Chapter One

By: Nyance-ler

It hadn't taken but a few moments for him to discover that something was terribly wrong with him.

Upon waking, Cogsworth had barely been able to move; it seemed a miracle that he could even open his eyes, much less sitting up from where he'd been lying in bed. His arms and legs were stiff, far too stiff to move, and there was a loud ticking sound. With the way it seemed to be pounding his head, he almost assumed he had a hangover, never mind that he hadn't consumed alcohol in years.

Everything seemed fuzzy, barely letting him know that he was still in his own bed. It was still dark, so it must have been very early in that morning, earlier than he usually woke up. When he rolled out of bed was when he began to think there was something truly wrong with him.

The fall had been startling, certainly, but that the impact was barely painful at all and the noise that came out of him sounded mechanical, that was what startled him. The odd feelings shoved to the back of his mind, he scrambled to his feet as best as he was able, frantically searching for an explanation of his situation. Feeling as best as he was able, he made his way to the hall, hoping at least to find a source of light. Or get to the kitchen. A cup of tea would've been nice.

As he was nearing the end of the wing, he noticed a glow approaching. At least someone else was awake. He made to call out, but the only sound that came out was a faint squeaking sound. The ticking sound following him also seemed to get louder. Before he had time to think too much into it, the source of the light rounded the corner, coming into plain view.

It was a candelabrum.

Cogsworth stumbled back in shock, again hitting the ground with the same mechanical chiming sound, as he noticed the candelabrum do almost the same. Each candle flailed about on its own, as if it were consciously trying to keep the flames from going out as it fell. Somehow, its base curved; in fact, all of it was moving as if it were alive. And as he looked closer, Cogsworth even managed to make out a face. A familiar face, even, seemingly carved into the wax.

Except it managed to actually cry out when it hit the ground.

The face and voice finally clicked for him. Opening his mouth once again, he slowly formed the name. "Lumière?" he stuttered, hoping that he hadn't gone completely insane or, if he had, that at least no one else was around to witness it.

The look of familiarity he'd felt earlier was reflected in the other's face as it (he?) hesitantly called back with, "Cogsworth?"

There was no mistaking the accent. Cogsworth let out a nervous laugh, thinking that the whole thing was obviously some sort of dream. Of course Lumière wasn't a candlestick. That was impossible, it wouldn't make sense, of course he was dreaming.

"This is ridiculous." Cogsworth was talking more to himself at that point. Getting used to talking around whatever it was that had been clogging his throat, too. As he opened his mouth to ask what his friend was doing up at this hour, or even what hour it was, the ticking sound in his head was suddenly replaced by a loud chiming.

Each chime was worse than the last, somehow, making his head feel as though it were splitting apart; the fourth chime was the last, leaving him with his eyes squeezed shut and what he was going to call his hands pressed against his forehead. His very slick, very flat forehead.

Lumière chuckled as best as he was able, almost seeming to shrug as he spoke. "It's four o' clock."

The pieces flew together for Cogsworth too quickly, seeming too obvious at that point. If his friend was somehow a candle, of course he could somehow be a clock. The whole thing still made no sense, but at least that fit.

He just hoped he didn't have to get used to that.

As Lumière shifted back to a standing position, or at least the nearest equivalent, the light from his flames spread across the walls of the hallway, even reflecting a faint glow from Cogsworth's face.

The thought struck him, then, that if he was ticking and tocking right now, if Lumière was alight, that they were both in some state of use, as objects. That, when he'd fallen earlier, Lumière had been so focused on keeping the flames burning. Nervously, he felt his way up his back as much as he could, finding what he'd been looking for. There was a twist knob, sure enough. He'd need to make sure he stayed wound.

What would happen if the clock stopped ticking, after all?

What would happen when the wax melted?