Follow TV Tropes


Fright-Induced Bunkmate

Go To

A character is woken up in the middle of the night by a younger character—typically either a son, daughter, younger sibling or younger friend. The younger character was woken up by something frightening, like a nightmare or a bad storm, and can't quite manage to go back to sleep. They'll meekly ask if they can sleep with the older character, just for that night.

In general, this is used to emphasize the bond the two characters share, whether that is familial, friendly, potentially romantic, or (less commonly) to give an otherwise abrasive or aloof character a Pet the Dog moment. It will probably result in Sleep Cute.

Frequently a source of Heartwarming Moments.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • An early episode of Sekirei has Kuu waking up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, and she gets scared by Matsu, whom she mistakes for a ghost due to her creepy smile and Scary Shiny Glasses. This prompts her to run off to Minato's room and cling to him. The next morning, Miya states that she thought Minato had taken Kuu, implying that she slept in his room that night.
  • In an episode of Sailor Moon R, Usagi wakes up to find her bed wet and Chibi-Usa sleeping in it. While Usagi is angry about this, Luna assumes it was because Chibi-Usa was scared during the night.

    Comic Books 
  • In Runaways, Molly at one point asks if she can bunk with Nico because she's afraid that there are monsters in her room. Later issues show her sharing her bed with Klara, and in the 2017 series, she insists that Gert sleep in her room with her, in order to protect Gert from her Mad Scientist grandmother.
  • In Switch, Mary's younger brother crawls into bed with her after suffering nightmares related to their encounter with Krono.
  • Jan, Jans en de Kinderen: One comic sees all three kids and even Jans herself get frightened by a severe thunderstorm. It ends with all of them in the parents' bed, with Jan being the only one who keeps his calm (and silently prays for a few more big thunders, since the situation is great for his ego).

    Comic Strips 
  • Baby Blues once ran a series of strips that had Zoe and Hammie constantly crawling into bed with their parents whenever they had a nightmare. The arc ends with Wanda calling the mattress store, asking if they have anything bigger.
  • Calvin and Hobbes: One Sunday strip has Calvin and Hobbes fighting over the blanket on a cold night, with Hobbes deciding to leave and take the sheets with him. Calvin chases after him, but Hobbes scares him witless by using the blanket to make himself into a Bedsheet Ghost. The next panel shows Hobbes enjoying Calvin's bed all by himself, while Calvin...
    Calvin's Dad: GAAAA! Somebody's feet are like ice!
    Calvin's Mom: Calvin had another nightmare.
    Calvin: If it's too crowded, you guys are welcome to sleep downstairs.
  • In one Get Fuzzy strip, Satchel has a nightmare and asks Bucky if he can sleep in his closet for the night. The usually abrasive Bucky responds with, "Yeah, yeah, yeah - pull out a drawer and shut up."
  • Garfield: In this comic, a thunderstorm awakens and frightens Odie and Garfield, so they seek shelter in Jons bed. Jon sends them back to their own beds. Then another lightning frightens him, and the final panel shows all three trying to fit into Garfield's bed.
  • Red and Rover: One strip has Rover claiming to hear thunder and asking if he can sleep with Red. After acquiescing, Red realizes he can't hear any thunder and Rover says it was in his dreams.

    Fan Works 
  • Played with in the Sorrowful and Immaculate Hearts story "Empty Graves". After a time traveler attempts to assassinate two-year-old Clark Kent, his mother goes to check on him in the middle of the night, and he wakes up. Remembering what it means when he goes to his parents' bedside in the middle of the night, he asks her if she's had a nightmare and if she'd like to sleep in his bed.
  • Happens in The Second Try when Asuka and Shinji are about to have sex, only for a small earthquake to hit, causing their daughter Aki to run into their room out of fear and ask to sleep with them.
  • This is a common Fandom-Specific Plot in the Frozen fandom. Many fanfics feature the sisters going into each other's rooms after a nightmare (usually Anna into Elsa's) or outright having them move into each other's rooms. It's commonly used in order to depict them bonding after a decade of being separated:
    • The second chapter of An Arm and a Leg has Anna joining Elsa in bed after having a nightmare about Hans murdering Elsa. It brings back memories of the last time they slept in the same bed. When Anna was four, Anna had a Fear of Thunder and asked to sleep in her sister's bed. She ended up staying for three days. On the fourth night she asked to play with Elsa and that is when the accident happened.
  • A semi-romantic version of this features in the Lost Girl/Merlin crossover Lost in Camelot, when Morgana asks to stay with Bo after a particularly troubling 'nightmare' about Bo's past wandering lost and her (unknown to Morgana) future meeting with Kilgharrah, with this night together starting a trend of the two 'platonically' sharing a bed to help Morgana sleep better.
  • The Codename: Kids Next Door one-shot Safe Haven plays with this as when Numbuh 5 has a Catapult Nightmare, she ends up remaining in her room and Cree comforts her after coming in. However, Numbuh 5 is still unsure about falling back asleep and asks Cree to stay with her. Cree, not wanting to lose sleep, decides to sleep in her younger sister's bed for the remainder of the night.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks Films:
    • In Alvin and the Chipmunks, Theodore does this with Dave a little into the chipmunks' stay at his house. While the scene itself is Played for Laughs, it genuinely does turn into heartwarming as Dave reluctantly allows Theodore in and doesn't disturb the chipmunk even when he curls up on top of him rather than staying on his own side of the bed as requested. This is later contrasted with Ian, who throws Theodore out of his room when he makes the same request (despite claiming that he sees the chipmunks as family).
    • In The Squeakquel, Theodore does this with Dave's cousin, who is babysitting the chipmunks while Dave is away. He allows Theodore to sleep with him, but unwittingly traps the chipmunk in a Dutch oven while Theodore desperately tries to find a way out from underneath the covers.
  • In Withnail and I, Withnail bursts into Marwood's room in the middle of the night clad in a nightshirt and carrying a shotgun and gets into his bed - with the shotgun - having been threatened the night before by Jake the local poacher.
  • In Queen of Katwe, the young Pioneers are all given their own beds while visiting King's College for a tournament, but they all end up huddled together on the floor because they're intimidated by the prospect of playing against "city boys".
  • In ...And Your Name Is Jonah, Jonah moves into his parents' bed because he's scared of his brother's Spider-Man doll.
  • The Sound of Music: On Maria's first night in the Von Trapp household the children are woken up in the night by a thunderstorm. Gretl is the first to reach Maria's room and is quickly followed by the rest of her siblings (except Liesl who had tried to sneak back into the house through Maria's room). Maria sings "My Favorite Things" (replacing "The Lonely Goatherd" from the stage version) to calm the children down.
  • 2010: The Year We Make Contact does a variant on this when Heywood Floyd's spaceship does a harrowing "areo breaking" maneuver around Jupiter, and one of his Russian shipmates, a younger woman, silently comes to his bunk and platonically clings to him.

  • Inverted in The Hunger Games - Prim was initially sleeping with Katniss, but Katniss awoke to find her gone as she had had nightmares about the reaping and gone to sleep with their mother instead.
  • Mercy Watson: In the first book, Mercy feels unnerved by the dark and goes to her owners' room to sleep with them. Unfortunately, the floor can't stand up to the weight of two adults and a pig.
  • Played for Drama in Touch (2017)—the story opens with the twelve-year-old protagonist, James, in a therapy session, one week after being raped. He mentions having nightmares, and the therapist suggests that sleeping with his parents might make him (and even them) feel safer. Though reluctant to make them worry about him even more, James finds that this does help. The first time he tries sleeping in his own room, however, he has a Flashback Nightmare which prompts his Traumatic Superpower Awakening.
  • In the Monument 14 Trilogy, Astrid, Josie, and Sahalia all sleep huddled together after Sahalia is nearly raped and Josie shoots the attempted rapist dead.
  • The Easy Part of Impossible: After Cotton's younger sister Esther went missing while Cotton and Ria were in fifth grade, Ria was so scared that she slept between her parents for a month.
  • The Wind Eye: Early in the book, Sally asks to come into Beth's bed, because she's cold. When their father (who doesn't approve of his children sharing a bed) finds them and demands an explanation, Beth lies and says it was because Sally was frightened by a nightmare.
  • Stim: The night after the earthquake, Chloe asks if she can spend the night in Robert's bed. Her bookcase almost fell on her during the quake, and even though it's better secured now, she keeps thinking it'll fall and hit her, and she doesn't want to be alone. Their First Time ensues.
  • In the Ramona Quimby book Ramona and Her Mother, after the Quimby parents have a nasty argument while making dinner, Ramona is too upset to sleep and creeps into her sister Beezus's room, where Beezus lets her spend the rest of the night in her bed and promises to take care of her if their parents divorce. (Which of course they don't.) They share Beezus's bed again in Ramona Forever when they stay home alone on the night their little sister Roberta is born.

    Live Action TV 
  • An episode in late Season 6 of Bones has Booth having Brennan sleep at his home, fearing that the Arc Villain might come for either one after murdering one of Brennan's coworkers. At first Brennan sleeps in the living room, but after having insomnia she asks Booth if she can sleep with him. They end up as a couple.
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show:
    • In "Ghost of A Chantz", Laura, Rob, and the other writers have to stay in a haunted cabin while working on a new segment for The Alan Brady Show. After getting profoundly spooked, the Petries, Buddy, and Sally all end up sandwiched in the same couch with the lights on. When Rob tries to convince everyone they're being ridiculous and should go back to their separate rooms, Laura and Buddy don't go for it.
    • In "Long Night's Journey Into Day", Millie and Laura have a long, paranoid night while their husbands are on a fishing trip. After Rob comes back, Millie is sent to Ritchie's room, but claims she can't sleep there. Laura moves over to let her into her bed. When Millie questions if it's okay with Rob, he says yes, but she shouldn't get used to it.
  • The 2008 BBC Sense and Sensibility has a scene where Elinor's youngest sister Margaret takes refuge in Elinor's bed because she was frightened by a noise outside.
  • In Falling Water, Tess Brighton used to crawl into her older sister Sabine's bed when they were little and Tess had nightmares.
  • In one episode of Timeless, Lucy reminisces about how her younger sister used to crawl into bed with her.
  • Played for Laughs in an episode of Zoey 101. Zoey awakens in her bed to find out her friend Nicole climbed into it the night before because she had a nightmare. This causes her to leap out of the bed.
  • In Euphoria, Rue first ends up in bed with Jules because she's high and doesn't want her mom to find out about it. She soon finds that platonically sharing a bed with Jules alleviates the anxiety that's been driving her addiction for so many years, so they keep the arrangement going, as Jules herself finds that having Rue for a bedfellow discourages her from her own self-destructive sexual tendencies. Of course, then they fall in love, and it gets complicated.
  • In Emergence, Mia insists that Piper stay in her bed with her after a home invasion. Mia is very protective of Piper.
  • In Party of Five (2020), middle child Valentina develops a habit of crawling into her older brother Beto's bed in order to ward off her anxiety, which frustrates Beto because getting Val calm enough that she can drift back off means he's getting less sleep himself.
  • In Everything's Gonna Be Okay, Genevieve and Matilda cuddle up to their father Darren just before his death. The next episode shows them sharing his bed after his death. Later, Matilda starts cuddling up with classmate Drea during sleepovers, as Drea has hypersensitivity issues and needs someone squeezing her waist so that she can sleep better, but this gets complicated when they start dating, as Drea crushes herself against Matilda's chest, activating her own hypersensitivity issues.
    • In season 2, Matilda agrees to share a bed with Genevieve again on the anniversary of their dad's death, ostensibly because Genevieve doesn't want to be alone with her thoughts that night.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: While getting ready for bed one night Willow discovers that Angelus has killed her goldfish and left them in an envelope on her desk, an implicit threat that he can enter her house and kill her while she sleeps. Willow immediately flees to Buffy's house and the two are shown huddling in the Slayer's room holding stakes and surrounded by garlic to ward off vampires.

  • Played for Laughs in the Ninja Sex Party song "Attitude City". The first verse has Danny building himself up as his city's revered badass, while the second verse has him engaging in decidedly un-badass behavior, like running to his parents' room whenever he has a bad dream.
  • The reason for Interrupted Intimacy in Phil Vassar's "Just Another Day in Paradise," all about the chaos and joy of young parenthood.
    Well, plan B looks like
    Dominoes' pizza in the candle light
    Then we'll tippy toe to our room
    Make a little love that's overdue
    But somebody had a bad dream
    Mama and daddy
    Can me and my teddy
    Come in to sleep in between?

    Video Games 
  • In Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness, Laharl apparently told his little sister that she could sleep in his bed if she ever had nightmares, but he is quick to deny it when she brings it up in public.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, on the Third Day, as it becomes clear that the moon will fall on Termina and everyone will die, Cremia asks her little sister Romani to sleep with her in her bed.
  • OMORI: Sunny used to share his sister Mari's bed whenever he had nightmares.

  • One Cyanide and Happiness comic has a nightmarish, monstrous cyclops appear over a person's bed... and then reveals that it had a nightmare, and wants to sleep with the human.
  • In El Goonish Shive, this is Inverted when Grace, having woken up from a bad dream, asks Tedd to sleep with her.
  • Life of Maid's 100th strip had Remilia and Flandre (both vampires) watching a Dracula movie and getting scared enough to want to sleep in Sakuya's room.
  • Pixie and Brutus: Pixie asks Brutus if she can sleep with him because of the loud storm outside. Given that Brutus had been suffering combat flashbacks from the thunder, it works both ways.
  • Technically Inverted in Wilde Life, where Kevin asks Cliff to stay in his room after he's spooked by a storm. This comes right after Cliff's confrontation with Raven, his crazy, shapeshifting stalker, so his agreement also contains some degree of wanting comfort himself (and/or wanting to protect Kevin and/or hoping that Raven won't return with Kevin around).
  • Raining Knives: A flashback depicts Jerry going into his brother Dylan's room due to a storm.
  • Manly Guys Doing Manly Things: The Commander's kids ask to sleep in his bed cause they had nightmares, but their constant squirming eventually forces the Commander out of his bed, and he tries to go sleep in June's bed. Then they say they had nightmares and the cycle begins again.

    Western Animation 
  • The Family Guy episode "A Lot Going On Upstairs" has Stewie suffering from a recurring nightmare about being stalked by a shadowy monster. Every time he has the nightmare, he runs to Peter and Lois's room to sleep with them. Lois doesn't mind, but Peter decides he can't sleep with Stewie constantly jumping into bed with him, so he starts sleeping in the attic.
  • The duckling from the Tom and Jerry cartoon "Little Quacker" flees from the hungry and vicious Tom Cat, and takes refuge in Jerry's Mouse Hole, diving into Jerry's bed in terror. Face to face with a perplexed Jerry, the duckling explains his plight: "There's a great big cat out there, and he's got a great big axe, and he goes wham! Wham! Wham! Wham!" (Illustrated with chopping blows to the back of his neck.)
  • The Loud House: At the beginning of "Garage Banned", Lori wakes up to see that Lana crawled into bed with her during the night. Her response? "Let me guess. Another bad dream?"
  • The Simpsons:
    • The second "Treehouse of Horror" Halloween Episode had a small Running Gag in the wrap-around story to the shorts that, because all of the shorts were candy-induced nightmares, the person suffering it would wake up frightened and then go ask someone to bunk with them. In respective order: Lisa asked to bunk with Bart, then Bart and Lisa asked to bunk with Marge and Homer.
    • The episode "$pringfield" had Lisa waking Homer up in the middle of the night and asking to bunk with him because she's scared of the boogieman. Homer's response? Become scared of the Boogieman himself (believing he's already inside the house). By the time Marge comes back from the casino and enters her home, the whole family has created a makeshift fort in the main bedroom and Homer is armed with a shotgun (which he has already shot a few times—once right through the front door).
    • "Kamp Krustier" has Bart taking advantage of this when he's believed to be suffering from PTSD after his disastrous stint at Kamp Krusty, pleading nightmares every night in order to sleep with Homer and Marge (even kicking Homer out at one point so he'll have more room) and unwittingly cutting off their sex life.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
    • A downplayed example early: Adora asks to spend her first night with the Rebellion with her new friend Glimmer, partially because she's never slept alone before, and partially because she thinks she might have killed her bed.
    • Much later, when Catra is experiencing major Acute Stress Disorder from being Mind Raped by Horde Prime, she begs Adora to stay with her for the night.
      Catra: Please... stay.