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
"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. So...how 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
Clark hissed and turned away.
"I'm sorry Clark...it is none of my business. Maybe I should
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 talk...write...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
"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. Whitney...it 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."
"Because we are talking about you and what you need. I don't
need to burden you with my crap...at 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
"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
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
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