The king looks furious. Catelyn knows she's in trouble the moment she sees his red face and clenching fists.
As if the four soldiers meeting her at the city gate and escorting to the Red Keep wouldn't tell exactly the same.
"Your Grace," Catelyn bows, not walking any further than the king's guards have brought her. She searches for Ned but it looks like he is not even here. The king raises his hand and waves at her to come closer. Catelyn makes exactly three steps and freezes. Ned, her Ned is standing under the arch on the side of throne and is watching her.
"Your husband is an honorable man, Cat," the king begins as she's staring at her husband. "He says you were following his orders when you kidnapped my wife's brother, but I don't believe he's that stupid". She trembles. No. No, he told her not to do anything. She disobeyed. And then - the worst - she was wrong. Tyrion Lannister proved his innocence at a trial by combat, forcing her to let him go. Which she didn't. "Leave! All of you!" the king yells, and the guards and lords and ladies all awake from some kind of trance and start to move towards the door. In a matter of moments the throne room is deserted. "For God's sake, Cat, what the fuck were you thinking?" the king gets up and walks down the steps. "Do you know how many people died because of you today? You..." he breathes heavily. He looks furious. "Politics are not for women," the king continues, "And there's no way I'll believe Ned commanded you to do this shit! This is fucking treason! So, what is he? A traitor or a liar?"
Catelyn is taken aback by the question. She doesn't know what to answer, and so she looks at Ned, her eyes mad, her mind begging him for help.
But he's angry with her too, she knows. Even if she cannot see it.
"Your Grace, my husband had nothing to do with any of it," she finally speaks. Robert will forgive his Hand lying to protect a wife, but not ordering her to kidnap a king's relative. That is indeed treason.
It has become such when Catelyn allowed her sister Lysa to hold Tyrion Lannister after he's won the trial by combat. Everything that has happened after that makes Catelyn feel sick in her stomach. All those knights who had to die attacking and defending the Vale. Keeping the half-man Lannister prisoner and trying to free him.
Catelyn wonders why she's still alive after all of this. Because it is pretty clear to her whose side the king has taken. Of course, he'd never believe his wife was capable of murdering a child. He would always take her side. Hers, and her relatives'.
"You're a horrible liar, Ned!" the king shouts not turning to face his old friend.
"Isn't that why you wanted me as your hand, Your Grace?" Ned finally speaks, and Catelyn sees the way he leans on a cane while walking. Oh God, what's happened to him.
"Your wife started a war," all of a sudden Robert starts to laugh, his red face finally relaxing just a little. "Though I suppose I've been needing some fun", he adds and steps closer to Catelyn. She makes a step backwards. "Jon Arryn's been a good Hand to me, but his wife is nuts and that land could use a better ruler than her tit-sucking boy".
Her poor sister. Lysa was always touched, but Catelyn didn't expect it to become so bad after her husband's death.
Ned laughs too, but the sound betrays him: he is not at all amused.
"If you were my wife, I'd beat the hell out of you," the king adds in a calm voice. Catelyn catches her breath.
"Didn't you say it wasn't kingly, Your Grace?" Ned interrupts before Roberts can continue. He obviously is nervous.
"You are not a king!"
"She's a woman. A man should never raise his hand..." he keeps on pushing and places himself between the king and Catelyn, but she now trembles even more.
"Would you rather prefer to be held responsible for your wife's crime, Eddard?"
Ned's full name is a bed sign, Catelyn knows.
Robert wouldn't execute his old friend. Would he? She is no longer sure.
"If I may, Your Grace", she cuts in before her husband can get any deeper into defending her. May the king hate her. She is, after all, only a stupid emotional woman with a quick temper. "My husband had no idea I would do what I did. How could he?" Robert doesn't know she's been to King's Landing, and he better not. Or else, he might start questioning his Hand's loyalty.
"So I figured," the king states before hitting hard on Ned's shoulder. "I do wonder what the hell she was doing at that inn where imp was grabbed. But I suppose I can ask later. Right now I need a drink."
He turns around and walks away. Catelyn stares at his back and carefully places her hand on her husband's elbow. She looks at the cane again, wondering but not enough to ask.
"I am so sorry, my love," Catelyn whispers lowering her eyes. Ned doesn't look at her. He follows the king.
"She's your wife to deal with," the king stops a few steps from the big wooden door leading out of the throne room. Ned stops too. "I may not demand a treasonous panishment for she is a woman, your woman. But that doesn't mean she'll go unpunished". Catelyn's heart misses a beat and she stares at Ned as he stares at his king. They all stand silently until Robert adds, "We both need a drink, let's go".
Ned hesitates for a moment.
That exact moment later, as he starts to follow the king, gusrds enter the room again to escort Catelyn to her husband's chambers. The tower of the Hand.