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@scoutfinch190 Thank you so much!  Your reply was honestly really helpful, and actually really helped me organize my thoughts on this (as well as spark some new ones!)

Fair warning, this is going to be a bit of a ramble – I wrote this post over a couple of days as I thought more about this!

I didn’t include this part at first because it’s kind of touchy and I didn’t want to start any debates or arguments, but I think it might actually be kind of relevant: Kit struggles with same sex attraction, and was ostracized in his social circle after a close friend he confided in broke his trust.  While Kit’s friend was the one to initially leak the secret (admittedly, while drunk, which is a whole other issue for another day,) Alastor was the person who broadcast it to their social circle.  The story is set in a sort of 1930’s inspired era…so you can imagine the kind of reaction people had 🙁  It was essentially a social death sentence for Kit, and I think that Alastor was well aware of the effect it would have (although, I actually think he didn’t intend for it to go so far – I just realized that some of the discomfort he shows towards Kit later might actually be related to guilt…)

So that being said, throughout the course of the story Alastor has shown a profound distaste/discomfort towards Kit, and I always figured it was because of his sexuality, since he was the one who used that issue to isolate him (and I just want to be clear here, Kit has a very strong moral code and refuses to act on this temptation :))   However, after talking about it with a friend from SE, we realized that Alastor probably wouldn’t be treating Kit this way if he behaved in a way that Alastor perceived as more “masculine” (even if all other factors were the same.)  Which is interesting, because it seems that Alastor really has an issue with the specific way Kit conducts himself.  But then again, this might not be an issue of masculinity as it is general annoyance or insecurity because these traits also allow Kit to take up a lot of social space.

Maybe Alastor feels that Kit attacks an insecurity of his? Is Alastor desperately hoping to impress someone and tries and fails, but Kit does it effortlessly? What is Alastor insecure about? And how does Kit bring that insecurity to the surface?

I’m actually not quite sure, but I do have some ideas!

1. Kit was generally viewed as quite likable and charming, and really lacked awareness of how much emotional/social space he takes up.  Kit tended to suck up people’s attention and not leave much for the next person (his love interest, Valencia, describes his presence as “suffocating,”) and he can definitely be exhausting to be around at times.  Kit’s just an extremely social extrovert and doesn’t mean any harm this way, but it’s definitely an area he’s going to have to work on (mostly through working alongside Val, who’s both autistic and extremely introverted.)  It never occurred to me, but I think Alastor is probably introverted too, and in that case he might have some resentment towards Kit.

2. Kit was incredibly popular with girls.  So, because Kit generally doesn’t really experience attraction towards girls (with a few notable exceptions), he tended to pursue platonic interactions with girls in his social circle instead.  He’s chivalrous and very respectful towards women in general, plus he his interests and behavior sometimes tend to be more traditionally “feminine” coded (like his love of fashion.)  I think all of this combined made girls feel safe and cared for around him (though there were probably some who did catch feelings XD) Which again, isn’t really something he or Alastor can control, but I can understand why that could be upsetting if it’s something Alastor is insecure about (especially if he feels like Kit shouldn’t be in this position because he isn’t really “trying.”)

3. Kit and Alastor are (to some extent) pursuing the same girl.  It’s hardly a competition because Val was kind of uninterested in Kit at the time and both repulsed and intimidated by Alastor, but I know this is yet another knot in their dynamic.  I’m honestly not quite sure how Alastor and Val were involved, but I know she has past experience with him that’s made her quite wary of him.  I’ve had an idea for a while that Alastor did once pursue a relationship with her, and I’m not sure his motives were entirely good (something she sensed early on, so she wasn’t very receptive.)  I’m not sure if this happened early on, later, or both, or if he started feigning interest later on just to undermine Kit, but it does pop up in the story and I think there’s certainly potential for insecurity there.

Even in a broader sense, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kit and Alastor were competing in other ways.  I think Kit might be over-competitive, and I think he has a tremendously hard time backing down from a perceived challenge (although he’s never one to start a “fight.”)  I think that Alastor was in a very prominent social position (mostly due to his family’s influence/social power,) and I also wouldn’t be surprised if Kit was kind of “rocking the boat” in that sense.

4. Kit isn’t a person Alastor can easily control or undermine (I think this might be a big one ngl.)  Alastor really wants control and power over people/situations, and I think he really relies on the rigid social rules in their upper class society to do this.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this has to do with outside circumstances (such as the ongoing Depression,) and he’s essentially using social control to distract himself from out of control situations in his life.

Kit, on the other hand, is kind of completely unbothered with social rules, and I honestly think a lot of this has to do with the fact that Kit has ADHD and by default operates somewhere outside of the accepted norm.  I think Kit realized early on that if he carried his social mishaps and mistakes with enough confidence and charisma, people would be far more forgiving than if he were unimpressive and insecure.  So, Kit’s developed an impressive talent for charming/confusing his way out of sticky social situations – mostly by making light of his insecurities (“Kit may be stupid/annoying/airheaded etc. but he’s the life of the party so it’s ok.”)  So, from the outside, he seems extremely confident in the things people criticize/insult him for, but I think it’s all a (very unhealthy) survival skill for him.

But I think there really is a good chance that guilt could also play a role in Alastor’s attitude towards Kit later on.  I think that this incident also could have been a painful reminder that the exact same thing could happen to him someday if he makes a mistake or if a shameful secret of his were to one day be used against him.  It’s a strange blessing in disguise for Kit, and hidden curse for Alastor: Alastor does have more popularity and social control now that Kit’s gone, but his reliance on drama/gossip for social control has also opened up fears that similar tactics could someday be used against him.  Kit, on the other hand, is completely free from a toxic and shallow friend group, and is free to pursue relationships with people who will love him unconditionally and uphold his moral code.

*How would Kit attack Alastor’s masculinity if it’s something Alastor’s insecure about?

It’s interesting that you bring that up, because I actually can think of a couple of examples.

If Kit’s major strength is in his moral code, his major flaw is in his emotional immaturity.  He’s chronically bored and understimulated, so he’s developed an obnoxious habit of just barely needling people to get an “interesting” reaction.  He’s truly awful, and I mean this in the most sincerely disgusted and yet affectionate sense XD  He also does feed off of drama to a certain extent – he’s never the instigator, but he is the one sitting off to the side with a bucket of popcorn.  He’s competitive and overconfident, and can be incredibly, annoyingly smug.

So that being said, there’s been a number of times when Kit’s egged Alastor on or even openly antagonized him.  One main incident occurred when he kicked Alastor and his then girlfriend out of his car on the way to a party.  Kit had a rule that kissing was never allowed inside his car to help avoid any morally questionable situations, which is a solid rule imo except for the fact that people would sometimes break it when they thought he wasn’t looking – which was exactly what this couple did (on multiple occasions.)  So, Kit smugly dropped them off at a safe place to hail a taxi.  Honestly, I think this could’ve been pretty humiliating for Alastor, and I think Kit was probably at least semi-aware of how this would come across for him.

Later on in the story, Kit and Val interview Alastor at his home, and Alastor starts trying to undermine their interactions.  Val isn’t really interested in Kit romantically yet, but she’s definitely warmed up to him as a friend.  This friendship means the world to him, and I think seeing Alastor trying to undermine it stung very deeply (especially because Kit is in love with her.)  So, Kit got overly cocky and started trying to compete back – both to prove that he’s not afraid of him, and to try and “win back” Val’s favor (which he’d never lost to begin with.)

I noticed that it’s been a while since guys responded to you. Maybe try finding a few on the forum and tagging them? I’ve had the same dilemma too and I really hope this helps!

Oh, I was kind of afraid this might’ve been too touchy or controversial, so I didn’t tag anyone XD  I figured that if people wanted to reply, they would, but I didn’t want anyone to feel obligated to respond if they didn’t feel comfortable with it 🙂

I really do appreciate your response, though!  It’s really given me a lot to work off of 🙂

*laughs as one fey*

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