- The Legend of Zelda fanfic, And So We Fight has Zelda doing this in chapter 13 when she starts to have doubts in her plan to throw off the Dark Forces by disguising herself as Sheik.
- Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: When Germany and Japan found Italy after he had run off because of him having had enough of their cock fight, they find him in one. He was plagued with guilt and sorrow.
- Bridge to Terabithia 2: The Last Time: Leslie Burke is portrayed in this manner near the end of the prison visit chapter, sobbing her eyes out after confronting Jason Burke, her estranged uncle who abducted her five years earlier and faked her death when she made that allegedly fatal solo visit to Terabithia as a child, and subsequently tried to sell her off to Human Traffickers until she managed to escape. Jess Aarons did manage to catch up on her, at which point he took off his coat and puts it around her shoulders.
- Cell: When Gibbs finds Bishop and Tony, who at this point have endured weeks of torture. Bishop is in this position.
- A Crown of Stars: In chapter 25 Asuka waited for Shinji curled up in the bed while she was in considerable emotional turmoil over the nature and the hypothetical future of their relationship.
- Calvin assumes this pose when he finds out they're going camping in Calvin and Hobbes: The Series.
- In Ghosts of the Past, sequel to Child of the Storm, Harry is mentioned as occasionally taking this position when his PTSD gets the better of him. He recovers.
- The Child of Love: Asuka often feels sick or distraught during her pregnancy, and several times she uses this position.
- In chapter 3 an Angel is attacking and Asuka is feeling worried and sick. Misato finds her curled up in her bed, trembling, sweating and grimacing.
- In chapter 8 she is depressed and hurt because Shinji has broken up (momentarily) with her. When Misato returns home she finds her curled up on her bed, looking to the wall.Misato walks in and shuts the door behind her. She sees Asuka curled up on her bed, facing the wall.
- Evangelion 303: Asuka assumed this pose at the end of chapter 13 after Shinji stopped her from committing suicide.
- Ghosts of Evangelion: Asuka hugs her knees after a particularly bad nightmare.Asuka awoke with a shout, clawing at her face as she fought to escape the dream's crushing grip. She was in the main living area of their apartment, with Shinji's futon right beside hers. She wrapped her arms around herself and doubled over, trying to calm herself.
Shinji watched her, weary and sympathetic. When she'd calmed a bit he asked, "That was the really bad one, wasn't it?"
- In Supergirl fanfic Hellsister Trilogy, Kara adopts this position when the Legion of Super-Heroes turns up to ask for help again right after she gets nearly killed three times in a row.She sighed and crouched, her elbows on her knees and her hands hiding her face. "I. Am. Just. Getting. So. Damned. Tired."
- In the Splatoon fic Her Fractured Spirit, during a Turf War against a Octoling, Callie's Trauma Button is hit when he starts throwing bombs at her. This causes her to freeze up and start crying in fetal position.
- In Kamen Rider Ex-Aid fic Press Start To Continue, Parado sits with his knees tucked under his chin as he is having a bout of depression in middle of the night. This is a reccuring sign both in canon (as noted in the Live Action section) and fan fiction as he has a lot to deal with and something it's just too much.
- Last Child of Krypton: Subverted in chapter 2. Shinji cowers in the car seat and covers his head so that Misato thinks he is shocked, frightened and distraught because the plane they were going to meet is crashing and she does not suspect he has just rescued it. It works.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide: Shinji does this right after the final battle when Asuka is dying.Shinji curled forward, and he buried his face in his burned hands, and he cried.
- The One I Love Is...: In chapter 4 Shinji hurts Asuka and she runs away. Shinji looks for her and when he finds her, she is sobbing and sitting under a tree, her legs pulled up her chest."I don't need you! I don't need anyone! Go away!"
This said, she pulled her legs up to her chest, let her chin rest on her knees and then closed her eyes.
"Leave me alone... just... leave me alone..."
This time, she had said the words between sobs.
- Scar Tissue: In chapter 17 Asuka argues with Shinji... and at one point of the argument she feels so exhausted and distressed -she had spent one whole week feeling angry, jealous, worried, frightened, depressed, lonely and barely getting any sleep- that she breaks down, sits on the floor, draws her knees close to her chest, wraps her arms around her legs, and cries.
- Shinji And Warhammer 40 K: In the prologue, after a friend of hers was raped, Shinji shut himself in his bedroom, bent his knees up and went into a fetal position.
- In the The Sarah Jane Adventures fanfiction Everything Will Be Okay Luke Smith does this during a nightmare he has after being bullied at school including rocking back and forth.
- Beth Lestrade in Children of Time, having gone through a massive Trauma Conga Line, having emotionally abused by the man she loves, nearly raped, brutally killed... Now, Back from the Dead, she's reached Broken Bird status and is going through Heroic BSoD, curled up on the floor near Holmes's chair.
- Disgaea fic Fail to the King! opens with Almaz in one of these, curled up catatonic in the fetal position from the events of Disgaea 3's Almaz Ending. One Bright Slap that pounds his head into a crater later (what, you expected sympathy? It's the Netherworld!) and he's more or less good to go, though he has to take great pains to remain the Determinator and not slip back into despair when things, inevitably, get worse.
- The Second Try: In the last episode, Rei found Aki in this position, when she was lost and frightened because her parents Shinji and Asuka had disappeared.
- In "Interesting Times", Barney assumes the position when his big brother James has a fight with Ted over who should care for Barney while he's 3 inches tall. The scenario is better than it sounds, and not played for laughs in any way.
- In the Star Trek: The Original Series fanfic Insontis II, McCoy finds Spock in a corner with his face hidden behind his knees after Kirk's near-electrocution.
- In the Star Trek: The Original Series fanfic Retribution, the guilt-stricken Kirk is sitting "with his knees drawn up to his chest" when Spock enters the room.
- Neo Digimon Digital War: At the end of chapter 6, Hikari assumes this position after a particularly bad dream.
- In the Steven Universe fanfic ''Dont Even Bother, true to the show, Peridot adopts this position several times whenever shes in distress. Her reaction to Pearl confronting her at the Car Wash is to curl up in a corner and bury her face in her knees while crying, which confuses Pearl enough that she doesnt attack her and instead tries to talk with her, which leads to them coming to an understanding and eventually becoming friends. Bonus in that she still has her Limb-Enhancers on during this story, so they clearly dont get in the way of her assuming this position a lot.
- Children of an Elder God: In chapter 18, Asuka curls into a ball and cries after being raped.And then the memories came, and all Asuka could do was curl into a ball and cry.
- In the opening chapter of Serendipitous Fate, Adrien finds Marinette in this position in Master Fu's bathroom when she's nervous about finding out who he is, though she's not trying to prevent him from recognising her. Adrien tries to bring her out of it by putting an arm around her and telling her that he's not disappointed by who she is.
- The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World
- John falls into one of these after he is nearly eaten by the Tax Monster and forced to save himself by turning into watera very traumatic experience for him.
- Also, Mevaryat the musician assumes this position when George is just about to discover that the Cloud Horn is actually a hologram.
- In the 25th chapter of The Ultimate Evil, Valerie is coping with her Heroic BSoD in this pose when Shendu's spirit returns to possess her body.
- Syngenesophobia: Chapter 8, Lincoln breaks down on the floor sobbing and begging his sisters not to hurt him when they come to visit him in the hospital.
- In Karma in Retrograde, Touya Todoroki drops into this after learning that he is destined to become the serial killer Dabi and that he attacked his youngest brother Shouto.Touya: I dont believe it. Thats not me. This is This isnt real. [sinks into the corner] This is just a dream and Im going to wake up.
- Loved and Lost: The minute Rarity is freed from the Diamond Dogs' muzzle, she reminds them off-screen why they hate to hear her complaints. They're last seen shaking in this position.
- Much Ado About Shakespeare: Love's Labours Won: Archie Kennedy is curled up when he wakes up exhausted from his panic attack. "He was huddled in a ball, his knees to the ground in a puddle, leaving tell-tale muddied patches on his uniform where it was serving as a towel."
- In RWBY: Scars, Pyrrha falls to her knees and starts rocking after Emerald's illusion fades and she realizes she's murdered Penny, not a Grimm.
- Lost to Dust: After Charlemagne blames Ruby Rose for Astolfo's death, accuses her of being selfish, then says she is not a hero, Anastasia finds Ruby in fetal position crying.
- In Land Before Time Retold, Aylene ends up in one after the Gang narrowly escapes getting attacked by Megalodon shark.
- A Very Kara Christmas: After a training session, Kara sits down and hugs both knees to her chest as dwelling on her frustrations: her parents are dead, her only living relative is an overbearing taskmaster, she is a stranger in a strange land, she is stuck in an orphanage where she has to hide her real self, and she has incredible powers that she is not allowed to use openly lest she kills someone.
- The Loud Awakening: In chapter 3, after Lincoln has been gone for two weeks, the Loud Parents sometimes find Lynn in his room, curled up into a ball and clutching Bun-Bun.
- The MLP Loops: When Starlight Glimmer tries using the time-travel spell to go to the future instead of the past, she returns moments later having been kicked out by what appears to be a future kid of Pinkie Pie's, and just curls up into a ball muttering "future" to herself.
- In Evangelion fanfic Wake, Asuka curls up into a ball and starts sobbing and trembling after listening to Kaji's final words.From his room, Shinji heard the sobs. Worried that Asuka might be in trouble, he jumped to his feet and hurried to Misato's room. The door was open and when he stepped in to the darkened room he saw Asuka sitting on the floor, her knees drawn up and held by her free hand. She was shaking; he hadn't been hearing things.
Troubled Fetal Position / Fan Works