A/N: When you ship Gallya but Armie and Elizabeth are actual couple goals :^)
"So, Mr. Architect," purred Gaby Teller. "Tell me about the grand old mansion on the Taylor estate…"
Illya looked at the small brunette clutching his arm. He smiled, before saying, "Well, you see, the Taylor estate dates back to 1879, when a… Johnathan Taylor moved from London to the countryside in Devon and decided to buy… exactly 135 acres of land. But, his reason for moving out to the countryside…"
She waited for him to say it. She knew he was going to.
"…was because he fell in love with Russian girl…"
There it was. She nestled herself against him, heaving a sigh of contentment.
He paused, and looked out the window for a brief second.
"…Zvezda Ivanova. So Johnathan, who would do anything for his beloved Zvezda, decided to build−"
Illya stopped. Gaby's breaths were slow and even; she had fallen asleep. Her head rested on his shoulder, soft brown curls tumbling down her shoulders. Carefully, he brushed it out of her face. Her arm was snugly wrapped around his.
There wasn't much to see in the darkness outside, other than the skeletal trees dotting the landscape illuminated by the moonlight. They had been in the car for about three hours now. From what he could see in the dim light, it was only about seven o'clock. They had around another hour to arrive at the party hosted by the Taylor estate's most recent owner, Frederic Taylor.
Having already met the young man and gaining his trust, Illya and Gaby would serve as distractions while Solo would break in to his office and find records of transactions of any illegal dealings to solidify their findings. It would be simple enough, so long as Solo didn't run into any trouble. Illya looked at the sleeping figure leaning against him. Moving as little as possible, he lifted his arm and wrapped it around her, pulling the mechanic closer to him. Her right hand was tucked under her thigh, and her left was partially hidden under her fur coat. The diamond on Gaby's ring finger glinted in the moonlight. He decided he liked the look of the ring on her finger. There was a shadow of a smile on his face as he closed his eyes.
"We've arrived, sir," the chauffeur announced.
Illya looked out the window, taking in the view of the majestic mansion. It straddled towering cliffs, and the windows glowed with welcoming light in the windy winter night.
"That's some mansion," breathed Gaby. He nodded in agreement.
He could see the figure of a man standing under the light of a lamp. His jacket was wrapped tightly around him and his other hand fought to keep his hat from flying away. The car stopped, and the chauffeur opened the door for the two agents.
Illya came out first, and turned to help Gaby out of the car.
"Thank you dearest," she grinned as stray hairs flew around her face. "My, it's cold out."
"Indeed. Don't worry, we'll be inside soon," he replied. He placed his hand on her waist and drew her near to him. Her fur coat warmed his cold hand.
The man under the lamp approached them, his hand clinging on to his cap as it made desperate attempts to escape with the wind.
"Welcome, sir and madam. Mr. Taylor is inside with the other guests. If you'll follow me, please," he said, trying his best to look as professional as possible while holding on to the flapping cap. Following him up the steps, the two spies were led into the massive mansion.
"Wow," breathed Gaby.
The ballroom was alive with chatter and the tunes of a live band. Illya paused to admire Gaby under the light of the chandeliers.
Her black silk gown cascaded down her shoulders to the floor, and her hair was half up to show off her princess-cut diamond earrings that matched the simple diamond ring on her finger. But what really took the stage was the impressive diamond necklace with a simple yet stunning motif. The white gold and diamonds were made to look like an intricately woven vine of sparkling flowers. And it was courtesy of Solo, of course. He remembered how the American had presented it to Gaby after a particularly gruelling mission.
"Where did you get this?" She spun around to face him, eyes narrowed with playful suspicion.
"Do you always assume everything I give you is stolen?" The Cowboy's eyes were wide with hurt.
"Yes," said Illya.
"Well the Genriches have quite the collection of these things. I don't think it'll be missed. And their safe was quite fun breaking into. I do like a challenge here and there. Keeps me sharp," he grinned.
"So you did steal it." Illya's voice flat.
"Yes, but they're the bad guys. I'm sure it's okay to steal from them, at least."
"So you saw one and thought, 'Hey, Gaby will like this,' and took one?" asked Gaby.
"Maybe," he said coyly.
"Solo you thoughtful bastard," Gaby crowed. Backing away from the conversation, she paused in front of a mirror to properly see the diamond necklace strung across her neck.
"This is really nice," she said happily. She twisted around to admire the different ways the jewels sparkled.
"I'll keep it," she declared.
"Good. I was afraid I'd have to sell it on the black market."
"Are you forgetting it was stolen?" said Illya.
"Oh, don't be such a party-pooper, Illya. Just one pretty thing won't hurt." Gaby was still ogling the expensive piece on her neck.
"I am not a 'party-pooper'!" he replied, taken aback. "That is stolen property."
"Do you remember what's sold on the black market?"
Illya shot the American a murderous glare.
"Come on Illya, nice things aren't always free, you know. And I'm pretty sure I deserved it after the mission," Gaby pleaded.
"Think about it, Peril. She can use it when you crash formal events. It can go with almost any evening gown. Besides, it's my turn to get her something pretty, eh?" said Solo.
"Fine. Just this once," he grumbled.
"You like the jewels?" Gaby wiggled her eyebrows.
"They are nice," he said blandly.
"Oh come on, now. I know you like them," she replied, shaking her chest to make the gems sparkle. "Right? You know you like them."
"Gaby, we are at a formal event." He looked around, making sure nobody was staring.
"Am I embarrassing you?" She was still shimmying.
"Yes, and we are on a mission. You need to be serious," he hissed.
"Say the words and I'll stop."
"The diamonds are nice," he huffed. He sounded like a teenager forced to agree with someone.
"Say it like you mean it." And she was the mother forcing him to sound genuine.
"You look good, the jewels are very nice with the dress, now can we get back to work?" he said with a forced smile. His eyes were practically screaming, Gabriella Teller I am going to kill you in your sleep. She met his gaze defiantly. Do it, I dare you. They continued their staring contest until the KGB agent let out an exasperated huff and rolled his eyes. He turned away from her.
The mechanic spoke first, tugging at his sleeve. "Let's go, I think I just saw Taylor by the band. Honestly Illya, I can't believe we're supposed to be married again," she sighed dramatically. "I might just start having an affair with someone."
She took him by the crook of the arm and wove around the crowd. It was quite the sight; a small brunette lady in a swishing black gown parting the crowd with a tall blond gentleman in tow. If it weren't for the fact that they were heading deeper into the party, they'd have been mistaken for heading to the nearest broom closet.
"Maybe you can come with Cowboy next time, and I will handle the safe."
"No, no, it's just I'd rather, you know, we came−oh, sorry−" She had bumped into someone. "−separately instead of glued to each other's side. I think we'd cover more ground that way," she said.
"So a single woman like yourself coming to a party where you don't even know the host well?" he challenged.
"No, I think maybe we could come in as cousins or something. Then we have reasons to separate and mingle more freely, if you know what I mean," she reasoned. "Unless someone−" She jabbed him in the ribs. "−couldn't bear to let poor little Gaby out of his sight."
He only grunted something unintelligible in response.
They were near the band, and searched around the dance floor for a while before spotting Frederic Taylor sipping his champagne and watching the party in a corner. Illya placed his hand on Gaby's waist as they approached their host. He pulled her a little closer as they got near him, as if he was afraid Gaby would be swept away by the rich young man.
"Ah, Mr. Yurevich," Frederic greeted. He shook Illya's hand firmly. "And you must be Mrs. Yurevich." Grasping her hand, he leaned forward and brought it up to his lips. Gaby held back her giggles, and instead, grinned devilishly at Illya, who had a very tight-lipped smile on his face. His blue eyes were icy.
"You don't have anything to drink," the Englishman said, mildly startled. "Here, I'll call someone over right now."
"No, it is fine, we don't need anything to drink," Illya said simply.
"I insist. The champagne is sublime." He scanned the area quickly, before calling, "Hey, you boy! Bring me some more champagne. I need two more glasses. Quick!"
The startled server shuffled away with his plate of hors d'oeuvres.
The dark haired man turned back to his guests. "Sorry about that," he said cordially. "These boys can be slow."
Illya nodded. Then, as if out of thin air, the server appeared by the group, holding a bottle of champagne and two crystal glasses.
"Thank you. Now go," Taylor told the boy. He turned to the couple. "So, how's my favourite Belarusian couple?"
The party had gotten livelier as the drinks flowed more freely than before. Their host had wandered away after an animated discussion on cars (Gaby was more than happy to interject as she pleased), probably in pursuit of a pretty woman somewhere in the party. The man was too much like Solo. No wonder Illya didn't like him.
The band was playing upbeat music, and Gaby couldn't help but swivel her hips ever so slightly to the beat. She looked up at Illya hopefully, although she didn't really expect anything from the rigid Russian spy.
"What are you doing?" he asked.
"Can't you see my body's itching for a dance?"
He was silent, only raising an eyebrow in response.
"But of course, you're not going to do anything about it. Maybe I'll go find myself a partner; no fun in dancing alone," she probed. Holding his hands in hers, she managed to pull him over onto the dance floor.
There was a playful glint in his eyes. A tiny smile crept onto his face.
"Alright," he said. "Let's dance."
Illya Kuryakin was a good dancer. A really, really good dancer. His steps were light and on tempo, and he spun and dipped her flawlessly. She loved the way he held her; his touch was warm, gentle and strong. She could feel strands of her hair fly around as she spun, the black silk of her dress was moving as smooth as a shadow. Never before had she danced like this. It was new, it was amazing. It stole her breath away in the best way possible. And there was laughter. She laughed a breathless laugh, and he was smiling the entire time.
And somehow, the world disappeared. The mission didn't matter, just this once. It was the two of them on the dance floor, with good music playing and a little bit of alcohol in their systems. That night, the world didn't matter at all. They were a couple at a party having the time of their lives. That night, the world was good.
The bitter wind stung their flushed cheeks. But it was a bit of a relief to their hot skin. Gaby pressed herself against him, snuggling closer to his warm body. They were facing the crashing sea, which made everything a thousand times colder, so Gaby nestled even closer against Illya. They sat in contented silence, admiring the millions of stars in the night sky.
Behind them, light poured out from the massive windows, the edges barely reaching their spot on the balcony. There were some men milling about with cigarettes in hand, quietly conversing as they hid their shivers.
"That was fun," Gaby said suddenly. "I never knew you could dance like that."
Illya looked down at her. She was facing the ocean, her features illuminated in the soft moonlight. He hummed in response.
"I thought you said you couldn't dance," she said, reflecting on their first night in Rome.
He chuckled, and she could feel his entire body rumbling. "I was looking for an excuse for you to turn off music," he replied.
"So you lied to me." She turned to face him. His blue eyes were pale in the light of the moon.
"You could say that."
"After all this time, it's only just now that I can dance with you? Why?"
"Hmph. Fine then," she mock-pouted, turning away from him with her arms crossed. "I guess I'm not good enough for you then."
He laughed again, saying, "You are very difficult, Chop Shop Girl."
Wrapping his arms around her body, he planted a little kiss on the top of her head.
"Но я все равно люблю тебя," he murmured.
A/N: I was going to write Illya's last line as "Secret cannibalistic toad society", but that's too obvious. Also, Zvezda means star in Russian. If you wanted to know secret cannibalistic toad society is in Russian, here it is in Cyrillic: Секрет каннибалистическая жаба общество. And pronunciation: Sekret kannibalisticheskaya zhaba obshchestvo.