Prompt: International Mother Language Day
Read the story here or on AO3
The nurse was frustrated. She had been assigned to this room because she was new and on the bottom of the roster. Working for UNCLE was mostly a thrilling experience for her, the intrigue and array of interesting people she had met was something out of a spy novel.
This patient, however, put everything else in perspective for her. He was a brave man who had risked everything in order to, as she had heard them flippantly remark, 'save the world'. But today he wasn't doing that, and she only hoped the doctors had him on the mend.
The corridors in the Medical wing of UNCLE Headquarters were in night mode, the lights dimmed for the benefit of both patients and staff. The thinking was that it provided a more restful atmosphere, giving the medical personnel a sense of calm to counter the hyper sensitive nature of the work they did.
These men and, now women, laid down their lives in order to accomplish the goals of the Command. If the atmosphere was set at a more calming level it was hoped the recovery would be better accomplished, and those who administered medical care would have a sense of calm underlying their mission to heal.
Nurse Angelica had been assigned this patient for another reason in addition to her position on the duty roster: she spoke Russian.
Napoleon Solo was sitting beside his Russian partner, Illya Kuryakin. The mission had been successful except for one thing; Illya had been gassed by something unknown to them during their search of the THRUSH laboratory. The clean up crew was working on clearing out the space where a threat to world peace had once been on the verge of production when Illya inadvertently stepped on a slender canister filled with the mystery gas.
The expulsion of the gas into the air landed squarely on Kuryakin, causing him to collapse in a heap as Napoleon watched, aware that if he entered that small sphere of contamination, he might also become a victim.
One of the crew, Drew Dawson, alertly handed the CEA a gas mask, standard gear for the people in charge of disassembling these locations. Napoleon put it on and drew nearer his fallen partner, pointing to the canister in order for Drew to put it into a specimen bag, which he sealed.
The blond agent, lying limp on the concrete floor, began mumbling in Russian as he came to. Napoleon understood parts of what his friend was saying, but much of it sounded like gibberish. The medical team, always present during a clean up, loaded Illya onto a gurney and transported him back to Headquarters in the unobtrusive looking van that was actually a state of the art ambulance. In case there were THRUSH in the area, subterfuge was always necessary in order to protect the agents after they were wounded or incapacitated.
Sitting now beside Illya's bed, Napoleon had himself been checked out in Medical and given an 'all clear'. He watched as Illya continued to mumble, bits of Russian and French intermingled with unintelligible bits that seemed to trouble the unconscious man.
"Mr. Solo, can I get you anything?" It was Angelica, and she was worried about the handsome American agent. Of course she had heard the stories about his romantic proclivities, but looking at him now as he sat vigil with his partner, she dismissed everything except the obvious duty to help him through it.
Napoleon looked up at the young woman, realized that she was new here.
"Angelica." His smile made her knees weak. Okay, all of the stories were true.
"Thank you, but I'm … ' He had started to say he was fine, triggering the memory of his friend's stalwart insistence that he was always fine.
"I'm, I am just fine. But thank you.' Napoleon let a small sigh escape as Illya began to talk more distinctly, but still in Russian.
"Did they assign you this room for any particular reason?" Being new sometimes determined who got the more challenging patients, a sort of right of passage he supposed. But Napoleon suspected there was more to this nurse than that.
"I speak Russian. My last name is Petrovich, but I was born here. One learns the language however, it is unavoidable." She smiled as she said that, obviously a sense of affection for those whose native tongue she had learned as a child.
The rooms had artificial candles that were powered by batteries, giving the room the sort of glow. It complemented the pretty nurse whose eyes caught the glint of the faux flames. Napoleon listened as she spoke to Illya in his mother tongue, reciting stories from her own childhood to the sleeping agent.
The effect of Angelica's voice as she recited Russian folk tales began to lull him into a restful sleep. He dreamt of creatures he had seen illustrated, and entered into tales that Illya had told him when occasionally he shared some of his own story through the fables of his homeland.
He could hear it now, Illya's voice, resonant and strong, as he narrated in Russian. And then the voice of Angelica intertwined with Illya's as Napoleon awoke from his dream filled sleep.
"Ah, there is our sleeping friend, awake at last." Illya was sitting up, enjoying a cup of tea prepared by one who had learned from her parents the art of the perfect brew.
Napoleon stretched, a predictable kink in his neck from sleeping in a chair for too long. He looked at the two of them, Angelica and Illya, like a pair of siblings in appearance. She had long blonde hair fashioned into a simple braid, and bright blue eyes almost identical to Illya's.
"Well, you two look as though you stepped out of the fairy tale I was dreaming. I think hearing all of the Russian dialogue cast a spell over me." Napoleon said it with a twinkle in his eye, his relief at seeing Illya looking so well recovered was a great thing to wake up to.
"The gas I walked into was a temporary thing, just knocked me out is all. I actually feel quite refreshed, and this cup of tea" Illya inhaled the aroma and took a sip.
"This is a proper cup, well worth the knock out gas." Angelica laughed at that, her upbringing was indeed coming in handy in her new job.
"Well, I need to get back to my other patients. I'm so glad you feel well this morning.' Angelica turned towards Napoleon…
"And you as well, Mr. Solo. I'll let you two have the room, but call if you need anything. Poka!''
"Poka, see you later." Illya's smile was broad as he watched Angelica leave. Napoleon had to wonder what type of connection had been made between them while he slept and dreamed of Russian folktales.
"So, a familiar goodbye from you two. What's up with that?" Napoleon had intended to ask her out, but now it seemed Angelica was in the Russian's corner.
"What? Oh, nothing. We think perhaps we might be related, so she is going to be asking her parents about that. Small world we live in.' Illya would be anxious to hear what Angelica could find out about the possibility of their families being somehow connected. He wondered what Mr. Waverly might know about it.
"Oh, by the way, she quite fancies you." Illya's sly smile accompanied that bit of information.
"Oh really… well, I guess I better do something about that." Napoleon was pleased, but surprised his friend divulged that tidbit.
''You'd better go find her before the shift ends. I think she'll be waiting for you.' Illya would be discharged later in the morning, but for now he thought breakfast was in order.
"Go, get out. I want some food and I don't want you picking off of my plate. Angelica will need some breakfast, so… Go!" Napoleon didn't need another command from his bedridden partner.
"Fine, I'm going. But, I'll be back after breakfast. We have work to do, tovarisch." He winked as he spoke, the Solo charm in full gear as he closed the door behind him.
Illya took a deep breath, glad the ordeal of the previous night was behind him, and looking forward to hearing back from Angelica. What if they were related, if her parents had possibly known his. He had gone for years without hope of connecting to someone from his family's past, and yet here was a possible link to his heritage that had come about in the midst of a hideous THRUSH plot.
Serendipity or fate? Illya Kuryakin wasn't certain, but he might yet allow himself to hope.