Alphonse Elric was the first to hear the sound. Initially, it was a very quiet sound, and it was nearly drowned out by the various noises of the moving train. But, the sound was also sharp and high-pitched, and Al was sitting right next to the source of the noise. If the suit of armor had had eyebrows, Al would have raised at least one of them. In fear of setting off his volatile brother, he stifled a laugh.
Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye was walking up the aisle on a security check when sound number two crossed the threshold of her ears. Her hearing was nearly as sharp as her sniper-sight, and she immediately honed in on the seat that had produced the noise. She glanced at Alphonse, thinking that his armor might have a squeak, but her gaze swooped down to the small blond boy who had been nearly insignificant next to the hulking armor until a louder yelp shook his body. The little teen glared at the lieutenant. This was a clear indication of his distress, because Riza Hawkeye was one of the few people who could intimidate Edward Elric. However, the glare did not last very long, as another paroxysm racked the small alchemist. The accompanying sound was a little louder than the last.
"Al, why don't you get Ed a glass of water," Hawkeye suggested. "Ed, have you tried holding your breath?"
Al got up to go to the dining car for Ed's water. He was amused by his brother's predicament, and he was grateful that his armor never got into the same situation. That would be some racket!
Hawkeye continued on her rounds, but the next peep was a little louder. She smirked as she kept to her task, but Jean Havoc's smile was wide as he turned around from his poker game and peered over the back of his seat to check out the origin of the attention-getting noise.
"What's up, Chief?" he asked, though he knew full well what was up.
Ed re-glared, but this time, the expression was ended by a double chirp. Havoc's smile widened. Falman and Breda, who were sitting across the poker game from Havoc, craned their necks, because this last sound-combo had traveled further.
Heymans Breda grinned, but Vato Falman, the human repository of both useful and useless information, began an interrogation.
"Have you held your breath, sir?" Falman asked. It was difficult to determine whether the shake of Ed's head was an affirmative sign or another hiccup-fueled spasm.
"You can try holding your mouth opened as long as possible." Falman continued, his always objective voice not reflecting his inner-hysterics. "You can also try a firm massage of your neck right under the joints of your jaw."
This spurred Second Lieutenant Breda to action. The burly man had his hands around Ed's neck and was vigorously massaging before Falman could continue his list of remedies.
"You're. Hiccup. Choking. Hiccup. Me! Hiccup!" Ed managed to squawk out.
Since the hiccups had become increasingly loud, they began to invade the sweet dreams of the occupant of the next seat up. Colonel Roy Mustang's snoozing fantasy of Lieutenant Hawkeye performing martial arts moves in a mini-skirt dissolved, and his very displeased dark eyes opened. Hearing a bit of commotion behind him, he tuned his ears in to the activities of his subordinates. He heard the voice of Vato Falman.
"Some people suggest that you should swallow air until you burp. You repeat this until the burps end the hiccups."
Then Mustang heard the reply. "Hiccup!"
The colonel's scowl transformed into a grin as a series of hiccups issued forth from behind him. Which of his subordinates was it? He hoped that it was Hawkeye. Perhaps he could convince her that a long deep kiss was a cure. However, Hawkeye then appeared coming up the aisle, followed by Alfonse Elric with a glass of water and two straws. Roy looked at Hawkeye questioningly. She suppressed any comments she had on his nap- after all, they were not in the office, and he was not exactly slacking off- and explained the situation. "Edward Elric has the hiccups, sir."
This was even better than Hawkeye being the victim of the plague. The colonel stretched and got to his feet. He took the few steps to the Elrics' seat. Alphonse was holding a glass of water. One straw was in the glass in a normal manner, and the other straw was outside of the glass. Both straws were in Ed's mouth.
Hiccup. Hiccup. Hiccup.
Edward had not yet noticed him, so Roy replaced his smile with a serious expression. "Stop hiccupping, Fullmetal. That's an order!" Mustang barked. He gracefully turned on his heel and went back to his seat, the corners of his mouth quirking up again. Lieutenant Hawkeye joined him. From behind he heard, "Hiccup. Bastard. Hiccup." Even Hawkeye snickered.
"Want to try one of my cigarettes?" asked Jean Havoc. He could have sworn that Al's suit of armor frowned at the suggestion, which certainly was not on any hiccup cure list.
"That's. Hiccup. Disgusting." Ed's face had turned cherry red.
Nearly an hour passed as Falman went through his encyclopedic knowledge of hiccup-chasers. The hiccups continued. Nothing worked. Mustang turned in his seat and leaned into the aisle to see exactly what his team was up to. He saw that Edward was now beet red. The colonel really liked the poor kid and felt bad about Fullmetal's discomfort, but he wasn't going to let the boy have an inkling of that. He looked at Hawkeye, pulled a white glove onto his right hand. As he rose, he composed his face into a thunderous scowl. He strode the few steps to the boys and his eyes threw daggers at Edward Elric. He stretched his right hand toward the hiccupping boy and snapped his fingers right in the boy's face. There was a collective gasp as the soldiers thought that the colonel had gone mad. They stared as they waited for flames to engulf Ed. Nothing happened. The only sound was the sound of the train. No human noise at all. Several seconds passed, and Mustang's team remained mute. Finally, Mustang pulled off the white glove and dropped it in Ed's lap.
"Thanks for the use of your glove, twerp," he smirked at the boy. "It was kind of small on me, but…"
"Who are you calling so short that if he sat on a toad stool his feet wouldn't touch the ground? Bastard!" Edward didn't realize that that was the first uninterrupted sentence he had spoken in an hour, but everyone else did.
And Colonel Roy Mustang felt more refreshed than he ever did after a nap.