unconscious and was in a coma for five hundred and twenty-eight years. Maya kept watch over her, leading a mostly normal life and even occasionally dating, but remaining as long as possible by her bedside, patiently hoping for Ritsuko waking up. When she finally and suddenly woke up, Maya was overjoyed.
- In a Code Geass continuation, C.C watches Lelouch, waiting for him to wake up from his first death. Found here.
- Corrin Reacts: When Scarlet barely survives the attack by Gunter that killed her in canon, Ryoma watches over her the whole night.
- A Crown of Stars: Daniel managed to rescue and mend Kyoko's soul and bonded it with her body. However, Kyoko needed several weeks sleeping as her body and soul healed until she was ready to wake up. While she was comatose Asuka remained by her side constantly, and a priestess took her place when Asuka had to leave her and Shinji's cabin.
- Evangelion 303:
- After Asuka fell into a coma, Shinji kept watch over her relentlessly. He spent the whole of his free time beside her bed, and you needed a crane to pry him away from that room.
- Kaworu also remained the whole time by Reis bedside after her accident.
- In Fire Emblem Awakening fanfic Golden Threads Tie Us, Lucina gets hurt by an arrow and passes out due to blood loss. When she comes around the next day, she finds out she was taken to the camp where her wounds were treated, and Severa spent the whole night by her bedside.
When Owain and Brady found them what felt like an eternity later, Lucina had passed out and Severa had begun to shiver, but not from cold.
She didn't stop shivering even when Brady told her Lucina would live, as Gerome lifted Lucina onto Minerva's back.
She didn't stop when Lucina had been properly bandaged up at camp, an abandoned fortress with crumbling walls and creaking doors, and she didn't stop as she sat by her bedside for the endless first night.
She didn't stop until the morning after, when Lucina opened her eyes and looked at her and smiled, fingers shifting and curling around Severa's own. Severa thought her heart might explode from the warmth.
- In the Gungrave fanfic The Hellhound of Billion, after having the anti-necrolyzed bullets taken out of him, Brandon almost dies of a hemorrhagic shock. As he remains comatose with dropping blood pressure, increased heart rate, and a cold body, William, Biscoe, and Mika spend the night watching over him. Mika, however, eventually falls asleep on his torso, after shooing Norton, who tries to wake Brandon up by hitting his surgical wounds.
- Hellsister Trilogy: Dev-Em sat by Kara's bedside for the whole time she remained unconscious after fighting her evil duplicate.
Dev-Em sat in Kara's room, on the couch, watching her sleep.
He didn't feel like going down to the victory celebrations right now, even with ghosts in orange suits around. He wanted to be there when Kara woke up.
- In Kyon: Big Damn Hero, after Kyon had a bullet surgically extracted, Haruhi, Yuki, Mikuru, and Tsuruya stay the night in the hospital keeping him company, even if Yuki had already healed him. As a bonus, both Haruhi and Yuki sleep in the bed with him.
- In the Star Trek: The Original Series fanfic Memories Born of Fire, Spock plants himself by Kirk's side after the captain is poisoned on Altair VI, only leaving (reluctantly) when Kirk orders him to get some rest.
- In Missing (Sherlock Holmes), Holmes sits beside the feverish Watson the entire time he's sick, to the point of falling asleep sprawled half-across the doctor's bed when he can no longer keep his eyes open.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide:
- Shinji remains by Asuka's hospital bed every time she gets hurt after a battle.
- When Keiko wakes up in the infirmary after getting brutally injured by a rampaging Eva-02, she finds Rei sitting next to her bed.
Rei Ayanami knew from the sliver of white light shining through a gap in the curtains that it was morning. The rest of the room remained in twilight, the shapes of furniture, medical devices and toys appearing as gray forms. A couple slept on a futon, little more than a mattress thrown alongside the far wall. He had his arms around her protectively; they were in love. But Rei's attention was on the bed, and on the injured brunette girl who had become such an important part of her life.
In the quiet tranquility of the room, Keiko's breathing sounded slow and peaceful. Standing by the side of her bed, Rei saw her chest rise and fall gently under the sheets, wondered at her soft features, the locks of brown hair curling over the pillow. She hardly noticed the injuries anymore. They would always be part of Keikothe arm would heal, the leg would notbut they were not who she was.
- In New Beginnings (Smallville), Sam Lane sits by his daughter Lois' bedside when she falls into a coma, and he does not leave her side until he is told her brain activity is returning to normal.
Sam Lane sat uncomfortably in Lois' hospital suite. He hadn't left her side yet which meant sleeping in a chair which left his back and neck irritating and causing a fair bit of pain.
- The One I Love Is...: When Asuka was in a coma Shinji was by her side the whole time, talking to her and praying for her waking up. He only left the hospital room when the nurses needed to take care of her. In an alternate epilogue where she does not wake up after the Final Battle, she spent fifteen years comatose, and there was not a single day Shinji did not visit her.
- In The Private Diary of Elizabeth Quatermain, Elizabeth grows seriously ill and falls into a coma. Her love interest takes a seat next to her bed and will not leave.
- In the The Man from U.N.C.L.E. fanfic Regret Part 2, Rose of Pollux has this show up when it's mentioned that Napoleon hasn't left his chair since Illya had been brought in to Medical. Flipped later in I Fly to You when it's Illya's turn to keep vigil over Napoleon in Medical. He apparently does so all night.
- The Second Try: When Gendo is rendered comatose, his ex-lover Ritsuko visits him and keeps watch over him constantly. Don't ask her why, though.
- Thousand Shinji:
- Rei didn't leave Shinji's bedside while he was in a coma.
- After waking up from his above-mentioned coma, Shinji kept watch over a comatose, mind-broken Asuka.
- In Weightless (Mass Effect), Shepard, without eating or resting, spent 7 days watching over Garrus until she has to go to Normandy SR-1 on Alchera.
- The Little Mermaid (1989): After the final battle against Ursula, Eric lies motionless on the beach for a long time. Ariel sits on a rock and watches for him to wake up, finally causing her father to realize that she really does love the guy.
- The Crow: Albrecht waited at Shelly's bedside for thirty hours before she died. Eric later thanks him for being there for her when he could not.
- In Goodbye Lenin, Alex is seen falling asleep while watching over his comatose mother in hospital.
- The Matrix Reloaded. Neo falls unconscious after destroying several Sentinels.
Maggie: He's in some kind of coma, but his vitals are stable. What about you?
Trinity: I'm fine.
Maggie: You could use some rest.
Trinity: No, I'm gonna stay with him.
- Rocky II, when Adrian falls comatose from stress over her husband's return to the ring and having to work while pregnant, Rocky begins a vigil broken only by visits to the church to pray, neglecting his training for the big rematch against Apollo.
- Steel Magnolias: Shelby is in a coma after rejecting a transplanted kidney. Her mother M'Lynn refuses to leave, even as her husband urges her to. Even when Jacksonnote visits, she's pacing outside the room, waiting for her daughter to wake up.
- In the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, when Raphael is beaten into a coma by the Foot Clan, Leonardo spends the entire time watching over him after the Turtles retreat into hiding at April's farm.
- Butler began his career by watching over Artemis Fowl in the maternity ward and hasn't let up since (except the parts involving time-travel).
- In Dead West , this occurs a few times. Somehow justified, as Gervas occasionally functions as a human restraint if the Porcelain Doctor has an "episode", and there was that time that Gervas got shot about eleven times. He almost died (Louis told him he looked dead, and the Merry Company contemplated giving him an "Irish Funeral"), and most likely he was only saved by the Porcelain Doctor Healing Hands amplified by the crystals reviving him. Niall spent at least for days by his side, constantly attending to him. Our narrator was a bit angry about this, because the good doctor was sick and tired even before the vigil, and ended up in worse shape than before.''
- Happens multiple times in The Lord of the Rings. "He's hardly left your side these last three days."
- Caitlin to Bran in A Song of Ice and Fire. She goes pretty mad with grief, but her madness, along with his direwolf, saves his life from the hired idiot of a killer Joffrey sends.
- Jaime Lannister guards the body of his father Lord Tywin for seven days without rest. It's actually atonement for having indirectly caused his death.
- Edward in Twilight doesn't leave Bella's side while she's in the hospital for several broken bones and loss of blood and maybe a few more things. Nevertheless, he's perfectly willing to leave her AFTERWARDS.
- In Warrior Cats, Cloudtail does this with Brightpaw in A Dangerous Path when she gets attacked by dogs. Eventually, the medicine cat has to order him to eat and rest.
- The Barrier: To put emphasis on how close a friend Álvaro is to him, Luis tells Hugo of his younger brother getting sick and spending an entire month in the hospital before dying. Luis was at his brother's side day and night. Álvaro was constantly at Luis' side for exactly the same amount of time.
- In the Bones season 3 finale, the team's commitment to their intent to constantly watch over their injured co-worker Zack leads them to assign shifts. In doing this, they unwittingly prevent him from escaping, as he was working with the Serial Killer and had engineered the explosion that injured him.
- Series 5 of Doctor Who has what might be the best example: Auton!Rory spends almost two thousand years protecting the Pandorica that holds Amy, becoming the legendary Last Centurion in the process.
- Ghost Whisperer: After he's injured by a gunshot wound, Melinda stays by her husband Jim's bedside for hours while he's recovering from surgery to the point where she falls asleep. When she awakens, Jim lovingly says hello unfortunately it's because he's trying to explain as gently as possible that he's died of an aneurysm.
- Subverted in Hannah Montana where Billy Ray promises to be awake and smiling when his daughter wakes up only to predictably fall asleep. The subversion comes when Jackson tells him that there's pie in the cafeteria. Not only does this wake him up instantly, but he runs off instantly and doesn't come back until after she's left the hospital.
- In the Happy Days episode "Richie Almost Dies," Fonzie maintains a bedside vigil at Richie's bedside after he is seriously injured in a motorcycle accident. During that time, he is seen praying and shedding Manly Tears.
- Not a completely unbroken vigil, but an episode of Mysterious Ways has a man continue to visit his comatose wife every day for sixteen years.
- In Smallville, Fracture, Clark stayed by Chloe's bedside when she is "dead" after healing Lex from a near-fatal injury until her Resurrective Immortality revived her.
- Spartacus: Blood and Sand: After Crixus is badly wounded during his fight with Theokeles, Naevia doesn't leave his side. Technically, Lucretia had ordered her to be there on her behalf, as it would look too suspicious if Lucretia herself was there, although Lucretia doesn't realize that Naevia and Crixus are in love, so Naevia is hardly complaining.
- Done in an episode during the first season of Titus, Erin refuses to leave Christopher's side after his dragster crashed, leaving him braindead. Played for laughs in that her refusal to even let go of his hand leads her to almost drag him completely out of bed.
- In the Torchwood season 1 finale, Gwen will do a vigil when Jack is assumed dead.
- The West Wing: When Donna Moss is critically injured in a bombing in Gaza, Josh Lyman drops everything (keep in mind he is the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President of the United States) to go to Germany and be with her. He stumbles into the hospital exhausted from the flight and refuses to leave her bedside until she wakes. It takes these two a further season and a half to get together.
- Often on The X-Files whenever Mulder or Scully got hurt, though the vigil was not unbroken all the time. The one who was unharmed also had to finish the investigation sometimes or avenge the partner for the wound.
- Ianto to Jack in the Torchwood radio play "The Dead Line."
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer: Tom is frightened after testifying against Injun Joe, and Aunt Polly sits next to his bed on at least one night to comfort him.
- Delibes' Lakmé: Lakmé's Act 3 aria "Sous le ciel étoilé" is sung as she watches over her sleeping lover, British army officer Gérald, whom Lakmé healed after he was attacked by her father.
- Final Fantasy:
- In Final Fantasy VII, Tifa did this for Cloud.
- Squall Leonheart in Final Fantasy VIII did this for Rinoa, when possession by Ultimecia left her in a magically induced coma. Frustrated that he was getting nowhere watching over her at Balamb Garden, though, he took the vigil on the move by carrying her across the world to Esthar.
- Overwatch: This is what led to Reinhardt and Torbjorn's deep friendship. Reinhardt had barely managed to save Torbjorns life in a battle and refused to leave his side.
- Persona 3 liked this one: first, it was Yukari watching over the Main Character during his week-long coma after he first summoned his Persona, saving her life in the process. Later in the game, Junpei would utterly refuse to leave Chidori's side throughout her hospitalization/confinement, despite her own insistence. In fact, it's because of this dedication that Chidori warms up to him, then realizes that her life is worth something to someone, which goes against everything she believed in while she was a part of Strega.
- Carlos does this for Jill in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis after she gets infected with the T-Virus by Nemesis. While you don't get to actually see it, it's stated that Carlos spent two days watching over Jill until she woke up.
- In XCOM 2, Central Officer Bradford does this for the Commander after they undergo surgery to have an alien chip removed from their brain.
- In Dragon Mango, Mango decides to interpret Cherry's having fallen asleep on the bed like this.
- In General Protection Fault, Fooker remains awake at Maddie's side for several hours until she comes to from being poisoned on a mission to capture Dr. Nefarious, and eventually falls asleep to catch up on lost sleep.
- In It's Walky!, Joyce is shown to have brought a bedroll and food to stay near the Martian Resurrection Machine that is reconstructing Walky.
- In Archer Dreamland, Lana and Malory take turns watching over Sterling while he's in a coma. When Sterling finally wakes up in the tenth season finale it's revealed that Malory hasn't left the hospital for three years because she wanted to be there when her son woke up.
- In the official materials between Avatar: The Last Airbender books 2 and 3, Katara is said to have stayed by Aang's side the entire time he was unconscious.
- Code Lyoko, Jeremie and Jim stay by Aelita's side until she wakes up in "False Start."
- One episode has Leela fall into a coma, and Fry stays by her side for weeks talking to her. When she wakes up, they hug, and then:
Leela: (whispers) You could really use a shower.
Fry: (whispers) So could you.
- There was also Fry's puppy, who grew old and fossilized waiting for his master to come back. Thanks to Time Travel in the movie Bender's Big Score, he actually spent the rest of his life with a time-loop duplicate of Fry, before being flash-fossilized in an explosion.
- One episode has Leela fall into a coma, and Fry stays by her side for weeks talking to her. When she wakes up, they hug, and then:
- In ReBoot, Enzo keeps a vigil over AndrAIa after she falls into a coma from having part of her code stolen by a Web Creature.
- Happens in real life far more often than many people realize if the stories are to be believed.
- The famous Japanese dog Hachikō was so beloved that a statue stands in his memory at the train station where he would return to wait for his late master to come home from work every day after said master died at work.
- There is always a guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Not even a hurricane can make this guard abandon post. During one hurricane, the officers in charge offered to let the guard on duty transfer his watch indoors. The guard refused.