Giri Choco

"Happy Valentine's Day." Hoshi dropped the box of chocolates on Archer's desk.

She kept her face impassive, trying not to crack up at the expression of confusion on his face. "Hoshi! This is an... unexpected... gift," he said, plainly taken aback. "I... wouldn't have expected chocolates on Valentine's Day from you."

Hoshi laughed, unable to keep a straight face any longer. "Relax, Jonathan. I'm not expressing my undying love for you. This is giri choco."

"Giri choco?" He actually didn't mangle the pronunciation, Hoshi noted, and was proud of him.

"It's traditional in Japan to give chocolate to your boss, or superior officer, on Valentine's Day," Hoshi said. "'Giri choco' means 'duty chocolate'."

"'Choco'sounds like chocolate."

"It is chocolate. Chocolate comes from South America, remember. Japan's word for it was borrowed from English, which got it from Spanish, which got it from the natives where the cacao plant was grown, more than half a millennium ago."

"That explains it, I suppose. But why was it that you give chocolate to your boss on Valentine's Day? In the West, chocolate's supposed to be a symbol of love."

She found it more funny than offensive that Jonathan felt the need to tell her about Western customs, as if she hadn't lived half her life in the West or carried a Ph. D. in sociology to go along with the several she had in linguistics. Jonathan Archer was a great guy, but very fond of explaining things that people already knew to them. "I'm not exactly sure how it got started," she admitted, "but originally, it was women giving chocolate to men... generally men who were their co-workers and bosses, though. This was back when women were really just entering the workforce in Japan, and Japan was adopting many of the traditions of the West, but putting their own spin on them. Nowadays, it's really for either sex, and it's become specifically about your boss, not all your co-workers."

Archer had opened the box. "This chocolate is from Earth."

"Well, obviously, Jonathan. Have you ever eaten reconstituted chocolate? It wouldn't have made much of a gift."

"You've been saving this since we left earth to give it to me for Valentine's Day?"

"I thought that if I was still here by Valentine's Day, I would probably think you deserved a box of chocolate." She smiled. "I never wanted to be here in the first place, and I admit it's been rough, but I've learned so many amazing things in the last several months. So... I just wanted to thank you for dragging me out here."

"Oh." He grinned back at her. "I was pretty sure that would happen eventually, but I'm glad to see it."

"So are you going to try one?"

"I can't even tell what flavors these are."

"The darker colored ones are dark chocolate," Hoshi said. "And I think usually the square ones are caramel. Aside from that I think it's supposed to be an adventure. You go exploring the chocolates."

He bit into a square one. "This is coconut."

"So there are some bugs in my algorithm."

"I'm going to have to test each one, aren't I?"

"Just don't give them to Porthos if it turns out you don't like them," she said. "Chocolate's even worse for dogs than cheese."

He nodded. "Yeah, I've learned that the hard way."