John Sheppard didn't mourn. It just wasn't in his character. He never had and he never would.

That didn't mean that his feelings were any less than those of any other man, he just kept them covered beneath a slick, impenetrable exterior of authority and confidence.

They had come to Pegasus, all of them leaving behind their families on Earth, knowing full well that they may never be able to see them again.

And yet, they remained optimistic. Perhaps even foolishly so, considering what was awaiting them.

But they survived. They lost many in that first few months, but they survived and kept that hope that things would get better.

Things didn't get better; they got worse.

They lost even more.

Ford, Grodin, countless other scientists and military personnel were added to the legions of the growing dead.

If John Sheppard's personality was a little more subdued and his smile a bit less genuine, no one made a comment about it. He still didn't mourn, but in his own way it effected him.

And it only got worse.

There were more and more every few weeks. Some new disaster would occur, some attack would leave the Atlantis expedition crippled and they were left to pull together to recover.

In those months after the Wraith siege, an amazing thing occurred amongst those inhabiting the Ancient city.

Coworkers became comrades.

Oh, the spats were still the same; the debates didn't let up, nor did the occasional outburst of shouting and/or sarcasm (mostly if McKay was in the room), but the relationship dynamic changed and shifted, if only a little bit.

They were closer, more like a family than they had been before. As such, it hurt even more when John lost one of them, even the ones he didn't know very well. It stung as surely as any bullet wound ever could have, and ran twice as deep.

He was still human beneath that surface of military authority, but he never allowed his emotions to show beyond the realms of anger and amusement.

So instead, they manifested themselves in other, more subtle ways.

No one protested when the darker uniforms arrived at the request of Colonel Sheppard.

Somehow, the more somber, darker fabric seemed fitting.

It was a silent tribute to those they had lost, they could see that.

It was more personal for Sheppard than it was for anyone else, though. It was the display of his own unspoken sorrow and the respect he felt for his fallen brethren. While others still wore their splashes of yellow, red or blue, he remained a stark contrast in jet.

He thought of it like he was carrying a little bit of the darkness in Pegasus on his back.

A symbol.

A reminder of the fallen.

A man in black.


A/N: For the first time in the past six months, I listened to a song and it didn't remind me of Rodney. Instead, it reminded me of Sheppard. Thusly: Behold! Techie's first Shep-centric one shot! I heard 'Man In Black' (Johnny Cash) fairly recently, which made Sheppard spring to mind instantly and after getting all 'heart-expands-five-sizes'; I was reminded of the elevator promo for season three in which the uniform McKay wore was black. Which spawned this.

I certainly hope that it's a nice look at the inner working of Sheppard's head, 'cause I'm super nervous about writing for him for a change, where I usually write around him. Any good?