“I tell you, I’ve had the worse end of the deal,” Xaon laughed. “Since she started writing with us as her protagonists, I’ve died, but then ‘no, he didn’t die,’ and then we were in a motorcycle wreck, I’ve been beaten, stabbed, lied to, had to off my mentor and friend because he killed my first mentor and friend, not to mention this whole thing about missing a significant part of my body.”
“I’ve been poisoned,” Elizabeth pointed out. “Beaten, stabbed, in fights, placed in random perils, sent down a freezing waterfall—“
“Which I, too, went down. That bitch was cold!”
“—and I’ve had my share of near-death experiences. We’ve both lost good friends to her pen. The worst, though, was her making us fall in love and then taking what… twenty of our years… to bring us back together?”
“Something like that,” Xaon took her hand.
“But do you know what I’m most afraid of?” Elizabeth looked at him steadily. “I’m afraid this mercurial author we live beneath will write a way that does not include us being together. That pain, I think, would be worse than the rest.”
The pair of them looked up at me from the page.
I promise, you guys, I won’t split you up. First of all, I like your relationship. I like how you complement each other. Second, you’re the embodiment of the childhood into adulthood romance that everyone longs for—Xaon, you were originally created by a friend of mine, Jonathan, on whom I had a huge crush, and Elizabeth, you are based on the ideal Me. Jonathan and I would have been kick-ass together. You two are kick-ass together and I have no reason to change that.
“Well that’s a relief.”
Also, this whole “long life of tragedy” thing you two are on about is only because you’ve both existed in my head for about 20 of my years. Your stories are so jumbled and out of sequence that they long to be stretched out, rewritten, organized, and finalized. I owe you both that much. We can talk about your last adventure together some other time.
The pair nodded their assent, relief washing over their faces.