underwood family

His World: Parenting

Some focus on the parents of the main trio!


1. Safety

Richard couldn’t remember the exact time Melissa had become friends with Milo. But he vividly recalled picking Melissa up from elementary school, and noticing small cuts and bruises covering her limbs. On one occasion, she had a dislocated shoulder that required a sling for two weeks. Applying first aid was a skill he’d learned during training, but he always had to swallow the panic he felt when Melissa came home with wild tales of Murphy’s Law. 

He’d learned quickly that forbidding Melissa from hanging out with Milo was completely ineffective. The first and only time he tried it was back when she was in 3rd grade. Melissa had screamed at him until her throat was raw, refused to eat dinner that night, and wouldn’t allow him in her bedroom so he could explain his reasons. In the morning, after tossing and turning on his final decision so much, he explained to Melissa that she was not banned from seeing Milo.

“I’m sorry if I hurt you last night,” he began after a long silence. Melissa still wouldn’t look at him. Her head rested on one elbow, picking at her scrambled eggs without interest. “You aren’t banned from seeing Milo.” 

Her fork clattered to the ground. “Really? But I thought-”

“I thought wrong,” Richard explained. “Sometimes adults make decisions based on fear, and forget to think about another’s happiness. I want you to be safe, but I also want you to be happy.”

Melissa hugged him. “I’m sorry too. I’ll try to be safer so you don’t have to worry about me anymore!” she exclaimed, her eyes sparkling. 

Richard smiled, then remembered a question he’d been pondering for several hours last night. “Why do you want to be friends with Milo, sweetie?” 

Melissa thought for a moment. “Nobody else wants to. And he’s funny.”

Melissa had never been one to follow the crowd. She was a natural leader. And Richard couldn’t ask for a better daughter than one who bravely defied Murphy’s Law, standing by her friends the entire time.

2. Flannel

Marcus examined a red flannel pattern curiously. “Eileen, what are you planning to do with all this?” he asked, hugging his wife from behind as she worked on cutting a rugged collar from the fabric. 

“I thought it would be a nice surprise for Zack and his new friends,” she replied, carefully setting the scissors down and leaning back into his embrace. “It’s nice. Zack is finally overcoming his fears now.” 

Marcus nodded. “It’s a wonder stage fright isn’t one of them,” he murmured, remembering how frightened Zack had been when he received his first goldfish. The poor boy wouldn’t stop screaming until Marcus finally moved the fishbowl to their master bedroom where Zack wouldn’t have to see it. “But is exposing them to the music industry a good idea at his age? You know how brutal they can be.”

“There are plenty of local contests they can compete in. And Zack inherited your voice,” Eileen smirked. “My Orpheus.” 

Marcus laughed. “Don’t go stepping on snakes, now. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if you were lost to the Underworld forever while I die because I wouldn’t sing for a bunch of crazy women.” 

“You know I would just march straight to the lab and demand an antivenom,” Eileen said, tracing her husband’s beard with one hand. 

“I know you would,” Marcus replied, bending down for a passionate kiss on the lips. Eileen responded in kind, giggling as she wrapped her arms around his neck.

“So what’s with the flannel anyway?” Zack asked, grabbing a pudding cup from the kitchen. His parents were unaware of him watching, sharing yet another long kiss. “Never mind,” Zack said as he headed back to his room. “I’ll ask again when you’re done cannibalizing each other.” 

3. Bedtime

“Gotcha!” Martin scooped up Sara, who giggled as she tried to escape. “You shall never escape the hug monster! Hear me roar!”  

“Mama! The hug monster’s got me!” Sara shrieked as Martin carried her to bed. 

“I see,” Brigitte smiled. She and Milo were picking out a book for their daily bedtime story from the small children’s shelf in Sara’s bedroom. Quickly putting a hand out to stop the shelf from falling on Milo, she sighed in relief as several paperback books toppled to the ground away from them. “And would the hug monster care to watch his step?”

“Watch his step from what?” Martin asked. He set Sara down next to Milo. She pulled a silly face with puffed out cheeks, making Milo laugh as he went cross-eyed in his attempt to reciprocate. Martin was about to join them, but he set one foot on a roller skate and immediately crashed into the bedpost. 

“Sara, what was the rule about roller skates in the house?” Brigitte asked sternly, checking Martin over for injuries. There wasn’t any bruising for now. 

“Um,” Sara withered, picking at her monkey pajamas. “Socks, shoes, and skates give us flair and should always be in pairs but never left out cause Daddy’s ligaments might tear,” she mumbled. “Sorry, Daddy.”

Martin rubbed his head. “It’s okay, sweetie. I’m all right. So what book did you decide on, Milo?” 

Milo pointed to a pop-up book of Jack and the Beanstalk. Martin grinned. “You just want me to repeat ‘fee-fi-fo-fum’ in funny voices, don’t you?” He rubbed his forehead against Milo’s, setting him on the bed. Sara flopped face first into the soft mattress, nuzzling into Martin’s side. Brigitte wrapped an arm around Martin, pulling Milo into her lap. 

“Jack and the Beanstalk,” Martin read, opening the book. 

“Begin it with once upon a time! It’s not a tale without once upon a time!” Sara exclaimed. Brigitte gently shushed her. 

“No, no it isn’t,” Martin chuckled. “Once upon a time, there was a boy named Jack….” 

When Zack, along with the viewer, is initiated into the mysteries of Murphy in the pilot episode, we’re lead to believe that we’re seeing a pretty typical trip to school for Milo. But “The Doctor Zone Files” reveals that Murphy’s Law may vary: as Milo himself puts it, “It’s unpredictable!” Like a lot of claims made about Murphy’s Law (obviously, not everything that could go wrong does), this one’s pretty broad; multiple episodes have shown that Milo’s friend Melissa has developed a faculty for predicting when Murphy’s Law will strike, which indicates that it has a logic of its own. And on most days, at least, it seems that Milo can ride the bus with his fellow students in relative safety–we see him do so in “Worked Day.”

So what made the first day of school different? Well:

A new kid came in from out of town. He didn’t know about Milo’s condition. He talked to him in a friendly way and even accepted his handshake. Which–look at how the kids at the stop react. 

They’re worried about this poor sap who’s here indicating a clear willingness to befriend Milo Murphy. They’re not only worried about him, they’re potentially worried about how it’s going to affect them (notice how Bradley is clutching his backpack). 

I propose that Murphy’s Law overacted because, quite simply, Milo was on the verge of making a new friend, and the worst thing that could happen to him would be for that friend to be scared off.

And, see, this is nothing new. This happens every time Milo is put in a situation wherein a friendship could potentially form. In “Rooting for the Enemy” we find out that a girl named Joni, who sat next to Milo recently, only just got her cast off and is unwilling to try a second time. In the same episode, Mort has a friendly conversation with Milo and is promptly thrown headfirst over a ledge and into a pond: 

By the way, Joni does end up in Milo’s blast radius again when she sits directly behind him on the bus in “Worked Day”.

She looks a little nervous to me. Can’t blame the girl. She’s even closer to him than Melissa is!

…but she’s probably fairly safe, because, while she’s close to him, she’s not sitting next to him. The real danger lies in talking to him or associating with him in the way a friend would.

Melissa and Zack are hanging out with him, but they’re probably all right too–at this point, they’ve both been established as friends of Milo. Both of them have firmly and repeatedly refused to be put off, so while they’re still getting swept up in Murphy’s Law and still risking life and limb by being in its vicinity, it’s no longer headhunting either of them specifically. 

Here’s what really sells this one for me:

We’ve seen that Melissa is normally unafraid to be close to Milo, though she’s not above establishing an “adequate buffer zone.” In the pilot, she initially walks gladly up to her friend, apparently prepared to stand next to him as she might on a normal morning…but then she hesitates.

We see her take a moment to test her surroundings before announcing her decision to put some distance between herself and Milo. Milo’s response is a thumbs-up and a cheerful “Good call!”

My guess is that this is a situation that both of them are familiar with through long experience. Milo standing here chatting with the new guy is a clear danger signal for Melissa, just as it is for the others at the stop. Milo, though equally aware that he’s in for a more-than-usually deadly morning, is undeterred. With his characteristic optimism, he’s embracing this possible friendship despite the risk it’s going to involve, but that doesn’t mean he expects Melissa to do it. 

Zack rides out the storm and stays with Milo; at some point before the series started, Melissa had to make a decision to do the same thing. They’re the exceptions. The vast majority of people who came close to befriending Milo were unable to take the heat. 

There will be another DUAL stream this afternoon after I get work done. @kiki-kit and I will get a few things done that we promised for @ask-tiesthatbind and then while I draw Underwood family shenanigans and Murphy sibs and more, she’ll be recording her colouring techniques so people can check out her ways of “arting”. X)

In the meantime, Have this! @spatziline and I will be trying out a neat collab idea, so hopefully this works out! Woo!

grover goes away a lot for missions for Lord of the Wild Business™. sometimes it’s far from camp, sometimes it’s relatively nearby. a lot of them just happen to be in the more rural parts of the state of new york

he makes it a habit to always stop by the jacksons’ before going back to camp

it doesn’t matter if percy is there or not (and eventually grover forgets to use their mental bond to check), grover will show up at their door and sally will let him in offering hugs, food, a place on their couch, and an eager listener if he wants to talk about his mission 

usually, grover is exhausted and falls asleep almost immediately. there are a few missions where he shows up and sleeps on the couch for a day or two. after a particularly hard one, grover wakes up after a few days to find percy had moved him into his bedroom and taken the couch instead. sometimes, paul is there instead of sally, but is just as eager to talk. sometimes, all three are there and grover joins them for family dinners

sometimes, no one is there. percy will be off at school or at camp, sally and paul will be out or at work. once, grover falls asleep on their doormat. they give him a key, but he keeps losing it, so percy hides a key for grover under the mat (“not very secure,” grover says. percy shrugs and takes another cookie. “i think i can handle it”)

whenever grover falls asleep in the empty apartment, he always wakes up covered in a blanket with a glass of water and some sort of snack on the coffee table in front of him, because the jacksons know how to take care of family

“Missing Milo” Drabble

Martin, Brigette and Sara looked up as Zack suddenly burst into their living room, leaning on the doorpost and gasping for air.

“Milo—is gone! Melissa and I can’t find him anywhere!”

The Murphys stared at him for a moment, before Sara said “Oh” and they turned back to their TV and phones.

Zack gaped. “Didn’t you hear me?!”

“Don’t worry, Zack,” Martin said with a casual wave. “This sort of thing happens a lot.”

“On our last vacation he found up getting into the wrong RV,” Sara agreed.

“Last month he was gone all night because he got locked in a bank vault without his phone.”

“He usually finds some way to get home eventually.”

“No, but I’m pretty sure somebody kidnapped him this time.”

“Oh. Well, that does sound serious,” Brigette said, taking a remote control out of her pocket. “I guess we better try the tracking device.”

BEEP-BEEP-BEEP!

Martin suddenly winced and grabbed the back of his neck. 

“Whoops! Sorry dear, wrong button.”

“No problem.”

Here’s the thing, Lard World was on the Brulee’s accidental vacation route and it’s probably not all that close to Swamp City, so I’m pretty sure Zack and Melissa ended up joining the Murphys on their vacation after all. 

Small Favours: beyond the pale

The shop is nothing special. A small sign outside, a couple in the windows telling people what they might find within. The interior is neat and tidy, with curious and general used items for sale. It feels nice, and the person behind the counter smiles, offers a greeting and barely pauses when I ask to speak with Minou.

“I am afraid I have no idea who you’re talking about; my name is Cam, and I run this shop.”

“My name is Kris. He knows me. Please?”

Cam lets out a breath. “Go outside, around back. The door to the back room is open.” Nothing else. Not how I know the fae, not who I am, not asking why I am here.

I head out and around the building, finding the open door easily. The back room is clean as well. Tables for testing items, tables of priced items, garbage and recyclable. Minou is putting a toaster together, gloves on his hands, and blinks once when I enter.

“Kris.” His voice is even. His shadow is not, writhing behind him like a living thing.

“Minou. I won’t tell you who Gabe and I found for allies, or where we are in the fight against our family. You did more than we could have asked. You did – far more than I thought of asking.”
The fae nods, his expression unreadable.

“I’ve seen a little of what you really look like. You showed more to my family. The Underwoods are –.” I shake my head. “Even with a few who were not there and can heal minds, the terror you invoked. You broke over two hundred magicians. Even the other fae never really saw you, did they?”

“No. Athel knows me of old. Almost no one else knows – what else I can look like.”

I move closer. The fae doesn’t move. “You do that, and then you just… return to working in a shop? Let yourself loose and then rein it in?”

“I have been.”

“And that’s why you’re back here and not dealing with customers?”
Minou doesn’t move. He sets a screwdriver down slowly, looking almost surprised he’s bent it in half. “You are not helping.”

 I take a deep breath, hold out my right hand. “This is for you.”

Minou walks over, picks up the small piece of red rock, fingers it slowly. “A piece of rock.”
“A piece of the hate the Qis had for you, and for what your kind did. It isn’t much, in terms of healing. But we’re trying.”

Minou doesn’t drop it. He’s too old to lose control of himself. He pockets the piece of stone slowly, his dark eyes bright with stars behind them. “Thank you.”

“It is – not much, but all Gabe and I have managed so far. I doubt we’ll manage more, not in a lifetime. Gabe will live longer than I will, tied to the Qis, but none of us know how long. And you never need to thank me. Not after everything we’ve been through.”

“Does your brother need you?” Minou asks quietly as I reach the door.

I turn. “Pardon?”

“The family you are aiding to damage your own, your brother: do they need your power?”

 “Why do you ask?”

“Because there is a new Court in the twilight lands that could, perhaps, be an ally for your new family as well. And you a bridge between them.”

“I –.”

“I can open up a door there when you need it. You wouldn’t be able to come back to earth, and move beyond the pale to survive there. I can give yo glamour enough for that, but your life would still be a human life, measured in human years.”

“The other Courts would hate that.”

Minou smiles. “I know.”

I thank him, get back into the waiting car outside and return home.

*

Fighting a magical war takes magic. Weeks. A month, two and I’ve used up every bit of magic within me. Everything I’d never used, a lifetime of energy spent trying to destroy the Underwoods. We’ll win, the family Gabe and I have joined, but it’s going to take time to break an empire. Time and alliances. I am dropped off two blocks away from the shop, and walk. It is almost not a surprise to find Minou walk up beside me and hand me a coffee.

“You have two people who were following you. The shop has been staked out since your last visit,” the fae says softly. “Cam doesn’t know. I’ve been dealing with them, and waiting.”

“Thank you.”

He smiles. His shadow looks like just a shadow again, the smile slow and sad. “You won’t be able to return to earth, with this glamour on you.”

 “I figured as much. This isn’t a talent you have.”

“Not at all. But I’ve had over a month to make sure it will work. What do you wish to look like, as a fae?”

 “Me.” And I show him how I see myself inside my head, with the last of the magic I can call forth.

There is no judgement. Not from Minou. Just a nod. He finishes his coffee as we walk, waits until I finish mine, and holds out a hand. “Unless you wish to wait, Kris?”

“No.” I’m scared to wait. So much of me wants to stay, but I can do more, from the twilight lands. I can help the fae, I can help humanity.

“You can be yourself,” Minou whispers, as gently as his nature allows.

“Thank you,” I get out again, and I hug him. The fae actually stops dead at that, and waits until I am done, and pushes me lightly.

One step. A second. There is a flash of pale light, and then the sky is nothing but twilight. I can hear the river they made the far Court at, and look down at my body. The same colouring as the last glamour Minou made for me. No eyes that see for miles, no, but I have four arms because who wouldn’t want those, and I walk easily toward the Court. I’m just outside it, feel the energy of it as I enter.

I walk for almost a minute before wind blows about me that wasn’t there a moment ago.

“Bus?”

The wind ruffles my hair, and then the rest of my body in a moment. “Kris? You sound like Kris?”

“It’s – me. A better me. I try and explain, but Bus is gone between moments, the fae off to tell the others. They haven’t changed, of course. Fae don’t change, not as humans change. Trul pokes my tail lightly, asking why I wanted it.

I shrug, “I didn’t see many fae with tails. I wanted to stand out a little still.” That wins a soft laugh in reply.  

The others say hello, slightly wary. I explain why I am here, and to what end. Druul winces at what the other Courts will think, but Fury is definitely amused and Bus giggles softly about us.

“You’ve lost your family,” Fury says later, after food hasd been had and a place found for me to sleep.

“I’ve gained friends. I consider it a good trade.”  

The fae studies me, fire dancing lightly in his eyes. “Even losing your brother?”
“He’s – something other than human now, and can embrace that. We talked. We don’t like it, but – we have to atone for what our family did, to fight them any way we can. This is the best move I can make now, and when they learn about it, it’s going terrify them.”

And Fury asks nothing else, and pushes nothing else. Fae live a long time, and questions can wait for a longer time to them.

Minou returns, sometimes. He passes information from the the other Courts, and from earth to us and back. Time does not pass in the twilight kingdoms as it does in the human world. There are no seasons as such. Just twilight sky, sometimes rain. Snow so rarely it is celebration.

It is only when Minou makes a comment about Starbucks on one visit that I begin to understand.

“When did Starbucks go out of business?” I ask before he returns back to earth.

The fae turns and looks back at me. “Some years ago,” he says warily.

“How long will this glamour – you said I would only have a human lifespan.”

“I know. It seemed a lie you needed to hear.”

“How long will I live?”

“As long as your friends, I think,” he says. “I can promise that much.”

“Minou.” I wonder what it is costing him to do this. But I know he’ll never tell me.

“Some costs are always worth it, Kris. You left Gabe to help human relations with the fae, and have done so. And terrified the Underwood’s so much they are in hiding, and your name is a tale they tell to frighten children, even more than mine.”

I don’t ask if Gabe is still alive. I’m not sure I could bear that. I watch him leave, and wonder if he knows that I could him among my friends as well.

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Come along with me and the good folks of @shipwreckedcomedy as we do our best to brave the LA heat and get into the autumn spirit at Underwood Family Farms!

Fourth of July Headcanons

1. The Murphy family goes out to a lake where they can watch the fireworks from a safe distance, behind a barricade, with Milo and Sara catching fireflies together. 

2. Melissa tags along since her dad is usually on call because there’s always gonna be that one guy who accidentally sets himself on fire during a backyard barbecue. 

3. The Underwood family goes out of state to celebrate with relatives.

4. Balthazar and Vinnie set up a pistachio stand too close to the fireworks with predictable results. 

5. The Murphys won’t do backyard barbecues. Brigitte just sticks to the regular stove and oven. 

6. As a sibling tradition, Sara and Milo bake star shaped cookies and clean the kitchen afterwards. They go all out with the frosting and toppings.

7. The noise of fireworks stresses Diogee out, so before the Murphys leave for the lake they build a pillow fort and ask a neighbor to watch him. 

8. Lydia. Theater kid. Hamilton and 1776.

9. Milo and Melissa spam their group chat with Schoolhouse Rock lyrics to annoy Zack. 

10. Sara is a fan of Liberty’s Kids.