Summary: Sheppard kept one eye on the path ahead and one to the sky.

Rating: Teen

Genre: General/Drama

A/N: Written from Theme #19 in the Theme Challenge at the WPBA forum.

Grey Skies

By NenyaVilyaNenya

'Every time. It never changes.'

Sheppard kept one eye on the path ahead and one to the sky.

The familiar sight greeted him as it did every morning the sun rose on a grey, cloudy sky.

Sheppard estimated the bird had a wingspan of eleven to twelve feet, making it larger than a California condor by over a foot.

But the strangest thing about the bird was not its size, it was its color. It matched a robin's egg perfectly. Somehow against the grey sky, it still managed to stand out.

These were the mornings he looked forward to. He liked the feeling of someone flying overhead, like his own watchman, someone there was absolutely no possibility of holding a conversation with.

Sure Ronon wasn't much of a talker when they ran together, but he was still another person, and that meant keeping something of a wall up. He couldn't swear at Pegasus at the top of his lungs when they lost another Expedition member, or, on fewer occasions, let tears fall when he ran with the Satedan.

But he could with the bird.

He didn't know where it came from or where it flew off to, only that he would hear its call and it would appear overhead, keeping perfect pace with him as she ran on the North Pier before joining Ronon inside on the catwalks.

Nothing ever happened on one of these days. Nothing. No Wraith attacks, no deaths, no missions-or-city exploration-gone-wrong, even the morning they discovered the once-every-twenty-year storm was sunny.

In the back of Sheppard's head he was always prepared for disaster, it was required in Pegasus, but if there was any day he relaxed more than usual, it was days like today.

The bird was one of the few constants of his life. Each mission could go wrong, even a new discovery in Atlantis could prove hazardous, but the bird would always be there when the sky was grey, signifying at least that day was going to be okay.

The grey morning the bird wasn't flying would be the day Sheppard really worried.