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Kitsch

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1.

If hell had a description, it would probably go along the lines of five hour layover, and the wifi is down.

Ema let out a groan and stared up at the ceiling. Of course all the outlets were taken and her phone battery was about to die. She scraped her heels across the blue carpet with colorful swirls, uncaring if they got scuffed in the process.

Sixty-seven tiles, sixty-eight tiles, sixty-nine tiles...heh.

Ema glanced over to where her boss--and boyfriend--sat serenely beside her, with his eyes closed. Nahyuta seemed incapable of boredom. When vast stretches of nothing came up, he just would meditate, or start to read. He, of course, was always prepared. Giant books which never seemed to slow him down stuck into his bags, to say nothing of he would just recite things slowly to himself. Half the time, she couldn't tell if it was prayers or the periodic table. He'd been known to retell facts to himself to keep them memorized.

Ema had traded her books for a kindle app on her phone to lessen the pain in her back and shoulders, because her bag was already heavy enough with all those lab chemicals. And a lot of good that was doing her now. She really needed to buy that power bank at some point.

He turned the page. Ema would've snuck a peek over his shoulder, but it was book of prayers this time, which might be historically interesting, but was not good airport reading for her.

She got up from the chair, and glanced back at him.

"I'm off to go look at the shops."

Sure it was overpriced, but it was better than counting the tiles on the ceiling. Besides, she'd already hit 69. It'd be a while before she could chuckle over numbers anymore.

He closed the book. "I will join you."

And so they set off down towards the rows of stores.

2.

First up was what Ema surmised very well could have been the tackiest t-shirt shop in the history of the world. And Ema knew tacky t-shirts. She followed a blog about them and everything. Not only were they the average quality of Walmart $7 men's rack filled with swag shirts in neon colors tacky, they were expensive as hell.

Ema surveyed the t-shirts. In a large poster on the wall, a familiar model with spiky blond hair, and his tongue out in a t-shirt which said THOT DESTROYER in neon letters. Ema knew that guy all too well. Somehow he was friends with both Phoenix and Chief Prosecutor Edgeworth. Now, not only was he a children's book author and illustrator, apparently he moonlighted as a tacky t-shirt model.

"Thot Destroyer? More like 'Thought destroyer,'" Ema muttered.

Nahyuta glanced down at the shirt, and tilted his head in thought. "Thot.... Did they forget a u, g and an h?"

"Originally it meant 'that ho over there' but now it's just a synonym for slut or whore," Ema said.

While she'd expected a lecture, Nahyuta didn't even blink at her repeating the crass meaning.

"Ah, good. I shall purchase this," he said. He picked out a slightly less cringey version of a white t-shirt with black letters.

"Er, seriously? Are you wearing it ironically?"

"But to be a thot destroyer is to destroy the concept of women as being disposable and hated simply for whom they choose to love and sleep with. So, I will gladly take upon the holy mantle of a 'thot destroyer.'"

Ema weighed the options in her mind. On one hand, it would be hilarious. Actually, scratch that second thought. Hilarity won out.

"Don't forget this one," Ema said. She held up a white t-shirt with RESPECT WOMEN in block print across the chest. Nahyuta still didn't understand memes, or the fact that he practically was a walking meme at times, but he loved this one.

Nahyuta smiled at that. But before they could go to the counter and have the purchases rung up, Nahyuta's attention was already diverted by another shirt. He lifted it up to the light and tilted his head.

Kinky, I like that was on the front.

"Is this appreciating curly hair? Or is it some science related thing I have not come across yet?"

"Nah. Kinky is--Kinky is like when you throw your rosary at the defense, so it ties them up when they bluff too much," Ema said.

"So... To be kinky is to be a prosecutor?" Nahyuta said.

Ema thought back to Franziska von Karma, and her whip. "Actually, that's not far off."

Nahyuta closed his eyes and made an "okay" sign. "Then I shall aspire to be a kinky prosecutor and thot destroyer of the highest order."

"Trust me, you're already there," Ema said.

Just as they headed out towards the cashier, Ema caught sight of a tight pair of red shorts with Are You Nasty? on the back. Nahyuta in these was just the gift Ema wanted.

"Don't forget this. It'll complete the outfit," Ema said.

For a minute, she thought he was on to her. But he added it onto the purchase.

After they checked out, Ema convinced him to change out in the nearest men's room, and used the last few bit of battery she had to snap a new picture of them together.

Totally worth it.

 

2.

Their t-shirt adventure had used up all of thirty minutes of layover time.

They ended up in some kind of geeky store next. There were t-shirts with Dr. Who and Steel Samurai quotes and little figures and things like wooden Rubix cubes, and some books. Ema perused the book. It was a bit more than she liked to pay, but she had a ton of hours left to fill, not to mention the eight hours.

Maybe she'd have to buy two. Ema grabbed up When Likes Aren't Enough: The Science of Happiness and a new chick lit offering about a clumsy girl in love with her boss, who had to go through a great deal hilarious of personal growth before she got the job and got to finally bang her boss. (Ema just wished there were more STEM heroines in this genre.)

Nahyuta was captivated by the snow globe. He lifted it up and watched in wonder as the snow fell around the little village surrounded by mountains.

"It reminds me of home," he said softly.

"It's cute, but I'm not sure why they sell those there; you probably can't even bring them on the plane."

"I have faith in my abilities to convince them, " Nahyuta said.

She had to admit, his silver-tongue was pretty amazing (in more than one way.) He could talk his way onto a plane without her having to put her chemicals and lab equipment away.

That was the thing about traveling with Nahyuta. He was full of such wonder and childish innocence about the world outside of Khura'in that even a kitschy snow globe could be a tiny miracle to him.

He held out the snow globe to her.

"Look. They shimmer, too. Like newly fallen snow."

"That's because it's glitter in there," she said. And as soon as she said it, she regretted it a little. What if Nahyuta liked glitter a little too much, and she had His Glittery Holiness fighting with the Glimmerous Fop for the title of most light reflected.

However, Nahyuta just nodded and watched the little town caught forever in a snowstorm.

"You think your family would like some too?"

"...Yes. There's so much that mother and Rayfa haven't seen."

His hands closed about the little snowy world. Only hints of the mountains could be seen between his fingertips.

"Thank you, Ema. You always have the best ideas."

3.

Ema struck a pose on the escalator. Nahyuta watched her. She'd gone up and down this thing three times now. She'd passed middle-aged buisnessmen and children whose eyes lit up with wonder at her great ideas.

Nahyuta calmly watched her ascend, and then descend the motorized stairs. As she passed him, he spoke up. "Is this some new kind of meditation pose?" Nahyuta said.

"I call it: no wi-fi, five hour layover," Ema said.

Nahyuta stepped on the escalator right beside her. He bowed his head, and did one of his mudras. She still hadn't quite gotten the names of them right. A shame she didn't have any battery power left, because this was a picture for the ages.

He wouldn't let her look like a complete fool alone. They were in this together. Be it eight hours of paperwork, eight hours of "sermons" or eight hours of layovers.

4.

After exhausting the shops, they headed out to one of the many food shops around the way. Ema settled on some hipster coffee and sandwich shop nearest to the exit.

Nahyuta's brow furrowed as he looked on the prices. "Are these sandwiches made of gold, or blessed by the Holy Mother herself? They are seventeen dollars a piece," Nahyuta said.

"That's capitalism for you," she said.

His eyes narrowed. "I do not think I like this 'capitalism' then it takes advantage of the weak, and those trapped within airports," Nahyuta said.

"Sure thing, comrade," Ema said. "Come on. If I sell a kidney we might be able to afford to split some fries."

"No need. I shall pay," he said.

"Good plan, you can sell off some of Khura'in's lands and we might have enough for a drink," Ema cupped her hands about her mouth, and called after him.

"That won't be necessary," he said.

All the perks of having a boyfriend who was also a prince. He could manage to pay for lunch without playing debit card roulette.

When he returned, he held out a plate of fries, and two sandwiches. They slipped into a booth. He took a bite of his sandwich. Slowly he stopped chewing. At first she thought he hadn't liked it. But soon she recognized his pause as sheer wonder.

After he swallowed—because Nahyuta wasn't a heathen who talked while eating, like her—he finally spoke.

"What amazing blessing could this be that I have just tasted?"

Ema lifted up the top to take a peek and see if maybe he hadn't gotten something along the lines of special brownies. The kind with extra greens in them.

"It's bacon. You got a BLT. What'd you think the B stand for?"

"I did not realize it stood for beauteous," he said.

Ema chuckled. "You're going to love the bacon trend that's been going on for decades now. Bacon cupcakes are pretty good," Ema said.

"Mmm, I cannot wait," Nahyuta said.

 

5.

Three hours still left. She'd tried to read one of Prosecutor Sahdmadhi's books, but the announcements kept coming over the loudspeaker and jarring her out of the text. It was hard enough for her to get spoken Khura'inese, let alone the extremely complex script.

Ema let out a sigh, and laid her head upon his shoulder. With his other hand, he gently stroked her hair. The seat was too hard to think about falling asleep, but the only alternative was sitting on the floor. And that was way too sticky and dirty to even think about.

But, all in all, it hadn't been too bad. Things never got boring with him around. Hell, even if it'd been a twelve hour one, they would've found things to do.

"Shall I read to you?" he said.

"Sure. They'd probably throw us out if we made out in public again. And we can't take being banned from anymore airports with how much we travel," Ema said.

Ema rested on his lap. She took ahold of his braid and flipped his soft, silvery hair across her fingers. Who even needed a fidget spinner when she had her boyfriend's long, lustrous Disney Princess hair to play with?

He reached into his bag and pulled something out. As his hands opened, she saw a little green power bank.

"Where did you get this?"

"I had purchased it before the flight. I only just now saw it hidden away beneath my things. You were always bemoaning how you forget to buy one. The back says it is already charged," he said.

Ema eagerly pulled apart the packaging, and clicked her phone in desperately, like an addict.

"You're the best," Ema said.

She quickly inputted her passcode and turned on her phone.

His brow furrowed. "But I must ask something which has been on my mind for some time--Why are the birds angry in the first place? And why do they wage war upon the pigs?"

"It's a cell phone game. They aren't supposed to make sense. They're supposed to distract you from how much you hate your job."

"Then, since you are always on your phone, that means--"

"Nope, I love my job. Even if you sure make me work for my paycheck," Ema said.

Ema lifted up her screen, where several stylized cats were in a backyard. She broke into a smile at the sight. "Look, Peach came."

Nahyuta's expression softened at the site of the cartoony cats. "Peach is truly a blessing from the Holy Mother."

Finally, something they could both agree on.