I sit nervously on the edge of the desk. The beings I've invited to this little escapade are not among my nicer characters. But I need them to talk to me so I can get them past some of the crap that's derailed the story. So I called them here so we could work things out so when I do get back to their story I can move it forward.
There's a knock on the door. Before I can utter the words "Come in!", the door is pushed open and they come in - Azarea, Mik, and Gabby. Thankfully they're all in human form. I don't feel liek dodging wings today and Azarea is a little intimidating in her natural form. Mik and Gabby are just fluffy and shed feathers like nobody's business.
"We're here. Can we get this over with?" Azarea asks.
"Please sit down." I gesture to the three leather chairs in front of my desk. I take out a digital recorder and turn it on. "Now, we'll get through this faster if you three cooperate. Let's start with an easy question. Azarea, why do you hate Mik?"
"I don't hate him," Azarea says, but she won't meet my eyes.
"Uh huh. Tell that to someone other than your author who's stalled out because you two can't seem to get along. I don't mind conflict, but I need to know what's causing it," I say.
"You shouldn't like like that, Red," Mik says with a smirk. "Please, I'd love to hear your problems with me, too."
"Don't call me Red," Azarea says, but her voice lacks conviction.
I frown. "Red" has been her nickname all through the story. "Well, if you won't answer my first question, can you tell me why you hate the nickname Red?" I ask.
"I'd rather not," Azarea says.
Now I'm frustrated. I slam my hands down on the desk. "Well then, tell me what you want me to do. Shall I scrap your story and condemn you all to an eternity in my 'not able to be finished because the characters didn't work together' file?"
"Please don't," Gabby says. She gives Mik a sidelong look. "Azarea hates her nickname becasue Mik gave it to her so she'd never forget."
"Forget what?" I ask.
"What she was, and what she could become again," Gabby says.
"And that is?" I ask.
"A monster," Mik says. "A murderous, violent monster. Something she has yet to get past."
"He'll never let me forget," Azarea says, bitterness dripping from every word. "Never. No matter how hard I try, how many lives I live where I do nothing wrong, he never lets me forget. If I mess up even once, no matter how slight, he drags me back to the House. In this life I got into MMA to take care of my violent streak in a more controlled environment. Mik threatened to put me back in the House if I competed. Gabby forced him to back off on that one."
"Now we're getting somewhere," I say. "Mik, why would it matter if she's participating in the MMA female division? It's a safe way for her to vent and in her human form she's not exactly invulnerable."
"It's what it signifies. It shows she's going back to her violent tendencies, something I can't allow," Mik said. "Gabby says it's good for her but I don't believe it."
"Well, I can definitely see why you don't like him," I say to Azarea.
Her eyes glow red. "You know what? I hate him," she hisses. "He and Gabby attached themselves to me three thousand years ago and I can't get rid of them. They aren't friends. They're jailers. Mik especially. I can't have a bad day without him threatening me with the House. And Gabby just sits back and lets him do all this shit. She rarely ever stands up for me."
"So Mik's a control freak with a god complex and Gabby's disassociated herself from the lot of you," I say. "That explains a lot, actually."
"A control freak with a god complex?" Mik demands, outraged. "Do you realize what she's done?"
"Hello. Author. I created her, Mik. Yes, I know what Azarea's done in the past. I also know her last two lives - this one and the one prior to it - you've tried to imprison her for things that were utterly ridiculous because she's made great strides in changing her personality to be able to thrive in this world," I say. "The problem is, I know your story too and you've gotten really insufferable lately. Why are you so hard on her?"
"I am sick and tired of cleaning up her shit," Mik snaps. "How many times have Gabby and I had to step in to stop her?"
"How many times has she managed to stop herself before she got too far into kill mode?" I counter. "You haven't had to step as often as you think, Mik. You're usually coming in just to punish her for her actions. She's a Skanti, Mik. It's not like she can help her nature. She's doing her best. You need to cut her some slack." I shrug. "Besides, if it's such a burden to you, drop her. Go find someone else to babysit."
"I can't," Mik says angrily. "What you don't seem to understand is I'm blood bound to that monster. Both Gabby and I are bound to Azarea for time and all eternity until we die. Since Azarea can only be killed in human form, and Gabby and I rarely ever show our faces, we will never be free of this burden."
"Ouch," I say. I sigh. "Well, now I know what's going on between the three of you. That actually helps me understand where you three are coming from. That solves all my issues with the story, for now. I'll work on solving your problems while I'm at it. Why don't you three get out of here? Oh, and Mik? No grounding her for being honest," I say. Mik and Gabby vanish. Azarea walks out the door, a totally broken look on her face.
I lean over and switch off the recorder.