I don't own Shadow Hearts; that privilege belongs to Nautilus.

Yuri in a Pickle

Damn! I walked out of the bedroom and my clothes were gone! Now, who the hell would take beat up old leather pants, a bloody shirt and a threadbare trench coat? And my boots! They took my fucking boots! Geeze! And, the leather pants were the best part as I had worn them in really good - nice and soft in the right places, if you understand. And the boots were comfortable, no blisters or nothing! But now they're gone. Damn! It was those stupid kids! Has to be! I'll get them ... Oh, but I'm butt naked!

I realize I cannot walk around naked, especially with the kids around; if it was just Koudelka, Margarete, or Alice, well ... a little show and tell might be fun. But...

I heave a heavy sigh, and grab the threadbare blanket from the musty mattress and fling it around me, a bit like a holey toga! I laugh to myself as I step out of the upstairs bedroom and climb down the stairs. Hardest part will be the ladder to the lower basement ... when the hell are they gonna fix that front door anyway! I hitch it up and hold the corners under one arm and swing down, hoping nobody is below to see my good parts. Well, nobody was, so I got down and wrapped up again. Damn! It's cold down here. Doesn't England believe in summers?! It's freezing!

I pad quickly down the walk to the kitchen and peek inside - nobody there either. Well I can at least heat up a cup of tea. I make my way barefoot across the cold floor and, jumping from foot to foot, I manage to get the gas stove running and the kettle on. Man, this floor is like ice! I'm shivering!

I hop back and forth, forth and back, trying to stay warm, but it's no good. I am just too cold. I check the flame on the stove but it's fading, sliding down to a mere flicker. Damn! Now the water won't heat up! What is this shit!

Shivering, I try to move the kettle back but I drop it, splashing water all over the kitchen floor and all over me. It runs down in cold rivers, drenching the shitty blanket and my cold skin underneath. Now I'm REALLY cold! Still hopping from foot to foot, I leave the kitchen, deciding to go back upstairs and climb into bed; there was, after all, nothing for me down here!

I got as far as the ladder when I heard noises upstairs and looked up the ladder. Looking down at me with a feral grin was Margarete. She looked absolutely hungry! I shivered.

"Maggy, let me up there, I'm freezing!" I told her and she stepped back to let me climb up, but climbing up was as hard as climbing down, holding the now soaking wet ends under one arm and climbing the ladder and KNOWING that someone was waiting above. No - not someone - Maggie.

I climbed the ladder and got to the top rung, looking around for the ditzy spy and spotted her standing by the bedroom stairs - good! That meant I could finish climbing uninterrupted. I put my foot on the top run and my knee on the floor and the next thing I know, my blanket has been pulled off and I'm half up the ladder and half on the floor and I'm freezing and I'm naked!

Margarete is standing not six feet from her, the blanket draped over one arm, her eyes dancing with mischief and she's laughing at me.

"Oh-ho, sonny boy, you look a sight!" she says and I can just imagine I must be blue I'm so cold!

"Get out of my way, damn it Margarete," I growl at her and climb the rest of the way out of the ladder-well and turn to confront her with nothing but my dignity. That's a tad hard to do, mind you, when you're naked and freezing and a woman is laughing at you ... a sexy woman who is now just smiling and staring at me ...

"Yuri, you look good enough to eat," she says to me and I feel warm all over, well, mostly all over, I'm still cold!

"Maggie," I growl, "I'm cold. Give me the blanket."

"Why ever would you want a wet blanket when I can give you something else?"

I eye the beautiful spy warily. Did she just say what I think she said? No, no, she wouldn't. She couldn't.

"Maggie..." I warn her, but she just grins, her full lips pulling back into a lush and lip-smacking smile that's got me heating up again, just not in the right places. "God damn, Margarete, knock it off!" I yell at her.

Margarete licks her lips instead, running one long finger down the d├ęcolletage of her bustier. Man, she's built; I have always liked her outline, her full figure, her ... damn, I'm getting hot!

"Maggy," I start to walk toward the bedroom stairs but then I feel the coldness of the floor and it reminds me I'm not really warm - well, not where it counts.

"Here, sonny boy, let me help you," she offers and I find myself suddenly pinned inside the stairwell, her warm and luscious figure now pushed against me, her warmth sending shivers down my spine and to my cold...

"Damn, Maggie, what do you think you're doing?"

"Yuri, did I ever tell you my favorite food?" she asks.

"Um, no," I tell her, wondering why the sudden change of topic. I'm cold, my feet are freezing, I want to get upstairs and she's talking about food. Well, I am hungry, and could use a nice hot meat pie right about now, but...

"I like spicy food, and I like hot food," Maggie continues, and I try to push her back, not hard, just enough to get away, but I don't want to hurt her and she's pressed so close. The blanket has fallen to my feet, and I can feel the wet puddle of the sodden material and it's making my feet even colder than they were.

"I also like pickles," she said, and I looked down at her parted pouty lips and felt warmth climbing up from deep inside; and from her hand, which was where I had always wanted it to be.

"Pickles?" I ask stupidly.

"Yup, nice long, cool and prickly pickles," she said and licked her lips with imagined joy of the food. I am about to fall into those icy blue eyes and join my icy feet when I hear voices coming from downstairs. Maggie doesn't seem to notice, her eyes are a bit cloudy and her hands are...

The voices are getting closer and I can hear Koudelka so I know Alice is close too. Damn, what do I do now? If I make her stop... But it feels ... oh god what do I do? I hear them coming, and I'm standing here and I'm...

Maggie backed away just as Alice finished climbing the ladder. The look on Alice's face had me warm and red all over, especially where I wanted to be. Maggie turned to climb the bedroom stairs without a word and I, like an idiot, just looked at Koudelka and Alice as they stared back at me, stark naked on the stairs and...

"She said she likes pickles," was all I could say.