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I and Love and You

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One
Lardo goes to Kenya and comes back hot.

Well, Lardo was, as far as Shitty was concerned, always kind of hot. But she was a frog, and team manager, and Shitty had boundaries, very specific boundaries. Then first semester of her sophomore year Lardo goes to Kenya and comes back with short hair that she isn’t constantly pushing out of her face any more and a new confident sway in her walk that’s fucking magnetic. It’s distracting and disconcerting and the only thing for it, as far as Shitty is concerned, is to throw a Welcome Back party for Lardo and drink away his feelings. And, Shitty figures, Lardo weighs about five pounds, which means she’s gonna get wasted, and that’ll kill any attraction he feels towards her. No one’s attractive while wasted, except Angelina Jolie or Lucy Liu or someone like that; they could probably pull it off.

Lardo’s party is fairly low-key, just the Haus boys and a bunch of Lardo’s art buddies. It’s a testament to how bad Shitty’s got it for Lardo that all the hot girls with multiple piercings and dyed hair aren’t doing it for him half as much as Lardo in her giant, shapeless flannel shirt is.

So Shitty drinks. He plays beer pong against Lardo, loses, and drinks some more. He drinks after Jack goes to bed, and then drinks one more beer even after Ransom and Holster tap out. He’s totally lost track of Lardo by time he faceplants in his bed, but that’s cool. She’s probably puking in a toilet somewhere, and in the morning he’ll see her with ass-breath and circles under her eyes, and she’ll become human instead of the crazy sexy unattainable goddess she turned into when she came back from Kenya. She’ll be Lardo and he’ll be free to hook up with the girls who sit in the front row winking at him during hockey games, and everything will be back to normal.

Shitty wakes up around noon to the sun beating mercilessly in his eyes. Jack’s gone - probably to the library, the fucker never drinks more than two beers. Groaning, Shitty gropes his way down to the kitchen. It must be a Bitty breakfast morning, because it smells like heaven and someone is frying something while humming Crazy in Love.

“God fucking bless you, Bitty,” Shitty groans, collapsing in his chair. “Is that breakfast?”

“Technically, it’s lunch,” Bitty says. “But it’s french toast with your name on it.”

“Here,” Lardo’s disembodied voice says from somewhere behind him, plunking down a huge glass of water next to his elbow. “Drink this, you lush.”

Obediently, Shitty begins chugging the water, squinting his eyes open, fully prepared to see Lardo at her worst. But aside from her slightly messed-up hair (like someone ran their fingers through it, his brain unhelpfully supplies), she looks perfectly normal, drinking coffee in what has to be a Samwell sweatshirt she borrowed from Bitty, given how well it fits her.

“How are you not hung over?” he asks, and Lardo gives him a pitying look.

“Oh, Shitty,” she says. “It takes so much more to get me hung over.”

“But you kept up with Ransom and Holster!” He splutters.

“Weakasses,” Lardo snorts. “Wouldn’t make it a minute in an art department party.”

“And she helped me make breakfast!” Bitty chirps happily, putting down the french toast and maple syrup next to Shitty and handing over a bowl of fruit salad. “This fruit salad is all her.”

Lardo smiles serenely at Shitty as he stares at her, dumbfounded, mechanically shoveling French toast in his mouth without really tasting it. Because sitting across the table from him is Lardo, who beat him in beer pong. Lardo, who drank as much as his bros and woke up fresh as a fucking daisy. Lardo, who finishes her coffee, thanks Bitty for breakfast and his sweatshirt, and leaves for class with that fucking hypnotic sway in her steps.

“Bitty,” he says very seriously, “I think I’m in love.”

“Oh, no,” Bitty blushes, “my french toast isn’t that good.”

Shitty decides not to correct him.

 

Two
Getting Lardo to date him takes a little while. First, Shitty decides, they need to become best bros. Even better bros than they already were. Not necessarily with the intention of getting in her pants, either, but because he really genuinely likes Lardo. Lardo’s got a wicked, dry sense of humor and can drink him under the table and is mad smart, and you don’t just jump a girl like that without first getting to know her better. So he goes to Lardo’s art showcases (with an actual shirt on, not a crop top). He takes her to concerts where they spend more time talking and laughing with each other than listening to the band.

His mom gets real sick of him calling her to sigh over how great Lardo is. “If you like her so much, ask her out,” she always laughs at him, and Shitty just sighs because it’s a process, he has to make it really clear to Lardo that he likes her for her, not just because she’s the fucking finest piece of ass at Samwell. He’s doing this respectfully, and he’s doing it right.

Or at least, that’s the plan until the first party of senior year. Lardo’s there, of course, as an honorary Haus-bro, and she clinks their beers together. Before Shitty can even ask how her summer went (not that he doesn’t know, they texted all the time), she looks him very seriously in the eye and says, “Shitty, is this the year we’re finally gonna fuck, or what?”

Shitty chokes on his beer. “Jesus Christ,” he says, “I was trying to be respectful and, like, court you and shit.”

“Fuck that,” Lardo waves him off. “I’m courted. I really like you, Shitty, so just go ahead and make your move.”

Shitty nervously wets his bottom lip and watches as Lardo’s eyes track his tongue. Her cheeks are warm when he reaches out and rests his palm against one, and when he kisses her his stomach goes in crazy loop-dee-loops like he’s fucking fourteen and it’s his first kiss all over again.

It takes him a few minutes to realize that the “Fuck yeah!” and whooping is coming from Ransom and Holster and not just inside his own head. Jack’s wolf-whistling and grinning when he pulls away, and even Bitty’s clapping politely, looking a little misty-eyed and beside himself with joy.

“Fucking get some!” Ransom shouts, as Lardo laughs and takes his hand, leading him up to his room with a sly smile on her face.

The sex is fantastic, obviously. He gets to fuck Lardo like he’s been dreaming of and jerking off to for months, until he’s shouting so loud that he knows he’s going to get teased but he doesn’t even care. He hasn’t hooked up since late last spring, hasn’t even wanted to, and Lardo’s body feels amazing with his. He kisses and runs his hands over every inch of her, makes sure she’s good and satisfied before he lets himself pass out with his arm around her waist, exhausted like he just skated and won a fucking championship game.

Shitty wakes up the next morning to small fingers in his hair that feel like heaven, massaging as they run through his hair. Girls have played with his hair before, but they haven’t been Lardo, who must have fucking magic fingers because her scalp massages feel almost as good as sex.

“Don’t stop,” he groans, tightening his arm around her waist. “God, you have amazing hands.”

“Yours aren’t so bad themselves,” Lardo says. “You kind of rocked my world last night.”

“I always make sure my girl is satisfied,” Shitty says, and then freezes. “I mean, you are… you’re my girl, right?”

Lardo laughs, “I better be,” she says, brushing his hair back from his face and kissing him, still sweet through their mixed-up morning breath. She doesn’t pull away, not even when Shitty palms her breast hopefully, aiming for round two. She just tightens her fingers in his hair kisses him once more before pushing him down the bed.

“You’re killing me,” he pants, and Lardo laughs, ticklish as he scatters kisses across the soft curve of her stomach.

“You like it,” she says, and she’s so beautiful and happy and perfect-looking all sex-rumpled in his bed that he doesn’t even hesitate to lean down and lick her clit, making Lardo throw her head back with a throaty, satisfied sigh.

I love you, Shitty thinks, as Lardo’s fingers run through his hair, massaging and tugging him where she wants. Oh my god, I love you.

 

Three
Lardo can’t skate. It’s ridiculous, as far as Shitty’s concerned, that a hockey team manager can’t skate, and lord knows he’s tried to teach her, but she’s just hopeless.

“I hate this,” she says through gritted teeth, holding onto Shitty’s hand so tight he’s losing circulation in his fingers as she shuffles ineptly next to him. “Can’t we go smoke up? I know you’ve got the good stuff back in your room.”

“Later,” Shitty promises. “Come on, it’s fun.”

“For you,” Lardo mutters, staring down at her skates.

“Chin up, babe,” Shitty suggests. “Loosen up a little.”

Lardo starts muttering dire threats about how she’ll loosen him up, but Shitty’s distracted by the door by the locker room opening up, Bitty and Jack emerging. “Hey,” Shitty says. “We’ve got company.”

“Oh good,” Lardo sighs. “More people to witness my failure.”

“You’re doing great,” Shitty lies. “You just have to relax.”

Lardo opens her mouth, probably to curse him out some more - which Shitty finds far more endearing than he should - when down from the other end of the ice, they hear the familiar whump of someone’s body hitting someone else’s, and then, oddly, the sound of Jack’s laughter. Shitty immediately turns to look, positive that Jack hit Bitty - which he can’t fucking do, not so soon after Bitty’s concussion - only to see Bitty standing over Jack by the back boards, his arms raised triumphantly.

“Fucking right, Bitty!” Shitty shouts, and Lardo releases Shitty’s hand to let out a piercing wolf-whistle. “Check the shit out of him!”

Jack’s beaming at Bitty as Bitty offers him a hand up, like Bitty’s maple syrup and a World War II documentary all rolled into one, and that’s… odd.

“Weird,” he says quietly, and Lardo looks up from trying to balance.

“What?”

“Jack and Bitty,” he says. “Have you noticed anything, like, weird about them?”

Lardo thinks for a minute. “Jack’s smiling a bit more lately,” she says. “And Bitty I guess has been mentioning Jack more, but that’s because he won’t shut the fuck up about that history course they’re taking together, the food one? He’s really stoked about it.”

“Hmm,” Shitty hums. Lardo’s right, and they’ve been doing more early morning practices together, but he’d just assumed that was them working off the rust Bitty had built up while he was out.

“You think…” Lardo asks, watching Jack and Bitty move on to passing drills, where the puck goes tape-to-tape almost instinctively. “I mean, I know Bitty’s gay, but is Jack?”

“Jack’s practically a monk,” Shitty says, neglecting to mention that Jack had borrowed a condom from Shitty just last week and been extremely cagey the next day when Shitty had done his honorable duty to tease Jack into telling why he’d needed it. Some things stayed between bros, even if another bro was asking. “I mean, he could be, but wouldn’t he tell me?”

“Who knows?” Lardo says. “I - “ she stumbles, nearly falling on her ass, but Shitty catches her neatly and sets her upright. “Fuck, I was doing so well, too.”

“That’s because you stopped overthinking when we were gossiping,” Shitty points out, and Lardo just makes a face at him. “Do you want to call it a day?”

“Fuck yes,” Lardo says. “There is weed in your room with both of our names on it.”

Shitty can’t argue with that, so he leads Lardo over to the gate and waves goodbye to Jack and Bitty, who are moving on to shooting drills. Jack’s busy setting up pylons, but Bitty waves enthusiastically back.

“Thanks for coming skating with me,” he tells Lardo, helping her hobble back to the locker room. “You’re getting better, just, like, hella slow.”

“Yeah, well,” Lardo shrugs. “Gotta give it a try, you know?”

Shitty leans over and kisses the top of Lardo’s head. “I love that you try,” he tells her, because he does. He loves skating with Lardo, probably because she sucks so bad. Normally Lardo’s always cool and in control of whatever she does, and Shitty sometimes feels like he has no idea what Lardo sees in him when she’s arguably smarter, hotter, and all around awesomer than he is. But when Lardo skates with him he feels like he has something to offer besides good weed and a decent lay. He doesn’t know if Lardo gets that and that’s why she keeps agreeing to try skating again, or if she’s just too fucking stubborn to give up when she sucks at something, all he knows is that he’s damn happy for whatever reason she does.

“Yeah, yeah,” Lardo bitches, but she’s smiling, pleased. “Let’s get out of these torture devices.”

“Your wish,” Shitty says, opening the locker room door, “is my command.”

Four
Shitty’s birthday falls on a Tuesday, which blows because he’s got an exam in his Wednesday morning class, so no chance for throwing a serious party. But that’s okay, because he’s got plans. He’s gonna skip his Tuesday afternoon econ lecture, maybe smoke up a little, and then have dinner and a few beers with the boys and Lardo. He probably can convince Lardo to stay over for the night, too, since she doesn’t have class until the afternoon, so it’s looking pretty solid, as far as he’s concerned.

But Shitty’s plans change abruptly when he opens the door to the Haus and smells someone baking what definitely smells like chocolate chip cookies.

“Bitty, you fucking beauty,” he calls into the kitchen, stomping the snow off his boots and hanging up his coat. “Are you cooking for my birthd - Lardo?”

Because it’s not Bitty who’s bent over the oven and pulling out racks of cookies and putting them on trays to cool, it’s Lardo in one of Bitty’s aprons. Bitty’s there, of course - nothing goes on in Bitty’s kitchen without Bitty there to supervise - but he’s washing dishes.

“Oh!” Lardo says, looking up. She’s pink-cheeked, either from the heat from the oven or embarrassment, and she’s fucking adorable. “I thought you had your econ lecture.”

“Decided to skip it, happy birthday to me,” Shitty says, and Bitty turns and frowns at him. “Don’t look at me like that, man, I did the readings.”

“I - I mean we made you cookies,” Lardo says, crossing the kitchen so Shitty can gather her up in his arms and kiss the top of her head.

“Lardo did most of it,” Bitty pipes up from the sink. “I just told her my chocolate chip were your favorite.”

“Here,” Lardo untangles herself and hands a cookie from a mostly cool rack to Shitty. “Happy birthday.”

“You put walnut pieces in!” Shitty crows, pumping a fist in the air in victory.

“It’s not really a chocolate chip cookie with walnut pieces in,” Bitty says, sounding much more disapproving than he ever has over anyone missing any classes or lectures. “Not a traditional one anyway, but Lardo insisted they were your favorites.”

“Mmm,” Shitty moans around the cookie. It’s at the perfectly gooey stage, the chocolate warm and melty in his mouth against the crunchy crumble of the walnuts. They’re a little overdone, which is proof that Lardo really did do the cooking and not Bitty, but as far as Shitty’s concerned they’re still fucking perfect. “Oh, babe, you did good.”

“Aw, thanks,” Lardo says, definitely pink from embarrassment this time. “Hey, you’ve got cookie in your mustache.”

Shitty makes an affirmative noise and holds still for Lardo to brush the crumbs off his mustache and then lean up to give him a long, sweet kiss. She tastes like cookies, too.

“Glad you like them,” Lardo says quietly, just for Shitty to hear.

“Love ‘em,” Shitty reassures her, leaning down for another kiss. He dimly hears Bitty going “aww,” in the background, and then hears Dex stomp into the kitchen.

“Gross,” Dex says, and steals a cookie. “Get a room, guys.”

“Bite me,” Lardo says, breaking the kiss, but Shitty just tugs her towards the stairs.

“You heard the man,” he says. “Let’s get you out of that apron.”

Lardo laughs at that, bright and loud, and Shitty steals a handful of cookies before following her up. He’s gonna need fuel for what he has planned.

Happy fucking birthday to him.

 

Five
Senior year is kind of the pits, which no one warned Shitty about. Double majoring is a shit-ton of work, and finding sources for his senior thesis is fucking impossible. And that’s not to mention all the homework and hockey practices now that it looks like Samwell’s going to go deep this year. It isn’t until he gets back to his room at the Haus to find Lardo on his bed, propped up on his pillows and reading her Indian Art History textbook, that he realizes he’s only barely texted with her all week.

“You’re here to break up with me, aren’t you,” he sighs, dropping his backpack on the floor. “Just promise me we’ll still be bros?”

“What?” Lardo blinks at him. “Why - no, Shitty, I’m here to make sure you’re alive, not to break up with you.”

“Oh thank god,” Shitty says, feeling himself going boneless with relief.

“Why would I break up with you?” She asks, putting down her textbook.

“Uh, because I’m always working and never around?” Shitty says. “We haven’t had sex in like, a week and a half.”

“No, stop looking so sad, come here,” Lardo says, opening up her arms, and Shitty immediately crawls up his bed and into them, sighing as he rests his head against her breast. Lardo’s fingers start combing through his hair, working out all his stress, and Lardo’s heart beats steady under his ear. “I know you’re busy,” she says. “I’m busy too. I’m not holding that against you.”

“I don’t deserve you,” he says, squeezing her tightly, and she laughs.

“Course you do,” she says. “No one on Samwell’s got flow like you. Or would go down on me half as well, either.”

Shitty preens a little at that, because he does take some pride in his oral skills. Bros who do not, he firmly believes, are missing the fuck out.

“And the only better hockey player than you is Jack, and I’m not going out with him,” Lardo says. “You’re the best, Shitty.”

Shitty heaves a deep sigh and looks up at Lardo, who’s smiling down at him gently in the late afternoon sunlight, and just - he can’t picture being anywhere else, can’t picture being happier than he is with Lardo. Maybe it’s possible, but if it is, he doesn’t want to know, he just wants to be with Lardo like this forever.

“I love you, Larissa,” he says, and Lardo’s smile widens.

“I love you too,” she says, leaning down to kiss him.

The kissing gets heated kind of fast, because, well, they really haven’t had sex in a week and a half, which is too fucking long. Lardo’s hand has snuck down his pants and is grabbing his ass (she’s got a thing for his hockey ass, not that Shitty minds) and he’s unbuttoning her shirt, kissing every inch of skin that’s revealed, and it seems kind of critical that he let Lardo know how much, exactly, he loves her. “Love you so much,” he tells Lardo’s left boob.

“God, I know, me too,” Lardo sighs. “Hurry up, Shitty, I’m aching here.”

“I have loved you,” Shitty tells her bra, then undoes another button, “since you came back from Kenya mega-hot and out-drank me.”

“Sap,” Lardo giggles, wiggling out of her tights.

“I love that you asked me out,” Shitty says, “and I love that you bake me cookies, and I love that you can’t skate, and -”

“Shitty,” Lardo whines, pushing him over and climbing on top of him, “come the fuck on, enough, you gotta fuck me.”

“And I love how bad you want it,” Shitty grins up at her as deftly undoes her bra.

“So bad,” Lardo agrees, grabbing for a condom. “Come on, are we going to rock this Haus, or not?”

“Fuck yes,” Shitty says, and with Lardo smiling down at him, naked and haloed in afternoon sunlight, he can honestly say he’s never loved her more than he does right then.