Disclaimer: Still not mine, and still no infringement intended.

Spoilers: William.

Notes: William fic. I've grown addicted to this child. This is a follow up to Ghosts of Three, where I wanted to put across the idea that William was such a special child that he would remember everything about his real parents. I found that after getting that one out of my system I really wanted to give William back to the people he's supposed to be with.

Feedback: Would make me happier than you could possibly imagine. I'm writing this blind as I haven't seen series 9 yet, so any comments on what you expect from William, or helping me to understand what they must have been thinking of when he was adopted would be fantastic. And constructive comments would be valued for any advice that you could give me. Please talk to me. foxcat@btinternet.com

Ghosts of Leaving

By Jo-Jo

I woke up today knowing that this day was different. I could tell before I was even awake. Images and senses were passing through my mind like a picture show, like they were trying to tell me something that I just couldn't quite grasp yet. And all day I felt as though someone was following me around wherever I went, someone who was always just behind the last corner and who I could never fully catch sight of. I tried so hard to listen to what they were telling me, what they were trying to let me know, but it was such a quiet, insistent whisper that I couldn't make out the words.

What am I supposed to do? There's something that I'm supposed to do, but I don't know what. Something has changed today, and I think I'm the only one who knows it. My mother and father are talking to me as though it's a normal day, telling me to pack my bag for school and not to forget my homework and asking what I want for dinner tonight, and all I can hear are the ghosts in my ear. Today is different. Today is the day. Today is November 27. Today is important. Something is going to happen today. Something huge.

I feel weighed down today. As I walk to school I feel as though my bag has rocks in it and my feet are dragging along the sidewalk. Something terrible happened today and I can feel the impact like a knife in my heart. It's my dad, I think. Something about my dad. It's because of him that today feels like this. I wish it would stop. It's not my fault that we feel like this, and it's not fair that I should have to share whatever it is that my dad went through. If it was so bad that I can feel it in my soul like this then I shouldn't be made to go through it too. I'm 10 years old, for christ's sake. Leave me alone. Please, just leave me alone.

It makes me so mad sometimes, living this strange double life. Like Clark Kent and Superman, only not nearly so cool. There's my mother and father's William, the son they adopted and took care of and loved with every part of them that they had to give, and there's my mom and dad's William, the son they had to give up and who remembers every single thing about them. William Scully. William Mulder. William Van de Kamp. I often look at myself in the mirror and wonder whether there's any part of me that is just William. I'm so tied up with the memories of who I was as a baby and who I have to pretend to be to my parents that I'm not sure if there's any part of me that is 100 per cent original. I don't know where I really begin anymore.

The kids in my class don't know that today is important either. Josh is talking about what happened in Buffy last night, and Aaron is goofing off trying to impress the girl he likes, who is making an obvious point of ignoring him. Who are these kids? I'm supposed to be like them, I know. I should be talking about Buffy too. Maybe I'll try to enter the conversation. Maybe they won't be able to tell that I don't really belong here with them. My whole being is screaming today that I should be somewhere else, but it can't be that obvious to them. It's not like I have a sign around my neck, and I'm real good at pretending to be something that I'm not. I'll be William Van de Kamp, ordinary kid. They'll never know the difference.

I can't concentrate today. The maths assignment I'm supposed to be doing looks like quantam physics to me, and I have to keep re-reading the same sentence of the stupid novel that I should have finished by now. What the hell is wrong with me? This isn't like anything else that I've ever felt. I'm used to the connection that I have with my mom and dad. I love that connection. I'm used to the nightmares I sometimes get about dad's abduction and the sadness I feel when I can tell that they're thinking about me, but this isn't like that at all. This hurts. God, it feels like I'm dying bit by bit. How do I make it stop?

It's a bit better this afternoon. It's a bit clearer now. Less painful and more hopeful. I think that maybe my mom is comforting him, pouring balm on the wound. She's the only one who can do that. She's comforting me too. I can feel her arms around me, kissing the top of my head, telling me that she loves me, rocking me back and forth. I'm her darling boy. Her joy. I'm everything.

I'm finding it hard to look my mother and father in the face today. I love my parents, God knows I do, but I don't need them like I need my real mom and dad. They must know that. Somewhere in their innermost hearts they must know that I've held back from them for my whole life. My father taught me how to throw a ball, but he's not the one who taught me to love baseball. And my mother used to sing to me all the time, but it's not any of her songs that I hear in my head when I drift off to sleep. I've been lying to them ever since I came to live with them. I don't think I can lie anymore. I just don't think that I can keep it up. I think that maybe that's what today is all about.

I have to go home. That's what I'm supposed to do. I can't live away from them anymore. Everything that I want is with them. The real William that I'm looking for is with them. They're the ones who hold the truth. I find myself looking around this house that I've lived in for 9 years and it's like looking at it through a mirror. Like I'm not really here anymore, but I'm looking at the reflection of a place where I used to live. I woke up today a different William to the one that used to live here, and now it's time to leave.

It's pizza and fries for dinner tonight. A special treat. My father is sitting in his usual place at the table and my mother is smiling at me and asking me how school was. I can hear my voice answering her, telling her that I got an A on my book report. To my surprise the voice doesn't speak the words that are really going through my mind. I got an A mom, and I'm leaving you tonight. Josh and I played ball at break and I decided that I need to go back to my real parents now. It seems that I've gotten so good at being Clark Kent at home that I can do it without even realising it anymore. Isn't that terrible? Mom, can I stay over at Josh's tonight to work on an assignment, and I'm so sorry to leave you like this and put you through hell, but I don't have any choice anymore.

Dinner is over. It's funny how everything has changed overnight. I'm going now. Just like that. Leaving a life that I don't recognise anymore for one that I have no idea how to live. It's surprising how easy it is to pack up your whole life into a rucksack when you know that it wasn't really your life in the first place. There's hardly anything that I need to take with me. Josh would love to get his hands on all my toys and comics and my clothes can go to a charity shop. Even the note that I left for my parents was easy to write in the end. No more lies.

So, in the end it's easy to leave. No mixed emotions anymore. I knew today was special and it feels so right now. I'm really going home. With every step that I take the piece of me that's been missing for 9 years gets smaller and smaller. And as I leave the house and my family behind I can hear what today has been trying to tell me loud and clear. It's so clear I'm surprised it doesn't wake the whole town up. Today is shouting at the top of it's voice, ringing it out like a bell, singing it to me over and over again in a joyful voice, "you're going home, you're going home, you're going home."

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