We love and respect the rat boy in this household.

This is my first work in the Ghost fandom, but maybe I'll do some more. I'd love to do some angst with Papa III or Copia/Papa IV, but I'll definitely have to refresh myself on the lore first. It's been a while since I was active in the Ghost fandom hahah

This one shot is probably fairly uninteresting, but I found it a nice break from the dark and angsty fics I'm working on rn 3

"Sister Imperator, I am finished with my meal."

As he spoke, Copia gently placed his utensils down in the middle of the empty plate that sat on the table before him before picking up and neatly folding up the cloth that he had placed on his lap while he ate, lifting his plate up when he was done and placing the neatly creased white square on the table beneath it as Sister Imperator had so often reminded him to do. "May I be excused, please?"

"Your lessons are soon." Sister Imperator glanced up from her plate at the far end of the table and leveled a cool look - a look that she was very well-known for by all members of the church - in the young boy's direction as he stood from his seat, already anticipating her dismissal. "Do not be tardy to them again. You are excused."

"I won't!" Copia beamed up at the stern woman as she waved him away, before walking out of the dining hall. Once the doors had firmly swung shut behind him, the young boy burst into a jog and raced through the tall hallways of the chapel, ducking and jumping around some passing sisters of sin as he went, his destination already picked out in his mind.

After he had bounded down some sets of stairs and dsrted through some corridors, Copia reached the less populated section of the chapel and slowed to a trot, content to take his time strolling down the long and desolate hallways, occupied only by the sharp clicking of the heels of his shoes against the hard floor and the presence of his many thoughts that chased each other around his cluttered mind.

Copia slowed as a door came up on his right, its dilapidated state and dirty appearance proving that this section of the chapel had been sitting unused for a while. The many members of the church preferred to use the renovated and newer sections of the church, only using the lower and older sections when needed. The older sections were dusty and filled with countless rodents and insects that scampered and skittered into holes and shadows to hide out of view as one walked upon them. The halls were often filled with chill breezes that swept by and influenced many to quicken their pace to reach the warmer sections of the building. It really was the perfect place for someone to go to to escape the rest of the world for a while.

The small boy tried his best after pushing the door open a crack and slipping through it to gently close the heavy wooden door behind him, his barely existent muscles straining as the heavy door tried to slam back against the door frame. After he successfully closed it without making a ruckus, Copia turned back to the room with a sigh. The room was small, taking only ten or so steps to cross it to the far wall. Copia had theorized that the room had probably been a small reading room back when it had been in use, evident by the pair of armchairs pushed against one of the walls and the large wooden bookshelf that was set against the far wall, its shelves only holding a few things, most of the books and knickknacks that it probably had once held having long since been moved to other locations.

One of the things that remained was an old, scratched, and dented vinyl player, one that Copia had found when he was exploring the many unused rooms in this section of the church. Beside it was a carefully stacked pile of vinyls that Copia had bought with what meager savings he had saved up over the years, each one holding songs that the boy held very close to his heart, each musician one that inspired him each time he heard their work.

After a few moments of peering around the room to assure himself that everything was the way it had been the last time he had visited the room, Copia relaxed and stepped to the center of the room.

"Hello, little friends," Copia spoke to the empty room as he plunged a hand into one of the pockets of his clothes, his fingers curling around the small pile of various nuts and small pieces of fruit that he had snuck off of his plate during breakfast. "I brought some treats, hopefully you will all enjoy them?" He leant down and placed a couple of strawberries and assorted nuts and seeds on the ground, before placing the rest back in his pocket and straightening, taking the few steps to the other side of the room, a soft smile growing on his face as he ran his fingers across the surface of the vinyl player, disturbing the dust and cobwebs that had settled on it since he had last used it.

As he pulled the vinyl off of the shelf, a spider that had been hiding behind it fell to the ground and skittered away, disappearing into the shadows that lined the edge of the room as Copia watched.

Copia turned back to the task at hand and settled a few vinyls atop the player. But as he turned back to make his way to the middle of the room, his gaze was pulled to the side as he noticed movement in his peripherals. He watched as two grey rats wormed their way from beneath one of the dust-covered armchairs that had been carelessly pushed against one corner of the room, chirping quietly as they made their way over to Copia and the small pile of nuts and fruits that he had laid on the floor earlier.

As the two rats settled down with their food and began to scarf it down, Copia gently placed the vinyl player down beside them and settled onto the floor himself, choosing to stretch his legs out and lean back, resting his elbows on the floor to support himself as he made himself comfortable.

"Hello there lovelies." Copia smiled down at the rodents as they ate. "Sebastian, you're looking very well groomed today, and quite round. Have you been sneaking into the pantry again?" Copia received no answer of course, but he chuckled and rubbed a gentle finger down the rats' back as it peered up at him. "And Minou, I'm very glad to see that nasty cut of yours has healed over. Maybe you will remember not to get close to the feral cats next time?" Copia scratched the fur on her neck, Minou lifting her head as he did to allow him to get the underside of her jaw as well. "You're far too little to put up much of a fight against them, my dear." As the rats finished their snacks and ambled closer to him, Copia extended a hand and let them crawl onto it before picked them up and gently placing them down on his lap. After the rodents were settled in his lap with a couple more bits of food were retrieved from Copia's pocket and clutched in their little paws, Copia leaned over and pulled a vinyl out of the stack beside the player at random, pulling it from the sleeve and settling it on the player, sitting back with a smile as the opening beats of the song filled the room. The music surrounded him, even with the young child being careful to keep the volume low enough to not attract the attention of those elsewhere in the chapel. He didn't want to get in trouble, and he didn't want to startle his little friends. They didn't care much for loud noises, and Copia certainly wouldn't want to frighten off two of the only friends that he had.

As the music played and filled his ears, Copia tucked the rodents against his chest, a hand gently brushing down their short and soft fur and scratching their little heads as he swayed gently to the songs that he knew by heart. The rats relaxed in his hold, nuzzling his combing fingers and snacking on their treats as the boy let the stress from the previous days melt from his bones.

Minutes blended together as Copia just sat there and let his mind drift, occasionally giving Sebastion and Minou some more treats when they chirped and pawed at his pocket where the fruit and seeds lay.

As the ending notes to another song played, Copia reached out and stopped the player. Although to him it felt like only a few minutes had passed since he had settled down with Sebastian and Minou, Copia knew he should get going before someone decided to come looking for him. Minou was curled up on top of his thigh, fast asleep. Copia gently ushered Sebastian to the ground, before carefully picking up Minou and settling her down without waking her. He would place her back underneath the armchair they liked to sit under if she didn't wake while he was putting away the player and vinyls.

When he packed up the vinyls, tucked the player back onto the shelf where it belonged, and placed the rest of the food that he had in front of his friends - although Sebastian was the only one awake to enjoy it, he knew the rat was taking some back to their hovel to share with the other rat later - with a farewell pat on each of their heads, the young boy was feeling a lot better than when he had arrived. It had been nice to take a few moments to escape the hustle and bustle of his everyday routine, and he was sad that he couldn't make it down to visit his little furry friends as much as he liked. When he was older, he would definitely have some rodents of his own, and he would let them sleep in his bedroom! Copia couldn't wait until he could do what he wanted, or at least until he had fewer restrictions on what he was allowed to do. Returning to the small rodent that was still tightly curled contentedly on the ground, Copia gently scooped her up and carried her over to the armchair she had crawled out from when he had arrived, carefully getting down onto his knees and reaching under to place her on the floor in the shadows of the chair, Sebastian scampering out from the darkness to nuzzle against his fingers before curling beside Minou, the full belly he had from the snacks and the relaxing petting session obviously having made him ready for a nice and long nap.

After he slipped out of the room and ascended into the higher levels of the chapel, Copia walked past one of the large stained glass windows that lined the hall. He could see that the sun was suspended high in the cloudless sky, beaming down with bright rays that gleamed through the coloured panes of glass and warmed his skin. It looked to be close to noon, much later than he had been expecting. Copia must have spent more time than he realized down with his friends. Sister Imperator was going to be very upset about this... but Copia knew a missed lesson or two wasn't too much for him to stress over. He would much rather be with his rats and music than in a stifling hot room spending hours being taught about his duties and roles that he would play in the future, most of which he already knew.

In the end, Copia valued those precious moments by himself with his little friends much more than the boring lessons.

Comment if you enjoyed? I was feeling like taking a break from my usual angst. I never rly write stuff this, so hopefully this isn't too bad. :)