So. Against my somewhat better judgement, I think I'm going to post this fic that I've had sitting on my harddrive for... a long time.
Title: The Survivor (thank you to theemdash for the title!)
Fandom: Harry Potter
Rating: PG, I guess.
Pairing: It's vaguely Remus/Sirius, but mostly it's more like a Remus gen.
Beta: It was beta'd briefly by barbed_whispers for me, because she is awesome. sometimes.
Most people think that living -- the actual physical act of living -- is easy. They're either wrong or just very lucky.
Every breath is a struggle, every moment another where you could close your lungs and decide to end it forever. Remus understands this, just as he understands the compulsion to just stop.
The night James and Lily died, the night that Sirius was lost to him, he stopped breathing. And it was like a horrible weight was lifting, as he surrendered. What made him start again, he wasn't sure; it happened suddenly, in one long, shuddering breath that hurt the entire time. Then he took another one, and another, but the sense of his lungs was so great within him, and he had to struggle to live, to will his body to function the way it was meant to function.
There were times, after that, when he was unaware of his breathing again. Moments in which his body took over and kept him alive without him realizing it, but whenever he thought of that long black hair, and the way it felt in his hands, his breathing would stop again. And in those moments, Remus knew: he was not living; he was surviving. That was all he would ever do -- his life had been lost in the breath of a traitor, and in a flash of green.