And I Will Try

Title: And I Will Try
Time Period: September, 134 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: An apprenticeship to a healer was bound to come at a price; the ghosts of Cordelia's experiences finally catch up with her, and Jørn remains dutiful to his place in warding them off.

Outside, Autumn makes itself known, a chilly wind howling about the manor as it rips leaves from the trees and sends them skittering along the walls and windows. A more imaginative girl might be bothered by the 'wuthering' of the wind or the dry skittery sound of branches and leaves sweeping by, imagining the noises to come from a more malevolent source than Nature herself.

Cordelia is awake, but not for fear of storm or harmful creatures. Never the loudest of children, she was quiet at the evening meal, answering questions about her day with polite monosyllables or short phrases. Afterwards, she studied a book, curled up on a couch with her deerhound by the fire before saying her goodnights and going to bed well before her usual hour.

Now the quiet of the evening is gone; the moaning of the wind outside has found a kindred spirit in the young girl, finally overwhelmed by the emotions she's bitten back all day: she sobs into her pillow, trying to muffle the noise though her family members are still far away in the study or parlor.

When you know a person, it becomes easier over time to tell when there is something amiss; children and teenagers are emotional creatures to begin with, and for some it is quite noticeable to see them segue into quiet- especially if they are usually so warm. Though he does not sup with the family, or often put himself into the family rooms- private time tends to be private time- Jorn was able to glean from the others in the manor that the young miss was somewhat dour this evening. Most of them assume that she was tired after her day with Aislinn, for whatever reason.

Jorn did not let it bother him until now, when he finds himself wandering along some of the manor house halls; when he stays here, he finds himself roaming. Not for expectation of something, but simply for the sake of his feeling a duty to. The high-mantled door to the teenage girl's quarters is closed tightly against the coziness of the hall outside, though the windows in her room jitter slightly against the wind.

He hears that sound before he gets there, hesitant to match it to the voice, and hoping that he can attribute it to the weather. No such luck. Jorn approaches the door, watchful of its handle, as if he expects it to pop open at any moment. One hand bunches at the other side of his cloak, warmly draped around his shoulders, even now. Underneath, his armor is gone, leaving him in a simple tunic, and belted pants wrapped against the tops of his boots. At first, when he lifts his hand to knock, he draws back.

Only when Cordelia's sobs breathe into a new set does he lift his knuckles to rap quietly on the frame.

The sob gets cut back at the knock on the door, and she is still for a moment, gathering herself and trying to sound normal when she finally answers. It's a failed attempt; her voice is thick and husky from crying, her stuffy nose adding a nasal quality to her words.

"Just a minute," she finally calls, the bed springs creaking as she shifts to sit up on the bed. Her feet in thick socks swing out to find slippers and then she finds a robe to wrap over her nightgown. A few shuffling steps take her to the door, which Cordie cracks open to peer out from the darkness of her room. It's not hard to see her eyes are red and swollen, though her hair falls across her face messily, veiling them somewhat.

Jorn frowns to himself as he listens to her tiny frame shuffling about. If he were actually family, he likely would have just walked in. Despite knowing her half of her life, however, he still tries to hold to such protocols. So when she cracks open her door, he has to force himself to not stick the toe of his boot into it. She sees his chest before anything else, and when she actually looks up at him, his pale blue eyes seem to reflect what little light is in the hall.

"Cordelia." He no longer says her name as if it began with a dull 'K', but the roughness of a Scandinavian tongue is always there. "You are not well." Jorn pointedly does not ask 'if she is feeling alright'- why would he ask if he already knows the answer?

She tips her head as if to look up at him but her eyes drift somewhere down and to the side. She sniffles once and it looks like she might argue from the way her lips screw up to the side as she thinks on her response.

"I didn't mean to be so loud," is an admission of sorts, and she presses her lips together as another surge of sorrow wells through her, tears prickling at her dark eyes. "It's nothing though. I didn't wake you?"

It's more polite and proper than she usually is with her protector, but then she's a 'professional' now, a physician's assistant, and no doubt the adults have passed glances and smiles amongst themselves regarding her efforts to be more mature in the past couple of months.

"You were not loud." He manages to blurt this softly while she is still voicing her worry that she woke him. "No." Jorn frowns again, eyes trailing to where she had looked away, and back down to her. He knows that she is trying to be less of a child- but frankly, she is still a child. Then again, she is barely older than he was when he left home. It boils down to the matter of his seeing her as something to watch over more carefully than the others.

"Would you wish to talk, muna?" Jorn drops the pet-name, in the vague hope that it may steer her without her actually taking notice. He hates to see- or hear, in this case- her cry.

Her head bends again to avoid his gaze — mostly because the worry and empathy makes her want to cry all the more, and to run into his arms like she would have not that long ago with a scraped knee or bumped head.

She presses her lips together and shakes her head to deny him an answer, but then the dam breaks.

"Mr. Carmichael died today," she whispers, and tears stream down her cheeks. "He was too sick and too old and he died holding my hand and thinking I was his daughter." The elderly man had been fighting for his life for the past few weeks; there was little hope he'd make it, but Cordelia's optimism had been blind.

Tearful eyes look up to Jorn's. "Don't tell my parents? I don't want them to think I'm…" there's a wave of her hand to fill in the blank: too weak, too young, too soft.

A scraped knee or bumped head would be preferable, as Jorn would know exactly what to do. He obviously has experience with death, and those that become personal, however when it comes to sobbing girls that have encountered it, he is apt to fumble a little. The Nord expected something like this, at least. Her concern for the patient at Aislinn's was evident enough, as was that optimism, and now it comes as no surprise that the girl as been affected so. It is made worse because of the man's state of dementia.

"It will not be the first thing that I keep to myself." Whatever that means. Jorn lifts his hand to the edge of the door, to nudge it open wider. The movement is somewhat hesitant. "You did nothing wrong."

She steps back, letting him enter her room; there is a chair for reading aside from the bed, and she nods to it, moving to perch on the edge of her bed. "I haven't seen anyone die before," Cordie whispers, and her eyes leak more tears as she picks up her pillow to rest on her lap — something to hold, to fiddle with when eye contact is too hard.

"He was in pain and he couldn't breathe, and then he was just … gone." Her lower lip trembles. "I can handle the sight of blood and the stitches and the gross things… but he was so nice and he didn't deserve to die in pain and without anyone who loved him nearby." The words come more easily now, along with the new trickle of tears.

One long arm gathers up the back of his cloak, and it drapes up over his forearm before he meanders in, closing the door so that it remains open a crack. Jorn may be considered kin at this point, but one can never be too careful. He takes his time in moving around. "Ah." Jorn sounds gently surprised, but he forgets to remember that this is a noble's daughter. He has not sat down yet, preferring, for the moment, to hover near it.

As a matter of fact, Jorn is glad that he did not. He shifts himself closer to the edge of her bed, putting himself down on his right knee in front of her; all in order to face her at a level that is not naturally looming or glowering.

"It seems to me, that he did."

Dark brows knit together in confusion for a moment, and she is about to argue — Jeanie was the old man's daughter, Cordie's mother's age, who had died some ten years ago in an accident; the man had been a widower and Jeanie his only daughter.

It takes some time for Jorn's intent to sink in, and Cordelia's eyes lift to find Jorn's again, in understanding.

She swallows and nods, reaching up to wipe her eyes and then shove a tangle of tear-dampened hair out of her face.

Her mouth quirks into a small smile, the first of the evening since she came home from work.

Teaching a child about the coursing of life and death is hard enough as it is. Jorn waits for her to pick up on what he means. He knows that she is sharp enough, and his wait is short. A sigh heaves its ponderous way through his chest, and Jorn lifts his hand up to finish putting her hair up behind her ear. His hand, like always, is calloused and hard-knuckled, though his gestures are always as soft as a breeze.

"You see." He rasps quietly, letting his fingers catch her by the chin, thumb wiping a smear of salty tear from her cheek. Both brows have flattened in what looks like a brooding expression; Jorn's 'thinking face' is probably not the most welcoming of expressions to those that cannot recognize it.

She nods, chin rising and falling against his hand, before she rises to hug him, a quick kiss to his cheek before she ducks her head to his shoulder. "I can be strong enough to be that for them — if they have no one else, I can do it," she whispers, perhaps more to herself than to him.

It's a large burden to take, and probably one that most in the medical field would advise against; but Cordelia is not the sort to do something without caring about it. "Thank you for listening."

Stepping back, she can't help but stifle a yawn as she sits back on her bed's edge once again.

Even on one knee, Jorn is tall enough that she barely needs to sink into such an embrace. She can feel his shoulder proper under the layer of cloak, and he may need a bit of a shave- but right now there can be no better hug than one from a bear. Palms patting her lightly on the back, Jorn tilts his chin down before she moves away, yet he says nothing while she is there. Nothing is always more effective.

"It will be difficult. But I know that you have much love in your heart. You must be brave for them." A rare smile flickers across his lips, and his cheeks press a few more friendly lines around his eyes. Jorn's hand finds the top of her head, rustling the molasses colored hair- only to smooth it back again, just before he makes to stand. Incidentally, his getting up is a bit more ungainly than his getting down.

"It would be best, if you were rested for the morning."