He should have paid attention in those biology classes back in high school, maybe. The anatomy class where they pulled a pig apart, juggled its organs in their gloved hands, and he'd just sneered at the smell and let his lab partner do everything. Took the D for that class, it's not like he'd use it anyway. He'd be fixing computers, not people.

But maybe he should have listened, at least once or twice. Could have helped.

You think about the brain, you picture this pink squishy mess floating in this bowl of blood, wrapped up in this delicate shield of bone. You could tap holes in the centimeter of bone and sink your fingers into the plump flesh of the brain, dig in and rip out chunks, squeeze it flat in your fist. You could slam it on a table and listen to the wet splat.

Not true, he finds out.

(Guy is goddamn drooling on his lap, making these dumb sounds. A fucking mess. Yomiel strokes his head, tells him to shut up.)

The brain is this firm, greyish-peach maze of winding grooves, too hard to dig your fingers in, practically too hard to jab at with a knife. It's a strange mass the size of a couple of fists and shiny like it's rain-slick, because it's got this thin cover all around it like saran wrap. Like a kid that thinks covering it with plastic will make it safe. Except it does, this stuff is tough as nails, not something you can rip through by poking at it with a fork.

They probably taught all that in anatomy. Explained why all the kids didn't just crack the pig brains into two halves, big pink eggs.

Brains are complicated as hell, too many twists and turns, same as trying to navigate a hedge maze at midnight. Not likely that he would have learned to map them out in high schoo. But that's fine. Yomiel has tons of time for figuring this sort of thing out.

In the end, it's just a computer, just the most complex computer he could imagine. Like a challenge.

('Don't,' he's managing, and 'no,' words all slurred because he's talking like his tongue is too heavy. Dunnt. Nuh. He can't quite lift his head. Yomiel helps him and shoves it back down to the ground.)

You figure out how to move a body, a whole corpse with all its convoluted webs of muscle and tendon and bone, and manipulating anything else isn't quite so impossible. Once you let go of that anchor that tied you to the carcass you call your own you can do just about anything. Jump into dark places, feel them out till they came clear.

It took a few weeks at first. When you first learn something, a dance, a song, you take it slow for days and days, memorize how it feels in your body. Same with this; Yomiel pushed himself through skin and bone and wrapped around a mind and waited. A snake in the grass. Pressed parts of himself into the ripples of tissue and learned the shape. Slipped in farther and watched all the thoughts and things fire off, sparks jumping from place to place, not real but real enough for him. It was something like learning to read.

He figured it out that way. And, yeah, he spent a lot of time on Wikipedia. But then, then, ha, there was a day where he felt he could open the brain up, unfold it so it laid flat and he would be able to point out all the parts of it and say 'this lets you feel pain' and 'this is for short-term memory' and 'this fucks up your morals so you can kill a guy who doesn't deserve it.'

(Gonna stain his pants, at this rate, asshole is breathing heavy and open mouthed right onto the seams and leaving a snotty, wet mess on him. Disgusting. It's satisfying as fuck.)

When he got confident - when he felt like he would only fuck it up as much as he needed - he went ahead and did it. Gee, Inspector, he said to himself while he went from core to core, jumping from lamp to phone to coat to him, you always did like to give a show, didn't you? And he went in.

Facts: back in 1949, a Nobel Prize was given to a guy for figuring out lobotomies. Guy drilled holes into the skull and cut out parts of the brain. Changed it to using glorified icepicks and jamming them through an eyesocket. In this country, there were like 40,000 people who got their brains chopped up. Because they were suicidal. Because they were mentally ill. Because their mom decided they were being a brat.

Yomiel took a hold on the frontal lobe of the inspector's brain and tore. Sliced. Separated molecule from molecule. And then went for the ride.

He brought Cabanela to him, taking over and walking him all the way from the precinct to his apartment. Let him go soon as he got in the door and then laughed and laughed watching this broken man struggle with his own hands and feet and tongue. Dragged him near and just snickered when Cabanela fell limp into his lap, unable to even support himself, yet.

Now he drags his fingers through Cabanela's hair and listens to the moronic noises the inspector tries to make. Must have gone a little wrong somewhere, he figures, but after all, he's no brain surgeon. "Honestly," he tells Cabanela sweetly, "you're lucky you're still alive. Coulda killed you on accident."

Cabanela mangles tired sounds, chokes on his own spit. Yomiel has half a mind to turn him face-up and see if he'll actually drown.

"It's all right," he says instead. He cradles Cabanela's heavy head in his hands. "We're friends now, you and me, it's all right. I'll keep you safe."