Author's Note: I have nothing against accountants. I'm sure they're very nice people. My brother is an accountant. I am, however, a frustrated college graduate forced to work at Sears. And weird. Let's not forget weird.

Corporate Restructuring

Lucifer. Fairest of all the angels, he drew souls like moths to the flame. And so he became proud; and so he fell. He gilded tresses turned to jet, his sunlit countenance took on the pallor of the moon.

And still, souls were drawn to him. To the fallen angel of darkness, at turns brooding and menacing. He was sin at its most seductive and the sole reason for many of the tenants of hell's presence there.

He was not a happy camper.

Hell, his sanctimonious underlings informed him, was in need of a corporate restructuring. But not to worry. They had some of the best and brightest financial minds at their disposal.

He supposed so. There had been a period in the late middle of the last century when he had seemed to lure a great many accountants and tycoons to his domain. He could hear them outside his door arguing over financial strategies and such. It was all giving him a headache.

Lucifer stared up towards the high and exalted heaven eons above his dark head. They were laughing up there, he was sure of it.

***

Laughter was, in fact, the last thing on Archangel Michael's mind. Heaven, the domain of purity and light, was having it's own its own problems.

Of a frighteningly similar nature.

"One of the accountants who had entered by the Pearly Gates a few years ago after succumbing to heart failure brought on by overwork and greasy doughnuts, was lecturing the Three on the causes of their financial difficulties.

"An overabundance of luxuries such as gold-paved roads, and fencing made of precious stones are certainly a large part of the problem." The accountant stated as he peered at the towering figures seated in front of him. Michael smirked at Raphael, seated on his right. The other angel had always insisted upon the "outer trappings" be a continuous part of Heaven. It was what people expected. He'd always though the money could have been better spent on more functional items.

Michael's smirk disappeared with the plump man's next words.

"But these flaming swords and shields of light are just as much of a problem. Really, you've spent more of defense than Ronald Reagan did when he was President of the United States." At the Angels' black stares, the CPA clarified. "The Hollywood actor. He went to the Other Place, as I recall." The Angels nodded as if one.

"But, really, it's not any one thing, or even type of thing that has been bought. It's the way the money has been spent. The three of you, collectively, have spent as if it would never run out."

Gabriel, who had neither interrupted their "expert" nor engaged in a war of glares, like his fellow Angels, muttered. "It wasn't supposed to."

"Nevertheless," stated the accountant sternly, "It has. And as fellow stockholders, the residents of heaven have voted that the three of you must be removed from power immediately, lest the situation deteriorate further."

Without another word, the accountant stood and strolled out of the Holy Conference Room. The Three stared after him, and then at each other.

"Can they do that?" asked Raphael bewilderedly.

"There's probably no rules against it," replied Gabriel tiredly, running his hands through his long hair. "More's the pity."

Michael simply started banging his head against the table. Hard.

***

The downside, Lucifer reflected, of running a place such as hell was that the seven deadly sins ran rampant. Normally he didn't mind this. After all, that's how he got most of his underlings.

Greed was giving him some pain lately, though.

He rubbed his eyes and stared at the ebony dark double doors of his chambers as if expected them to melt away into the pearl-encrusted gates of Heaven. It wouldn't be such a stretch, he reflected, after the interview he'd just had.

They'd taken over, in true Wall Street killer fashion. The most hostile of hostile takeovers. And in the process, there had been some unfortunate downsizing.

Namely him. The Prince of Darkness.

Naturally, there would be a handsome severance package.

Well, he thought, with all the fervor and fire that defined generations of disgruntled former employees, he certainly wasn't going to take this lying down.

Lucifer strode to the end of his chamber and pulled a swath of black cloth off an object in the corner.

The Mirror. It had been a gift from one of the souls who had loved him when he had been an Angel; he couldn't even recall which one. He'd always scorned its use.

Now, however, he thought perhaps it was time to use it for its intended purpose.

The Mirror had been intended to hold the four most powerful souls of Heaven together; Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, and, at that time, himself. It should have been destroyed when he Fell. It would have been destroyed, had it not been for one human soul.

Alvira, he recalled abruptly. He wondered what she was doing these days. Probably brooding over some other handsome Angel. She'd always been something of a fangirl.

In any case, he thought, it hadn't been destroyed, but brought into Hell. He'd hid it away immediately, wanting nothing to do with his former domain. Now, however, he thought it might be wise to see what was going on up there.

He looked into the Mirror for quite some time, and slowly he began to smile.

***

Gabriel was beginning to worry about Michael. He was an Angel, and as such rather impervious to injury. Still, after banging his head that hard, for that long, against the table.

His green eyes met Raphael's blue ones over the third angel's head. Raphael shrugged.

"He won't stop until he wants to, and we both know that."

It was certainly the truth. Michael was the warrior archangel, and notoriously stubborn. Reasoning with him usually caused more pain than it was worth. Still, this was solving nothing, and the usual peaceful Gabriel was getting irritated.

"Now, now, Gabriel. You should really be careful. You wouldn't want to end up like me, would you?" The smug voice from the doorway was eerily familiar, and managed to stop Michael's senseless self-injury when nothing else would. All three Angels looked up as one and stared at the vaguely familiar face before them.

None other than Lucifer. And he appeared to be as much of an attention- grabber as always.

Though he'd replaced his customary blinding white with stark black.

Raphael was the first to speak. "Why are you here?" he asked angrily. "Banishment generally means that you're not permitted to return. How you even managed to get in is beyond me."

Lucifer snorted as he plopped bonelessly into the chair the accountant had previously occupied. "Are you kidding me? It's chaos out there. Everyone's in a panic, and no one knows which way is up. I just walked on through, and no one noticed."

"Oh, joy" groaned Michael. He would have started slamming his head again in Gabriel hadn't grabbed him by the hair.

Lucifer rolled his eyes in exasperation. "At least some things don't change; you, Michael, could never see an opportunity unless it bit you on the ass." He looked at the three angels, pictures of confusion. "Use your opponents weaknesses! Where are your minds?"

"Well, pardon us if we don't think deviously." Said Raphael sarcastically, speaking for the first time since Lucifer's unexpected weakness. "What's your motivation here, anyway? You weren't the altruistic sort, even when you were an Angel."

Lucifer shrugged. "By helping you, I help myself." Briefly, he explained the problems he'd been facing in Hell. They were too similar to the Archangels' own for them to find it humorous.

"What did you have in mind?" asked Gabriel pragmatically.

"An addendum to Shakespeare's words. 'First, kill all the lawyers. Then, scorch the accountants.'"

Michael's gold-brown eyes gleamed maniacally. "I just had a new shipment of flaming swords come in."

Lucifer smiled. He hadn't held one of those in years.

***

Within twelve hours, relative peace and the status quo had been preserved.

Heaven had been relatively easy to take back. One look at the tall, dark Angel of Darkness holding a brand-spanking-new flaming sword had been enough to turn the pencil pushers of the Exalted Land turn into piles of quivering goo.

Lucifer had spent eons building an image of menacing danger to the immortal soul. It was bound to be a good one.

Hell, on the other hand, had proved to be a challenge for the briefly reunited four. The businessmen who occupied it had faced in their lifetime Very Scary Things. Like vengeful first wives who hadn't much cared for their Barbie Doll replacements.

They had not, however, encountered a Warrior Archangel in danger of losing his arsenal.

In the end, they appeared quite content to retreat to the fire and brimstone layer of hell. Where they were guaranteed that they would never again have to face the wrathful denizens of Heaven again.

One hears that they have become quite famous from their terrifying stories of maddened Angels who liked to burn things. And didn't much care if they were torching human flesh.

As for the Four Angels, they have separated, returning to their respective domains once more, rivaling each other for the human souls they need to survive.

Rumors of a secret merger persist.