Title: Altruistic Streak
Rating: PG
Genre: Gen
Word Count: 573
Summary: "One day, John, that altruistic streak is going to get you killed."
A/N: No betas other than the kind folks at LJ who pointed out some quick errors (I love you guys! :D) Teeny tiny spoilers for "Outcast" as far as John's past is concerned, no other spoilers to be found! And technically... it could almost work for any season. How 'bout that?

"One day, John, that altruistic streak is going to get you killed."

It wasn't the final argument he'd had with Dave, but it was one of the last. It was his brother's roundabout way of reminding John to look after himself, because wouldn't that suck if they had to bury him and all of his secrets before John managed to get himself kicked out of the Air Force. It was always good to know that his family held John in such high esteem.

Last week he'd had a similar, almost biting conversation with Rodney on the same subject after John had almost gotten his head blown off throwing McKay out of the line of fire. John had just smirked, because he had never noticed the similarities between Rodney's and Dave's rants before. Both of their faces would flush bright red and their cheeks would puff out like an angry goldfish.

His mirth only served to stir Rodney up more. The scientist's tone pitched high enough to the point of squeaking with outrage. The chipmunk-like rage was the exact opposite of his oversized little brother that John couldn't help but merge the two images. Dave with his linebacker physique and cheeks puffed out like a furry woodland creature as he squeaked obscenities about John's latest self-preservation faux pas like a deranged Alvin the Chipmunk. It was little wonder that John had collapsed into a fit of snickering.

So lost in his own mirth, John didn't even see the fist flying until he had landed on the floor. He rubbed his cheek in astonishment, watching as Rodney turned an interesting shade of fuchsia from his apoplectic rage.

Several hours of separation, John's secret stash of Jamaica Blue Mountain, and an awkward almost-apology later, Rodney decided he might consider speaking to Sheppard again.

John didn't bother trying to explain the image of a chipmunked Dave Sheppard to Rodney, because in all likelihood they would never have a chance to meet. Hell, in all likelihood John would never see his brother again, because it had been too long and far too many angry words had been spoken to simply sweep them under the rug.

One week later, John had been attempting to pull an unconscious Teyla out of harm's way, not realizing that one of their attackers had circled around the back. He looked up after the shot to see that Rodney had stupidly stepped in between. It meant nothing that Rodney had been wearing a bullet-proof vest or that the shot had been from such a distance that the only physical mark left was an angry bruise across the scientist's ribcage.

As soon as they got back to Atlantis, John had his own chipmunk rant about breaking cover, taking stupid risks, and ignoring the general rules of self-preservation.

"So, John H. Sheppard, are you done yet?" Rodney asked casually as he shifted the icepack on his ribs.

John narrowed his eyes as Rodney smiled smugly.

"I just assume that the 'H' stands for hypocrite."

The rant resumed.

His middle name was Allen, but that was beside the point. John was allowed to take the risks, he was allowed to break cover, and most of all, it was his responsibility to take a bullet meant for his team. John had long ago accepted that his "altruistic streak" might one day be the death of him—

—he had just never considered that it might get someone else killed.