The bus depot was at the edge of town and no one was there to pick him up. In fact no one knew he was here. It had torn at him to even return home. There was nothing here but a haunting past and a dead end future. He had the funds to stay in Metropolis the two months before school started but he felt he owed the past something. His injuries still ached, more phantom than real, but what drove him was the unknown. His leg and back showed no signs that he had been in the hospital for two months. But he was discharged for medical reasons. There was something unknown in his blood. The Brass thought it best if he became a civilian; the unknown was scary and dangerous for his line of work. He sighed. He trudged down the road to head home and he passed his ex-girlfriend's house. He was over the bitterness of receiving the news in a letter. She wanted to move on, he could not blame her that. He knew that she had moved on, he and Clark had become regular correspondents. Clark kept him informed of all the happenings including the vacancy of an estate down the road. He never figured he and Clark would become friends but he thought they had. Clark never asked about that one kiss and Whitney was not inclined to bring it up either.

So he looked from one house to the next and still asked why he had come back to this town, the cursed town that destroyed his dreams and his life. He thought again about the anomalies in his blood, the reason he was no longer a Marine. He looked and wondered if he was going to be forever punished for one mistake in judgment

Clark was looking out of the loft when he saw the solitary figure standing up the road. He looked closely and noticed that the figure was Whitney. Clark was moving before he realized it. He slowed as the figured noticed.


"Whitney...I didn't know you were coming home." Whitney could not respond because he was caught up in a bear hug.

"Thanks Clark but can I breathe now?"

"Sorry. Come on up we can catch up." Clark notices the bag for the first time. "Did you walk from the bus station?"

"Yeah, no one knows I was coming home."

"Oh, not even your mom?"

"No, it is a surprise."

They climbed the stairs and they sat on the couch. They had written to each other enough over the last two years that they knew just about everything.

"Whitney...I thought you were still in San Diego."

"Something happened, I was in a training accident. I'm no longer a Marine."

"Is that why you did not answer my last letter?"

"I didn't get it. I was transferred to a Naval medical facility in D.C., they...they found something in my blood."

"Are you okay?"

"I...I don't know and neither do they. Almost two months of testing and they could not determine what was going on but it was considered enough of a potential hazard to discharge me. At least I keep my benefits."

Clark looked at Whitney and remembered a night similar to this two years ago. That weight of the world-weariness still pervaded him. Clark leaned over and ran a finger along his cheek. "I guess I'm sorry doesn't cut it huh?"

Whitney looked over and chuckled. The last place he visited in Smallville was this loft and the first place he sees is the loft. "I don't know Clark...You realize in the last three years I've told you more things than my priest? Thanks for writing to me by the way. is she?"

"Still dating that asshole. I figured out that she has a thing for them. She dated you while you were one then you become Mr. Perfect Guy and she dumps you."

Whitney laughed, "I don't know whether to be insulted or complimented."

"A little of both maybe?" Clark reaches over and lightly punches Whitney's shoulder.

"So how is your love life going? Sorry that Chloe didn't work out for you. Though I get the feeling that there was someone there for you. Don't get mad but were you having an affair with a certain billionaire boy?"

Clark hissed and turned away.

"I'm sorry is none of my business. Maybe I should go."

Clark waits a beat, "No...don't go. Sorry but you weren't here when people really began to suspect that Lex and I were more than friends. My dad was so pissed and how do you explain to people that it is but isn't what they think? My outcast status was confirmed because of that."

"Clark...I didn't know. Why didn't you tell me?"

"What, that I was a homo just like you and your friends thought when you strung me up in that field?" Clark watched as Whitney paled and turned to leave. "Wait, I didn't tell you because I needed to be able to one person who could not judge me. I needed you as an outlet. Lex refused to see me after people began talking. He had done so much for the town and they were treating him like a leaper. We had been dating for almost a year and a half at that point. No one asked us anything, everyone assumed that the worst was going on."

Whitney leaned back on the couch and looked at Clark. Clark had been his sounding board for so long that he wanted to return the favor. "Clark, slow down, remember you never mentioned this so start at the beginning."

Clark looked at him and sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "The day of the Spring Formal, Lex came by and told me that we would be friends no matter what. Well, I had feelings for him and never acted on them. That afternoon, you kissed me and it made me think. If you, the town Golden Boy, could have some of the same feelings then why couldn't I? So after the tornado and stuff I went to Lex and we talked. He told me he could not make the first move and he had wanted me from the first moment. I was amazed that he had been able to handle being around me so much, for so long, without saying anything. Why did you kiss me?"

Whitney looked down and then met Clark's gaze, "Later, lets finish this then we can talk about..."

"Okay, well things changed but they didn't right away. I was scared and I was dating Chloe because I was selfish. But we broke up by the end of summer because I liked spending time with Lex more so than Chloe. Lex and I, well he took me to see a preseason Sharks game and we spent the night together for the first time. It was great, my whole sophomore year was...incredible."

"Wow, I never noticed by reading your mail that you were hiding anything."

"Well, I told you everything except that. I'll remind you that you told me about Lana breaking up with you. I thought she was cheating on you until you sent me that letter."

"Clark Kent, my personal hero. Thanks for your support during that time. I saw it coming when I left in Smallville. She wanted to move on before I left but she felt trapped. I needed her but I've moved on as well. So..."

"So, Lex and I went to have dinner together one night and well in the next few days people were talking about Lex Luthor and his boy toy. My parents heard about it and confronted me with it. I told him that we were friends and people can mind their own business. However the town acted as if he had molested me or something. He had saved the town from economic ruin and then he was being shunned, it hurt. Pete was furious because he hates Lex and told me that Lex was no good. We haven't spoken much since. Chloe and Lana thought that I was using them as cover for my sexuality. I was watching Lana liked you asked and Chloe was my friend but they didn't see it that way. hurts to feel like everything is gone. Lex left and returned to Metropolis. He said his father was right; no matter what he did people would always assume the worst. He told me not to contact him. He said that he could not see me for now because as much as he wanted me, us, that did not fit in with his long term plans."

"Clark, why didn't you tell me?"

"What, that I ruined my life just like my father told me I would by being friends with a Luthor? Or tell you that nobody in this town wants anything to do with me? Pete, Lana, and Chloe talk to me but there is a lack of camaraderie. I needed a friend and the only one I had was you and if I told you I risked that as well."

Whitney looked at Clark and then looked intently at his hands. "Can't say I fault your logic. Clark, I told you I respected you and I trust you. You saved my ass on so many levels that I can never repay that debt. I'm sorry doesn't cover it but I am that I could not be here when you needed a friend."

"I thought someone had written you and that is why you did not return my last letter."

"No, Clark...I was in the hospital finding out that my life is now a mystery. Honestly, I've never been so scared. Anyway, I don't want to talk about that."

"Why not?"

"Because we are talking about you and what you need. I don't need to burden you with my least not tonight."

"Okay...then answer one question for me."


"Why did you kiss me?"

"I knew you would not let it alone. Do you really want to know?"

"Yes, I really want to know."

"I choose you as the scarecrow because you were hanging around Lana." Whitney sees Clark's eyes go dark and begin to move away. Whitney reaches a hand out and Clark stills and their eyes meet. "When I saw you hanging there, I hated myself but if I released you then it would have opened up too many questions from the guys. Clark, you haunted me every step of my senior year after that. I had fooled around with a buddy or two but you became something special. I kissed you because I wanted to do that for the longest time and I wanted a going away kiss. Even with you being surprised it was a better kiss than the one Lana gave me."

"Are you gay?"

"I'm not confused and I an no stranger to male-male sex, thanks to being a Marine but I think it is the person that interests me the most."

Clark leaned over and tried to kiss Whitney but he was rebuffed.

"No Clark, not right now. It is NOT you but me. I need time to deal with my problems and I need a friend."


Whitney saw the hurt in Clark's eyes and he reached over and hugged him. "Clark, trust me it is for the best. You want affection and you need reassurance but I can be a friend right now. My feelings haven't changed but my life has and to be honest I am leaving again in two months. I can't ask of you what I did of Lana, it would not be fair."

Clark held on to Whitney and he kissed him, a mirror of the kiss Whit had given him two years prior. "Don't make decisions for me. I've had one boyfriend who did that already."

"Clark, I'm not..." A finger silenced him.

"Look, maybe you are right but maybe this is something I've wanted for longer than you know. All I want is the chance."

Whitney stood up and looked at Clark, "I have to get home. We'll talk tomorrow."

Clark watched as Whitney descended the stairs. Clark wanted more but he knew Whitney had to make a choice as well. Clark hoped that Whit would choose the path that offered greater rewards along with the greater peril.


To Part Three, Paths Unknown

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Author's Notes
for Will You:

This follows Will You? and is set two years in the future.