Loyalty: A Two Way Street

By: Bar-Ohki

Disclaimer: I have no legal rights to Fullmetal Alchemist, so don't sue me.

Rating: T Because military folk swear a lot. And there's just the more mature stuff that's associated with adults.

Summary: Edward was right, equivalent exchange applied to just about everything…. Oneshot

Other Stuff: This is written for EdElricRules as an early Christmas present. I'm using military time and keeping the time frame in the 1910s, which means iPods will not make an appearance in my story.

The Apartment of Jean Havoc, 18:00

Second Lieutenant Jean Havoc was a soldier under the direct command of Colonel Roy Mustang, Flame Alchemist. Jean considered himself well off; his commanding officer was intelligent and caring and because of that Jean was infinitely thankful. Of course there were disadvantages to working under Colonel Mustang, Jean wasn't disillusioned about it. After all, no one was perfect. Mustang was arrogant, lazy, overly ambitious, and had a nasty habit of stealing Jean's girlfriends.

With a small sigh, Jean pulled off his uniform coat and hung it on the rack. It had been a long day at work; Major Edward Elric, the Fullmetal Alchemist, had returned from his latest field work assignment and came banging into the office, yelling and screaming injustice at Colonel Mustang for wasting his time with wild goose chases. Hawkeye must have just started her period or something because she was especially moody and irritable today, shooting at anyone or thing that annoyed her slightly. Mustang had been trying to be lazy and avoid his paperwork, as per usual, and provoked Hawkeye needlessly. Currently Jean was wondering how he managed to get through the workday without getting shot in the head.

Carefully Jean picked his way through his messy living room to his phone. He picked it up and dialed his operator. After two rings there was a click.

"Hello, Mr. Havoc, how can I help you today?" The male operator asked him. He was an old man that Jean had never seen in person but had gotten to know very well over the years.

"Are there any messages for me?" Jean inquired.

"Sandra Marson said, and quote: 'we're over, bye'." The operator relayed for him. Jean groaned loudly.

"Thanks."

"Anytime. Good luck finding your next girl." The operator hung up and Jean soon followed suit. For a moment Jean's hand remained on the phone while he entertained the realization that he didn't know his operator's name.

"I should ask him…." Jean muttered, turned to face his disaster zone of a living room. "And I should clean up…." Yup, it was official. Jean Havoc lived in a bachelor pad. With a grunt Jean began to clean his apartment. Afterwards he cooked himself dinner in his amazingly clean kitchen. Jean liked a clean kitchen, it meant that there wasn't strange viruses growing near his food. When he finished his meal and cleaning up the dishes, Jean walked onto his little balcony and lit a cigarette.

Jean began chuckling when he remembered his comrades giving him a bunch of shit about smoking; hell, Hawkeye often shot the ends off his cigarettes to prove the point. They didn't realize he smoked because it relaxed him, and in an office as stressful as Colonel Mustang's, he needed them. He took another drag of the cigarette.

"Damn." Jean muttered realizing the cigarette was done. He put it out on his boot heel and walked back into his apartment. Shooting a glance at the phone, Jean decided he'd have a little word with his commanding officer tomorrow. Then he put on his pajamas, brushed his teeth and crawled into bed for the evening.

The Next Day, Central Military Headquarters. 09:15

"You're late." First Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye commented when Colonel Mustang came in. The Colonel yawned loudly in response.

"Sorry, the lady I went out with last night kept me up." Mustang grumbled sleepily as he made his way to his desk and the stack of paperwork he would spend the greater part of the day ignoring.

"Who was the lady?" Havoc asked, a hint of acid in his tone.

"Uh… Sandra Marson." Mustang answered after a little thought. "She's pretty good in bed."

"Dammit!" Havoc hissed, pissed. "You stole another one of my girlfriends!"

"Did I?" Mustang smirked, amused. "I'm sorry." It wasn't sincere.

Bang! Hawkeye's gun.

"Get to work." She hissed dangerously. Both men went back to work quickly.

Same Day, Central Military Headquarters. 11:53

Jean Havoc had been efficient that morning (at least according to Hawkeye) and was rewarded with getting the pleasure of going to lunch on time. He reached the mess hall and saw the familiar red coat of Edward Elric. Quickly grabbing a tray with some mass-produced substance they claimed was 'food' (no one was really sure). He walked over and set his tray next to the young boy.

"Hey Chief." Jean smiled and sat down next to Edward. "Where's your brother?"

"Al's at the library organizing my notes. He knocked them over earlier and since he doesn't have to eat, he's just going to stay there and clean up the mess." Edward explained, shoveling some of the glop of the day into his mouth, not seeming to care how strange the glop smelled. Jean nodded, trying not to reel at the slightly disturbing sight of Edward consuming the 'food'.

"The Colonel stole another one of my girlfriends." Jean moaned. He knew that Edward wasn't a fan of the Colonel and would be a fairly sympathetic ear to Jean's woes.

"Again?" Edward asked.

"Why does he do that!?" Jean demanded, groaning.

"Equivalent exchange." Edward answered, taking a long swig of his coffee.

"What the heck does that have to do with anything!?" Jean was furious with the idea that Ed's motto could be applied to his dating issues.

"If Mustang had a mission to go into the depths of Hell, would you follow him if he asked you to?" Edward asked Jean sincerely.

"Well, yeah." Jean answered without hesitation. Colonel Mustang was the only man he'd trust to go on any mission and have them return safely. Mustang watched the front and Jean manned the back; that was how they did things.

"So how much do you think Mustang trusts you?" Edward asked.

"With his life, however much that is." Jean answered.

"And you trust him just as much?" Edward had a knowing smile on his lips.

"Yes."

"Well we all know loyalty is about mutual trust right?" Edward waited until he got a nod from Jean. "I assure you that Mustang is just as loyal to you as you are to him."

"I already know that!" Jean snorted.

"Which means he looks out and cares for you the best he can, even if it means a sacrifice on his part." Edward explained.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Jean asked, the last sentence being lost on him.

"Well the reason you want a girlfriend is to find your life partner, right?" Edward asked him, catching Jean off guard.

"Yes."

"What kind of girl would make any sort of good life partner if she's easily persuaded to get into bed with another man?" Edward asked Jean.

"Oh." Jean understood.

"He steals your girlfriends to test them." Edward nodded with a small smile.

"You're really smart." Jean commented.

"I know that." Edward grinned and stood up. "Good luck with your next girl!"

"Thanks Chief." Jean wore a smile the rest of the day. He knew that loyalty was a two way street, he would give anything for his Colonel and his Colonel would give anything for him. Even if it was a strange way to go about doing it, Colonel Mustang meant well. Jean returned to the office and decided he'd give his commanding officer a little slack.

"Hey womanizer, why don't you get your work done so you don't keep your date waiting?" Jean asked him with a smirk of his own. Mustang gave him a short glare.

"At least I get girls." He snorted.

"Yeah, girls without substance." Jean waved him off and sat down at his desk and went back to work. Mustang stared at Jean, stunned. Jean gave him an honest smile and thankful expression. After a little while Roy returned it with an unspoken 'anytime, my friend'.

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Review because Havoc needs love too!