just re-read the hiking do you did for coops and OMG ITS SO ADORABLE 🥰 made me feel so warm i love it sm your writing is just 😙🤌 *chefs kiss* i would love to read more of coops dates if you have the time to write no pressure ofc
Warm and fuzzy fics on a rainy day here :) Turns out, the cure for writer's block is listening to Country Roads. Coops credit goes to @lumosinlove!
Sirius had wanted to laugh, at first. Cornfields on cornfields on billboards on cornfields—everywhere he looked, splotches of pale yellow stood out amidst seas of dusty green stalks. The road, hot from summer sun, kicked up reddish earth as they trundled down pin-straight roads and wove around potholes the size of a small elephants. But Hope’s kitschy little Camry took them safely through the minefield without protest under Remus’ careful guidance.
His hands squeaked a little on the steering wheel in harmony with the radio. It fizzed and popped as their cell service wavered; Remus’ fingertips kept the rhythm. “Misty taste of moonshine, teardrop in my eye,” he sang under his breath as they followed a curve past yet another billboard with some Bible verse or another stamped proudly across it. Sirius smiled at the rasp of his low baritone and settled back against the soft seat, stretching his legs as far as it would let him.
It was the only time he ever saw Remus not absolutely petrified behind the wheel. Gryffindor was busy and loud and fast, but the outskirts of Madison were a whole other world. A world full of corn, sure, yet unquestionably slower. A hawk wheeled lazily overhead and a hare went skittering into the field next to them—Sirius watched a gust of wind ruffle the tallest tips of the young crop.
“Knee high by the Fourth of July.”
He blinked, turning to Remus. “Quoi?”
“The corn.” Remus inclined his head toward the field on their left, his thumb moving gently over Sirius’ hand where it rested on his thigh. “If it’s knee-height by July, it’s growing right.”
“How do you know that?” Sirius laughed.
“How do you not?”
“Believe it or not, corn isn’t a staple crop of urban Montréal. And we don’t care about the Fourth of July.”
Remus gave the back of his hand a flick, grinning. “Buzzkill Canadians. You’re missing out.”
They lapsed back into comfortable silence as the song changed to something equally folksy and acoustic. Sirius stifled a yawn in his hand; he had slept well, always did when they stayed over at the Lupins’, but the rumble of the engine and hiss of the car’s ancient A/C made his limbs heavy, his brain fuzzy. Remus’ quiet humming picked up again.
“You’re not nervous,” Sirius noted when they passed a tractor.
Remus quirked a brow. “Right now? No, not really.”
“You never like driving past trucks.”
“Mmm, yeah. It’s different. I know he saw me and those guys get a ton of practice leaving space on the road. It’s the jacked-up pickups that scare me.”
Sirius nodded, mostly to himself. He supposed he couldn’t judge when Remus had been driving for two full hours without issue. No whiteknuckling was always a good sign. “I’ll be sure not to drive one of those.”
“You’re missing a Bud Lite and a backwards hat,” Remus snorted as he checked his blindspot and switched lanes. “And maybe a neckbeard, if you’re really feeling it.”
Sirius pulled a face, scratching at his neck on instinct, and they gave in to a half-minute of laughter before it died down again and left Joni Mitchell to fill the car. He had never enjoyed road trips as a child—save for roadies, of course—but they had become a lifeline once he got his license. He would lie and say he was going to the rink, then drive through the city just to breathe. For a few months before scouting started, that handful of hours was the only escape.
Road trips were so different with Remus. Not an escape, but an adventure. Not tinged with worry or the knowledge that he had to return to the bear trap of his childhood home, but heavy with the promise of something fascinating at the end of it. Sirius followed the curves of a telephone line with his eyes and let his thoughts drift from the weight of Remus’ hand on his own to the twitching muscles beneath as his foot eased off the accelerator.
They had left just past sunrise, stopping at a diner in town for their early bird special and easily the best hashbrowns Sirius had ever eaten. He dozed while Remus drove, then woke just past nine when Remus gave his knee a squeeze to point out a river cutting along the side of the road. Ducks flapped their wings in greeting as they drove past, never above 45 miles an hour.
The car might combust if I try, Remus had joked when Sirius began to lovingly chirp him for his featherlight foot. His smile was golden in the high sun. The slowness was sweeter than the syrup on his pancakes.
A tire caught the edge of a pothole and they both winced; Sirius heard the basket in the backseat rattle and glanced over his shoulder to make sure it was still secure. “All good?” Remus checked.
“Nah, we didn’t bring any of those.”
“Perfect,” Sirius repeated with a poor imitation of Remus’ accent and a light smack to his outer thigh. “Rien que pour ça, je ne parlerai pas en anglaise pour la journée.”
Remus lifted his hand and kissed the back, sparing a quick glance away from the road to catch his eye with a playful look. “Desolée, mon amour.”
Sirius scoffed around the happy, warm thing blooming in his chest. “Are we there yet?”
“Look at you go!”
“I’m trying,” Remus laughed, settling their hands back on his thigh (where they belonged, in Sirius’ personal opinion). “Almost there, baby.”
He expected a highway to open up ahead, or perhaps a paved road. Hell, even gravel wouldn’t have been too surprising.
But Remus kept driving, the only car on the road, then turned off onto an even narrower dirt path with deep grooves from dozens of cars before it. Broken glass littered the cracked, dry mud in some spots; beer tabs were scattered like confetti in some spots. “Re?” he began. “Do you need a map?”
The cornstalks grew higher and denser around them. “Are you planning on murdering me?”
“Sacrificing me to aliens?”
“It was on the list, but no.”
“Leaving me out here to die among the corn?”
Remus pulled to a stop in a small clearing, where dead husks had flattened out the ground and someone had dragged a few rickety two-by-four benches in. A hill tumbled down ahead, opening into a vast expanse of fields and a busy road at least a mile away. He gave a satisfied nod and turned the ignition off, then leaned over to kiss Sirius’ cheek. “I’m not going to abandon you in a corn maze. Grab the basket?”
“Why do you know this place?” Sirius asked, biting back a groan of relief when he could finally stand and stretch his legs.
Remus braced against the car to crack his back before opening the trunk and hauling their blanket out. “This is the designated spot for drunken teenagers.”
“…you brought me to a hotbed of underage drinking for a date?”
“I brought you to the most secluded area I know for a romantic picnic,” Remus corrected, taking him by the hand. “The teenagers won’t start coming by until six at the earliest. And don’t act like you didn’t drink with your teammates, too.”
Sirius raised a skeptical brow. “Think about that for a moment.”
Remus paused with one foot on the edge of the blanket, then wrinkled his nose. “Not even once?”
“I had curfew.”
“Man, my cousins would have a blast corrupting you.”
“Corrupting me?” Sirius set the blanket down and knelt next to Remus, winding both arms around him to drag him in for a kiss. “I’ve already been corrupted by one Lupin. What more could they do, hmm?”
Remus smiled into his mouth. His fingertips toyed with the curls at the nape of Sirius’ neck and made him shiver in the summer heat when they fell back onto the blanket. “They would love you,” he said quietly, stretching out catlike until his knees bracketed Sirius’ hips. “Almost as much as I do. They would think you were wonderful.”
“They would think I have excellent taste.” He pressed a kiss to Remus’ lower lip and watched it bounce back, petal-pink against his light tan, before moving down to his neck. “They would think you’re crazy for bringing me to an abandoned field…covered in trash…with a history of illegal activity…”
He felt every vibration of Remus’ laugh against his mouth and smiled into the curve of his throat. “Covered in trash,” Remus scoffed, though his hand traced down Sirius’ spine and drew him closer. “Illegal activity. You make me sound like a delinquent.”
“You are,” Sirius mumbled into his collarbone before giving it a nice bite that made Remus jump.
“Well, yeah, but you already knew that.” A gentle tug on his hair guided him back up to Remus’ mouth and he melted into it, savoring every chaste kiss and teasing flicker of tongue. There was impishness written in every freckle when they parted to breathe. Remus tilted his head to the side, all shades of sepia against the checkered fabric. “You look good here.”
“Home.” Remus scratched between his shoulder blades and Sirius rested his head on his sternum, feeling his heart beat beneath. He felt Remus’ long sigh, too, and watched the jut of his chin become softer when he looked up to the sky. “I forget you weren’t here with me, sometimes. It feels like you’ve been in my life forever.”
Sirius hummed, fitting his hands in the divot of Remus’ waist. He had thought the same many times before.
A hand pet absently through his hair. “I love Gryff,” Remus started, then fell quiet. Sirius turned to kiss the inside of his wrist and watched the edges of his smile spread. “I love Gryff, but I miss this when I’m gone. The quiet. The roads. I know where everything is. People aren’t strangers.”
“Je sais, mon coeur.” Sirius didn’t ache for his childhood by any means, but Montréal would always be home, in a way. He missed hearing his own language spoken quick and comfortable on any street and the reflexive check for icicles as soon as Halloween hit. Like any northern city, Gryffindor grew cold in the winter, but it was always missing that certain something that made Sirius itch to breathe the crisp air crashing against the windows.
Remus huffed a laugh and ran a hand down his face before returning it to the back of Sirius’ head. “God, sorry, I’m getting all nostalgic and we still have sandwiches to eat.”
“Don’t be sorry,” Sirius protested, shuffling up his body until he could brace his arms on either side of Remus’ head. A fond, lopsided smile made his heart swell. “I was thinking about how I miss the snow back home. I get it.”
“The snow,” Remus groaned, covering his face with both hands. “It’s just wrong in Gryff.”
“It is! Too icy.”
“It doesn’t even get near the windowsills.”
Remus laughed and pulled Sirius down on top of him, then planted a sloppy kiss on his cheek. “Those southerners don’t do anything right, eh?”
“Not a thing.”
It was several minutes before they managed to separate and open the picnic basket, and several more before Sirius could tear his eyes away from Remus to actually eat despite his rumbling stomach. The wind ruffled his hair into a mess of caramel while the sun highlighted each freckle and hint of rosiness on his cheeks. There was a deep calmness in his body, all the way from his comfortable slouch to his skewed legs, dusted with the loose dirt that blew over the hillside. He was the closest thing to ethereal Sirius had ever seen.
Picturing him as a teenager running rampant through the sleepy county with its endless fields and far-reaching skies was too easy—he was lankier then, if Hope’s pictures were accurate, all moonlit mischief. Sirius never thought of his teenage self as particularly intelligent, perceptive, or anything but a bottled-up mess, but that loose cannon would have gone head over heels for Remus in this place. They would have been a terror together. He could imagine them being happy tucked away in a town where everyone knew each other. He could imagine them being happy in any lifetime.