Title: The second best

Character(s): Ned

Words: 228

And isn't it ironic, don't you think?

When Brandon Stark died, the world changed. The North went to battle and a dynasty fell. A young Southron bride cried her heart out, grieving for what could have been. She cried for the life she'd wanted and the future she'd lost and the man she imagined Brandon to be.

Eddard went numb. His brother had been his rock, one of the few certainties in his life, he'd never expected him to die like this, leaving him, the younger brother, in charge.

Brandon would have known what to do – he always did. Brandon didn't need to win Catelyn's over, he already had her in love with him. Brandon would have won the war sooner, Brandon would have took King's Landing before Elia was killed, Brandon would have known how to deal with young Jaime Lannister sat on the Iron Throne like it was his by right.

Brandon would have saved Lyanna.

And as Eddard lay down on the dirty straw in his cell he knew, without a doubt, that Brandon would have took Littlefinger on his first offer, and made himself king of Westeros in all but name.

And then it would have been war and blood and death.

But, in the end, it was all the same.

In the greater scheme of things, a single life doesn't really matter, as long as the Game is played.

A/N: Aaaaand I'm back.
By the way, the song I quoted is called 'Ironic'. Yes, I know, duh.