A style of fanfiction writing (also called HC or H/C) in which one character is seriously injured or emotionally damaged, and is comforted and defended by another character, creating a very close relationship between the two. The injured party is often seen as emotionally invulnerable until the injury occurs and defenses are down. In fanfic writing in general, hurt/comfort situations are often the prelude to forbidden loves, particularly slash, but can be platonic if between siblings or former rivals. Hurt/comfort fanfic is dramatic, occasionally histrionic or melodramatic, and sometimes supplemented with fantasy elements. The injured character might be in a coma but still able to perceive what everyone around says or does, thanks to astral projection, dream walking, or other out-of-body experiences.
In Daria fandom this type of story does not have a particular name, though many examples of it exist. Readers usually refer to such tales as "Daria's in the hospital" or "Daria's in a coma" stories, as Daria is frequently the one injured. A fanfic might feature a Daria character being admitted to a hospital (almost always Cedars of Lawndale, to be true to canon), but this alone does not a hurt/comfort story make. Exploring the change in the relationship between the two characters and its growth from friendship or even antipathy into something deeper—that is the point.
Hurt/Comfort in Daria Canon
"I love hospital room movies." —Quinn Morgendorffer, Is It College Yet?
The episode "Ill" is not really a hurt/comfort tale, as Daria's "illness" is played for laughs, and "Jake of Hearts" also takes a mostly humorous route around Jake's heart attack. However, "Fat Like Me" definitely is hurt/comfort. Quinn Morgendorffer's relationship with Sandi Griffin changes and the two grow close after Sandi's accident, confessing that they love one another (in a platonic way). In the TV series, Sandi never thereafter says or does anything against Quinn, despite their earlier animosity and rivalry.
Hurt/Comfort in Daria Fanfiction
It is painful to admit, but hurt/comfort stories are not often held to a high standard. Some less-than-optimum material has been written in this genre, particularly in the early years of the fandom. Nonetheless, some good h/c fanfics have appeared and deserve mention, particularly where the angst and melodrama are reduced to semi-realistic levels.
A very good example of the latter would be Richard Lobinske's "A Matter of Priorities," from his Falling into College series. Helen Morgendorffer's stroke is well handled, the family's reaction is in character, and the consequences are played out in a plausible manner. That this story segues into the 9/11 attacks of 2001 further heightens the drama without reaching into melodrama.
More hurt/comfort fanfics, of variable quality, are given below.
- Hurt/comfort as defined by Fanhistory.com, via Wayback Machine
- A collection of hurt/comfort essays on The Fanfic Symposium, via Wayback Machine
- "Blinded," by Wildgoose
- "Condition," by Robert Nowall
- "Far Beyond Driven," by Bob Marley
- "Green Apples," by Starah
- "Gunshot," by Shea
- "I'll Be There," by Kaimelar Feylove
- "Jane's Crisis," by The Unknown
- "Liaisons" (TLAS), by Canadibrit
- "A New Experience," by Wildgoose
- "Nine Eleven and Counting," by TAG
- "Smoke and Ashes," by Yui Daoren
- "To Mother You," by Parker-man
- "Trent's Misery," by Julia Wright
- "Untitled 1," by Katherine Goodman and Kristin Wegner