Title: She's His ManPairing: Chloe/Duke OrsinoFandom: Smallville/She's the ManRating: T+-MDisclaimer: Don't ownSummary: When Chloe is sent to Illyria as a boy for her own safety while Lex tries to find the traitor in his camp, she quickly makes friends with her roommate, Duke Orsino. Bored, she decides to become Illyria's official matchmaker, and has no idea that she's making Duke doubt his sexuality considering he thinks she's a boy and he's growing more and more attracted to her.
Just because coach had told Duke to be okay with this didn't mean that he actually was okay with it. In fact, he really wasn't okay with it at all. They were in the second week of this experiment, and while the guys had complained and resisted somewhat the first week, by the second week Chloe had them wrapped around her little finger. It was annoying as hell. Especially since here were two more guys taking up her time, and while Chloe had been hesitant about it before, she'd thrown herself into the experiment out of pure fear of Coach Dinklage, and it was showing. Hell, Connelly and MacMillan were not only improving, but Duke felt that they were actually getting better faster than he, Toby and Andrew had. Also, the coach kept eyeing them and timing them and doing all sorts of things during practice that made Duke very uneasy.
What if coach expected Chloe to keep those two on permanently?
It wasn't as if she couldn't handle them.
Anyone could see she did.
"Enough with the whining for crying out loud!" Chloe glared at Connelly. "It's not like it's going to be forever. Just man up already!"
"But I don't want to!" Connelly was highly unhappy as he stared at the food in front of him. "I want some real food."
"This is real food. You want junk food. And you won't get it. Not during your time under my control." She raised an eyebrow at him, looking fierce despite how tiny she was compared to the others. "I have had to read countless athletic health and diet books and you will not make my extra studying go to waste." She pointed angrily at the large wrap encircled by salad. "So you're going to eat that and you're going to gobble that down and you're going to be happy about."
Connelly pouted as he picked up both halves of the chicken wrap and stared at it. "I want a hamburger."
"Why can't you be more like Beau?" Chloe wanted to know as she rested an approving hand on MacMillan's shoulder. "Look at him! He's eating it without all this whining."
"I am not whining," Connelly whined.
"Dude, you are whining." Beau swallowed his gulp of vegetables. "These green things right here? They won't hurt you."
Connelly glared at him. "You just say that because you're a teacher's pet."
Duke usually found himself present every single time Chloe had to handle Connelly or MacMilllan (and was definitely there when she had to deal with them both) and by now he could totally see a competitive edge between these two friends, a rivalry of sorts. Connelly showed MacMillan up in most of the exercises Chloe (who was taking this all way more serious than he would've thought) put them through, but MacMillan easily put more effort in other areas, and it was obvious that he was Chloe's favorite, something which visibly ticked Connelly off and made MacMillain smug. Honestly, they were like kids fighting over who got mother's attention, one by being a good child, and the other by going out of his way to be a nuisnace.
It would be kind of cute if it wasn't his girlfriend they were acting this way about. Sure, they didn't know "Cody" was actually a girl, but that didn't mean anything to Duke. No way. He had thought Chloe a boy and it'd messed with him. Badly. MacMillan and Connelly were younger than Duke and his friends, which meant they were at a more impressionable age, and he just worried that she'd turn one of those boys gay... or they'd realize that she was a girl. The latter would be worse in Duke's opinion, since he really didn't care if they turned gay as long as they didn't go after "Cody". To each their own... Just as long as it didn't threaten the odd yet nice relationship he and his unofficial girlfriend-in-drag had managed to construct together.
"I'm not a teacher's pet, I just am willing to try new things, especially if they will help me play better." MacMillan made a face.
Chloe grinned and patted his shoulder. "That's the spirit."
Connelly glared at them before he coughed into his palm: "Favoritism."
Chloe's response was to slap Connelly up the back of his head, a move which (if his yelp was anything to go by) he hadn't been expecting. "I do not show favoritism."
"You do too!" Connelly cried as he rubbed the back of his head. "You never hit him! But I'm like your punching bag!"
Chloe turned to face him. "You're not the only one I hit." She motioned towards Duke. "I hit him all the time!"
Duke's eyebrow raised at that. "I wouldn't say all the time."
"You never hit him when I'm around," Connelly accused, disbelieving.
"He, Andrew and Toby are a different unit than you and Beau. For one thing, they don't whine as much as you do, Roy."
As if to prove her wrong, Connelly grabbed a hold of one half of the wrap and chewed into it viciously before he suddenly stopped and chewed slowly. His expression changed and he swallowed as he looked down at the wrap. "This isn't actually that bad."
Chloe grinned and reached down to mess up his hair affectionately. "See? Was that so hard?"
Connelly nearly choked as he looked up at Chloe oddly.
It was then and there that Duke was convinced that, yep, Chloe was doing a number on Connelly like she had with Duke before he'd known what her gender truly was.
"So, Duke," MacMillan eyed him over his wrap. "How come you're always around?" His lips curled in amusement. "Are you Cody's bodyguard or something?"
"We're best friends." It surprised Duke how much he'd wanted to say that Chloe was his girlfriend, and more than that, it'd shocked him to realize that he didn't mind even saying that she was his boyfriend, if only to get a message across to the two younger guys. "Of course I'd be around."
"Plus, Duke is scoping out the competition." Chloe had all three boys turn to look at her in shock at that and seemed surprised. "Why is that so shocking? You guys have great potential. Of course you could be competition for anyone on the field."
Duke felt relief that she'd been talking about the field.
Connelly eyed them curiously.
MacMillan, on the other hand, merely looked amused.
Chloe jumped in shock as she turned around to see Coach Dinklage storm up towards her. "Yes sir-coach?"
"Where do you think you're going?"
Her eyes widened as she closed the book on athletic nutrition she'd been reading. "Uh, um..." At his raised eyebrow she gulped. "Where am I supposed to be going now, coach?"
"To the field, of course." He looked at her as if she were an idiot. "And you know why you're supposed to be on the field right now?"
Oh god, she didn't, and she was scared that if she said that he might shout at her. "Because..."
He raised an eyebrow. "Because the player evaluations are taking place." He landed a hand hard on her shoulder. "Time to see if your time with Connelly and MacMillan has paid off."
Chloe flinched at the silent warning, but remained silent as she allowed the coach to march her towards the field. She gave a small wave to Duke once he caught sight of her, and then waved to Toby, Andrew, Beau and Roy. When the coach sat her down on the bleachers she sat there without a word and just watched as he went to the field while blowing his whistle and calling the boys to attention.
The drills then began, and Chloe found herself slowly relaxing enough to enjoy it. Duke was in his element, as always, and Toby and Andrew rocked on the field, clearly enjoying themselves. Roy and Beau both scored multiple goals and Coach Dinklage kept sending her looks that worried her.
"What's going on?"
Chloe jumped in shock and turned to see that Malcolm was seated next to her on the bleachers. "Seriously. How do you do that?"
He turned to look at her in confusion.
She shook her head and turned her gaze back on the field. "They've got evaluations. Coach wants to figure out who the weakest links are for the next game, it's the first official game of the championship. By then he wants to know who is improving, and who needs more improving."
"Makes sense." Malcolm leaned forwards with his hands on his elbows. "So if there are other players who need improving over Connelly and MacMillain, will coach assign them to you?"
She froze and turned to look at him in horror. "I hadn't even considered that."
Duke was in hell and knew the others could see it as he pushed the food on his plate back and forth as they congregated at Cesario's. He didn't know how much more of this he could take. He knew Chloe wasn't doing it on purpose, but she was going to give every guy on their team a sexuality crisis, and Duke wasn't secure enough in himself to handle several of his teammates crushing on his girl. He thought that maybe it was that, despite the fact that she was supposed to be a boy, Chloe was just very much a girl, and the others guys could sense that. It was why he'd caught even the most homophobic of his teammates checking her out.
And now that Connelly and MacMillan had so visibly improved their goal average the other guys were sniffing around her like rabid animals, even if only because their poistions on the team were now being threatened. It just meant that team were paying more attention to her as a person, while before they'd just thought of her as Duke's roommate. He was not comfortable with that. He was not comfortable with the situation coach had basically intimidated her into. And he did not appreciate the fact that Marcus Winter had commented, offhandedly after practice while he watched Chloe and Coach Dinklage talk off to the side, that how he figured it, Cody was "more girl" than he was a guy and that that fact was the reason why Danny Frankworth's comment about how "weirdly attractive" the tiny boy wasn't gay at all.
"But can't this affect your studies?" Malcolm wanted to know.
"Cody's so smart though," Eunice stage whispered, something they were all growing more used to.
"Yeah, but still." Malcolm made a face. "His grades could fall considering that he's doing extra studying for this."
"You think the team isn't worth it?" Toby wanted to know from Eunice's other side.
"To be honest?" Malcolm shook his head. "No. I don't. Not when, with his grades, he's got the pick of any university he wants." He blinked and then looked at Chloe. "Talking about that, bro, which ones are you planning on applying to? I want to cross-reference them with my own."
Chloe opened her mouth, closed it, and then licked her lips. "I'll email the list to you later."
Malcolm grinned. "Great!" He leaned back and turned to Eunice. "Can you imagine Cody and I in college? We'll rock the school with our greatness."
Eunice nodded, eyes wide. "Totally."
Toby pursed his lips at them before he cleared his throat and awkwardly placed his hand around her shoulders.
Eunice's eyes widened further and she turned to look at Toby with a shocked yet pleased expression before she turned back to Malcolm and told him about her choices in college.
Funny, those were the same colleges Toby had told Duke he was suddenly thinking of applying to.
"You know who are participating in the debutant faire too?" Toby suddenly turned to Duke with a grin. "Maria and Olivia." His grin turned evil. "They'll be a part of the kissing booth."
Duke sent Chloe a worried little look before he turned his gaze on Toby. "Okay."
Toby frowned. "I thought you'd be more excited at this news. I mean, you'll have a reason to kiss Olivia!"
Duke lowered his head and played with his napkin. "I don't think-I-."
"They nearly roped me into it, too, the guy version at least."
Duke's eyes widened and he turned to look at Chloe in shock. "W-what?"
She looked nonplussed. "When I went with Sebastian to figure out what we're doing there, the girls wanted to force me to join the male kissing booth staff. But I managed to get them off of my case."
"I don't understand why though. I'm sure Tess wouldn't mind." Toby tilted his head. "She looks like the type who would find evil enjoyment in it somehow."
"She would," Chloe agreed. "But I had already promised Sebastian I'd help him."
"So you're saying that if you hadn't you would've taken part in the kissing booth?" Duke hadn't meant his voice to come out that harsh. He really hadn't.
Chloe and everyone at the table turned to look at him oddly. She shook her head. "No, that's not what I'm saying. I'm just saying that my having promised Sebastian help was what gave me a good reason to get out of it."
"Oh." Duke looked away. "Ok. I see."
Toby frowned as he looked between Chloe and Duke in confusion.
Andrew eyed Toby with narrowed eyes.
Duke didn't notice this because his inner monolgue was calling him all sorts of bad things. He turned to Chloe. "It would be your choice, if you did."
She raised an eyebrow and amusement filled her eyes. "I know."
"I just-I don't want you to think that I would try to tell you what you could or couldn't do." He tried to let her know he wasn't controlling in his insecurity, he was just insecure, that was all.
Her amusement grew tender. "I know, Duke."
"G-good." Duke nodded and looked away, self-conscious, as always, around her.
Toby narrowed his eyes further.
Eunice, sighing romantically at Chloe and Duke, leaned into Toby and whispered something into his ear.
Toby's mouth fell open in comical shock.
Andrew facepalmed with a groan.
Duke, of course, didn't notice any of this, because, beneath the table, Chloe had grabbed his hand. He smiled, squeezed it, and held it during the rest of the meal.
"He's gay." Toby turned to Andrew, who he had nearly dragged into the bathroom. "Duke is gay."
Andrew's mouth opened and closed in utter shock, obviously not having seen it either.
"Not only that, but he's gay for Cody." Toby tried to wrap his mind around this, never having thought that his friend would be homosexual and not quite sure how he felt about it. It made him a bit uneasy that he didn't know his friend as well as he thought that he did, and that Duke obviously didn't trust him enough to tell him the truth. "I'm trustworthy, aren't I?"
Andrew looked confused. "Y-yeah-."
"I'd be the person you could tell you're gay to, right?" Toby flinched. "I'm not exactly into normal relationships either, I mean, I know that Eunice is different and that's what ticks my tock-like Cody called it." He licked his lips. "If I expect others to accept who I love, no matter how unconventional, I can do the same for my friends." He groaned. "You guys know that, right?"
Andrew appeared conflicted now and looked away.
Toby felt hurt. "Damn it! You guys are my best friends! I wouldn't care if you were gay!" He was surprised to realize that that was true. If Andrew or Duke were gay he wouldn't mind it. He would feel a little uncomfortable at some things (the thought of two guys having sex made him shiver slightly) but he'd try and be there for his friends. "Has Duke come out to you? Has he told you that he's gay?"
"We need to let him know that we're open to his lifestyle." Toby let go of Andrew and began to walk the length of the bathroom. "We need to let him know we're accepting of who he loves." He looked up at Andrew. "Oh my god-Tess! That whole relationship must hurt him so badly!" He was beginning to seriously worry about Duke now that Eunice had opened his eyes to the "serious unresolved sexual tension" as she'd called it. "What do gay guys like? What do they do for fun? We need to do something for Duke that gay guys would enjoy." He turned to Andrew. "What do gay guys like?"
Andrew's eyes were wide and his mouth opened and closed wordlessly.
He obviously had no clue what gay guys liked.
Toby sighed and realized this all rested on his shoulders. "We're going to make Duke come out of the closet, at least to us, and then we're going to figure out how straight Cody is. I mean, he obviously cares for Duke, right?" Toby grinned. "We're going to help Duke get his guy!" And with that he stormed out of the bathroom, content with himself and his genius.
Andrew emerged seconds later.
Neither of them noticed when, minutes later, Sebastian Hastings emerged as well, a completely befuddled expression on his face.
"Was it me, or is Toby acting weird?" Chloe leaned over to whisper in Duke's ear as they watched the movie. It could've just been her imagination, but she could've sworn that Toby had manipulated things so that she sat in the far corner, Duke next to her, and that he'd grabbed Malcolm by the collar (when the boy had started towards the seat on Chloe's other side) and instead situated him next to Andrew and had let Eunice sit besides Duke.
"He's acting very weird," Duke agreed softly, eyes on the screen. "But Toby does that sometimes so I wouldn't get too worried."
She sidled him with a look and grinned before her gaze returned to the screen as well. "So, were you jealous back at Cesario's?"
"Of course not," he huffed.
"I would've been," she whispered. "If you'd taken part in the kissing booth."
A small smile tilted his lips and he spared her a sidelong glance again. "Really?"
He grinned brightly. "Oh."
She took advantage of the dark threatre to place her hand in his.
Duke squeezed her hand and hid it inside of his jacket.
Lulled by the sensation, Chloe rested her head against his shoulder.
Both smiled at the screen, neither watching the movie.
They also didn't notice Eunice tap Toby's shoulder and discreetly motion in their direction, and they definitely had no idea of the devilish plans going through Toby Belch's mind.
"WHAT?" Duke looked up at Andrew in horror later that night after the other boy had come to visit them in their room.
Andrew hung his head. "I'm sorry, man. I couldn't get a word in edgewise to try and make him doubt his conclusion."
Duke collapsed on his bed and sent a dirty look in Chloe's direction. "This isn't funny!"
The girl was laughing hard on the bed that her whole body was shaking with mirth.
"Everyone thinks we're gay!"
She howled in laughter.
"It isn't funny." Duke knew he was pouting as he turned to Andrew. "Maybe we should tell him."
"I was thinking the same thing," Andrew agreed. "I have a feeling that unless you do, he'll start annonymously leaving buttplugs and lube at your door as a sign of acceptance."
Chloe laughed so hard she sounded in pain.
Duke did his best to ignore her.
"You can't really blame him for coming to this conclusion, Duke, especially after the show you put on at Cesario's." Andrew made a face at him. "You were clearly jealous at the fact that Chloe could've participated in the kissing booth. Considering he doesn't know that she's a girl, the next option is that you're gay."
Duke covered his face with his hand and groaned.
"So despite what he said he was jealous," Chloe teased, voice still filled with laughter.
"Just stop enjoying this so much," Duke pleaded before he turned his gaze to Andrew. "I'm dating the devil."
Andrew couldn't keep the amusement off of his face. "Stop complaining. You're obviously enjoying it immensely."
"He definitely is," Chloe piped in. "Especially when I nibble-."
"Enough, you!" Duke flushed bright red.
Chloe and Andrew shared looks before they burst out laughing.
"I hate you two," Duke declared with no heat whatsoever as he sunk into his bed. "First Coach, now Toby..."
"Don't forget MacMillan," Andrew offered. "And Sebastian."
"What?" Duke's voice was hoarse from his cry.
"MacMillan thinks you and "Cody" are in a relationship. It's why he's always so amused that you're there every single time Chloe is with them." Andrew snickered. "According to him, it's like you're making sure neither of them put the moves on your boyfriend while you are not around." He turned to Chloe. "Connelly has a crush on you, by the way. I think you're going to turn the entire team gay."
Duke narrowed his eyes. "Connelly likes Chloe?"
Chloe's eyes widened. "I didn't mean-."
"You never do," Andrew consoled her. "I mean, look at Duke, he's a good example of you trying to be a friend and unknowingly seducing a guy to the gay side."
Duke glared daggers at his friend through his blush. "I am not gay!"
"You were for Cody," Andrew countered.
Duke threw himself on the bed and groaned as he covered his burning face.
"Wait, what about Sebastian?" Chloe picked up on something Duke had missed.
"From something Toby mentioned the other day offhandedly, and then from that night at the night club, I think Sebastian either thinks you're a girl-or that you're gay and that Tess is your beard. I'm not sure which, but more than likely he's assuming you're gay."
Duke covered his face harder.
Chloe's eyes widened. "Oh wow. All these people are really making it official, aren't they?" She turned to Duke. "I've never been in a gay relationship before. Be gentle with me."
He threw his pillow at her once more.