I've been thinking a lot about Florian and Adam lately -- both of whom have some like, mirroring to each other. They've both got these super complicated relationships with their dads, they're both spoiled rich kids, they're both dealing with some really serious self-image issues and they're both huge sluts.

(A lot of this applies mostly to Human!AU Florian, where he doesn't start out as a dhampir/vampire and he's just the son of a powerful mob boss who is a human and has all the human prejudices)

Florian, unlike Adam, openly admits to his self-loathing and is actively self-deprecating and sees himself in a really, really, negative light. He's not really advertising how much he dislikes himself to everyone else -- but he'll absolutely pretty openly refer to himself *derisively* using transphobic and homophobic slurs. Like, you can tell when he calls himself a faggot, that it's "faggot (derogatory)".

His self-image issues are largely tied to his gender/sexuality and his difficulties expressing himself in English/relating to people. He's not good at making friends, he's not good at talking to people. He genuinely struggles with understanding a lot of socialization when it's not obvious shit or within the very specific rules of his own criminal subculture or like, one night stands and drug deals.

He deals with these self-image issues and the super toxic environment he lives in with substance use -- anything that results in an alteration of mental state and allows him to escape from just how shitty he feels 24/7. Which only makes things worse because he's also really impulsive and is kind of trying to sabotage himself.

Whereas Adam hides all of his feelings of inadequacy under a veneer of superiority and manipulative asshole behavior. Like, as a human Adam was kind of an asshole -- but it was mostly just that he's never felt like an actual, complete person (because he isn't -- he's just a piece of Gwynn that got torn out in a desperate attempt to escape from the person keeping him hostage). So he couldn't really properly *relate* to people. And he kind of learned how to get his needs met by being manipulative.

Plus, being a spoiled rich kid, Adam didn't really get used to the word "no" from anyone other than his father -- who, much like Florian's dad, mostly only noticed him to tell him he'd never be fucking good enough/that he was a fuck up and a mistake and an embarrassment to his family... And while Florian dealt with this criticism by, essentially, going "you want to see a fuck up and an embarrassment? I'll fucking SHOW YOU a FUCKING EMBARRASSMENT!", Adam's response was to try desperately to gain approval and try to be the best at literally everything he does.

On first glance, both of them seem kind of self-absorbed and surprisingly confident -- but that's entirely a facade as neither of them like each other or really feel very competent at all.

Adam's way of dealing with the stress of his self-image issues, however, is to kind of surround himself with people who make him feel like he actually is competent -- people who desperately need him and want him. It's to try to seek out as much praise as possible and he absolutely uses his abilities as a vampire to influence them into feeling just that. The songs that really exemplify how Adam sees himself and conducts himself, I think are "Even Deeper" by Nine Inch Nails, "Against the Kitchen Floor" by Will Wood, "Pretty When You Cry" by Vast and "This Hurts" by Mindless Self Indulgence. Because in the end, the people he creates these fake relationships with can't satisfy his need to be genuinely loved and wanted (because if you're hiding your true self and never opening up to anyone, no one can genuinely love you -- they can only love the image of yourself that you project), he takes that stress out on them through elaborate mind games and emotional manipulation.

He's incredibly fucking toxic in that way. Both Adam and Florian are actually pretty toxic but Florian internalizes most of it where as Adam externalizes it.

Notably, again a lot of how bad Adam can be is a result of being a fucking vampire. The effect of the vampiric curse is one that, honestly, sort of just latches onto people's worst traits and amplifies them. It also amplifies most emotional responses -- so the feeling of emptiness, the desperation to be loved, the pain of being an incomplete soul, all of it is amplified from when he's human. And he can't fucking handle it. Partly because he doesn't even admit that he wants these things to himself and has actively tried, using his abilities as a vampire, to cut these things out of his psyche. Which isn't really possible, all he can do is redirect things and hide them. But the end result is, as he tries to cut away at parts of himself in an attempt to hide how much pain he's in, that it all gets worse.

Which is where, again, Florian and Adam start to overlap. The ways they cope with their self-image issues and trauma, ultimately, just makes all of it worse. But the contrast is that Florian is aware he's making things worse and is somewhat intentionally making it worse. Adam is desperately trying to fix himself but can't because his methods are deeply flawwed.

The biggest overlap/contrast between Adam and Florian though, I think, is that both of them have this person who's their "other half", so to speak.

Florian has Viktor -- who's the only person Florian has ever felt romantic love towards and the only person that Florian is actually honest with about his life -- the mafia stuff, the way he feels about himself, the things he wants for the future (things he doesn't think are possible). He's open with at least one person in the world. Which isn't healthy, to have it be with only one person, but he at least HAS that person.

Adam has Morgan (though technically, his other 'half' is Gwynn, Morgan is also tied to him through fate/soulmates bullshit) but because he's met her in several other lifetimes and gone through the whole cycle of "make her fall in love with me and then rip her apart emotionally" more than once (hurting himself in the process), he's not able to be open with her. He refuses to be open with her, he refuses to tell her anything. He refuses to be genuinely vulnerable with her. And it's slowly fucking tearing him apart.

Ofc, the idea is that over the process of their stories, both of them would learn to cope with these things and make improvements. I don't think Adam's grandiose, false perception of self would ever actually go away because it's such a core part of his personality by the time he actually meets Morgan but he'd eventually learn to be vulnerable with her (and with Gwynn, if Gwynn is actually present in the story) and eventually start undoing all of the psychic surgery he's done on himself.

Florian would find people who accept him for who he is and who give him a safe place to be that person and start to remove his reliance on drugs and give him people who aren't Viktor to rely on and be open with. He'd start to unpack his trauma with his father and with growing up in the criminal underground and start working on his internalized trans and homophobia.


It is definitely more fun to play with them before these changes happen -- at least when it omes to writing (though I love to write the scenes where Florian starts to feel better) but yeah.