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Staying with Friends

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A young character for some reason can't stay with parents or legal guardian (for any reason from Abusive Parents to letting him stay in school while the parents must go elsewhere), or just wants to spread his wings, but (being too young for the wide world) can't have his own place yet. Friends or more distant relatives provide a home.

A convenient way to give two young characters a way to stay together, and to have one character escape parental influence. This trope is often used to avoid having a Minor Living Alone and works to separate a character from their birth family without stretching Suspension of Disbelief too far. May also be a way to evade the Department of Child Disservices. Since Social Services Does Not Exist, this may be the only way to escape Abusive Parents or Parental Abandonment. Pretty Freeloaders is a variant for older characters in the Harem Genre. It can be used to introduce a Naïve Newcomer to a Quirky Household.


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     Anime and Manga 
  • In Asteroid in Love, Ao lives in her Childhood Friend Mira's house after Chapter 31, due to the events in Chapters 23-28. There's nothing wrong with her parents other than Really Moves Around due to her father's job, but this time around she can't handle the idea of parting with her Childhood Friend Mira for the second time.
  • Fruits Basket has lots of this, all three of the main characters being examples. Tohru moved in with her grandfather after her mother died, then pretended to actually go stay with some friends while his house was being remodeled; in fact, she lived in a tent for a time, then moved in with the Sohmas. Kyo isn't welcome at the main house and Yuki wants to get away from his parents and Akito, so they stay at Shigure's house with Tohru.
    • Kyo stayed with and was raised by Kazuma after his mother committed suicide and his father abandoned him. Rin also stayed with them for a while, but ended up living with Kagura and her parents. Because of the family curse, it was common for the zodiac members to have parents who rejected them.
    • It's not just the Sohmas. Kakeru lives with his mother, but Word of God is that she's home so rarely and his girlfriend visits so frequently (her own father is also almost never home) that the two pretty much are living together.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist subverts this with Ed and Al. Their mother dies when they're little kids, and their father is out Walking the Earth somewhere; for years they don't even know if he's alive or dead. Although their neighbor watches over them, provides them with meals and medical attention, and basically treats them like her own grandsons, they still live alone in their own house. They're four and five years old when their mother dies, and somehow everyone's okay with this.
  • In Kill la Kill, New Transfer Student Ryuko, an orphan, saves Mako for the first of many times, and is thus invited to stay with her family.

     Comic Books 
  • May not count, but after his father died, Tim Drake didn't want to be put into foster care or be adopted by Bruce, instead wishing to be emancipated. Since he was too young, he instead hired an actor to play his father's brother and act as guardian while he lived elsewhere with Batgirl.
  • In Young Avengers, Tommy and Teddy move in with the Kaplans after the group stop heroics between Children's Crusade and volume two, although Tommy is long gone by the time volume two starts. Both have a relation to Billy though (Tommy is his twin by reincarnation and Teddy his boyfriend).
  • Shazam! provides a variant: after Billy reunites with his long-lost twin sister Mary, he's taken in by her adoptive parents.
  • In Astro City story "Pastoral", Cammie is packed off to stay with relatives while her parents go to Europe.

  • In Grace Under Pressure, Courage Under Fire, Dave Karofsky ends up staying with Kurt's family after he comes out to his parents and they kick him out.
  • In the Daria fanfic "John Lane," a For Want Of A Nail story where Jane is a boy, the Lanes lose their house and "John" becomes the Morgendorffers' foster child. Though in this case, it quickly evolves into From Roommates to Romance when Daria and John start dating.
  • In Boys und Sensha-do!, this possibility is floated when Miho gets disowned and can't pay the rent for her apartment by herself, but it's no longer necessary once Maho intervenes and pays for Miho's rent.
  • This is the main premise of Gal Pals (A The Loud House fanfic). Starting from Chapter 3, Lincoln stays at some of the Gal Pals' homes (Girl Jordan, Stella and Carol respectively), switching between each girl in some chapters.

  • Harry Potter with the Weasleys. If it weren't for the limitations of the blood protection spell which required him to call the space under a relative's roof home, Harry might quite reasonably have been adopted by them to start with.
    • After Sirius ran away from home as a teenager, he lived with his best friend, James.
  • The Outsiders and That Was Then... This Is Now both did this. A lot of teen novels, especially those about juvenile delinquents, will pull this.
  • In the Diamond Brothers mystery series, Nick Diamond moves in with his adult brother Tim when their parents move to Australia. This doesn't work out all that well, since Tim is so incompetent as a private detective that they often can't afford food.
  • In Gene Wolfe's Pandora By Holly Hollander, Holly is sent to live with a friend at the end. Finding that she and her friend didn't get along as well when they were under the same roof, she moves into the house of another friend.
  • In Touch, Caspar runs away from his Abusive Parents after learning that they purposely caused his Traumatic Superpower Awakening. Eventually James' parents learn about this and invite him to stay with them. They do, however, insist on telling this to Caspar's parents, who, to their credit, realize they've messed up and agree not to contact Caspar until he agrees to see them.
  • In Pale, Verona is able to avoid returning to stay with her emotionally abusive father for several arcs following an outburst severe enough that her friends confide in their parents, and Lucy's mother agrees to let Verona stay over. When staying with Lucy, Verona is notably happier and more emotionally stable, as she does not have to constantly deal with her father. Unfortunately, Verona is unable to stay away forever-her obligations as a witch demand that she stay in the town of Kennet, and while Social Services Does Not Exist is averted the lack of outright violence means that her only other option would be to live with her mother in Thunder Bay.

     Live Action TV 
  • The New Adventures of Flipper: After it's discovered that Maya Graham is an orphan, she moves in with the family of her friend Mike Blondell rather than enter foster care.
  • On 7th Heaven, the Camdens' house was basically a revolving door for any friend/acquaintance/random kid who couldn't stay at their own house for whatever reason.
  • On That '70s Show, Steven Hyde moves in with the Formans in late season 1 when his mother abandons him. He moves out briefly when his step-father returns in season 3, but moves back in with the Formans after he abandons him again.
  • Part of the backstory to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Will's mother forces him to stay with relatives who live in a safer neighborhood.
  • In late season four of The Wire, after Dukie's caregivers are evicted from their house while he's not home, he moves in with Michael and Michael's little brother Bug.
  • In Hannah Montana, Lilly moves in with the Stewarts to avoid moving to Seattle with her mother.
  • In the first season of Glee, after Quinn's parents kick her out when they find out that she's pregnant, she moves around quite a bit. At first she stays with her boyfriend, Finn, but when he finds out that he's not the father of the child and breaks up with her, she moves in with Puck, who is the father. She's not happy there though, and ends up staying with her friend Mercedes instead.
  • In Wizards of Waverly Place Harper Finkle moves in with her best friend Alex when her parents (conveniently) move out of town.
  • In Family Matters. Steve Urkel originally lives with his parents (who are never seen), but is frequently hanging out at the Winslow's house. At some point, his parents move to Russia, and he moves in and essentially becomes a member of the family.
  • Degrassi:
    • Ellie moves in with her boyfriend Shawn after her alcoholic mother almost burns down their home. Shawn had previously been living with his brother, since he had a bad relationship with his parents, before his brother moved out of town for a job. Later he temporarily moved in with Emma's family.
    • Manny moved in with her best friend Emma's family after she was kicked out by her parents.
  • Happens to Shawn in Boy Meets World when his father abandons him. The father comes back and promises to be a better parent, only to die soon after, so Shawn lives with Cory's family.
  • When Buffy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer dies, her sister Dawn lives with Willow and Tara (who were already living in the house) since they were unable to contact Buffy's father. The Buffybot is used to make it appear as though Buffy was still alive so that Dawn wouldn't be taken away by Social Services.
  • In The Secret Life of the American Teenager Grace moved in with her friend Adrian when her mother was away because she wanted freedom, rather than participating in a summer program her mother wanted to her to be in. Jack also lived with Grace's family for a time.
  • Beth in Flordeliza sends Liza to her grandparents after feigning blindness in an attempt to kick Flor and Gener out of the house and nearly killing her infant brother.
  • Riverdale: Jughead spends some time living with Archie and his father due to his untenable home life.
  • In Roseanne David's parents get divorced. His dad disappears, and David threatens to run away from home if forced to stay with his mother. Roseanne initially turns him away and takes him home, but after seeing how his mother treats him, decides to take him in, and he lives with the Conners for most of the rest of the show.

     Visual Novels 


     Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    • Milhouse stays with the Simpson family in "Little Orphan Millie", when his parents disappear during their second honeymoon.
    • In a season 7 episode, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie are placed in the foster care of their next-door neighbors, the Flanders.
    • In "Pranksta Rap", Bart is afraid of getting in trouble for sneaking out to a rap concert. He fakes his own kidnapping, while secretly staying out at Milhouse's dad's apartment.

     Real Life 
  • It happens.
    • In some states, it is a felony to take in a runaway child... but not if they've been kicked out of the house. Nor is it illegal if the minor's actual parents simply don't give a damn. If it's not reported, it's not a crime.
    • Sometimes perfectly loving parents let the child stay with friends for a time, for all sorts of reason — not to interrupt their school work, or to avoid dragging them on a trip with many stops and little for the child to do, or to keep in touch with a close friend, or just to let them spend a vacation in a vacation home.
    • Until about 1990, social services were unlikely to remove a battered teenager from a home, unless the child was being sexually abused, or had had an injury that required medical attention, like a broken arm, and it wasn't until the mid-1980s, that people in many professions (like teachers) were required to report any suspected abuse. Teens who were bullied, punched, or verbally abused, were thought to be better off toughing it out for a year or two, or three, rather than spending that time in a group home, or taking up space in one of the few foster homes that would take a teen. It wasn't all that uncommon for teens in such situations to find private situations, with a friend, relative, or someone else, and everyone just looked the other way. It doesn't happen now, because a minor can't seek medical care without a parent, have a non-parent call them in sick to school, and the list goes on. Every "alternate placement" has to be on the books now. So in a drama set in the 80s or earlier, it's Truth in Television.