I'm looking for a word or two that describes someone that a protagonist interacts with, but is not necessarily a rival or an ally, but could be. That entity could also be neutral, or change from one to the other.
Things I've scrapped:
- antagonist: they don't have to antagonize the protagonist
- opponent, adversary, contender: they're not necessarily competing in anything
- conversational partner: they're not necessarily friendly and might attack, or might not even speak to the protagonist
What I'm considering right now:
- encounter/encounted: seems most neutral, but etymological it means meeting an adversary (according to google dictionary)
- Your _______ stares at you belligerently.
- Your _______ smiles at you.