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“So, any news?”

Cat had been determined not to accost Ned as soon as he walked in the door to the house, but she’d had enough. She was a serious actor, and the damn writers had made her character be in a coma for a year of screen time.

A year.

There was only so many meditations and podcasts she could listen to in her effort to lie as still as possible, and act somewhat braindead. It was an insult to her acting ability and long-time commitment to the show, not that Arianne or that prune Olenna would take note.

Ned looked at her sheepishly, his hands were in his pockets. He hadn’t looked this reluctant since he received his series script and had to break it to her that he had no fewer than a sex scene once a week with Cersei fucking Lannister, widely regarded by those in the know as the cast and film crew public-use bicycle.

Ned came to a halt at the entrance to the open plan kitchen, hands still in his pockets. “There’s talk of a live finale.”

“A what?”

Ned cleared his throat. “A live finale. I voiced our concerns to Arianne about the poor quality of your storyline, your commitment to this show and how you had turned down several potential roles in those ever-popular Danish crime shows which have good ratings -”

“- Yes, Ned, but what about my storyline? I have been in a coma since someone pushed me down that empty lift shaft in the lingerie department of Maegor’s department store, and the storyline has been hanging for a year!”

“I don’t know, Cat!” Ned huffed. She knew she was being a dog with a bone about the issue, but Ned was well regarded with the producers and would be more likely to actually be listened to about her concerns. After pausing for a moment to gather his words, he continued, “Arianne was evasive as usual, and just kept talking about a possibility of a live finale, and how she was due to go into a meeting with the writers about it all. Risky, if you ask me. Cersei and Joff are loose cannons, they could come out with anything.”

Defeated, Ned retreated to perch on the back of the sectional sofa nearest the kitchen island where Cat was preparing a salad. The Bold and the Restless had given them both steady incomes, unheard of for many actors, for several years and had enabled them to bring the family together in a house near the studio, keeping their large estate Winterfell in Oregon as their off-season retreat. But Cat had had enough. The show’s ratings were slumping, her storyline was dead in the water, and she didn’t like how the entire family had been swallowed into the show, and how even more ridiculous the storylines were getting. Last season there had been talks of alien landings, zombie pathogen outbreaks, a rogue 1960s Soviet spaceship from crash landing in the city; it was getting ridiculous, even for a soap.

Another grievance Cat had for the now ailing show was the vast impact it had on the Stark family, and for Cat, family came first. She begrudgingly accepted that family life was never going to be straightforward with both her and Ned acting, but she had expected at least one of her children to lead a somewhat normal life. Robb didn’t seem interested in settling down. Sansa, whom she thought had the most natural acting ability, didn’t appear to want to take on more serious roles outside of the show or want to settle down with a nice man either. Arya had made them so proud with her fencing and her Gold in Women’s Foils at the Olympics last summer, only to throw it away and join the damn show. At least she had Podrick who somewhat centred her. And the gods only knew what Bran and Rickon were doing in the show, she barely saw them or heard from them day to day – it was as if they all thought she were in a real-life coma.

Good riddance.

Cat sighed. Ned looked up at her from the sofa and gave her that quiet, apologetic smile that still stirred a butterfly in her chest. It was the same smile he had given her so many years ago the night it was revealed that his older brother Brandon, also an actor and her one-time fiancé, had apparently jilted her and was engaged to some comely Spanish soft porn actress he had met whilst filming a period drama in the UK. Ned had come over to break the news to her, as Hello! magazine was due to release the 'scoop' the following morning.

Walking over to sit next to Ned on the back of the sofa, she laced her fingers with his, as he gave her hand a supportive squeeze. “I suppose I’m still in a coma for the next few weeks then?”

“Afraid so, Cat”. He leant over and kissed her forehead, Cat burying her head in his shoulder. Cat thanked the gods for Ned’s patience, he had been listening to her rants for the best part of six months. She’d just have to put up with Maergery’s awful acting until her character woke up. Perhaps in this live finale?

“What about you, Ned? What have the writers set up for you?”

“Some scenes with Varys again. At least the man can act. We are all due on set at 8 tomorrow for make-up and wardrobe.”

“Mhmm.”

The sooner Cat got out of this farce of a show, the better.