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Fright-Induced Bunkmate

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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 kind of scene is used to emphasize the bond the two characters share, either familial or platonic, or (less commonly) to make an otherwise abrasive or aloof character look sympathetic.

Frequently a source of Heartwarming Moments. Compare Sleep Cute.


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Examples

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    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.
  • 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 Garfields bed.

    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.
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    Film 
  • 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 start off heartwarming. 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 Lion King 1½, we see a montage of Simba waking up Timon and Pumbaa in the middle of the night for various reasons. At least once, he wakes them up because of a nightmare.
  • In Withnail & 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".

    Literature 
  • 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.
  • Played for Drama in Touch—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.

    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 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 Zoey101. 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.

    Music 
  • 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.

    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.

    Web Comics 
  • One Cyanide & 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    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 Springfield had Lisa and Maggie waking Homer up in the middle of the night and asking to bunk with him because they were scared of the boogieman. Homer's response? Become scared of the Boogieman himself (believing he's already inside the house), wake up Bart, and by the time Marge came back from the casino and entered her home, the whole family had created a makeshift fort in the main bedroom and Homer was armed with a shotgun (which he had already shot a few times—once right through the front door).

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