A/N: I know I keep saying the same things on these author's notes, but I just need you all to know I am really sorry I don't update very often anymore, I just have too much work to be doing as often as I used to, but I'll try my best. I hope you enjoy this chapter, and have a wonderful day/night, love, abbiemca x 

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Chapter Thirty Two - Standstill

Ava's View

An hour or two had passed, and I held Mari in my arms, as she had a wounded leg and all of that running had not helped her in any way. I had tried to bandage it up with a scrap of material, but it was a pretty useless effort - it would have been better without. She clung to my shoulders, and she soon buried her face into my grimy hair when she had taken in the views around her. War is too much for children to handle, so much death, injury, violence... no child should have to see it, never mind be a part of  it. 

I looked around, bracing myself for any attacks from Jotuns that may come my way. I needed to be on top form, so that I could keep Mari out of harm's way. I already had a burnt wrist, I didn't want anything else to hinder my performance. 

As I viewed the  surrounding though, there wasn't much fighting going on. Just limp, lifeless bodies strewn randomly across blood stained cobbles that once shone in the golden light of Asgard. A few soldiers dragged themselves towards the palace gates. A few field medics saw to the injured, Asgardian and Jotun alike. I tried to spot some Jotuns, but I couldn't. Had they retreated? 

Had we won?

Maybe we had, but what had we won? We'd lost more than anything; people, families, mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, lovers.... Is that even considered a victory?

A bellowing voice came from the interior of the palace gates - the courtyard. I picked up my walking pace, and Mari's little hands held on tighter. It was one of the soldiers, he was battered and bloody, but he held up a long, heavy blade to the sky, and let out a cy of victory. 

We had won. 

The remaining Asgardians had piled into the courtyard, and there was raucous cheers and bellows of triumph. It would have been a remarkable sight, full of joy and euphoria, however, there were the groups of people, or lone people, who sat or stood to the sides of the courtyards, filled with grief. Mothers were weeping, children were standing alone and confused. Friends were giving others shoulders to cry on. If you looked hard enough, there wasn't much that was happy about the scene. 

I assumed that everybody was gathered here now, and I looked around. Mari did the same, and she removed her head form my hair as the courtyard was full of people she knew and recognised. 

"Would you like to get down?" I asked her softly. She shook her head and tightened her grip on me slightly. "Okay," I nodded, and she remained silent. 

I spotted Will in the crowd, and he was standing on his own. He looked disshelved, his glasses were in his hands, lenses smashed, and his hair was covering his face completely. His cheeks were cut, and his sleeves had been torn and spotted with his own blood. He lad a limp. I walked over to him, Mari in my arms. She studied him carefully before giving him a weak smile, which he managed to return, although his smile looked more like a grimace. 

"Are you okay?" I asked him, and he nodded. He glanced at my arm and his eyebrows knitted together. 

"I'll live, but your arm isn't looking too good. And who's this?" He asked, and  I had to concentrate immensely to be able to hear him. He was normally quiet, but with all the racket around us, it was even harder to hear him. 

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