And so a protective detail was assigned to Michael, in addition to the one now protecting Giuseppe. It was thought best to separate Michael and Giuseppe for the moment. The most urgent task right now, besides protecting the two of them, was to figure out what Seraphiel wanted with Michael. For the time being Michael was being kept in a dimension not accesible to humans, with a guard of about twenty angels, most ranked higher than Michael and more powerful than him. It was a strong guard, a sign that the situation was being taken seriously. But it was also much simpler than keeping him among the billions of humans, hiding him among them like a needle in a haystack. If anyone had assumed that Michael could possibly have been important enough to the other side for them to start a full-scare war over him, then they would've hidden him among the humans, and kept moving him from place to place. Here the other side could see him and his guard quite plainly.
In such a situation some angels might have been insulted to be held in plain view, in open acknowledgment of their lowly position in the grand scheme of things. Not Michael. He had no illusions about his place in the world. Besides, he was bothered about something else right now: Ellen kept laughing at him. She had been one of the dozen who showed up in Giuseppe's kitchen when he called, she had come with Michael straight from there to here, and ever since his stuttering attack when Giuseppe said that Seraphiel was looking for him, Ellen had not stopped giggling.
Michael liked Ellen. A lot. He was heterosexually oriented, and he had had a big crush on her for about a century now, he just found her to be very, very beautiful and witty and smart and wonderful. He hadn't told her yet about his feelings, but he hadn't been in a relationship with any other female angels in the last century, either. He was taking his time.
And now here she was laughing in his face for being afraid, and mocking his stutter in front of all the other angels. "Uh-eek! Ick! Ack Ook!" she said, holding her side which apparently was starting to hurt now, because she had been laughing so hard for so long. "You sounded just like a character in an old Warner Bothers cartoon, when they start to sputter and babble in fear!" She wiped a tear from her eye. "Aw, don't be cross! It was adorable!" She stepped in close and squeezed his arm and rested her head on his chest as a few last waves of laughter came out of her. And suddenly Michael wasn't annoyed at all anymore, not in the slightest. Now he blushed and was perfectly happy, and felt that his feelings for her must be perfectly obvious to her and to anybody and everybody else who was paying the slightest bit of attention to them, and he didn't care, he wasn't the slightest bit embarrassed any more, only perfectly happy. Just as he had been at many other moments in her presence over the course of the last century.
He didn't know if she felt romantically attracted to him. But it was obvious that she liked him at least a little. She didn't have to spend nearly this much time with him. He put a hand on her back as she rested her forehead on his chest, spent from the laughter, and he kissed her on the top of her head. He had never kissed her lips. He was very happy. She seemed very happy, too. Happy to be with him? or was she just a happy, well-adjusted angel generally? He didn't know, and he wasn't worried about it. Generally speaking he wasn't worried about much when she was around.
Now, to be sure, there was this alarming business with Seraphiel. A recording angel, sent from somewhere up in the higher ranks, was there waiting to interview Michael, to open the investigation officially. He sat down across from Michael, Ellen sat down beside Michael and squeezed his hand reassuringly, the official's eyes went back and forth several times between Michael and Ellen, he looked as if he might be considering asking who she was or asking if he could speak to Michael privately.