No fire-breathing dragons live in our garage , is Senku's answer when Byakuya asks him if he's had a crush on anyone yet.
Senku has been thinking about which answer he would give to that hypothetical question for a couple of years now. He has a tendency to predict what's expected of him, and respond accordingly, based on analysis and hypothesis.
These are the facts:
1) Byakuya is in no way a normal person, and he didn't raise Senku to be a normal person.
Concept of normality:
a) Durkheim speaks of normality, in, evidently, sociological terms; normality being that which happens in the majority of cases. Anything outside of social majority is either abnormal or pathologic.
b) Medicine speaks of normality as stability; whatever works, whatever stays functional, whatever establishes for a mean in which life sustains itself. Anything else is dangerous, a disease or an aberration or a monstrosity.
2) Byakuya feels some sort of misplaced paternal duty to more or less guide Senku throughout the normal adolescent experiences.
3) A normal adolescent experience would be to develop a crush on someone.
1 - deform, pulverize, or force inwards by compressing forcefully;
2 - violently subdue;
3 - a brief but intense infatuation towards someone;
4 - a feeling of love and admiration for someone;
(Disclaimer: no decent official sources on the second aspect of the subject at hand.)
4) Therefore, all facts being accounted for, the logical conclusion is such that: Ishigami Byakuya would ask his adopted son about likely crushes.
Senku prepared for the occasion. He dutifully analyzed everyone in his class, regardless of gender. Cataloged every single one of his feelings towards every individual separately. At the end of a week or two of internal experiments of reactions and observed behavior, making use of many psychological tests and performing careful data collection, he reached one main result:
Conclusion of experiment: Ishigami Senku does not believe in such a thing as romantic love.
He thinks of the dragon in his garage as he watches one of his classmates stammer and stutter into the painstaking process of handing a person what appears to be a love letter. He thinks, Where's the dragon?
The world says to him, It's right here, Senku. It is, however, an invisible dragon. Poets tell him this through their verses, musicians through their choruses and chords. Love is invisible, Senku. It is intangible. Think of it as air. Think of it as the oxygen that fills your lungs, that self-destructs into fire, that takes up residence in your cells.
Senku answers, Try spreading flour on the floor of the garage to capture the dragon's footprints. He can feel the wind through his hair, he can look inside a microscope and see what oxygen does to his red cells, he can put a burning candle under a becker and watch the fire disappear as the combustion consumes all of the oxygen trapped under the glass walls. He cannot do that with love.
He watches Taiju swoon and sigh over Yuzuriha. Taiju's eyes, molten with adoration towards her, tell Senku: this dragon floats in the air.
It's unbelievable. It's impossible to touch. Senku does not understand. He answers, let me use an infrared sensor to detect the invisible fire.
Senku dislikes not understanding things. He dislikes whatever his mind cannot make sense of. He's not a believer of non-overlapping magisteria. Science is his world, is the beating chambers of his heart, is the blood inside his veins and the green-colored tips of his hair and the food Byakuya makes for him when they have dinner together. Science is the telescope he kisses before bed every night, the books he collects on his shelves, the galaxy pattern of his comforter. Science is the borderline painful obsession he feels towards the astounding, magnificent beauty of everything around him. Science is the tear that ran down his face the first time he saw a shooting star.
He wants to understand love. He wants to make sense out of love. He wants to quantify it and put it in test tubes. Let him make a peripheral blood smear. Let him set it under a microscope. Let him put it through the scientific method.
Let him prove the existence of the dragon in the garage. And then he shall believe.
The world snarls, the invisible fire is also heatless. The dragon is incorporeal. You cannot prove the dragon.
What is the difference , Senku ponders, between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire and no dragon at all?
Asagiri Gen's purred voice speaks in his ear about how the mother of a baby who trips and falls won't rush to help her child unless she hears their crying. It speaks about how humans comprehend pain through suffering, through demonstration of such, through experience.
If Senku cannot feel romantic love, and if he cannot prove it, he cannot comprehend it.
Hence: no fire-breathing dragons hidden in his garage.
It is not the same as Byakuya. One time, Senku was in the passenger's seat while Byakuya was driving, and they nearly got hit by another car; during the fraction of time Senku was wincing to brace himself for the upcoming collision, his father had already put an arm in front of him, protecting Senku in immediate detriment of his own safety. It went against Senku's understanding of what human instinct was.
That he can understand. That he can feel, he can see in Byakuya selling his car to buy him a laboratory, he can taste in the dinner they share together, and he can touch in the way he gets his hair ruffled every morning before heading to school.
Aside from that, no invisible dragons.
He tells so to his father. His father smiles, understands.
"No demons haunting your world, then," Byakuya replies, and Senku nods.
These are the facts about Chrome:
1) You cannot use kanji to write his name.
(This is a very relevant fact to Senku. As antibiotics require denominations, as all mycins interfere with bacterial enzymes and all cephalosporins work against the bacterial cell wall, and as Senku uses such names to differentiate between them and comprehend the way they function, so he makes use of people's names to differentiate between them. Asagiri Gen's name tells of him as morning mist , and that is how Senku understands him - hazy and tricky and languid, too cold to be soothing. Byakuya's name said a hundred nights , and it speaks of galaxies, of stars and constellations and the universe, and all of his loneliness. Senku's own name: a thousand skies .
Chrome's name cannot be written with kanji. It can barely be written with katakana. It does not mean anything aside from what it is, the simple syllables, the sultry strength, the hidden core. A gem amongst letters.
It means Senku must understand him as what he is.)
2) He collects stones. He loves them, keeps them safe in his baskets, separates them by color, comprehends things he should not, unless -
3) He ties a headband around his forehead to keep his hair from falling atop his eyes -
(And Senku thinks, strangely, of how he wants to put Chrome in a white coat; how he wants to show him a laboratory, how he wants to see him fit his hands to his pockets while looking at something in a microscope, he thinks of seeing Chrome in what his world used to be, glass and fire and technology running up his veins, the sheer desperation to find out more, the sheer amount of knowledge Chrome never knew.)
3) He is smart.
( You are arrogant, Senku was told for the first time when he was 6.
And then again at 7, and 8, and 9, until he was 17, until society was petrified, until.
You are insufferable.
You are too much.
You are arrogant.
Senku learned how to smile crooked, mocking, how to drawl his voice into disdain. It fits. It helps.
He never said, I'm not. I just want someone to talk to.
Senku can talk to Chrome. They can talk for hours. Senku knows he must sleep at least 6 hours a day to reach his full intellectual potential every morning, but he talks to Chrome until the sun rises and he doesn't find a single cell in his body that regrets it -)
4) He adores science and Senku can see this. Senku understands, he understands the desperation and the eagerness and the obsessive desire for more, more, more knowledge and more facts and more results, forever a wheel turning, forever the axis of the universe.
5) He's not invisible. His brown eyes catch the sunlight. He blinks himself awake every morning. He gets cold easily. He cries when Senku tells him of three thousand lost years. He laughs. He smiles. He learns .
6) He doesn't float. He's clumsy and weak and frail. He stumbles a lot. But he carries their glass materials and handles their experiments with the most dextrous fingers Senku has ever seen in his life.
I want to see those fingers holding a scalpel, Senku thinks. I want to see them handling a microscope. I want to put mine close, I want to see how they fit, how they feel, I want -
7) He is not a dragon in Senku's garage. He is no demon haunting anyone's world.
There are no dragons. No garages. Maybe there never were.
Maybe, Senku thinks as he tilts his head to the side, as he flutters his eyelids closed, as he feels Chrome's warm breath caressing his face and then his soft lips against his mouth, maybe this was all there ever was.
Maybe this boy is all there ever was.
Conclusion of experiment: inconclusive.
Disclaimer: in love.