The Key to His Amydgala

A/N: Just clearing out the backlog. Any feedback is welcomed.

Akiyama doesn't believe in love. After all, all emotions are simply the effects of chemicals releasing in the brain in response to certain stimuli.

He explains this to Nao-not the real Nao who doesn't need any more information on him to pick apart and explain the whys and wherefores of his heart (amygdala) that he prefers to have locked up and tucked away in a corner where he can safely forget about them, but a mental construct of her who seems to follow him around. She nods, both her eyes and smile as luminous as the real one's are. Nods, but never accepts.

And if there is something to love, beyond the rush of hormones, dopamine, norepinephrine, or even the longer-term sense of well-being that accompanies oxytocin and vasopressin, then it has to be evolutionary. Because somehow thousands of years of scholarship- philosophy, physics, psychology and a myriad of other disciplines-has yet to tame the four 'Fs' (fighting, fleeing, feeding, and...well, that other one), or some unconscious and ridiculous desire to pass one's genes on to another generation. This too, his mental construct of Nao smiles and nods at, even as she shakes her head at the same time.

But even then, if there's more than chemicals, more than some stirring at a chromosomal level, there's culture and society. Romance inundates their world, dramas, literature, art, even those works that claim to be self-respecting somehow weasel that 'love' in there inevitably. Nao nods sagely, at least that mental construct he created to somehow untangle this lingering, frustrating knot that the real one unassumingly placed there.

So love, love doesn't really exist, except as this tangle of physical and cultural influences. No more real than horoscopes, spoon-bending, or the Loch Ness Monster.

Love, he surmises in a flight of fancy, has as much validity as cryptozoology.

And yet...and yet...

His mental construct of Nao has a simplicity, an elegance of thought that even the real one in her hidden brilliance doesn't possess. It's really a combination of his thoughts and hers after all. Her response: "Even so, it matters." Which, thinking about it, is what the real Nao might say, if he ever were foolish enough to bring this line of reasoning to her attention.

And like that, like some wide-eyed and intrepid adventurer, Nao somehow manages, to go out and put a leash on Nessie, just to parade the evidence in front of him. She shows him love.

Shows him that, yes, those hormones slosh about inside him. Yes, at some level, he's pleased that Nao has observed so many guys, and that of all of them, it should be obvious to her (on the genetic level) that he's the best fit for her. And yes, the one (first and last and only) romantic movie she dragged him to, he did actually root for the hero and heroine to have a happy ending because it had be nice to imagine that he and Nao might stand on a beach at sunset and kiss without the burden of circumstance hanging on their shoulders.

It matters.

Chemically, genetically, culturally, no matter what influences their brains right now. It's important that she's right here at his side. Solid. Sleeping. Safe. She's curled up to him, and inexplicably, he has this urge to kiss her in the crook of her neck and see if she awakens.

So maybe one day (tomorrow, the day after, twenty years from now) he'll tell her, she's got the key to his amydgala, and while she's distracted by looking up that bit of neuroanatomical trivia, he might even tell her that he loves her.

Just once. And if she misses it, he won't say it again.