Characters: Hughes, Armstrong, Brosch
Word Count: 551
Summary: How is this all getting so out of hand?
Notes: Written for seta_suzume.
The whole thing started out as Gracia's idea. So, technically speaking, it could be considered Gracia's fault, but Hughes has already decided he'd rather blame someone who isn't his fragrant wife. Just a New Year's drinks thing for the department, Gracia suggested. She was quite right to point out that he works them all pretty hard, and also that Roy always throws a memorable New Year's party for his officers, and also that this will earn him enough goodwill to continue working them all into the ground for the next six months at least. Hughes suspects that this line of thinking may also have lain behind Roy's staff New Year's parties.
Hughes is a great believer in building team spirit by roping other people in to do the dull parts of a task for you. So he schedules a meeting during lunch break of volunteers to organise the festivities. Perhaps Friday lunchtime wasn't the best time he could have chosen, though, because when he walks into the room at 1300, he finds only Sergeant Brosch, Major Armstrong, and a plate of sandwiches piled as high as Brosch's shoulder.
"Ah, excellent," says Hughes, and bags a couple of BLTs from the top of the pile. "Thanks for bringing us all lunch, Major, that was very thoughtful." Armstrong's embarrassed harrumph gives Hughes an inkling that this may actually have just been Armstrong's lunch - but there's no need to embarrass the man further, so Hughes sits himself down at the table and takes a big bite.
"So," says Hughes, "ideas?"
"A brass band would be just the thing to start things off!" says Armstrong. Brosch raises his eyebrows and blinks. People tend to do that a lot around Armstrong. "It will lift everyone's spirits and prepare them to celebrate the birth of the new year!"
"And pizzas," says Brosch. Armstrong looks at him in confusion. "We could, uh, get some pizzas, sir. So there'd be pizzas."
"We should have the usual choral recitation, of course," adds Armstrong.
Brosch mouths "choral recitation", frowning as if he's trying to work out what one of those is.
"Singing together raises morale! It gives one a sense of brotherhood! I will take charge of finding a suitable programme. One of the shorter oratorios, perhaps -"
"Maybe," Hughes interjects, "we could just have a chorus or two of the national anthem at some point in the evening. We're not all of us singers, and -"
"I myself have some experience with the conductor's baton. And games, sir!"
"Pin the tail on the donkey?" Hughes tries. How is this all getting so out of hand?
"Athletic competitions," Armstrong corrects him, with an air of dignity. "For instance, the shotput. A noble and ancient sport which finds its origins -"
"In the office?" asks Hughes, with strong hopes that he can set some limits to the madness. "I'm afraid we'd probably break some windows, and maybe heads, that wouldn't do -"
"Sir, I will be delighted to take charge of securing the parade ground for the purpose. I will use the techniques of artistic alchemy passed down the Armstrong family for generations to mark out the pitches for the various sports."
"Couldn't we just draw little lines with chalk, sir?" asks Brosch.
"No," says Armstrong. Brosch blinks again. "It will be splendid." says Armstrong.
"Splendid," echoes Hughes, a bit weakly.