Arms folded behind his head, one hand holding the other shoulder to stretch out kinks from the night's sleep, Joe paused on the top tread of the stairs leading from the dormitory wing to yawn. Half of it got stuck in his throat when arms slipped around his waist from the side.
"Ack." He wasn't much good for squirming away this way, though, arms trapped above his head, and when he got his wits about him, looked down to see a big happy crooked grin beaming up at him, his hugssaulter's chin pressing into his breastbone.
Basco beamed up at him, squeezing Joe's middle with enthusiasm. "You're not allowed in the galley."
Joe blinked. How did Basco know what he'd been planning for after his morning workout? Maybe he didn't.
"….Did you break something?"
Basco frowned, lips pressing outward in a ridiculous pout. "Why is that the first thing you ask of me, hn?"
One side of Joe's mouth tipped upward in a smirk. "Because it's you."
"…Fair point." Basco released him, standing up straight with a flourish and a small sneer. "Still not allowed, though."
Now that Joe was a bit more awake, he noticed a distinctive scent coming from the galley, and he humphed to himself. His expression challenged Basco's insistence, but having cottoned on to his crewmate's secret, he let Basco herd him toward his workout bench without protest.
Clattering from the kitchen continued as Joe began his workout, and the 'hushed' conversations going on between his crewmates weren't actually as hushed as they intended. Joe smiled to himself, and decided to add an extra fifty sit-ups to his routine this morning. It sounded like they'd all need the extra time.
He practiced his surprised faces while he waited, exercising the whole while. Doc, Gai, and Basco were all quite handy in the kitchen, but only as far as cooking. Joe was the crew's only competent baker. And with Marvelous and Luka added to the mix, Joe really wished he could watch the shenanigans that he knew had to be going on in the galley.
A crash, and Ahim popped out of the galley doorway, pushing Marvelous, Luka, and Gai ahead of her with firm emphasis. "You are doing more harm than good," she declared, her ever-kind tone of voice somewhat strained. "Doc-san, Basco-san and I will finish up. You three, please lay the table."
Marvelous glanced over at Joe, who was looking straight ahead, pretending to be in his 'exercise zone,' and grinned broadly. Once Marvelous had looked away, self-satisfied in every motion as he began assisting Gai and Luka with arranging the table for a family meal, Joe smiled to himself and turned his focus back to his workout in earnest. He should work out even more than normal, because he suspected he'd be indulging in really unhealthy food in a moment.
The cake they thought he didn't suspect they were making for him wouldn't be made as skillfully as the ones he could turn out, but it would be far tastier.
Even if it was also burnt.