[Name]'s eyes read over the phrase in the English to Xhosa dictionary she borrowed from T’Challa. After repeating the foreign word in her mind multiple times, she set the dictionary down on the dining table and licked her lips as she attempted to pronounce the word.
“Ndiyabulela,” [Name] spoke aloud, letting the word roll off her tongue.
“Gesundheit,” a voice spoke behind her.
[Name] looked over her shoulder to see Scott standing behind her with a goofy smile. She scowled at him before she turned her attention back to the dictionary.
“Very funny, Scott,” [Name] said with a roll of her eyes. “You’re lucky I haven’t come across any cuss words in here yet.”
“Not like you could pronounce them right anyway.” Scott chuckled.
“Give me a break,” [Name] huffed. “We’ve only been in Wakanda for a few days. Xhosa is not my first language.”
“Well, that much is obvious. We don’t know how long we’ll be hiding in Wakanda, so it definitely doesn’t hurt to learn some of the language.”
“Why not take a little break? You’ve been at this all morning, [Name].”
[Name] shook her head in reply. “Maybe later, Scott.”
“All right then. Just make sure if you do find any bad words in that dictionary don’t use any of them around Steve.” Scott joked.
“I’ll see to it that she doesn’t.”
[Name] looked up to see T’Challa entering into the dining room with a slightly amused expression.
“Now you two are just taking the fun out of it.” [Name] pursed her lip in a childish fashion.
“Good luck teaching this one, T’Challa.” Scott patted T’Challa on the arm before he left the room.
T’Challa smiled a little before he took a seat at the table across from [Name]. “How’s the studying coming along?”
“Not good,” [Name] sighed in frustration. “I can’t even say thank you in Xhosa without sounding like I just sneezed.”
T’Challa chuckled in reply before he enunciated the word in his native tongue. “It’s Ndiyabulela…”
“How is it that you can make a word of gratitude sound so alluring?” [Name] said half-jokingly.
“I’ve had a lot of practice.” T’Challa said with a charming smile. “You can say enkosi as a substitute.”
“That sounds much easier to say. Wish I knew that earlier.”
“There’s more than one way to express gratitude in my country’s language.”
“Man, I really suck at this, don’t I?”
“Don’t get discouraged, [Name]. Be patient with yourself. You cannot expect to master a second language without making mistakes along the way. The experience will come with practice.”
[Name]’s eyes bored into T’Challa warm brown ones when she felt his hand tenderly press against her cheek.
“Yeah…” [Name] nodded weakly, her eyes still locked with his.
[Name] couldn’t help but feel lost simply staring back into T’Challa eyes. For a moment, she felt as if they could see the things she kept hidden away from the world. It made her feel exposed, but somehow she didn’t feel pensive or guarded. She felt at ease, and that was a feeling she desperately needed after the whole registration act and the divide between the Avengers. Although she was disheartened by these events, she was pleased to have T’Challa at her side despite everything that’s happened till now.
“What you lack in experience in speaking the language you make up for with your tenacity and inquisitive nature. I admire that in you, [Name].” T’Challa said.
“Enkosi, T’Challa.” [Name] smiled, resting her hand on top of his own. “I needed to hear that.”
“Ndiphilile,” T’Challa returned the smile before he gently pulled her head forward and pressed a kiss to her temple. “You’re welcome…”