Title: "Love's Testament"
Author: Pirate Turner
Summary: Cogsworth loved Lumiere, but he just didn't understand him.
Warning: Slash, Het, Established Relationships
Challenge: A SmallFandomFest LJ comm prompt
Word Count: 2,541
Date Written: 25 June, 2012
Disclaimer: Cogsworth, Lumiere, Prince "Beast" Adam, Belle, all other characters mentioned within, and this version of Beauty and the Beast are © & TM Disney, not the author, and are used without permission. Everything else is © & TM the author. The author makes absolutely no profit off of this work of fan fiction, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Cogsworth loved Lumiere, but he just didn't understand him. Rather as a candlestick or a human, it seemed that it was impossible for the chef to be serious about anything. He was always quick with a smile and a joke, and whereas Cogsworth had always been good at spotting the dangers and troubles hounding them, he had always been able to find a silver lining in every cloud.
He'd not even seemed that upset by being a candlestick most of the time, but no matter how hard Lumiere had tried to hide it, Cogsworth had known and understood his frustrations. Being cursed into enchanted objects was truly one of the worse curses they could have received, and it wasn't as if it was their fault in the slightest! They couldn't keep their Master from being a grouch, or seeming heartless.
Back in the days before the curse had been deployed over all of them, the Prince had even been cruel to them. He had kicked Cogsworth in the shins many times as he'd been growing up. When he had gotten older, and had lost his father, his shenanigans had grown less, but his cruelty had remained. He'd even made his mother cry more than once. Cogsworth knew because he had heard the Queen's sobs and tried to comfort her on many occasions before she had locked herself away in her bedroom.
Belle still didn't know the entire truth of the man who she had married, how ugly, spoiled, and pretty nearly as heartless as the tales described him he had been. The girl had no clue that the first time any one had heard from the Queen was when she, as an enchanted wardrobe, had befriended Belle. There was something about a crying woman, Cogsworth knew, that made every one around her want to comfort her, and the Queen had been no different when the child had cried, soaking her bed and sheets with rightful tears.
Cogsworth might be gay, but he was no less bothered by a woman's tears. No one with half a heart could stand still when a woman cried. No one but His Royal Majesty himself, which was one of several reasons why many of his subjects, Cogsworth included, had, at one time, wondered if he had a heart left. Looking back, Cogsworth could see where the Prince had gone wrong, and he knew, now, that he did too for they had talked about it and Adam had actually apologized to everybody, though no more so than to his mother whose forgiveness, Cogsworth had known, the boy had been ready to beg for but had not had to drop to his knees or even ask more than once. The same women whose tears tore at a man's heart could also be quite quick to forgive.
Women were a marvel, but there was no woman he loved. His heart belonged to Lumiere, even if he didn't understand him. The curse had been hard on them all, and though they had not deserved to be cursed, having been unable to do anything about their Prince's wicked behavior, their lives, too, had nearly been ruined by the curse. Cogsworth had feared, at one time, that they'd not be able to outlive the curse, but death had not offered an escape in the long while. Enchanted objects, you see, do not die nor do they break easily.
There had been many times when Cogsworth had come close to the breaking point, but always, Lumiere had been there with a smile, a laugh, a hug, and often times, too, a tickle. Cogsworth hated being tickled, but that knowledge had not deterred the chef in the least from running his fingers as light as feathers over his pendulum and making him roar with laughter until he either pushed him away or succumbed into ungentlemanly fits, rolling across the floor and laughing so hard he'd cried. Lumiere had always known exactly what to do to cheer him up, and even today, after the curse had been lifted, was no different.
Lumiere possessed the uncanny ability to somehow, regardless of whatever else was happening in their lives at any given time, know when Cogsworth was feeling sad. He'd reach him post haste and not stop, no matter how many times Cogsworth yelled at him or pushed him away, until he had succeeded in brightening his spirits again. Today had been one such day. It was the one year anniversary of when the curse had been lifted, and though the Prince and their new Princess had thrown a festival to celebrate their freedom and the curse's demise, Cogsworth's mind had turned back, like the hands of the clock he'd once been going in reverse, to the times they had suffered underneath the curse.
There are too many things that humans take for granted. They take their own bodies for granted, believing they'll always be in possession of two hands with which to hold things, eight fingers with which to touch, and legs with which to stride over long distances. Cogsworth had always been a short man, though nowhere near as short as the clock he'd been, and had always detested his height and longed for a taller body with which to reach higher and invoke more respect. He had been demanded respect still, becoming the kingdom's highest ranking General and the leader of their military forces, but he had nonetheless taken his human body for granted. He had believed, like so many do, that he always would have his body; it would never really change, even with age; and he'd forever be able to do the things that were important to him.
But being a clock had changed all that. He'd not been able to go into town where men and women alike had once stopped to admire him riding astride his steed. He had not been able to really commandeer his forces for, as enchanted objects, they knew they were useless in battle, or so they had believed until they'd been forced to fight the villagers to protect their Prince and all their lives. He had not been able to swordfight or even fence until Lumiere had somehow gotten him a sword his own size. Cogsworth still didn't know where Lumiere had found that sword, or who he'd gotten to make it, but his beloved had come to his rescue one particularly dismal evening with the new shining blade.
Cogsworth had worked out many of his frustrations through fencing for seemingly endless hours throughout the castle and its grounds. He'd heard the lesser subjects whispering about him behind the instruments they'd used for hands, saying how he was going batty if he still thought he could fight any opponent. Cogsworth had kept going with his fencing lessons and even chastised some of the more loudly disapproving subjects, but in truth, he had not done so to stay fit or ready for battle. He'd known he made a truly worthless opponent as a clock, or again, thus he had believed until their hour of greatest need had come upon them.
He had fenced, instead, as a way of dealing with his frustrations. It had anguished him to no end that he was no longer the man he had trained so hard to become and could not do the things he should as a General. He had been disappointed in himself, too, for failing to protect his Prince and their people. Yet, most of all, what had bothered him was the little things. He could no longer properly hold anything in the pieces of metal he used for hands. His cursed arms were too short to fit properly around anything possessing any real size, including, and most importantly of all, his beloved Lumiere. He could kiss Lumiere, but he could go no further. Sometimes, even when they did kiss, his hands had chosen that particular moment to come together and ended up pinching Lumiere's nose.
But never once had his love complained. Though he'd tried especially hard today, Cogsworth couldn't remember a single time that Lumiere had ever complained much about the curse or all it had taken from them. He had missed being a chef and cooking almost as greatly as he had missed loving Cogsworth, but he had never really voiced those complaints. Cogsworth had known from the forlorn look in his eyes every time they entered the kitchen or dining room and the way he'd speak wistfully about his culinary conquests as a human, and, of course, there was the song and show he'd performed for Belle that, though it had bespoke his happiness to serve, had also at last admitted, in the first stanza, how much Lumiere had missed that part of his life, how much they had all missed how they served as humans.
But, again, today, Lumiere had been busy serving. He had cooked ever since last night, creating an elaborate feast that, even after every one had partaken in, had still had leftovers. He had also been the loudest proclaimer of all in rejoicing that the curse was over, but still, whereas many of them had relived the woes of their cursed existences, Cogsworth had not heard his lover utter one single complaint about the time they'd spent as enchanted objects unable to properly embrace or love one another.
"Ah, zere you are." Cogsworth's eyebrows lift slightly at the sudden sound of Lumiere's French-accented voice, but he doesn't look at him. He's not ready to see his bubbly smile or happy eyes. He's still too glum and wants to wallow in the misery of their past for a little while longer. How everybody can be so happy today is beyond him for all he can remember are the bad times they suffered until the curse was lifted. "Ze party has not her light and glow without your presence. I may have been really swell at putting out that glow once," Lumiere continues speaking as he tackles Cogsworth from behind and wraps his long arms around him, "but not so much without you by my side any longer." He whispers the last words right next to Cogsworth's ear.
Cogsworth has had enough of Lumiere's bubbling happiness, however, for he's been exerting that positive attitude that so troubles him all day. He's stayed silent up until now but can stand it no longer. He shoves his arms off and bats away his hands as he immediately reaches for him again. Lumiere's seductive pout fails to keep Cogsworth's wiry mustache from bristling with its full thickness.
"What is wrong with you?" Cogsworth demands, batting Lumiere's hands away. His massive belly jumps with his anger, pushing him even further back across the parapet. "How can you always be so . . . so jolly? Why is everybody so happy today?"
Lumiere looks at him with the first inkling of sadness shining in his eyes since the curse was lifted. "Because, mon chere," he answers as though it's as obvious as the long and pointed nose upon his otherwise handsome face, "we're free! We're no longer cursed! We're no longer enchanted objects! We're free to be our own men!" He spreads his arms wide and opens his hands before them, palms up. "Isn't that what you wanted, too?"
"Of course it's what I wanted!" Cogsworth blustered. "But you didn't sound upset about it today when you were reliving the tale to the children!"
"Non," Lumiere replies, shaking his head, "because I was not. What is there to be sad about now? We have each other, mon chyri, and our rightful bodies. Why allow the past to still trouble us when it is but a testament to our love?"
Cogsworth's dark and furious glare would have sent every light out on Lumiere's body had he still been a candlestick. "What," he demands icily, "in the world are you talking about?"
Lumiere approaches him slowly. This time, he succeeds in wrapping his arms back around his love's hefty waist, but still Cogsworth glowers at him until he gives his answer in the truth and eloquence with which only he can speak. "We survived a most perilous time, mon amour, a time darker and more painful to the heart and soul than most people can even imagine. We survived a horrible curse, and though it did unthinkable things to us, we never once allowed it to dull our love. We didn't just survive the curse, Cogsworth; our love survived the curse when few others' could have, especially without being at each others' throat day and night!"
Cogsworth lowers his head in shame; his puffy cheeks darken guiltily. He had taken out far too many of his frustrations on his beloved Lumiere while they'd been cursed, but Lumiere had forgiven him for every single temper tantrum he had ever thrown and would again today, he hopes and, in his deepest heart, already knows. "The curse," Lumiere continues, his eyes gazing steadfastly down into Cogsworth's, "did not weaken our love. It gave us strength and renewed the bonds of our hearts! Our love is stronger today than ever before, and because of that curse, I know, and you and the whole world should as well, that nothing will ever be able to hinder or even give our love pause!"
"Our love," he whispers, lowering his head, "is unstoppable!" His last two words brush softly across Cogsworth's upturned lips. Then Lumiere's lips, as Cogsworth has secretly been needing them to all day, touch down upon his. He kisses him sweetly and gently at first but then begins to deepen their kiss.
As their kiss deepens, however, and his tongue slips into his mouth to play a game of hide and seek with the General's tongue, the chef's sneaky hands reach beneath his heavy coats and tickle his tummy. Cogsworth's mouth leaves his immediately as laughter barks deeply from his throat. Lumiere grins and starts tickling him faster. Cogsworth doubles over, his laughter rushing over the parapet, but then he stands suddenly, sword in hand.
Lumiere's eyes widen; his face pales slightly as Cogsworth's sword points at him. His hands drop, and he starts to back up. Cogsworth backs him against the nearest wall and traces his cravat with his short sword. "You're right," he speaks with a grim expression. "Nothing . . . " His eyes begin to twinkle, diminishing his act, and Lumiere boasts his knowledge of what is about to come with a silent, broad grin. " . . . can ever stop our love!" He throws his sword to the rooftop, grabs Lumiere, shoves him a little closer against the wall, and sets to kissing him passionately, determined to make up not just for the time they missed while Lumiere was cooking and partying today but for all the time they've missed over the years.
Yet, for the first time as he thinks of the curse and how they won, his heart truly does soar. His lover is right, as he is more often than the General cares to admit: The curse was a testament to their love. They won, and they will always win because of their love! Their love will last forever, and in it, they will live happily ever after!