Of Clocks And Candles
by Sara

Lumiere leaned against the balcony, watching the sun set over the castle grounds.

Carefully, he flexed his fingers. Pale skin stretched over bone, warm and real. He rubbed his fingertips together. His skin still felt like wax.

Experimentally, he snapped his fingers, causing a tiny spark to flame up on the tip of his thumb. He watched it burn. His hand felt unnaturally warm, veins standing out starkly, palm flushing red from the heat.

"Lumiere," a quiet voice said behind him.

He looked up, startled. Cogsworth stood behind him, looking amused. "What is it?" Lumiere said faintly.

"You are on fire," Cogsworth said. He leaned forward and blew out the flame that was slowly darkening Lumiere's fingernail.

"This isn't right," Lumiere said. "I should not be able to light fires with my fingertips."

Cogsworth's amused smile intensified. "Humans should not be transformed into beasts and clocks and candles and feather dusters." He shrugged. "At least he found Belle. We could have been household objects forever."

"But we were saved, mon ami," Lumiere said, throwing a companionable arm around Cogworth's shoulders. He grinned, his naturally genial mood returning. "We are human again."

"Yes, we are."

Lumiere smiled, squeezing Cogsworth's shoulder. "Cheer up."

"I can't sleep without three or four clocks in the room," Cogsworth said quietly. "I need to hear the ticking."

"I'm still adjusting to walking on two legs again," Lumiere offered. "Well, running."


Lumiere grimaced. "Colette keeps chasing me with the feather duster. I fear she may have untoward intentions."

"You old rascal," Cogsworth said, grinning. "Go get her, then."

"I think not," Lumiere said.

Cogsworth raised an eyebrow. "Indeed."

"I'd like some tea," Lumiere said suddenly. "Let's go in." Without waiting for a reply, he grabbed Cogworth's hand and pulled him inside.

The shortest route to the kitchen ran through one of the darker hallways. Golden candelabra were set in alcoves in the walls, lighting the way and casting the walls in flickering shadows. Lumiere pointedly did not look at them.

"Lumiere!" a girlish voice echoed through the passage to their left. "Lumiere darling, is zat you?"

"Colette," Lumiere said apprehensively. Abruptly, he pulled Cogsworth through an opened doorway, shutting it behind them.

"What are you doing?" Cogsworth spluttered, stumbling as Lumiere pushed him further into the room.

"She's relentless," Lumiere said. "Let's just stay here for a few moments."

"Honestly," Cogsworth huffed. He blinked as his eyes adjusted to the darkness. Gradually, objects came into focus: a large bed, a wardrobe, a dresser, and a night table he barely avoided colliding with. He sat on the bed, pushing aside the heavy, dusty velvet curtains. The room was a bit cold, and the blankets soft and inviting. He kicked off his shoes and settled back against the pillows.

"Making yourself comfortable?" Lumiere asked. The bed dipped as he sat next to Cogsworth.

Cogsworth squinted up at him. His skin shone in the darkness, pale and wax-like. "You look like a ghost," Cogsworth said.

"You're ticking," Lumiere shot back.

Cogsworth paused, listening. "I most certainly am not."

"You are. I can hear it. Your heart is racing. It sounds like the second hand on the grandfather clock in the foyer."

"Nonsense," Cogsworth said. "At least I'm not-- flaming."

Lumiere snapped his fingers, sparking up a tiny flame. "I concede your point."

"You're going to light the bed on fire, and us with it," Cogsworth said.

Lumiere arched an eyebrow. "Why, Cogsworth. Are you trying to suggest something?"

Cogsworth flushed. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"Of course you don't." He brought his lit hand closer to Cogsworth's face. "Something wrong? You look awfully hot. And surely you can hear the ticking now."

"I can hear no such thing," Cogsworth said, turning away from Lumiere's intense gaze.

Lumiere grinned, turning Cogsworth back to face him. "It's grown quite frantic. Am I making you nervous, old friend?"

"Not at all," Cogsworth said. "Are you trying to seduce me, Lumiere?"

"Trying?" Lumiere scoffed, and leaned down and kissed him.

The light was quickly snuffed out. As the minutes passed, the ticking grew more audible.

Chip found them a few hours later, on the bed in the unused room, sleeping and shrouded in dust and velvet. He closed the door quietly, resolving to ask his mother what that meant.

Lumiere and Cogsworth slept curled around each other; pale fingertips that lit sparks and a heart that beat like the ticking of a clock.


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