Why The Nun Wears Black
by Lady Tora
"She openeth her mouth with wisdom: and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her."
Proverbs 31: 26-28
-= AC 180 =-
The cold rains scolded the young womanís skin as she ran up the water soaked hill, small feet sometimes slipped bringing her down to her knees. Tears flowed freely as Helen began to remember her fatherís discouraging works throbbing through her brain.
/ "You did what!"
The blonde girl sat on her knees clasping for her fatherís wild hands, "Please, papa!"
Forcing the pleading girl back from his body, "I have no daughter! Get out of my house! I will not raise your little bastard!" /
The words hurt from far away as Helen looked across the mossy green of land to a large building. It was picturesque convent, ivy climbing up the old stone walls; wooden shutters paled gray with age and a large high Iron Gate to protect from the outside forces.
The young woman could hear the bells ringing for the evening prayer to begin as she stepped off the hill, muddy and drenched looking like a beggar.
"What is your name child?" The Mother Superior smiled gently to sooth the wretched beastís shaken soul. The large black habit sat pinned to her head as the small golden ring shone proudly on her left clutched hand.
"My name is Helen, Mother. Helen Davids."
"Ah, dear Helen. We will offer you sanctuary for you and your child only if you become fully into the faith and give your child up and draw up into the bosom of the Lord to save your soul."
Drawing her arms closer around her stomach, the wept freely as teardrops fell from the pale violet eyes, she nodded slightly afraid of what could happen.
"What will happen to him or her?"
Looking through a large stack of papers set on the old chestnut desk, she glanced up over the thin reading glasses, "Well, they will be taken to the L2 orphanage that will take good care of them."
"But L2 is in outer space! Must you take a newborn so far away?"
"Be still child, calm yourself. We will take good care of them, have faith."
Helen put her head down into her hands, "I donít even have that much anymore, I have nothing and I am nothing."
Getting up slowly, the elderly Mother put her arms around the trembling girl, soothing her. "It will be alright, we will make you something for God made us of just dust of the Earth, so too shall he use you."
As time passed, Helen was fitted with a gray cotton smock, white blouse and a small pale blue hat that covered a bit of her corn silk locks. She worked slowly in the garden as her bloated stomach blocked most of her movements. Tilling between a row of bright green lettuce, she wiped a small bead of sweat from her brow.
"Ay! Morning Sister Helen! Fine morning isnít it." A petit woman dressed in the same garbs walked up holding a few tract books in her hands.
"Yes, it is Sister Sarah. Getting ready to say your vows tomorrow?"
"After all we have done and not? I really cannot wait, my mother and father will be there."
Helen smiled as she held onto her stomach; pain suddenly flared up through her body almost making it unbearable to stand.
"Are you alright sister? Was it something I said?" Sarah fell to her knees to hold Helen up from the ground she was tilling.
"Sarah... the baby is early!" Fear laced across the blonde womanís face as she felt the child inside her kick with bruising force. "Please God save me!" She cried out and grabbed onto the tiny girls hand for support.
The world spun around Helenís head as she was taken to her room, every step felt like she was dancing barefoot on glass that traveled up her body and began to shred her innards.
A group of women covered in white smocks surrounded her as she lay upon her bed. Air became harder to breath as it thickened with her own blood and sweat as she strained to bare the tiny life inside her.
The mother Superior stood over her, saying prayers with her lulling monotone voice while wiping away trails of perspiration from Helenís furrowed brow.
"Mary, dear Mother of Jesus and Mother of us, by the kindly intercession make this our humble offering acceptable in the sight of Jesus, and obtain for us His graces and blessings."
Screaming at the top of her lungs Helen felt everything fall, every little insignificant thing shifted and faltered as the baby was lifted from her. Feelings of joy, sadness, happiness, and guilt pressed though Helenís mind as she held a hand to her mouth, "What is it Mother?"
Her first reaction was to hold the tender being and nurse, but the through was never an option for her.
As she was cleaned up, the newbornís cries filled the air along with Helenís questions.
"Please? May I at least feed her or him?"
The nun shook her head as they wrapped the child and took it to another room while the Mother sang her prayers to the child for protection and leaving the blonde woman to question herself.
"If only I stayed home, if only I listened to father, if..."
"Ifs ands or buts donít make the world. You must live knowing that God will take care of that child."
Shaking from the loss, Helen looked up to the unfamiliar Sister with tears reddening her eyes and streaking her face with tears. "Pray do, at least tell me, what did it look like?"
The nun stood up and walked to the door and peered around the corner, then closed it slightly and went towards the bed and grasped Helenís seeking hand.
"He has your eyes." Giving a bright smile and holding tight to the clinched hands, the nun kissed the blonde womanís forehead and hugged her tight.
"A boy, a little boy... God gave me a boy."
"Give him a name so you can call it from the hilltops and he will know your voice."
"Gabriel... my blessed angel of mercy."
Giving the young woman another hug the nun stood and went to remove all the clothes and water from the chambers.
Helen laid her head back; a faint smile came and went as the tears started to fall again as she felt the over powering loss and loneliness.
-= AC 187 =-
Kneeling in front of the large Bishop, Helen let her eyes wonder down as she felt the sensation of the Holy Water begin put on her forehead.
"Child of Christ, you stand before me and these witnesses to be apart of the Holy Union of Christ. Forget of your past and live in faith, chastity and humility, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost."
"I do." Kissing the old manís jeweled ring and placed her small hand into his while he slipped the small gold band onto her finger.
"Then you are now the Bride of Christ, Sister Helen."
Kissing his ring again, she bowed her head and attempted to stand. She nearly panicked when her legs went weak, but felt a strong hand touch her arm and giving her the needed strength to overcome and stand up. Sarah looked down with soft gray eyes smiling down on her.
A faint whisper caught the blonde nunís ears, "Come now, everyone is waiting."
Looking under the soft white habit, Helen saw her father and mother standing off to a corner. Soft sniffling caught her ears causing the young woman to smile and stand to and bow to the Mother Superior and receive the long black habit that signified her training in faith, humility and chastity.
She wanted to wave or at least acknowledge her familyís presence, but instead stood proud when she felt the last pin slide into her hair and give a wondrous smile.
Time passed as Helen stood outside of the Motherís office. She sat quietly reading her prayer book, but became restless. This made her upset because she hoped to learn to be a patient person, but failed every time she tried.
"Come in Sister." A meek voice behind the old wooden door warmed through.
With a loud sigh, Helen stood and opened the large metal handle and looked inside. "You asked for me Mother?" Crossing the room she bowed slightly and kissed the womanís hand.
"Yes, there is a time when we need sisters to go out and help those in need. A year ago, a tiny orphanage took on one of our sisters, Sister Ruth. She died of the plague that went around the colony. I need you to take her place in the Maxwell Church Orphanage."
"I will do that is commanded of me. But why not a White Sister? They have better qualifications then me-"
"You are perfect for the position, and God has been working on my heart to have you go to L2."
"L2?" Helenís heart leap from her throat, ĎMy son is on L2, will I see him.... will he be in the orphanage?í
"Yes, I have your papers and passport ready. You leave in the morning."
The elderly woman stood up watching the total confusion that masked Helenís face.
"Thank you Mother!" She jumped kissing the womanís hand, then giving her a large hug before darting out the door and slowing her pace while holding in the laughter while passing a group of elder Sisters.
Her heart did loops as she thought of the greatest hopes to be reunited, ĎBut then what? Do you really think that you could keep a little boy? And what if he was adopted and maybe far from L2, then what?í
"Ifs ands or buts donít make the world. I will do my job and do the best of my abilities."" Pushing up her sleeves, Helen walked into her cell and looked around the small abode for her belongings. Pulling the small box-like case from under the small framed bed, opened it and began to place her new life in it.
Walking through the large church, Helen was amazed to hear nothing. No children of the orphanage, no priest, and no other people anywhere.
"Am I in the right place?"
Stopping, Father Maxwell put down the small suitcase and looked over towards her.
She was surprised to see a tall slender man, unlike what she was used to on Earth. Priests were usually portly or short, nothing like she seen before.
"With that thought Sister might earn you to kiss the Mother Superiorís feet and beg for your bread."
Blinking her eyes and shaking her head, "What do you mean?"
"I was a rapscallion in my youth, that is why I help children. They remind me of myself when I was young, and I would do anything to give them a bit of guidance and a home."
Nodding, she fell into step with the kindly priest. "Father Maxwell, where are the children, or the others for that matter."
Stopping by a large door, he pushed on it slightly as it groaned open.
"This is your room, a bit larger then what you are accustomed too." He stepped forward and set the case next to a four poster bed.
"This is larger then the one when I was a girl-" Covering her mouth, she looked down. It was considered as sin to talk about the past, especially with a priest. "Forgive me Father."
Looking up she didnít see a brooding face, but one of pure gentleness. "It is quiet alright now Sister. The children I think will arrive shortly, from what the army told me, there are at least four boys from the St. Augestine Orphanage that burned down a few years ago."
"How have they stayed there for so long and no one notice?"
"Everyone looks away. Children run the streets with fear of being caught, we must give them a home and schooling to make sure that it never happens. I just pray that we will not face the same thing that is happening on the colony."
Bending a bit to put the case on her bed, Helen looked over her shoulder, "What is happening on the colony?"
"War. Everyone is fighting and not listening to the teachings of Heero Yuy; to over come these hard times we must come together in peace and unity. But alas, people think it is better to go out on their own and not stick together." Sitting down and laying his head against one of the large post of the bed he gave a small chuckle, "But I am just an old man, maybe they will listen to the youth."
As the words came from Father Maxwellís mouth, a loud shout came from downstairs. Getting up and walking down the stairs, they were both greeted by the sight of four healthy and filthy boys.
"So, these are the young ones." The elder man smiled and squatted down to the childrenís level. "We will take good care of you all." One child caught his attention, while he tried the pat the ladís head; the longhaired boy sneered and snapped at his hand. "Not quick enough my boy, what is your name child?"
"I plead tha fifth." A large guard pushed the boy further through the doors.
"Sister Helen, this one is for you as I show the other boys to their rooms and get them new clothing."
"Yes Father. Iíll make a nice bath and-"
"Bath? You arenít from these parts are ya lady, I mean Sister." The small child took the womanís hand as they began to walk into the back of the church where the kitchen was.
"What do you mean, there is no water here?" Helen looked down stunned.
"Are ya kidding? This place is a royal dump. No food, no water, no shelter for tha weary, that is what the old guy in the green suit used to say."
The young woman began to worry herself, "My poor Gabriel..."
"Who?" The boy climbed up the chair and looked into Sister Helenís face.
"Someone from my past that was sent here." He blinked his large eyes, batting the thick lashes.
Grabbing a small cloth and tiny basin of water, Helen began the mundane task of cleaning the child of his past dirt and grime from his tiny hands, legs, arms and face. As she softly scrubbed the boyís face, she looked deep into his shimmering violet eyes.
ĎHe has your eyes.í
"What is your name?" She dampened the feather soft bangs.
"I have no real name, donít remember anything but demon child. But everyone calls me Duo."
Smiling and petting the soft hair back from the child cherub face, "I cannot see you being called demon."
"You donít know me well toots...I mean Sister!"
Rolling her eyes, Sister Helen gave Duo a stack of clothing to put on while she looked for a pair of hair sheers.
"Come out Duo, it is almost time for Dinner."
"Arenít you hungry?" She came up to the door and placed her ear closer to hear.
"Yes... but not that hungry!"
Sighing, she opened the door to see the young man looking in the mirror.
"I look ridiculous."
He actually looked like a little gentleman, dressed from head to foot in black with the small white collar. "I think if I cut your hair, you would look better and feel cooler."
"Hell no!" Running across the room the boy jumped over the bed and tried to jump out the window, only to notice that he was far above the ground then he hoped. "Shit!"
"Duo! You are to not use that language here."
Whimpering slightly, he felt the fingers tie around his thick mane. Fighting with all his might, he tried to push the woman away with no avail, "Quit it! Stop it now!"
Hearing the commotion from down the hall, Father Maxwell was afraid that he left such a large job in the hands of the new help.
"What is going on?" He opened the door to see Sister Helen holding up a pair of hair sheers in one hand and the twisted growling mass of the child in the other.
"He doesnít want his hair cut!"
"Thatís right toots! Let me go!" Duo struggled harder.
"But it is hard to keep clean and is dirty-"
"It is not!"
A smile played on the old priestís lips, "Do as he says Sister."
Stunned by the reaction, Duo stopped and looked up to a pair of stunned violet eyes.
Only nodding and stood in the corner, "Then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and here shall no razor come upon his head." Father Maxwell knew they would eventually get along. The when, how and where would be up to them.
Letting the boy down gently, Sister Helen patted a large seat for Duo to sit on. "I will not ever cut your hair. I apologize for not listening."
"So what are you going to do to me?" The boy looked up pitifully to the taller nun.
"Something my mother taught me." Taking the long strands of hair in her hands, she placed them in three separate sections. "The braid is the beginning, The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, apart they are nothing much, but together, they make a whole." Weaving the three sections of hair she tied it off with a rubber band. "There. Better?"
"Aw cool! So now I can steel and not get strung up!"
"Duo, you have no reason to steal anymore." The Elder priest put his hand on the head of the large chair.
"Oh, I forgot, donít have to steal, I am a beggar now." Pouting and fidgeting in the wooden seat he felt the eyes bore through his skull.
Putting the large hand down to Duoís shoulder, he gave a wistful smile, "Then tell me then, how are we beggars."
"Well, the church survives on offerings and donations, just like a beggar gets money from offerings and donations."
"Duo!" The nunís voice was surprised at the childís mere thoughts.
"He is right you know." Father Maxwell smiled and patted the soft head.
"Yup! I tell it like it is." Duo just smiled on, feeling good about saying something and not being reprimanded. That little inquiry alone would have the ruler across his knuckles at St. Augustine.
As time passed, Helen grew to live in the church. She knew on Thursdays, they had to push large barrels under the angles roof to catch as much rain water as possible to have bathing water and something to water the garden so they could eat. Living in the orphanage kept her busy with the children coming and going to new home or other foster care, but something stayed the same.
"Duo! Wait Duo!" Taking up the long dress in her hands, she caught up with the child. "Duo... it happened again didnít it." She kneeled down to his level, holding gently to his shoulders.
Looking away and sniffing a bit, his eyes were glassy with oncoming tears. "It was their fault! I hate it here, I hate these clothes, I hate the people hereÖI hate me." His voice went from shouting to a soft whisper that choked back emotions.
"Look at me," She took his small elven face in her hands and gently stroked the soft hair on the side of his ears. "You put those children in a hospital, that is not justice if they did not do wrong."
"But... I... " His eyes dropped to the ground as he shuffled his feet.
Wiping long tresses of bangs off his forehead, Helen looked into his eyes, "What did they say to you dear?"
"That I smelled dirty." Shame filled Duoís voice as he tried to look away from the haunting eyes.
A light smile played on the nunís face as she enveloped her arms around him and softly kissed his forehead. "I think you smell like a bed of roses under a bright blue sky."
He only whimpered in response and flicked away a tear, "Real men donít cry."
"Aw baby, real men cry, but strong men donít cry out."
"Yes really. Now, if they ever say anything to you again just ignore it." Kissing the boyís forehead again she looked down to see a bright smile on his face.
Standing to her feet she took the tiny hand in hers, savoring the feel of each warm digit and playing the warm hug over and over in her mind.
-= AC 188 =-
Running back and forth to the kitchen area to gather water and bandages to bring to the small group of soldiers. Duo at all times held tight to her dress skirts, and she preferred it that way, in her sight and close as possible. Not that she minded helping the soldiers, the church was a sanctuary for anyone who passes through the doors, but she didnít like the looks that the child was given and the large guns cocked and ready.
Soaking a large strip of cloth and dabbing the manís massive head wounds, she doubted the solider would live, and hoped he wouldnít. It hurt her heart to think it, but it held onto truths in her mind.
"All we need it a large mobile suit, then we would have this in the bag for sure!" A dark headed man stood at the altar as if to preach orders. "We cannot stand up to them as we are, we need more power!"
"Here here sir!"
Taking a large tube of ointment, Duo looked up at Sister Helenís worried face. "It is starting again, just when it was getting better." He let go of her tassels and began to walk to the door.
"We should not fight! It was the teachings of Heero Yuy that stated, ĎWe did not come to space to fight, nor should we bare arms against our brothers that survived the cruelty of the colonyí." Father Maxwell stood from his place and began to walk up to the over bearing leader of the troops.
"You think that we are surviving here! We must fight!"
"And I say we mustnít!"
Growling the solider took his rifle and cracked it against the side of the elderly priestís head.
A loud thump was heard as Father Maxwellís body hit the hard floor, his head was gashed with a large knot forming at the base of the injury while blood seeped though his silver hair.
"No! You filthy bastard! How could you!" Duo ground his teeth and felt the need to do anything in response of the terrible action to the unarmed man but watches the black clad nun go to his side.
Holding the dear gentlemanís hand, she stood guard over his body as the rest of the troops come over to finish off what was started. "Please, he is no threat to you! Why wonít you listen!"
Stalking close a larger woman backhanded Helen across the face, breaking her lip in the process. "Shut up you, we have to be united and you are stirring up tales of peace."
"They could be spies for the other side."
"Yeah, who would suspect a little girl and an old man."
Helen wiped her sleeve over he bruised lip, "No! We are not spies, we only want to live in peace!"
A man cracked his knuckles as he stalked towards Father Maxwellís groaning form and Helen. His leer frightened Duo as he ripped off the Sisterís habit.
"I can make them confess." A round of chuckles filled the air when the boy had enough.
"Stop it! Iíll steal you the mobile suit, just donít hurt them!"
The towering leader looked at the longhaired boy and laughed, "look at this kid, thinks he can steal a suit." He encouraged the groupsí laughter infuriating the boy further.
ĎRemember Duo, just ignore them.í The soft voice of Sister Helen reached his ears.
In a low voice almost inaudible by the soldiers, "I run and hide, but I never tell a lie. Unlike you dogs!"
Throwing down his guns to take after the young child, the leader growled at the insult.
"I will get you the suit, just leave us in peace!"
Duo ran out the door, his pleat of hair trailing not far behind him.
"Duo! Stop! No Gabriel!" But it was too late.
The troop watched as the boy ran out of the church towards the Federation Army Base.
Father Maxwell made it to his knees to see the streaks of sadness and fury across Helenís face. Wisps of pale blonde locks came down over his shoulder, as she stood ready to defend herself.
"I had 3 elder brothers, you people are nothing!" She walked up to the female solider and took back her hand and letting it fly against the face. "Eye for an eye." She spat on the womanís face and went back to the fallen priest. She took his shaking hand into hers and tried to stand him up.
"No, I am will stay here. I knew you had too much fire and pride to be a nun." He smiled and kissed her forehead.
The church began to shake as large helicopters and suits began to approach the armyís hideout.
"Troops! Move out! We been found!"
Grabbing up the soldiers that could still walk and the female that dared to cross the nunís pathway.
"You better run! Filthy dogs! The lot of you!"
Helen smiled, they were gone, but now her own was missing; the pride and joy of her life.
"D..Duo... where is he?" The silver haired man looked up into the young womanís violet eyes.
Looking out the door, the tears began to touch the brim ready to fall. "He ran out."
"I know.. I could see it when he first came here. Go find him."
"You must tell him, must... go... " His blue eyes closed as Father Maxwellís body went limp.
The pounding sounds of the helicopters and ramjets of the suits flew closer and closer shaking the churchís foundations. Taking the old manís hand up to her lips, she kissed his ring and began to stand up when she heard it.
A loud thunderous booming sound shattered through the air as parts stained glass windows exploded inwards showering her body in the colored glass. Covering her head she opened the door and collapsed. Helen touched the middle of her chest and found a large piece of glass protruding from her body. The blood stained her porcelain hands as she looked up to see the smoky face of a little angel.
"Du... Duo?" Lifting her hand she tried to see if it was real or a hallucination of the loss of blood. "My DuoÖare you alright?"
"No... Sister." He crawled up to her side and clasped the long fingers of the dying woman.
A smile lit her features as a thin trickle of blood marred the perfect image. "Father Maxwell was thinking of you from the last momentÖ"
"It is all my fault... because I stole the suit... they came and killed you!"
"He was a wonderful man the Father, he talked of peace and-"
"Wonderful? What is so wonderful in being killed!? Why now!" Bowing his head and clutching harder to Sister Helenís hands he felt the ripples of air choking off his breath.
"Duo... I wanted to tell you something, let me look at you." Tilting her head up a little, she saw the pair of matching eyes lift up to her own, "Duo, when I was younger I was very brass and made a bad decision. It was giving you to the orphanage and joining the convent. By finding you againÖIÖI found you are so much more important then saving my own soul!"
The boyís face became slack at the overwhelming information. "Youíre... youíre..."
Helen began to cough as she felt the blood take over her lungs, "Please Gabriel, promise me... take my cross and ring. Sell them so you donít have to steal. I love you so much and I am proud of youÖMay GodÖblessÖand keep you." Her head fell back as the sweet violet eyes rolled back, convulsing one last time.
"Mother? MOTHER!" Duo threw his head back and screamed into the open air. Nothing could take the pain away, not even the raw bleeding of his own throat.
-= AC 197 =-
Fidgeting in front of the large mansion, Duo didnít feel good.
"I canít do it Heero! I mean-"
"You are doing it Duo. You owe it to them at least give them her belongings." Crossing his arms, he gave his love a playful glare.
"But but!" He tried to give the best pleading look that he knew.
Before either could finish the fight, an elderly man opened the door. He looked over at the longhaired boy and instantly clutched him in his arms.
"I am sorry... please forgive me for what I have done to you and Helen." Letting go only enough to look at the lean youth, he swore that he was looking into a mirror of his past.
"Yeah, things happen. I donít mean to be a bother..."
"Never a bother, youíre my little girlís boy. Youíre my grandson. Come in!"
The entered the house as Duo let his other hand fall back for Heero to clasp onto. An elderly lady came out of the kitchen area and nearly screamed in delight as she grabbed the young man and swung him off his feet.
"Oh my babyís baby! You missed 17 years of spoiling, get in the kitchen and eat two tons of cookies! And you are a bag of bones yourself." Pinching Heeroís cheeks, she smiled and latched onto Duoís face. "Look at him Merle, he is spitting image of you as a boy."
Looking over to the overly happy grandparents, Duo just smiled. "You are just letting me in your home without knowing my nameÖI could be a terrorist or something."
Heero snorted, "Excuse Duo, he needs manners.."
"Hehe, thanks Hee-koi. And they call me a big mouth." Holding a hand behind his head and laughing nervously. "My name is Duo. Duo Gabriel Maxwell and my boyfriend Heero Michael Yuy."
The pair didnít flinch and their smiles never faded.
"Well, I got a fresh batch of cookies and more grandkids you can shake a stick at, so get in there and help them eat it." The elderly woman smiled and pushed the teens in.
Silently Duo looked up, rubbing the large crucifix at his throat and smiled, ĎHappy Motherís day mommyÖí
"Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies."