Michael took a few steps through dimensions which people can't see or feel and few people can imagine clearly, and dropped back into our three dimensions down the block from his friend Giuseppe's apartment outside of Rome. Giuseppe seemed to be at home almost all the time, his apartment was usually relatively quiet and dark, Giuseppe rarely entertained and didn't seem to mind when Michael came over, and he had a couch. When Giuseppe let him in Michael headed straight for that couch, and was asleep before Giuseppe could fetch a pillow and a blanket.
When he woke up there was a pillow under his head and a blanket over him. He felt his cheek: the stubble was gone. Giuseppe hadn't shaved him while he slept. The act of sleeping grooms angels. Michael had gone to sleep feeling grimy and unkempt; now he felt clean and neat. Besides his stubbly beard having gone away, his hair was now clean and neatly arranged, and his fingernails were shorter again.
His clothes, however, were of this Earth, and they still bore the funk of his late exhaustion. He heard Giuseppe moving dishes in the kitchen. "Can I get a change of clothes from you?" he called out.
"Of course, my friend. You know you can. You don't have to ask."
"Thank you." Michael went into Giuseppe's bedroom and began to change.
Giuseppe called out, "Just put your dirty things in the hamper, like before."
"No. I think this time I'll take them with me and throw them away in a dumpster. Trust me, I don't think you want them, they're past washing." Michael put the dirty clothes in a bundle in the hall outside the apartment door. Stretching luxuriously in Giuseppe's fresh clean clothes, he came into the kitchen and asked, "How long was I out?"
"About twelve hours."
"Yes. You arrived a couple of hours before I went to bed, and I've been up again for a while."
"Well, I feel wonderful."
And then he perceived that Giuseppe, on the other hand, did not feel well at all. Whatever the problem was, Giuseppe did not seem inclined to talk about it, or to let Michael see that he was upset. Instead he said, "I'm having coffee, will you join me?"
"No, thanks." They both were silent for a while, until Michael said, "C'mon. I can see auras. I'm empathic to a certain degree. It's my job to know when people are troubled. Are you going to tell me what's wrong, or make me spend five minutes figuring it out myself?"
Giuseppe would not meet Michael's gaze. Finally he said, "Seraphiel was here to visit me."
Angels' bodies are different from ours, they're much more durable in most ways, immensely impervious to heat and cold, for example, but an angel can still shiver from fright. Sometimes, if they're very afraid, they'll even stutter a little. "N... Nuh... nu-nu-nu... ayyehh. eh-eh-eh, " Michael said. He could feel his pulse pounding in his ears and his throat and his chest and his legs. He took a minute to calm himself, and then asked Giuseppe, "Ssss-Ssss-Seraphiel of Toledo, you mean? Seraphiel from Spain? Was here in this apartment?"
"But you're not at all inclined to..." As with some humans, moral relativism had spread among some angels. Michael was generally inclined to speak of the practical, concrete implications of given actions, and not to use words like "evil," which traditionally had been applied to this Seraphiel, who was named after the first Seraph and who had been causing trouble in Spain for several thousand years, was rumoured to know Satan personally, who according to some was part of the original Legion who followed Satan out of Heaven, Seraphiel who was seven feet tall and very thin and wiry and had a greasy black pointed beard and fangs, actual fangs like a vampire...
It was rumoured that Seraphiel had not slept in more than three thousand years.
Michael called out the news, and in the twinkling of an eye a dozen angels were crowded into Giuseppe's tiny kitchen. "We'll protect you, " Michael told Giuseppe. "We will guard you."
"I know you will," Giuseppe said.
There was something Giuseppe still had not said. This still did not make sense at all. As Michael had been about to say, Giuseppe was not at all inclined to the sort of thing Seraphiel had to offer: material riches and power, mostly, to be given to those humans willing to follow Satan and Seraphiel and others on their side, and to engage in treachery and violence, to fight and distress their fellow human on behalf of these disgusting, dirty angelic beasts. Giuseppe was one of those rare humans would could see angels on both sides, but he saw the Satanic ones only out of curiosity and the desire for knowledge, not because he was tempted to work for them. And so, conversely, an angel like Seraphiel would not be tempted to waste his time on Giuseppe. Finally, Michael got Giuseppe to meet his gaze. "What am I missing here?" he asked.
"Seraphiel wasn't here for me, " Giuseppe said. "He was looking for you."
Ittuh.. ittuh, Fffff... ffff... Ahhh, yahhh.... N-, nnn-, nn-, n..."
Chapter 2, Part 1