A/N: A very small upload, just to give some background on the actual Ball, which will be the next chapter. (Which should hopefully be up soon because I am sick to death of doing Art coursework, and frankly, I don't care if I fail anymore.) Have a wonderful day/night, love, abbiemca x 

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Chapter Ten - Preparations


Ava's View


I threw on the first dress I saw hanging up in my wardrobe, which was a cream, light, flouncy thing. I brushed my hair and slipped on the flat shoes Sondra had let me borrow. It was dinner time, a time which  I thoroughly resented with all of my heart. Each time I go, I only end up arguing or getting into trouble. Not to mention a dress is required every evening. I'd happily skip it, but I'd done that last night, and we'd gotten into trouble so I thought better of it. 

I sighed as I looked into the mirror, I don't even look like me anymore. All of these dresses, and shoes and dinners and parties...I'm used to calling for pizza and watching a bad action film with Steve, not sitting in a very crowded, very posh room with about twenty six different items of cutlery. And I still owe Loki and Sondra pudding, if I remember rightly. I sighed once more before picking up a brush and combing out the numerous tangles in my hair. 

Once I looked respectable, I threw myself down onto my bed and closed my eyes for a moment, before I had to endure Odin's rants and Sif's taunts. I had hidden the invasion plans in a drawer that was next to my bed, and I'd taken the book of Asgardian fairy tales from the library and that was now placed upon my pillow. 

I'd almost drifted asleep when Loki knocked on the bedroom door and entered the room. I didn't move when he came in, I just groaned at buried my head into one of the pillows. I heard Loki sigh as he approached me on the bed, he tugged at my shoulder for a moment but then when he realised I wasn't going to move, he sat down next to me. 

"What's wrong?" He asked, softly. 

"Nothing's wrong." 

"Then why are you moping about on your bed?"

"I'm tired and I don't want to go to dinner." 

"You have to go to dinner, Ava." 

"Why?

"Because you owe me pudding," Loki said, with a grin. With that, I threw a pillow at his face but he only laughed at me and dragged me off the bed, which led to me falling in a heap on the floor. Before Loki could help me, and play a trick on me, I jumped up from the floor and straightened out my cream dress. Loki looked the same as he always did, tall, handsome and wearing his golden and green formal clothes. 

 "C'mon, it won't be that bad, my love. The punishment has been lifted now," Loki said softly, he took my hand in his and led me out of my bedroom door and we made our way to dinner together. 

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Loki and I entered the large hall and took our places quietly, I tried not to attract attention from Sif purely because I couldn't be bothered with her, but of course, my attempts weren't good enough.

"Oh, hello, Ava." She said, venom in her tone. "Where were you last night at dinner?"

"Out," I snapped, not meeting her eyes. She gave a sinister smile. 

 "Breaking rules already, I see-"

"I didn't know about the rule-"

"You should have, I mean, your boyfriend is one of the princes-"

"Do not bring me into this Sif," Loki warned, pointing a fork at her. She simply grinned, and pushed his fork down away from her face. 

"Don't you dare point that at me, Loki Odinson," Sif said and Loki did nothing but clench his jaw and grind his teeth together. I was about to say something to her, but Odin interrupted us by tapping on a golden goblet. 

"As you all should know by now, our Victory Ball takes place tomorrow, for the first time this decade. Now, as usual, the background history of the event is due, and I shall be the one to say it, unless anybody else offers," Odin stopped talking, waiting for somebody to volunteer to describe the Victory Ball for him. Nobody stood. Odin sighed and began to speak again. "The Victory Ball, is essentially, a night in which us Asgardians celebrate our triumphs over different realms and our victories in various battles. It is all a night of remembrance, for all of those who have fallen during battles and for those who have lost loved ones in the brutality of war. The Victory Ball is a gathering, of worthy Asgardians, in which we celebrate and remember our triumphs and losses. We first began this tradition after one of our most gruesome battles in 457 BC, when we engaged in a very ferocious battle with our neighbours Jotunheim. The battle was once again, over our precious Tesseract. The Jotuns outnumbered us heavily and many, many Asgardian lives were lost. We had returned with only an eighth of our original number of warriors and it was by far one of our most shattering and painful battles. The blood shed was awful, the bodies of both Jotuns and Asgardians littered the battlefield and an unspeakable number of families were torn apart by this one single battle. However, Asgard had came out victorious and it was then that the tradition of the Victory Ball began, for we had made an astonishing victory, which was of course to be celebrated. But the number of valuable and wonderful warriors we lost could not be forgotten. They must be remembered. And that is why, we have this Ball. However, this Ball is not just to remember that one battle; it is to remember all other battles, before and after, big and small. Nobody deserves to be forgotten." 

Once Odin finished speaking, he was given a small round of applause and everybody present seemed to be a little out of sorts. Sondra, for one, was looking down at her hands in her lap, not looking up to meet anybody's eyes and not clapping Odin. Loki seemed a tad distant, but I pretended not to notice. Even Thor semed to be slightly affected by his father's speech. Other warriors around the table seemed to be avoiding each other's eyes or they were deep in thought. I didn't say a word, not even a murmur because I knew it was a very unsuitable time to be talking. Somebody wasn't as sensible as I was though. 

"We have listened to this speech time and time again, why does everybody still get so bothered by it?" Sif said, earning herself icy glares from almost everybody who could see her. Sondra was the one to reply this time. 

"You honestly need to work on your timing," She said quietly, her golden locket glinting in the chandelier lit hall. Sif only rolled her eyes. 

"Sondra, you're my friend. But don't you think it's time you let it go now?" Sif said, tilting her head to the side and raising an eyebrow, in a very patronising style, I would have cut in, but this wasn't my fight - I didn't know the circumstances. 

"Sif. No." Loki warned, again pointing his fork at her. Sif ignored him and waited for Sondra's response. 

"Time to let it go? They were my parents, Sif." Sondra hissed. Sif simply shrugged. 

"They've been dead for years Sondra, they're not coming back." 

"I'm the only friend you have in this place, Sif. You might want to watch what you say," Sondra hissed once more, edging closer to Sif each time she spoke. 

"I'm simply saying, Sondra, that you need to get over this chip on your shoulder-"

"Chip on my shoulder?! How dare you! They were my parents, the only living relatives I had left, and yes, it was a while ago. But that doesn't mean I still miss them you insensitive rat!" Sondra said, standing from her chair and slapping Sif straight across the face. Sif gasped and reached for her dagger in her belt, but Thor grabbed her arms and held her back. Sondra was about to hit her again but another warrior, with flaming red hair, held her back and prevented her from doing anymore damage. 

"Sondra, Sif. I think it's best if you two leave." Frigga said softly, rising from her chair near the head of the long table. She placed an arm around Sondra's shoulder and led her from the room, Sif not too far behind, being escorted by one of the guards. 

After that, nobody really felt like eating their dinner. Loki didn't even want my pudding. 

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