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Gaby cracked open an eye, groaning when she heard Catherine wailing down the hall. She was about to sit up when a large hand rested on her shoulder, its weight familiar and reassuring. Of course, he would be awake. He was never a heavy sleeper.

“I go.” Illya assured her, pushing himself off the bed. Gaby rolled over onto her back and smiled lopsidedly as she admired the broad expanse of her husband’s back illuminated by the streetlights that had seeped through the curtains. “Katyusha'tooth is probably bothering her again. Poor thing.” He let out a little tut, making Gaby laugh mid-yawn. 

“Poor thing? She nearly bit off my nipple the last time I fed her.” She snorted.

“And I made sure that it wasn’t sore after that, did I not?” Illya pointed out in his usual deadpan way, making her blush. Thank goodness it was dark enough he couldn’t see her blooming cheeks. “Now, I need to see to our daughter before she wakes up the whole neighbourhood.” And just like that, he was out of the bedroom and down the hall to where their baby girl’s nursery was.

Gaby shook her head and curled up on her side, a smile plastered on her lips before she allowed herself to go back to sleep.


When she woke up an hour later, she found Illya’s side of the bed empty. Odd. He should have calmed Catherine down by then and joined her back in bed. Frowning, she slid off the bed, fumbling around in the dark for her bed robe. She tugged it on once she found it and quietly padded out onto the corridor, eyes darting around. Just because she was on a break from spying didn’t mean she was going to be lax with her surveillance skills.

She stiffened when she heard Catherine shriek from the nursery and quickly grabbed the first thing she could find - a candelabra that was a wedding gift from Napoleon (let’s be real, he probably nicked it off some rich person’s house…) Makeshift weapon acquired and raised at the ready, Gaby stealthily made her way towards the room. She’ll whack the first thing that comes out from that bedroom.

“Hush, myshka. We don’t want your mama to wake up, hmm?” Illya’s voice was heard tenderly chastising the baby. “Okay. One more and then you’ll go to bed, deal?” 

Gaby lowered the candelabra and pressed herself against the wall, listening in to Illya’s one-sided conversation with his daughter. Illya cleared his throat and the next thing was something Gaby didn’t think he could (or would) do. He started singing. 

"Rastsvetali iabloni i grushi,

Poplyli tumany nad rekoj.

Vykhodila na bereg Katyusha,

Na vysokij bereg na krutoj."

Peering into the room, Gaby’s heart warmed when she saw Illya cradling Catherine in his arms as he sang. The man known as the Red Peril gently rocked his daughter back and forth, trying to lull her to sleep.

"Vykhodila, pesniu zavodila

Pro stepnogo, sizogo orla,

Pro togo, kotorogo liubila,

Pro togo, chi pisma beregla.

Oj ty, pesnia, pesenka devichia,

Ty leti za iasnym solntsem vsled.

I bojtsu na dalnem pograniche

Ot Katyushi peredaj privet.

Pust on vspomnit devushku prostuiu,

Pust uslyshit, kak ona poet,

Pust on zemliu berezhet rodnuiu,

A liubov Katyusha sberezhet."

Illya let out a sigh of relief when Catherine finally went to sleep. “Finally.” He grunted, setting the baby back in her crib. “Sleep well, Katyusha.” He reached out, a finger caressing the curve of her cheek. He then let out a chuckle as he straightened up. “You can come out now, Gaby.”  

Gaby rolled her eyes and stepped out from her hiding spot. “It’s no fun trying to hide with you around.” She went up to him and he immediately slung an arm over her shoulders. “Her tooth still giving her problems?"

Da. Nothing I cannot handle.” Illya looked down at his wife and frowned. “What’s that for?” He pointed to the candelabra in her hand. Gaby’s eyes widened and she cleared her throat. 

“Well, I thought something was happening to Catherine so…you know…Protection.” Gaby noticed the small smile that was threatening to split Illya’s face into two and she narrowed her eyes at him. “It’s not funny!"

Illya quickly pressed a finger to his lips before he steered Gaby out of the nursery. “Shh, do you know how long it took me to put her back to sleep?"

“Hmph. Judging from how long you were away from bed, I’m guessing a long time. I didn’t know you could sing."

“KGB. You can do anything." 

“Except swim."

“Ooh, sore subject, kotyonok. I can assure you, I swim better now.” Illya bent and planted a kiss on the top of her head. “Katyusha. One of my favourite songs while growing up, actually."

“Is that why you wanted to name our daughter Catherine? Katyusha. It means ‘Little Catherine’, doesn’t it?"

Illya gave Gaby one of those smiles that he reserved only for her. “Yes. I am glad Russian lessons paid off. 

Gaby poked the candelabra into his stomach, making him grunt in surprise. “Watch it, Illya Kuryakin, or I’ll be forced to wrestle you for those fighting words."

Illya laughed and easily picked her up, slinging her over his arms. “I wouldn’t mind a bit of wrestling, actually…after you put that candelabra away."

Gaby giggled and wrapped her arms around his neck, “Of course. Maybe after you sing for me."

“You’re insufferable." 

“I know."