A/N: Please note that I am nonbinary (despite my FFN username) and that I made a conscious choice to switch characters' pronouns in this story when the characters themselves want to switch pronouns. Don't come at me about that in the comments. This fic is true to my experiences, which does not at all mean it's the universal nonbinary experience, but it is a real, valid, and authentic way of experiencing being nonbinary.
Larissa isn't sure how she feels about the roommate she's been paired with. Even though Samwell isn't far from where she grew up, she's one of only two people from her high school who are going there, and, for all that Samwell has some gender-neutral housing options, there were several reasons why she wasn't going to request Gavin as a roommate. So she wound up in the random roommate draw. The Samwell student life people have assured her that it's not actually random and they read everyone's roommate questionnaires very closely, but it feels random to Larissa.
Staring at Ginny Weasley's profile picture on her computer screen, she has no idea what to expect from this person. Ginny's white and thin and redheaded, and in her profile picture she's sweaty, like she's in the middle of playing a sport. Larissa has nothing against athletes, but suddenly she's thinking of sweaty laundry stinking up the dorm room and she just doesn't know how this is going to go. But she'll need to find out sooner or later, so she clicks the button to DM Ginny and types out, Hey, just got the email that we're going to be roommates! Are you going to one of the registration and orientation days this spring?
By the time Larissa finishes dinner, she has a message back from Ginny. Larissa! Hi! I'm pretty sure the registration and orientation days are mandatory for people who live within driving distance, so yes, I'm going.
Have you picked which one? Larissa asks.
Yeah, the last one in May, after the AP tests, Ginny answers.
Same! You're from Boston, too, right?
Yep! And so are you?
Yeah. Do you think you could give me a ride to the registration and orientation thing? Larissa asks. The forms kind of made it sound like parents are supposed to come, but mine will both be at work, and I don't have a car.
Sure. My mom is taking me, Ginny replies. What's your address?
Larissa tells Ginny her address, and they talk a bit more about their hopes for the roommate experience (music with headphones unless previously agreed upon, they quickly agree), and Larissa is a little calmer about the situation by the time Ginny says she needs to resume studying for her AP Bio test.
One night in October of their first year at Samwell, Ginny is propped up on her elbows on the floor, studying in what's become her usual position (at least she brought a well-worn rag rug when she moved in, so she's not on a completely bare floor), and Larissa is in her desk chair studying (like a normal person, Ginny), when Ginny looks up and, apropos of nothing, says, "Do you have a crush on anyone?"
Larissa thinks about it. "Hmm. I'm not sure. Maybe a minor crush on this girl Ayana in my environmental science class?" She's trying to get her gen eds out of the way, and environmental science has field experience that counts as a lab credit without requiring, like, actual lab work, so naturally Larissa signed up for it.
"Oh. You're a lesbian?" Ginny asks in a careful tone.
"Bisexual. Have I really not mentioned that?" Larissa replies. Damn. She came out junior year of high school and is used to people just knowing at this point. She suddenly remembers that Ginny went to Catholic school growing up and fervently hopes things aren't about to get awkward. Like, Larissa knows she can hold her own if things get unpleasant, and she's just started managing the men's hockey team, and she thinks some of the guys would already be her backup if she were to need that sort of thing, but she doesn't want to need any of that.
"I don't think you've mentioned it," Ginny replies. "That's cool, though. My best friend growing up, Neville, was gay. We tried to start a GSA at our high school, but the school said we weren't allowed." She clears her throat. "I was, um, the straight part of the gay-straight alliance. I mean . . . I don't know. Once in a while I wonder, but then I look at a woman and I'm like, nope, that does nothing for me. So I'm pretty sure I'm straight."
"Cool," Larissa says, shrugging. "I mean, it's whatever. I think you're cool and I'm going to keep thinking that and supporting you regardless of who you like or don't like."
"Same, yeah," says Ginny. "Right back at you."
"So," says Larissa, "do you have a crush on anyone? Is that why you started this conversation?"
"Yeah, this guy Michael in my history class," Ginny replies. "I think I'm going to ask him out."
"Go for it," says Larissa. "No sexiling me, though," she adds quickly. "Like, at least text and ask if you can have the room and give me a chance to grab my stuff."
Ginny's blushing furiously, which contrasts strongly with her red hair. "I'm not going to have sex with him, Larissa, oh my gosh!"
Larissa chuckles. "Oh yeah, Catholic school."
Ginny makes a face. "You'd be surprised, actually. I just . . . I don't think I'm ready."
Larissa forces herself to look serious. "That's cool. No worries. You don't have to do anything you're not ready for."
"You're not going to, like, judge me for not being liberated enough?" Ginny asks nervously.
"The fuck?" Larissa says. "No, of course not. Where did you get that idea?"
Ginny sighs. "Tumblr is exhausting."
"Oh. Yeah it is," Larissa agrees. "What's your URL, anyway?"
They spend the rest of the evening combing through each other's Tumblrs. Larissa has never seen the monologue about the misspelled kids' menu before and nearly dies laughing when she finds it on Ginny's blog. Ginny has a similar reaction when she finds the post Larissa reblogged with "positive murder terminology" like "all-over fist bumps" for beating someone to death and "extreme baths" for drowning. "Nine-millimeter face presents" is probably her favorite.
Larissa is glad she has a roommate who shares her sense of humor (and who isn't a homophobe).
When room draw rolls around, Larissa asks Ginny if she wants to keep being roommates for sophomore year and Ginny answers in the affirmative. They're both signed up to study abroad their fall semester—Larissa in Kenya and Ginny in France—so they have to find a pair of roommates who will both study abroad during spring semester and make arrangements with them. It doesn't wind up being all that hard, really, and then they finish the paperwork and it's official. Larissa freaks out a bit about how the men's hockey team will fare without her, and Ginny freaks out a lot about leaving the country for the first time, but they reassure each other and finish the semester with minimum actual panic.
As her first year of college draws to a close, Larissa finds herself getting closer and closer to a girl in her art class named Sophie, who happens to manage the men's soccer team. Their conversations contain a lot of complaining about the knucklehead boys they manage and a lot of talk about art, and it's more than enough to foster a mutual crush. They make out at a men's hockey team kegster toward the end of the year—Larissa is friends with enough of the guys by now to be pretty sure that nobody will care too much about who she kisses, and even if anyone does they'll know better than to act on it—but the next morning they talk and decide that getting together right before the summer, knowing that Larissa will be studying abroad next semester, is a terrible idea.
So they go their separate ways for the summer and text constantly.
They can't text constantly when Larissa is in Kenya, because her international plan for her phone is pretty meager and wifi is kind of scarce, but they email when they can, and by the time Larissa returns to campus she's pretty sure Sophie is her best friend, with Ginny coming in second and Shitty from the men's hockey team in third. When second semester starts, Larissa and Sophie have a conversation about what it would mean for them to date and decide to give it a try.
At the end of March of sophomore year, Larissa gets back to her dorm one day to find Ginny sprawled out on the floor on her stomach. This is honestly pretty normal, so Larissa isn't concerned until she takes a few steps into the room and Ginny groans and rolls onto her back.
"What's up?" Larissa asks.
"How did you come out?" Ginny replies, which isn't an answer to Larissa's question.
Larissa shrugs. "I asked out Alison Dotterweich, and once she said yes I told people I had a girlfriend. And I updated my relationship status on Facebook. Most people were pretty cool. I got lucky living in a big city and going to public school."
"Yeah," says Ginny quietly. "I think you did."
"Is this you coming out to me?" Larissa asks.
"Yeah," Ginny whispers.
Larissa joins Ginny on the floor, though Larissa is at least sitting, not laying down. "Do you want to ask someone out, or are you just figuring things out in general?"
"Luna Lovegood," Ginny whispers, staring at the ceiling. "She's got this long, wavy blond hair and these big gray eyes and she says the weirdest things and I've never felt this way before. This isn't what liking Michael or Dean felt like at all. Luna makes me want to—to mold myself around her. Both in the sense of, like, being what she wants and in terms of being physically close." Ginny shuts her eyes and says, "Fuck, Larissa, I want to have sex with her."
"Ginny?" Larissa says carefully. "I know picking a label is your decision and you know yourself better than I do, but, uh, have you ever considered that you might be a lesbian?"
"Maybe?" Ginny replies. "I don't know. I think I'm going to say I'm bi for now. Like, I can revise that later if I need to, but I think my family will take it better if they still think . . . and anyway I'm not sure I only like girls. Like, I liked this one guy for years growing up, and . . . I don't know. I think bisexual is what feels true right now."
Privately, Larissa is thinking comp het, but she doesn't say that out loud. If Larissa is right, Ginny will figure it out eventually, and telling her probably won't speed anything up, and if Larissa is wrong then it definitely doesn't bear saying.
The women's soccer team has a kegster the next weekend, and Larissa goes, as usual. Ginny is always in her element at these things, but this time is something else. Ginny dresses up in what Larissa (who sees the contents of Ginny's closet on a daily basis) is pretty sure are her queerest clothes and spends nearly the whole party talking to (read: flirting with) a thin blond girl who's wearing earrings shaped like radishes. That must be Luna. Larissa's pretty wasted by the end of the night, but she's pretty sure she sees Ginny and Luna making out as she's leaving.
The next morning, Ginny confirms she's dating Luna and has a bit of a crisis about how to tell her family. Larissa reminds her that she doesn't have to tell her family anything right now and that coming out the day after starting a relationship might put a lot of pressure on said relationship. Ginny thanks her and decides to give it a few weeks, and then one day Larissa gets a text that says, I'm about to come out to my parents. Can you come back to the room in an hour and check on me? Larissa agrees, and, when she gets back to the room, she finds Ginny studying (on the floor, of course).
"How did it go?" Larissa asks.
"Fine?" Ginny says. "My dad asked a bunch of questions, some of which were a little weird, and my mom just said she hopes I know that she and my dad love me. So that was good. I texted my brothers in our group chat and most of them are being good about it. I haven't heard back from Percy yet, but I don't care that much about his opinion, honestly. Fred and George are being cool and that's the main thing. I mean, I figured they would be, but it's always nice to have confirmation of that, you know?"
"Yeah," says Larissa. "I know. So you and Luna are solid?"
"Oh my gosh, so solid," Ginny replies. "She's amazing, and she makes me feel like myself somehow, you know? Like I can be myself around her, but also like I'm figuring out what that means, in a way I never have before. It's like I'm letting down layers of my guard that I didn't even know were there."
Larissa thinks, but does not say, that she's becoming more convinced than ever that Ginny is a lesbian.
It's October of junior year, and Ginny and Larissa are still rooming together, when Ginny walks into the dorm and says to Larissa, "You know my friend whose last name is Potter?"
Larissa looks up from her textbook. "James? Yeah, I've met him. Why?"
"Well, she just came out as trans," says Ginny. "Her name is Harriet now."
"Oh!" says Larissa. "Good for her. That's cool."
"Yeah." Ginny's frowning.
"Ginny? What's up? You don't look happy. Do you have a problem with Harriet being trans?"
"What? No!" says Ginny quickly. "I'm just worried I'm going to fuck something up. Like, use the wrong pronouns or accidentally call her James or something."
"Oh," says Larissa, calming down. "Well, that's manageable. You can practice with me, or by yourself, or with other people who know, and I bet Harriet will understand if you fuck up occasionally as long as she knows you're trying and you correct yourself."
"Really?" says Ginny.
Larissa shrugs. "I can't make any promises on Harriet's behalf, but probably. And you can definitely practice with me. Just, like, tell me about her, and use her name and pronouns over and over."
"That's a good idea." Ginny drops her backpack and settles into her desk chair. "My friend Harriet is an education major. She plays intramural soccer with me every spring. She lives with my brother Ron in an apartment off-campus. Harriet has black hair and green eyes and she's only a little bit taller than I am. Her favorite movies are action movies. She . . ." Ginny goes on for a while, and Larissa nods encouragingly as Ginny doesn't mess up Harriet's name or pronouns even once.
Larissa doesn't remember Samwell doing anything for International Women's Day her first two years of college, but for some reason her junior year there's a daylong event and students are allowed to skip classes. Larissa was sick for a full week last month, though, so she's already pushing her absence limit in her classes, so she decides to just go to the event in between her classes.
The event is so small that Larissa almost wonders if the Women's and Gender Studies department is having a competing event or something, because it feels like more of those students would come to something like this. Instead of overflowing like Samwell's social justice-focused events sometimes are, it's Shitty, a female philosophy professor, a female political science professor, a female chaplain, a few other female students, and Larissa. The size of the group fluctuates a bit as people come and go (Larissa's not the only one who's still going to class today), but it's usually between eight and fifteen people. They read feminist texts aloud to each other, they sing, and they talk about ways that sexism has influenced their lives. It should be good. It should be really good, and Larissa can't tell why it's not.
All she knows is that, when she leaves for lunch, she can't force herself to return to the event afterward; instead, she finds herself back in her dorm, sobbing so hard she nearly throws up the food she just ate.
She gets out her phone and texts Sophie.
Sophie shows up a few minutes later, exclaiming worriedly over Larissa, who's still sobbing, as Larissa lets her into the room.
"What's going on?" Sophie asks once they're both sitting on Larissa's bed.
Larissa tries to speak and can't. She gets out her phone and texts Sophie, I don't think I can do this anymore. The enforced femininity thing.
"What do you mean?" Sophie asks out loud, rubbing Larissa's back.
Larissa tries to keep breathing as she types, I don't think I'm a woman.
"Oh," says Sophie. "You're . . . trans?"
Larissa shrugs, though she's not sure that's noticeable given how hard she's been shaking this whole time. I don't think I'm a guy. Nonbinary, probably?
"Okay," says Sophie. "Do you want different pronouns?"
Larissa looks at Sophie and then types, You're a lesbian.
Sophie sighs. "Yeah, I am, and we can talk about what this means for us later. You're clearly distressed right now, so I'm pretty sure that's what we should focus on at the moment."
Larissa nods and then just buries her face in Sophie's neck and cries for several minutes. Then, when she's pulled herself together a bit, she checks the time on her phone and realizes she needs to get to class. She manages to say out loud that it's time for class, brushes off Sophie's concerns about whether she'll be okay, cleans herself up in the bathroom, and goes to throw some clay.
Larissa and Sophie give it three weeks. Larissa thinks a lot about pronouns, about how hard it would (will) be to get everyone used to saying they and them instead of she and her. Larissa thinks about names, and how Lardo (which has been a hockey-only name until now) feels truer than Larissa ever has.
After three weeks, Lardo shows up at Sophie's dorm and says, "I want to use they/them pronouns, I want to go by Lardo all the time, and I think we should break up, because you're a lesbian."
Sophie says, "Obviously I can't force you to be in a relationship with me, and I'm not going to try, but I do want to say that the way I conceptualize my sexuality is that I'm attracted to women and some enbies, and like, finding out that you're nonbinary doesn't change my attraction to you."
"That makes me dysphoric, though," says Lardo. "At least, I'm pretty sure dysphoric is the right term for this. Like, just the term lesbian . . . even if what that means to you isn't exclusively about women, it's still—I don't think I can do this."
"You're still femme-aligned, though," says Sophie doubtfully.
Lardo recoils. "Am I? I've only known I'm nonbinary for like three weeks. I don't think I've figured that out yet. And whatever I do decide on that front, it's my call to make, not yours."
"Okay," says Sophie, putting up her hands in a gesture of surrender. "You're right. It sounds like we shouldn't date, and I'm sorry for boxing you in like that. Can we still be friends, though? I mean, after a few weeks or whatever. Because I still think you're awesome and I'm pretty sure I'm going to keep thinking that no matter what happens."
"Yeah," says Lardo. "That sounds good. Can we grab dinner in the dining hall like a month from now? That should give us time to sort out our feelings and shit."
"Sounds good," says Sophie. "Thanks, Lardo."
When Lardo comes out to Ginny that night, Ginny says, "Let's go suit shopping tomorrow."
Lardo had been prepared for several different reactions, but that wasn't one of them. "What?"
"That one department store in town is closing next month, and they're having a clearance sale," Ginny explains patiently. "I saw the signs in the window on my way back from Ron and Harriet's apartment. I bet they have suits. Let's try and find some tomorrow."
"We're both thin and AFAB. Everything is going to be way too big for us," Lardo argues.
Ginny shrugs. "I mean, maybe? They might have suits for boys, though, not just for men. Let's just give it a try."
"Since when do you want a suit?" Lardo asks.
Ginny stares at the floor. "I've been thinking about what you said. About whether I might be lesbian. And I think you might be right about that. And I've been toying with the label butch, like, in my head. But I don't know. I dressed in my brothers' hand-me-downs a lot when I was really little, and I liked that, and I didn't like having to switch to feminine clothes, but now I've gotten kind of used to dressing femme? I don't know. I've been thinking about it a lot, though, and it feels like a clearance sale might be a good place to get something if I'm thinking of experimenting and I'm not quite sure what I want."
"Honestly, I think a secondhand store would be a better bet. How far are you willing to drive?" Lardo asks, since Ginny is the one with the car.
"What do you have in mind?"
Lardo explains about the Goodwill they frequented in high school, and Ginny agrees to drive to it tomorrow after they both finish their classes. They don't find suits, exactly, so maybe they should have gone to the department store in town, but they do find nice-ish masc clothing that fits each of them, which Lardo considers a win. Ginny is honestly trembling when she exits the dressing room for the first time wearing a button-down and some men's dress pants, but Lardo squeezes Ginny's shoulder and things improve.
On the drive back to Samwell, Lardo plays the queerest music they have on their phone, blasting Jill Sobule's "I Kissed a Girl" and the Indigo Girls' "Shame on You" and "Joking" and Queen's "Somebody to Love." Ginny's heard most of the songs before, having shared a room with Lardo for nearly three years at this point, and both of them sing along. It feels good.
The first thing Lardo does after Shitty gives them his dibs is call Ginny and tell her they're not going to live together next year. Ginny is sad but says she understands that Lardo would want to live with their hockey friends, and by the end of the conversation Ginny is musing about trying to move into the women's soccer house, which is just a few doors down from the Haus.
Ginny and Lardo are at one of their weekly Annie's dates in October, just before the last fall midterms of their college careers, when Ginny says, "I think I'm not a girl either." They just sat down with their drinks, which are still full, and Lardo sloshes hot coffee on themself. Ginny hands them a couple napkins and says, "You seem more surprised than I thought you'd be."
Lardo cleans themself up and says, "Sorry. I just—even having watched you come into yourself these past few years, I think there's still part of me that remembers you the way you were when we first met at 18, back when you told me you were the straight part of the gay-straight alliance. And like, obviously I know you've grown and changed and figured a whole bunch of things out since then. Sorry. Just. Wow. Both of us, huh? Do you have thoughts on pronouns, or your name?"
"They/them, I think. I've thought a lot about my name, and . . . I don't know. There isn't another name that I really like, right now. I've thought about going by my initials, but Ginny Weasley becomes GW, which is what everyone calls George Washington University, and Ginny Molly becomes GM, which is General Motors, and GMW is both too many syllables and also too much like BMW. So. I think I'm going to keep going by Ginny for now. And I still think I'm pretty exclusively attracted to women, or maybe women and some nonbinary people, so 'lesbian' still feels like it's in the right ballpark. 'Themsbian' is kind of a fun portmanteau, and I think it's probably what feels best, but 'lesbian' doesn't feel wrong, either."
"Cool," says Lardo, holding out a fist for a fist bump.
Ginny rolls their eyes but bumps Lardo's fist.
"So," says Lardo. "Who are you out to now, and do you have plans about who else to come out to in the near future?"
"I came out to my housemates last night," says Ginny. "No one else, yet, but I'm planning on letting my professors know right after fall break. I think I'll wait to tell my family until around Christmas, but I think I'll drop something in the team group chat in the next couple days."
"Swawesome," says Lardo. "Good for you, seriously. And like, welcome to the trans side, and all that. We have cookies."
"Ooh, can I have a cookie?" Ginny asks.
"Sure," says Lardo. "I bet Bitty will be thrilled to make you some coming-out cookies, if you feel like coming out to SMH as well as your team."
"For Bitty cookies? Totally," says Ginny. "Like, I want to be out, and those are a hell of an incentive."
So, when they finish their coffee, Lardo and Ginny walk to the Haus. Bitty's in the kitchen, which isn't even a little bit surprising, so Ginny comes out to him, and he hugs them and then sets about making them a batch of snickerdoodles.
Second semester of Lardo's senior year is the most stressful part of college. On top of taking classes and managing the hockey team, both of which they've gotten used to after three and a half years, they also have to work on finding a job (read: deciding to what extent they're willing to sell their soul) and figuring out where they're going to live. They've kind of always assumed they'll move back to Boston after college, but now they're trying to figure out the logistics of doing that and realizing that it'll be a fuckton more expensive than they realized.
And then Shitty visits—on Ransom and Holster's invitation, it turns out—and Shitty, Lardo, Ransom, and Holster have a conversation about post-college living arrangements, which the three guys have apparently been tentatively discussing already. Ransom and Holster have figured out consulting gigs in Boston at the same startup, Shitty's already in Boston, and Lardo doesn't have a job lined up yet but wants to move back. Lardo had almost been wondering if Ginny wanted to move back to Boston, too, and reprise their roommate experience, but Haus 2.0 sounds equally swawesome, and splitting rent four ways rather than two makes a lot of sense.
After they've all hammered out the basic logistics for looking for Haus 2.0, Ransom and Holster head off to a captains' meeting with Hall and Murray, leaving Shitty and Lardo alone together. It's quiet for a few moments, which Lardo wasn't expecting—this is Shitty, after all—and then he says, quietly, "Lards?"
"Yeah?" they reply, matching his volume.
"I know we were talking about looking for a house with four bedrooms, but, uh, I was wondering . . ." He trails off, runs a hand through his regrown flow, takes a deep breath, and mutters, "Fuck it." He meets Lardo's gaze and says, "Look. I think you're fucking rad. Like, the coolest. And I want to date you. I've wanted that for years, to be honest. And like, I know it's super soon, but—if you want that too, how would you feel about sharing a room? We could put off the decision for a while, if you want—like, we can definitely look for places with four bedrooms and then talk about subletting one of the rooms if you do decide you want to live with me, but just—fuck, do you want that?"
Lardo's head is spinning. "You—seriously?"
"I wouldn't joke about something like this."
"No, I know," Lardo assures him. "Just, we're bros, right?"
"If that's what you want," says Shitty. "I've liked you for a long time, but I know getting together is a decision that either of us can veto. I promise not to be mad or make things awkward. I hope you trust me with that."
Lardo nods. "Definitely. I know you're all about that affirmative consent. I want to think about it. Can I let you know in a week?"
"Yeah, for sure," says Shitty.
So Lardo takes the week to think. They think about the way Shitty was faster than anyone else in SMH at learning their pronouns and how he offered to fight their professors if anyone was transphobic toward them. They think about destroying him at beer pong and flip cup and how he was always a gracious loser and in fact seemed more excited about Lardo winning than anything else. They think about sitting on the Reading Room with him eating Skittles and getting dibs. They think about bedazzling stuff with him at four a.m. the night before their junior art show. They think about all the conversations the two of them have had in the last four years, from the mundane to the silly to the ridiculously deep. As they think about it, they realize that they've got a kind of a huge number of good memories with Shitty, and an equally huge desire to make more.
They're not ready to sign up for sharing a room for a whole year with someone they're newly dating, though.
Lardo and Shitty had set up a Skype date before Shitty left Samwell after the housing discussion, so Lardo logs on to Skype when a week has passed and is greeted by a slightly pixelated image of Shitty's face. "Lards!" says Shitty when the call connects. "Have you made a decision?"
"Yeah, at least for now," says Lardo. "I want to try dating you, but I'm not ready to share a room with you. I think I want to sleep with you at some point in the not-super-distant future, but I also don't want to be stuck sharing a room with you if things don't work out. I think sharing a house would be okay, and I trust that we could still be bros if we broke up, but obviously sharing a room would suck if that happened. We can reevaluate in, like, December? If you want, I mean. How does that all sound to you?"
"That sounds great," says Shitty. "I hear what you're saying, about sharing a room early on in a relationship. I think we're going to work out, because it's you and me, but I know we don't know that yet and it's okay if you're not as convinced as I am. We can reevaluate in December if you want, but if you want to date and also have your own space on a more permanent basis, that works too."
"Cool," says Lardo. "Swawesome."
Ginny's a couple minutes late to one of their weekly Annie's dates with Lardo in April. When they arrive, they drop into the seat across from Lardo, grinning, and say, "I'm dating Harriet."
Ginny and Luna had broken up amicably midway through junior year and, to Lardo's knowledge, Ginny hasn't dated anyone since then. Ginny hadn't gone for hookups prior to Luna, and if that's changed Lardo hasn't heard about it, but then again they're not living together anymore and Ginny might just not like sharing deets, so they could totally be having hookups and just not talking about them with Lardo. Regardless, this is the first romantic/sexual news Lardo has heard about Ginny in over a year. They raise their coffee in a toast-slash-salute gesture. "Congratulations! Since when?"
"Last Saturday?" Ginny says. "You know Harriet and Ron still live in Samwell since Ron's coaching the high school soccer team and working at Annie's, and Harriet's teaching middle school social studies, and they both managed to get hired in town. So I was at their apartment on Saturday, and Ron was out at a soccer game, so it was just Harriet and me, and . . . I guess we had a lot to talk about? I think we've liked each other for a while. I mean, I know I've liked her for a while, but it seems mutual, which is nice. We just kissed, but it was a really lovely evening."
"That's great," says Lardo. "I'm really glad you two talked and figured things out."
Ginny rolls their eyes. "Do not try to tell me that you figured it out before we did."
Lardo mimes zipping their lips, just to be obnoxious, but then they concede, "No. I thought you might like Harriet, but I haven't spent enough time with her to have much of an idea as to whether she liked you back."
Ginny nods. "That makes sense. But she does. It's kind of the best thing."
Lardo knows that kissing the ice, packing up the Haus, and heading off to Boston with the bros will take most of their time immediately before and after graduation, which means they're going to need to be intentional about finding time to spend with Ginny before they go their separate ways. They can't believe how lucky they got, being assigned to live with such a kickass human being through something as random as first-year room draw.
They meet up with Ginny on South Quad the morning before graduation, and the two of them climb a tree together, which they haven't done since probably the fall of sophomore year. Once they've both gotten settled in the branches, Ginny says, "I'm so glad Res Life stuck us together."
"I was just thinking that too," says Lardo.
Ginny smiles. "Thanks. But like, I'm not as brave as you are. And when I got to college I didn't know pretty much anything about queerness. If it hadn't been for you, I might've been that repressed Catholic school alum for, like, ever."
Lardo shakes their head. "I think you would've figured it out."
"I hope so," says Ginny, "but I'm really not sure."
"Well, you're welcome, I guess. You were a pretty swawesome roommate too, you know that?"
"Thanks," says Ginny.
They stare out at the Pond together for a couple hours, reminiscing about kegsters and parties, nights in the dorm and nights in the library. They come down when they get hungry and head off to the dining hall together, one last time.
How can four years mean so much?