Eddard Stark was not a man who regretted much in his life. Sure there were a few things, like eating those cupcakes Robb and Jon had baked when they were six and had though it was a good idea to make use of old milk and half a jar of pepper. Or that time he put bubble gum in Lyanna's hair when they were kids (But did he regret that? Did he really?). But agreeing to give Sansa a Wii for her fourteenth birthday must be on the top ten list of the worst decisions of his life.
Not that he wasn't happy that she enjoyed the gift they had given her (more than the dress that Joffrey and his mother had giver her, take that you shits!), but that had led to her forcing the rest of the family to play Mario Party with her, and that had led to Arya and Bran finding the old GameCube in the basement. This was the third night in a row that they had to play Mario Party 6, and it was a friday. Ned just wanted to eat peanuts and watch Animal Planet. But no, all the Starks, and their dogs, were gathered in the living room, disturbing his precious Ned-Time. And he did not even get to play as Mario. Rickon had snatched him up, and Ned could not bully his youngest into giving up a cartoon character in a game meant for children. So he was stuck with Luigi.
The whole clan had devided into four teams of two. Jon and Robb had picked Princess Peach, because they're so funny. Arya and Sansa had, after ten painful minutes of arguing, decided to play as Yoshi. Ned had let Bran decide since he did not care about anything in life anymore, and Rickon, that devil child, had, obviously, picked Mario for him and Catelyn.
Two turns in and the oldest boys had won both mini games, and Robb bought a star for them on the third go. God damn it, when did they get so good at this? Not that Ned actually cared of course, he just wanted to watch a documentary about meerkats. But when Arya stole 30 coins from him and Bran, shit got personal. No one steals from Eddard Stark. He had a new mission in mind; Down with Arya Stark. And Sansa Stark too apparently, since she highfived her little sister after the deed was done.
But then Catelyn, his own wife, stole the only star that he and Bran had bravely bought with their well earnned coins. He should have known he could not trust her since she sent a spiked shell after him when they played Mario Kart the previous night, and made him come in last place. It seemed as if he was alone in this. A lamb surrounded by a pack of star greedy wolves. A sad thought, since he usually was the alpha male in this house. Except for when there was a children's game involved it seemed.
"Okay, who put that Zap Orb there?!" Jon yelled, as Peach continued to lose five coins with every step she took. Before they play, Jon always acts like he does not want to play (kinda like Ned), that he does not have time for childish games. Yet he gets so damn serious when the game starts. Ned just thinks he talks a lot of shit for someone whose favorite game used to be Viva Piñata (it probably still is).
The game started getting closer to the end and the game hosts, Brighton and Twila, rudely interrupted the game to present the current score. Robb and Jon were in the lead, with Rickon and Catelyn in second. Sansa and Arya were in third place, and Bran and Ned were in last. The only times they really won a mini game was when Brandon was playing, and he got mad at his father whenever Ned lost, but he blamed the graphics. Ned was used to more classic gaming, like Nintendo 64 or Sega. Where the characters had more pointy bodyparts. Not these cool, new consoles with internet and strange games about Legos in Star Wars, assassins and cooking mamas. Oh the good old days, when he and Robert Baratheon were roommates in collage, and played Double Dragon on the NES while they got high.
Back to the game, Ned and Bran did get past the girls when Bran, the devious child, stole a star from his older brothers, and Jon nearly flipped a table. Jesus Christ, son! No need to take the game so serious! It's just a star.
"Jon, we still have four stars left, we're still gonna win." Robb said, and pulled his brother down on the couch again.
And they probably would have won if Ned had not accidently stepped on a Bowser Space, making them all participate in a Bowser mini game. If you lose that evil, mutated turtle takes all your money, and well-...They all lost, and suddenly Ned was the worst person to ever exist. Dicks. It's not like he can controle that dice.
Stars were bought and stolen, coins came and went, and in the end it was Rickon and Catelyn who were declared Party Stars, with Ned's Mario. Sansa and Arya came in second, with two stars they had won from their older brothers in a duel, and thanks to that Robb and Jon came in pathetic fourth place. "You still did great, boys." Losers. And it was thanks to Bran's cunning star stealing stealth that they came in third. He had obviously learnt that from his father.
"Next time we play something fun! With guns! This sucks..." Oh God, please don't let there be a next time.
"Maybe a round of Mario Kart before Bran and Rickon go to bed." Catelyn suggested, and Ned might be seeing things but he's pretty sure he saw her smirk at him. Like a reminder of how she had screwed him over in a moment he thought he could trust her.
"No. No, we're definately not doing that."
"Afraid you'll lose, love?" Was she taunting him?
"Noo! I am a grown up man, I don't put time and effort into caring about something as pointless as losing in a video game." He did. Very much. And losing to his youngest child was a great blow to his pride.
"Was that why you were frowning the whole time you and Bran were in last place, dad?" Robb grinned at him. That boy should really know when to keep quiet, Ned has sixteen years worth of blackmail material against him.
Soon enough, and to Ned's delight, the family scattered. Arya said that "she couldn't stand seeing their faces anymore today" and went upstairs to call Gendry. Ned does not like Gendry. He never wear a shirt, and the word 'Cocks' leave his mouth a little too often. Maybe he's just enthusiastic about the animal, but Ned doubted it. Robb had do drag Jon's butt off the couch so they could go to Theon's place. But Jon was sitting with his arms crossed, glaring at the TV, and did not move a fin. Only when Robb mentioned Ygritte did he stand up, though he was still pissed about losing, and Ned could hear him yelling at his brother even as they walked down the driveway.
Mario Party was tearing his family apart.
"I'll put the boys to bed." Catelyn said, leaning over to kiss him on the cheek, before taking on her hip to strut up to their bedrooms with Bran following. Ned let out a breath of relief. Finally he was alone. No more coloful, sadistic video games, just him, his TV and the meerkats. He grabbed the remote and switched over to Animal Planet. Just when he got himself comfortable did the voice of his oldest daughter bring him out of his euphoria.
"Dad. I am not watching this. Put on Mtv."