"So Mark, the great Napoleon Solo wasn't as bad as you let him on to be," April chided her new partner.
"Trust me luv, he was behaving himself."
"And what were those words I heard you call them...wanker and ponce? I've never heard those before, are they nicknames?"
Mark burst out in a fit of laughter. "No they're not. And I do apologize for using them in a lady's presence. Let's say they're sort of naughty words where I come from. I'll try not to let that happen again, you do understand luv that...I'm not exactly accustomed to a bird...ugh woman, being around on the job."
Mark stuttered for a moment, "I mean, not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just that we're used to secretaries and the like from communication section coming and going, but they're not...how do I say this without getting my head bitten off? They're not one of the lads now like you are."
April flashed him the most beautiful smile. "I take that as a compliment Mark dear. Though as a woman I do expect to receive a modicum of respect for that reason, so yes, I would appreciated curbing any 'cussing' in my presence."
"Oy then, I better have a chat with Illya, he's prone to it to some extent, and does it in quite a few languages. April, do you speak Russian?"
"Yes, along with French, German, Italian and Spanish, and a smattering of a few others."
"Well then I definitely better have that chat with our Russian co-worker, although he's very much the quiet type and isn't one for idle chatter. The 'cussing' as you say usually happens when things don't go well on a mission. Unless you're assigned to work with him, you probably won't be exposed to it."
"Illya sounds intriguing, and he is awfully cute. Maybe I'll have my own private talk with him," she giggled.
"Good luck on that girl. He can close up tighter than a clam. Unlike his partner, Illya seems to avoid women, I know he's dated a few of the girls at headquarters, but he seems pretty adamant when it comes to not being around females."
"Really, now that I find interesting." April smiled, intrigued at that comment. "And maybe a bit of a challenge. I bet you he's just shy."
"Dunno luv. Napoleon is another story, as I told you he likes to 'date' and I mean a lot. I think he's bed...dated pretty much every woman in the secretarial pool, and when last I heard he'd moved on to communications. He does have a penchant for airline stewardesses as well."
"Well he's in for a surprise if he tries any of his moves on me. I'm from the midwest and my momma didn't raise me to be a trollop, or a fool."
Mark cringed at that remark, knowing that Solo didn't give up easily when it came to a woman he fancied.
"All right, but just be forewarned, Napoleon doesn't like taking no for an answer." He realized that didn't come out right. "I mean, he's always the gentleman and would never force himself on a woman, that I know for sure, but he's persistent and very charming. All I hear from the girls is how irresistible he is. He is a good guy though, honest and very much the optimist he is. He and Illya are not only partners, they're best mates. Napoleon welcomed Illya with open arms when other in headquarters shied away from him...suspicions of a Soviet and all that rot."
"Mark you sound like you're trying to sell me on Napoleon Solo. Just to set the record straight, I'm forewarned about his romancing ways, thank you." April looked at her watch, "Oh dear, I have a meeting with Mr. Waverly in ten minutes. Ta-ta." She turned, hurrying down the corridor to the elevator, and as the doors opened, Illya Kuryakin was standing there. He held out his hand, holding the door for her.
"Thank you Illya," she smiled at him.
He nodded to her, saying nothing.
"So, Otkuda vy, v Rossii , chto eto_so where are you from,in Russia that is?" She asked him.
His face showed no reaction as he turned to her. "That is right, you speak Russian. I am from Kiev, to answer your question. I am not sure if you are aware, but your accent is slightly off, though I must admit it is better than Napoleon's, even though I have attempted to improve his. I have concluded he is a lost cause. You may have potential to improve...I could help you with your Russian, if you wish."
April was taken back. "And how exactly did you know I spoke it? You said and I quote. "That's right you speak Russian."
"I am number two Section II, it is my job to read the dossier's of any new agent," he said blandly.
April was curious now, as not only was Illya being more talkative than Mark had led her to believe, here he was willing to give her language lessons.
"Illya, thank you for the offer of help with your language. That would be wonderful; we could meet at the Russian Tea Room if you like on Saturday, that is if neither of us is on assignment."
"Nyet, yeshche luchshe, ya vozʹmu tebya na mesto, nazyvayemoye Maloy Rossii . Tam vy uslyshite mnogo dialektov , i ya mogu ukazatʹ na razlichiya dlya vas. _no, better still, I will take you to a place called Little Russia. There you will hear many dialects and I can point out the differences to you. Your Russian sounds like you are reading it from a textbook so you need to become more fluid in your speech and find the right accent for yourself. At the moment, you seem to have the sound of a Muscovite but it is still slightly off. I can remedy that."
"Wow, you got that...I mean, Vy poluchili eto tolʹko iz neskolʹkikh slov, kotoryye ya vam govoril_you got all that just from the few words I spoke to you?"
"Da." He actually smiled at her, something she was also told was rare. She'd heard his nickname, 'The Ice Prince,' earned because of his cold, emotionless demeanor, but the man she was standing beside seemed rather charming, and just a bit shy as she suspected.
"Little Russian?Where exactly is that?"
"It is in Brooklyn, Brighton Beach, to be precise. A large community of Russian immigrants live there, and there is a small family-owned restaurant that I frequent when I am feeling homesick for homemade Russian cooking at a reasonable price."
"Illya that sounds wonderful, I accept. Thank you."
The elevator stopped, and April stepped out to the floor, looking left and right, just a little confused as to which way to go. All the corridors in headquarters looked the same.
Illya's hand appeared through the open elevator door, pointing to the right.
"Spacibo," she whispered, suddenly thinking it odd that he knew the way she had to go. Then again, he was a spy and had to be a step ahead at all times. April suddenly wondered what else he knew about her...