He didn't want to leave. Though he had only been there a short eight months, the Blackheart Rogues had become his home. His family was there, his friends were there, everyone he knew and cared about was there. They loved him and cared about him for who he was, and didn't judge him or expect anything of him other than that he stay and be there for them, as they had always been for him. They were all he had known since he was born, and he should feel the same. Right?
Except, he knew that that wasn't exactly true. Maybe his mama was there, but his mother was gone. New friends were there, but his closest ones were dead or missing. He might care about those in the Rogues, but he had cared about everyone in BlizzardClan first. They might love and care for him, but they didn't know who he was. They love Neptunianpaw, not him. Tuna was only a fraction of who he was, and perhaps he hadn't been brave enough to tell them the truth, but shouldn't they have been able to figure it out? Shouldn't they have noticed the change in him almost overnight and wonder what was up? Shouldn't they have asked?
It was a difficult situation, both for them and for him. Yeah, maybe it wasn't fair of him to expect them to take the step rather than him, but the opposite held true too. He had struggled with knowing some of the things he had done when he was younger, and he was terrified to tell anyone about them. What if they judged him? What if they hated him? What if they wanted him out of their lives, just as Wisteria had decided she wanted him out of hers, once upon a time?
And there it was again.
Out of everything, she was what he was most afraid to speak to his family about. How would he explain the feelings he held towards a girl he had technically never even met? How could he explain everything that she had been for him, and done for him? How could he explain the inexplicable bond he had with her, when he was most likely long dead? There was no way that they could understand such a thing, when he didn't even understand it himself. And that's what it came down to, wasn't it? He might have his memories, but he had absolutely no idea who he was anymore.
He wasn't Neptunianpaw. Neptunianpaw was a scared little kid. He loved nature and he adored learning, and he was always curious about how the world worked. He liked to wander and talk with his parents, and liked giving advice to his siblings and doing what he could to help them. He hated being touched, was terrified of it, but he pushed through it for his family, and let them know when it was too much. He had a loving and supportive family, and he would do anything for them.
He wasn't Ghostorchid. Ghostorchid was a shell, having lost everything he once had been. He was bitter and he was lonely, and he pushed everyone away until nobody was left for him to hurt. He fought and he killed and he hated, and he became lost to who he once had been as a child. He changed for the worse, and ruined everything so that it couldn't ruin him first. He was strong regardless, because he stood up for himself and held himself together, and loved deeply and wholeheartedly when it came down to it.
But him... he was none of those things. He was all of those things. He was innocent and jaded, bitter and naive, afraid and dangerous, curious and set in his ways. He was everything they both had been and more, yet none of who they were at the same time. Why couldn't he just be him? What was wrong with wanting to be both and yet neither, and why couldn't he find a way to become that? It would hurt less than being pulled in two different directions, one by his family and one by his memories. What would it take to become his own self, rather than force himself to fit a mold of what everyone believed he should be?
He didn't know. Perhaps he never would. All he was now was lost, and alone, and confused, and tired. He was tired of the conflict, tired of deciding, tired of pretending, and tired of being. Yet there was nothing else he could do. He would go on, just as he always had, and live another life, as was expected of him. That would be followed by another, and another, and maybe one day, it'd finally be over. Maybe he would rest. But he knew that that day wouldn't come for a long time. In the meantime, he had to choose who he wanted to be. Not what anyone else wanted from him, or what he thought he should be, but who he was and would remain until the end of this life.
He closed his eyes, letting his mind fall silent. His body began to shift; not too noticeable at first, aside from the uncomfortable ache as bones lengthened and narrowed, forming into a new body. When his eyes opened once more, he took a deep breath, and when he released it, he chose his name. Ghost. A remnant of who he used to be, unable to become what he should have been. He had stolen the place of the little one who should have been in the body Saturnstar had birthed, and the name only served as a reminder to himself that he was out of place and out of time, and that he would always be exactly that.
Maybe one day he would allow himself to be Tuna again, but he didn't deserve that place in their lives, and maybe one day he could earn it.