Whitney was leaving Lana's house and noticed the light coming from the Kent Barn. It was his last night in Smallville and he still had some loose ends to tie up. He knew it was late but he needed to talk to Clark before he left for the Marines. He walked up the stairs and saw Clark reading a book on his couch. He cleared his throat.

Clark looked up and saw Whitney standing there, "Whitney! What brings you here?"

"Can I talk to you for a minute?"

"Yeah, have a seat." Clark sat up and motioned at the opposite end of the couch. Whitney nodded and sat down.

"Listen Clark, I wanted to apologize to you...for being a jerk and that whole 'scarecrow' thing. I'm not the same guy I was then and thinking back ...well, I'm sorry doesn't cover it."

Clark looked at him for a moment, "Accepted and thank you.

"Can I ask you a favor?"

"What is it?"

"Would you watch out for Lana while I'm gone, be there for her when I can't?"

"Whitney...why are you joining the Marines? It seems kind of sudden."

"Clark...I don't expect anyone to understand. This has been an intense year, nothing went right, and I need something."

"How's your mom?"

Whitney paused for a minute, the conversation moving all over the map with no apparent destination. "She's...upset. She understands that this is something I have to do but I do feel a little guilty leaving a month after he died."

"So why are you joining the Marines?"

"Clark...because there is nothing in Smallville for me. I love Lana but...she needs something that I can't give right now. I see my dad everywhere I go. I can't pay for college right now so...I'll serve and see where that takes me."

Clark was silent for a minute then looked at Whitney again, "I understand."

"Clark, I never thanked you for all the times you saved my ass. You are a truly good person and I want you to know I respect you."

Clark looked at Whitney and saw what few ever saw before, a young man with the weight of the world on his shoulders and looking for something to give him hope.


"I'd better be going...please think about it Clark, I trust you."

Clark watched as Whitney walked down the steps and heard the truck speed away. He sat and pondered the visit for a few moments, wondering if he missed something. Whitney for his part tried not to think of the 'might have beens' and sped home to get the last night of peaceful sleep he would see for sometime to come.

Clark and Chloe ran into the school to escape the rain and walked right into Whitney and Lana.

"Lana, Whitney."

"Lana, can I have a moment alone with Clark?"

"Sure, I'll go get the truck."


Whitney pulled Clark into an alcove. "Please don't tell anyone about our conversation last night."

"I would never..."

"I know but I've told you things that I've never told anyone. I wanted to thank you again for everything. You are an amazing guy Clark Kent." Whitney leaned over, took a deep breath and kissed Clark. He did not force it but he felt Clark's lips mold to his and the kiss deepened slightly. Whitney pulled away. "Good-Bye Clark, take care of yourself and Lana, I know you will. If I write, will you write back?"

Clark was still shocked by the unexpected kiss. "Yeah." Whitney graced him with a smile and bounded down the steps to the truck.

Clark watched and could still feel the kiss and waved at Lana but really at Whitney as he left to start a new life. Clark tried to put the year in perspective but couldn't, he knew he was too close to be honest. He looked as the truck headed off in the distance and he turned to join Chloe at the dance. All his thoughts centered on Whitney's requests and a kiss that he never saw coming.

To Part Two, Finding a Path

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Author's Notes
for Will You:

This is for all the Whitney fans who found 'Tempest' bittersweet.

Dedicated to the incomparable and incredible MERLIN7, who requested this piece