JJ walked into the house instantly smelling food, he knew his mother was in the kitchen cooking dinner. She always managed the time to cook for JJ before leaving for work in the morning for her job as a bank teller, and before leaving in the evening to go clean the same bank she worked at during the day. The online college courses she took never panned out for a better job because she had to change her identity. But the nanites that were in her at the time she was pregnant with JJ helped her do so much so that she could provide for her son. When she moved to Colorado she was able to go to the neighboring town where they had a large computer firm and work as a programmer. She knew nothing about computer programming, but she did while she was pregnant. And from that she was able to save up a good amount of money. She found the house they had lived in for the last 18 years it was cheap small town rent and an honest landlord. She managed her money well during her pregnancy which was good because upon the birth of JJ she no longer had the assistance of the nanites. She had to quit her job at the computer firm because she lost all of the knowledge that the nanites provided her. The money she saved lasted until she got the job as a night cleaner at the bank, she’d been cleaning the bank for the last 17 years. It was difficult finding a baby sitter for three hours five nights a week but it eventually worked out. Ten years ago she got the job as a bank teller. By the time she started working as a teller she didn’t require a baby sitter. JJ was already showing signs of higher intelligence and was fully capable of taking care of himself. Sharon was full aware of how the nanites took care of their host. Over the years JJ saw how hard his mother worked to take care of him, he wanted to show his gratitude, and one day he would lift these burdens that she had on her. But for now he regretfully had to cause a bit of uneasiness by asking his mother some questions that were very important to him.

Laying his gym bag on the floor near the front door JJ took a moment to compose himself. He could hear his mother in the kitchen softly humming while she cooked. Walking into the kitchen his mother lit up upon seeing her son, a big smile came to her face. She was cutting up vegetables on a cutting table.

“Hey baby! How was my star football players day?”She said multitasking. She took the freshly cut vegetables and placed them into a large pot that was on the stove then picked up a long wooden spoon that was on the counter. JJ walked up kissing her on the side of the cheek as she stirred the pot.

“That smells good, what is it?” JJ asked.

“Pot stew, a family recipe of my grandmothers design. I’ve been cooking the meat for a few hours now. Just added veggies so it will be done soon.”

She stopped stirring the pot laying the wooden spoon back down on the counter. JJ stared at her with a concerned look that she was not aware of at first, the silence was what caught her attention. Looking up she saw that look in JJ’s eyes that always meant something was wrong, most would not notice it; but a mother would.

“What it is baby?” She asked. Her face showing true concern for her son. JJ didn’t know how to say it, he played the scenario out in his mind what he would say on the walk home but now that he was in front of his mother his mind went blank. He leaned against the kitchen counter folding his arms. Looking away briefly from his mother he squinted his eyes, another sign that his mind was troubled.

“Remember the story you told me about how dad was almost killed by Iraqi militants during an ambush?”

Sharon shook her head in agreement. “Yes?” She said walking up to JJ staring deeply into his eyes.

“You said that a medic named Darren Fredricks saved his life.” JJ felt uncomfortable standing that close to his mother, at least right now as he was about to question whether  his mother told the truth or not. He walked away from her then turned around standing on the other side of the kitchen table. “Well I met a Professor Darren Fredricks today mom. He told me that he helped dad escape some facility called Griffin Core.”

Sharon’s eyes widened. She quickly walked up to JJ placing a gentle hand on each side of his arm as he looked at him, JJ looked downward. “Where did he confront you?” She asked fearfully, JJ kept his head down.

“At school in the locker room.”

“No! We had a good life here! And soon you would’ve been in college!” She turned holding her hand over her mouth. “We have to leave, we have to pack and leave!”

“Ma…” JJ said while Sharon continued to mumble to herself nervously. “Ma!” He said louder making her jerk. She looked up at JJ. “He came alone, and he said whoever he works for didn’t know he was here. And he promised that he wouldn’t tell anyone.”

Sharon’s face was still very much concerned. “What did he want?” She asked.

“He wanted me to come with him to be trained to fight against that dude on the news Fusion.”

“What? Is he crazy?” Sharon said startled. 

“He said I had power like dad. That I was the only one who could stop Fusion.”

“And what did you tell him?” Sharon asked apprehensively.

“I told him I wasn’t interested and that my plan was to make it to pro one day, not to be some hero.” Sharon calmed some reflecting on her thoughts. “So it was true was he said? How dad really died?” 

Sharon’s eyes began to flow with tears. She could not find it in her to look at JJ. “Your father fought for us. He died because he chose to use his power a final time to fight the soldiers and that robot.” She started reliving the pain of that moment. JJ walked up to her embracing her with both arms. 

“I can’t imagine what you went through, or how you felt. It all sounds so messed up. But it only makes me appreciate you even more than I already have. All the sacrifices you made. I’m only playing football so I can one day take care of you like you did me.” 

Sharon stayed there nestled in her sons arms eyes darting about in deep thought. “I wished your father were alive, I wish things would’ve been normal for us. If only…”

-knock, knock- 

JJ and Sharon both looked back at the door. She broke away from JJ’s embrace wiping her tears composing herself. “We’ll talk more about this in a minute. I still feel that we should leave.” She said walking to the front door. Holding the door handle she took a deep breath before opening it. “Can I help you?” She asked the man at the door. It was Horacio Griffin standing there with a smile on his face.