Sam looked up at the semi-detached suburban house and tried to remember what it was like to be in just the ordinary world. The house looked like every other house in the street, a sixties clone house in an average road, but nothing looked average to Sam anymore. The house was bigger than the one he had grown up in - his parents had moved here after he left for university - but there were the little touches that reminded him of the old home. The thing was Sam felt like he'd been living a lie. His whole life had been an illusion and he was having trouble coming to terms with it. It had been Chris who had suggested he go home, talk to his parents about the truth. The American had even offered to come with him if he wanted moral support, but Sam knew he had to do this alone. Finally the agent picked up his solitary bag and walked up to the front door. It opened before he had a chance to knock.
"Hello, love," his mum said with a very motherly smile, "I wondered when you'd get round to coming in."
"Hi, Mum," Sam said suddenly feeling a little better about things.
Without so much as a moment's notice the short woman pulled her son into her arms and gave him a hug.
"I've just put the kettle on," she said lightly and broke away. "Come on in, sit yourself down and tell me what's bothering you."
To most of the world Sam Curtis was as unreadable as stone, to his mother he was completely transparent. It was something he had accepted a long time ago, and something which gave him great comfort at that very moment. Forgetting just for a while that he was a hard-bitten CI5 agent Sam followed his mother into the kitchen and let himself just be a son.
"I hope there's nothing the matter with that nice American friend of yours," his mother said as she pulled two mugs from the cupboard.
"No, mum," Sam said evenly, "Chris is fine. He was the one who told me to come home."
"Sensible boy," she replied with a smile. "I really would like to meet him one day."
She poured milk in both mugs and then reached for the teapot. Sam tried to figure out how he was going to broach his newly discovered heritage, and his mum left him to think.
"Mum," he finally started as she put the mugs on the table and sat down opposite him, "was I ever strange as a kid?"
Sam watched his mother's face as it first went expressionless and then softened into a resigned half smile.
"Oh," she said as if she'd finally heard what she'd been expecting for a long time. "What happened?"
"Stuff," Sam replied shortly, " Mum, did you know I wasn't normal?"
His mother picked up her tea and took a sip.
"I suspected," she replied calmly, "after all I carried you for nine months. I knew something was definitely off when your dad seemed to think you were conceived at a different time than I did. I kept telling myself I was imagining things but as a toddler you were never boring. You used to know things. You'd tell me things that a two year old could never have known. It stopped when you went to school and I tried to forget there was anything strange about you."
"You know Dad's not my father, don't you," Sam said quietly.
"Actually I'd never really thought that," his mum replied honestly and gave a sad smile. "I remember your dad on the night you were conceived. It was him."
Sam shook his head.
"It was a demon, Mum," he said as gently as he could manage.
Somehow Sam had expected more of a reaction from his mother than picking up her tea and sipping it. Then again she was the one person in the world who never ceased to surprise him.