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.
Oliver Queen looked like someone you'd see in an Abercrombie & Fitch catalogue. Chloe's first reaction to seeing him was to widen her eyes in shock, her second to whisper one word: wow. Unfortunately, Duke had noticed both the widened eyes and had heard the wow, and Chloe could tell he wasn't very happy at this moment. But she couldn't concentrate on him for now. No. She had to think about Tess and the reason why she'd come here in the first place. And that had everything to do with Oliver Queen.
She gave Duke a little apologetic smile before she left him with Andrew and made her way towards where Tess and Oliver were talking. "Hey babe."
"Baby!" Tess might have overacted her delight in seeing Chloe as she wrapped her arms around her and kissed her.
Damn it. Chloe was getting kissed by more girls than she was comfortable with, but she let the redhead do her thing considering that this was all a show to get Oliver to back off. The smaller blonde rested her arm around Tess' waist when the redhead finally pulled back and held out her hand to the ridiculously taller Oliver. "Nice to meet you, I'm Cody Simmons."
"This is the person I've told you about." Tess eyed Oliver in defiance. "The person I love."
Oliver eyed the two of them before he turned to Chloe and shook her hand. "Nice to meet you. My name is Oliver Queen."
"So, you and Tess used to go out." Chloe had no idea how to start this conversation than to just dive into it head-first.
Oliver nodded as he shucked his hands into the pockets of his designer pants. "A couple of years ago."
"It ended badly." A muscle jumped in Tess' cheek before she forced a smile on her face. "But at least things are good in my life now."
Oh boy. Tess wasn't going to help this be less awkward than it had to be.
Oliver looked around the bookstore. "I can't believe you still work here."
"What's that supposed to mean?" The redhead glared at him.
"It wasn't an insult." His turned his eyes on her. "I just meant that when we were together you had plans of becomming a doctor. I just thought that you'd be beginning your first year of medical school now."
"Things change, people change." A muscle ticked in Tess' cheek.
"That's why I'm here." Oliver stepped closer. "I have changed."
"That's great." Tess let out an impatient sigh. "But I'm not in love with you so I don't care."
Duke eyed Oliver Queen as he, Tess and Chloe spoke. The soccer player frowned as he observed and examined every inch of the obviously rich guy. "He's not all that."
Andrew scoffed and didn't look up from the CDs he was browsing through. "That's not what OK! and People magazine say."
The soccer player narrowed his eyes on his friend. "Is he famous?"
"Not really, but he's known by association, good looking, and has had a couple of scandals some years back, so people take notice of him." Andrew shrugged. "His dad is Robert Queen."
The name sounded familiar, but Duke couldn't place it. "Is he a singer or something?"
"Try the Founder and sole owner of Queen Enterprises."
Duke's eyes widened as he suddenly realized where he'd heard that name before. "My dad plays golf with that guy!"
Andrew nodded. "They did that charity poker event together too."
"Damn it!" Duke turned to once more look over to where Chloe, Oliver and Tess were talking. "He could recognize her!"
"You need to get lost." Tess leaned into Chloe as she glared up at Oliver. "I don't care about catching up with you or bonding over times passed. You're my past and I live in the future."
Oliver's gaze went from Tess to Chloe.
The tiny blonde somehow managed to understand his silent communication and turned to Tess. "Hey babe, can you give us a moment?"
Tess looked between the two of them, clearly uncomfortable with this, but she nodded, pressed a kiss to Chloe's cheek (sent a glare to Oliver) and walked towards where Duke and Andrew were.
Chloe watched her go before she sighed and turned to face Oliver. "You really hurt her, man."
Oliver nodded with a sigh as well. "I know."
Chloe eyed him. "What were you expecting by coming tonight? Because I get this feeling that despite everything you weren't actually trying to get back with her."
"You're surprisingly astute for a kid." Oliver gave a tired smile before he gazed into the distance. "When Mercy and I were together I was a different person. I was a real asshole and I know that I messed her up really badly." He took in a deep breath. "I was in a really bad place at the time and I took it all out on her. She didn't deserve that."
The girl in boy's clothing realized something as she observed him. "You're not looking to get back with her, you're here to ask her to forgive you."
Oliver nodded. "I don't deserve forgiveness and I don't blame her for how she is acting. I just want her to know that I know that I was an asshole and that she deserved better."
Chloe licked her lips. "I could try talking to her."
"Thanks, but you don't have to." He watched Tess talking to Duke and Andrew. "She's in a much better place now and that's all that I could hope for." His gaze turned to Chloe. "I'm just so relieved that I didn't leave her completely twisted, that she can actually trust and get close to people again. For a while I was worried that that was the case, but I should've known she'd pull herself out of the funk and get back up. Mercy's a survivor."
"She's definitely a tough cookie," Chloe agreed.
Oliver turned to face Chloe. "I guess I'm still a bit egoistical though."
She blinked in confusion. "How so?"
"I feel better knowing she moved on with a girl." Oliver snickered.
Chloe's eyes widened. "Who says I'm a girl?"
Oliver laughed at that. "I have an eye for beautiful women, believe me when I say that not even the most mannish attire can hide what you are. Not to me at least." He leaned in closer. "Take care of her for me."
She looked up at him, their faces close. "I don't need you to tell me that."
He grinned handsomely and bopped his finger against the tip of her nose. "That's exactly what I wanted to hear from you." With that he pulled away and walked out of the book store.
Chloe watched him go and could feel the others arrive at her side. "He wanted to apologize for being an asshole."
Tess raised an eyebrow. "I don't need that. Just by showing up he brought up memories that I'd managed to repress. The forgiveness wouldn't have made me feel any better, it all for the sake of alleviating his conscience."
Chloe could hear the hurt in that voice, and she wrapped her arms around the redhead in a tight hug.
For a moment Tess stood there rigidly, trying to be strong, but then she broke down and hugged Chloe back just as tightly.
"If you guys are gonna do this whole Girls Afternoon Out thing - why exactly are Andrew and Malcolm going along?" Duke wanted to know as he and Chloe walked towards his motorcycle on the campus ground a little later that day. "And why aren't I invited?"
"Well, I would've invited you along but you're going to visit your parents for the rest of the evening." She clasped her hands behind her back. "And about the other boys, well, Tess thinks Andrew is cool-and Malcolm just popped out of nowhere and heard us talking about going out and it would've been rude not to invite him along. Plus, he and Andrew are bonding over Broadway so it would be a good way for their friendship to continue to grow."
Duke looked at her and really wanted to go along as well, but he had a good reason for going to see his parents so he had to stay strong.
Chloe must've sensed something though, because she looked left and right before she leaned close and pressed up on her toes to kiss him on his lips. She'd jumped out of arms-length by the time he reached for her, and smirked at him. "That was dangerous of me, I shouldn't have done it. But I just didn't want you to keep pouting."
Yeah, she probably shouldn't have, but he wasn't going to say that considering how much he'd liked being surprised like that. "I wasn't pouting."
She chuckled and clasped her hands behind her once more. "Have fun with your parents."
"Don't have too much fun without me."
Chloe grinned brightly, and the mischievous glint in her eyes did nothing to soothe his worry.
"Are we even allowed to be here?" Malcolm looked nervous in all his preppy glory. "I thought these sorts of places had age restrictions."
"I know someone who knows someone." Tess grinned as she looked around at the people getting ready for the event that they'd be throwing that night. "It's all fine."
Andrew made a face as he noticed something. "What sort of night club is this?"
Tess grinned evilly. "A gay one."
Malcolm, who'd been taking a gulp of water, spat it out in a flood that Andrew only barely managed to dodge.
Tess threw her head back and laughed heartily.
Well, at least the redhead was back to her evil self.
"Why are we at a gay night club?" Andrew raised an eyebrow as he dabbed some tissue against the water all over the table.
"Why not?" Tess wanted to know. "I love gay people, they also know how to party! Plus, everyone here is super nice. And hot." She smiled. "The idea is just to have mindless fun, right?"
"What sort of fun?" Malcolm slammed his fist into his chest as he coughed.
Chloe slapped his back, worried he'd choke to death.
"Don't worry, Malcolm, your virtue won't be touched." Tess' laughter was tinted with teasing. "I meant some drinking and dancing. You'll be fine. No one's going to ask you to participate in a glory hole or anything."
Malcolm's face was a world of confusion and bewilderment. "Glory hole? What's that?"
Andrew cleared his throat. "You don't want to know."
"I don't believe that ignorance is bliss." Malcolm glared at Andrew. "What is a glory hole?" He blanched. "Is it a euphemism for a guy's butt?"
Tess laughed harder once more.
Andrew covered his face with his hands and shook his head.
Chloe took pity on the innocent in their midst and leaned close to him to whisper what exactly it was in his ear.
Malcolm's face went scarlet and scandalized. "You're not serious!"
Tess was laughing so hard her whole body shook.
"I am," Chloe promised him.
"B-b-but-!" Malcolm stuttered before he whimpered. "I won't be able to go to the bathroom alone now. I'm scared."
Tess was red-faced from all her laughing.
Malcolm ignored her and turned to Chloe. "If I need to the bathroom you're coming with me! I-I won't have-no!"
"This night is already so great," Tess chuckled.
Chloe continued to pat Malcolm's back. "I'll protect you. Don't worry."
Malcolm nodded and looked a little less worried about his virtue being compromised should he need to pee, but only a little less.
"So, how have you been, son?" Walter Orsino asked his son. "I heard that Illyria beat Cornwall again."
Duke grinned, proud at the memory. "It isn't a championship game, but it was still great to show them their place."
"I'm sure it is. Cornwall can get on a high horse sometimes." Walter chuckled. "Good thing your team is better than ours was back in the day. We definitely didn't beat them as repeatedly as you do."
"From what I heard you guys weren't so terrible."
Walter laughed and shook his head. "When is the first official game? I'll come and watch."
Usually Duke loved having his parents come to his games, but there was Chloe to consider, and the thought of his father recognizing her made him very uneasy. It wasn't that he didn't trust his father (he was working for Lex Luthor for crying out loud) but if Walter found out and told Lex that he knew where Chloe was, Duke knew that the billionaire would take Chloe out of the school and he couldn't have that. He couldn't allow that to happen. He couldn't allow her to be taken away, maybe never to be seen again. "You don't have to worry about that, dad. I know you're busy with work."
"I have never been too busy to go to most of your games." His father gave him a little look. "I want you to know that despite how work is, that you and your mother are my top priorities."
Duke knew that, and he smiled. "Thanks dad."
"What are you two talking about?" Gloria Orsino wanted to as she arrived at the table from where she'd gone to get the fortune cookies from the delivery they'd gotten.
"Dad's work." Duke looked up and tried to appear innocent and not at all conniving.
"Oh. Did he tell you the twist in the Luthor case?" Gloria Orsino passed them each their fortune cookies, her eyes wide. "Apparently the key witness, Chloe Sullivan, disappeared after her safe house experienced a drive-by shooting. Mr Luthor has a search going on for her."
"Gloria, that's supposed to be classified information." Walter Orsino sighed.
"Duke knows to keep information on your cases strictly a secret." Gloria rolled her eyes.
"Her safe house was shot up?" Duke felt his stomach clench.
"And the one before that was bombed. And the one before that had poisonous gas fill it; the only reason she survived was because she'd spent the night in the treehouse outside." Gloria's eyes were wide. "Can you believe she's still alive?"
Walter finally admitted defeat and that they were going to speak about this. A sigh escaped his lips. "To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if the girl didn't just take off. God knows she wasn't safe in her "safe" houses."
Duke fought the urge to squirm.
"I never want to ever be Luthor-rich, that warps people." Gloria shivered as she cracked open her fortune cookie. "Marriage lets you annoy one special person for the rest of your life." She grinned and showed it to her husband.
He snickered and shook his head as he cracked open his own fortune cookie to read the message. "Love is what makes you smile when you are tired."
Husband and wife smiled at each other as they reached out to hold each other's hands.
Duke looked between them and smiled as well. While some people found their parents being lovey-dovey gross, he quite loved seeing the adoration in his parents' eyes, and hoped that one day he could be the same with his wife.
Gloria finally turned her browns on her son. "You don't need insane riches if you have the person you love."
"But having some wealth is always nice," Walter snickered as he eyed their quite luxurious home.
"It is," Gloria agreed.
Duke rolled his eyes at them.
Gloria turned to her son. "Don't roll your eyes at us, young man. Not everyone is as lucky to be as happy and in love as your father and I. Some people get targeted by the worse of people and can't get rid of them. Look at the Sullivan girl for instance." She shivered. "Your father said that while she never said it, from her statements concerning her and Lionel Luthor's interactions, he got the distinct impression that Mr Luthor was highly inappropriate with his behavior towards her. Your father believes it is one of the reasons why she broke away and turned against Lionel Luthor, because he was getting 'heavy handed' in his attentions."
"Those were your words, Walter." Gloria looked unaffected by his cry.
Duke felt sick at his stomach at the thought of Lionel Luthor trying something with Chloe. He'd seen pictures of the man and... He shivered.
"I hope that wherever that girl is she's found by the date of the trial, because without her we don't have much of a case." Walter shook his head. "It's why Lionel has been trying to shut her up, any way possible. He first started by firing her father, then by threatening her personally, and then escalated to the actual attacks on her life. He's a man used to getting what he wants. And right now he wants her silenced."
"That poor girl." Gloria shook her head. "Wherever she is, I hope she has someone looking out for her."
I'm doing the best I can. Duke bit the inside of his lip and stared down at his fortune cookie as he cracked it open to reveal his fortune. "All things come to him who goes after them." That sounded like something Chloe would tell him.
He smiled softly and then looked up and went pale when he saw that way his mother eyed him. That look always made him nervous. "What?"
"You were thinking of a girl." His mother was scary with that grin on her face. "Was it Olivia?"
His father patted him on his back. "You've got to make a move on that girl, son."
Duke bit back the correction and just let them assume what they wanted. It was the safest bet for Chloe and more than ever he realized just how in danger she was, and that he needed to protect her.
Who knew Malcolm Festes was a dancing king?
Chloe just stared at the preppy guy shaking it on the dance floor, lost in a song from Grease. While at first he'd been intimidated and worried someone would drag his butt to the bathroom (Glory Hole Land, he'd called it) he seemed to realize there were no rapists with him on mind and he was quite happy enjoying the music. Andrew danced close by but he did not have the rhythm that Malcolm had, and he knew it. He was also way more self-conscious until he started to dance with Tess, which visibly calmed him.
Chloe had gone to the bathroom solo (she knew that the whole Glory Hole thing had been a joke which Malcolm had taken way too seriously) and she'd done her deed with no incident to speak of. She was honestly having a lot of fun, just dancing and looking at the beauitful people around her enjoy themselves. These had got to be some of the most attractive people she'd seen in her life and she understood why Tess liked to come to this place. Chloe loved the atmosphere, the openness and the almost intoxicating energy. She might have to force Duke to come here one night, despite the fact that she had a feeling he would totally act exactly like Malcolm had. All gobsmacked with a hint of terror.
"So, this was the last place I would've expected to see you at."
Chloe turned towards the voice in her ear and her eyes widened when she looked up at Sebastian Hastings. "What are you-?"
He motioned behind him to a group of guys by the bar. "Benji and Hank are gay, so we hang out here sometimes for them, just like they hang out other places for us."
She recognized the other members of Hummingboard and her eyes widened. "Stop me. I want to go over there and ask for an autograph."
Sebastian burst out laughing. "I'll find a way to restrain you somehow." He raised an eyebrow. "So you're gay?"
She looked up at him and wondered at the question before she realized how this must look. "Oh! No! I'm here with Tess." She pointed to where the redhead was dancing with Andrew and Malcolm. "She had a bad day and got to pick the place." Chloe snickered. "I think she picked this place just to throw everyone off balance, but I kinda like it here."
"Me too." Sebastian nodded and shoved his hands in his jeans' pocket. "I am confident enough in my own sexuality to enjoy the hell out of this place. Plus, the the people here are really nice."
"They are." Chloe turned to Sebastian and grinned. "The bartender is the nicest guy I've ever met!"
"Dave is pretty nice," Sebastian agreed.
Chloe grinned. "So you come here a lot, huh?"
"Benji has a crush on Dave, so yeah." Sebastian snickered before he raised an eyebrow, his voice teasing. "If you promise to hold your fangirling in check I could introduce you to the guys."
Her eyes widened. "Really?"
He laughed and nodded as he flung an arm around her shoulders. "Come on. Let me introduce you to the other members of Hummingboard."