Copia was alone.
To be honest, that really wasn't out of the ordinary, Copia definitely didn't have the most friends out of all of the children that called the clergy home. Normally, Copia wouldn't necessarily mind as he was perfectly content to find ways of entertaining himself when he on his own. And he was certainly trying his best not to care about the fact that he was alone today, but Copia wasn't succeeding.
For everyone else in the clergy, it was just another normal day with nothing out of the ordinary occurring. Just another day of sin and working to spread the words of the church, nothing out of the usual.
For Copia, however, it was a very special day. A day that the members of the clergy rarely remembered.
"Happy birthday to me..."
It was Copia's birthday.
Copia shifted into a more comfortable position on his crossed legs as he sat on the cold floor of his bedroom, reaching out to carefully pick up the lone cupcake that sat in front of him on the floor of his room, lifting it up and watching the candle's flame waver, the bright flames almost flickering out before flaring up again as Copia stilled his hands, melted wax dripped down the candle that he had stuck into the middle of the cupcake that he had bought at the corner store in town with the money that he had been saving up for the last few months.
Copia had to buy it himself with what little money he had managed to gain, it wasn't like the clergy would have given him anything.
The other children of the clergy all got parties when it was their birthday. Every year the Emeritus brothers each got an entire day dedicated to celebrating the date of their birth, the day filled with music, food, games, and gifts.
Copia dreamed of having a day like that dedicated to him. He couldn't even imagine what it would be like, since he had never gotten to experience anything like that. For him, his birthday arrived with little to no fanfare. Copia woke up with no cards containing well-wishes, no treats and cakes baked specifically for him, no presents lovingly wrapped. As usual, there was nothing awaiting him. Copia had made his way through the day's meals and his everyday chores, with nobody making a single comment on the fact that it was his birthday. So, it was just another typical birthday for Copia, just like all of the other ones he had over the years, ever since he could remember. As Sister Imperator reminded him the one time years ago that he had brought up his dismay over not getting even a 'happy birthday!' wish to her, he should be grateful for what he had. At least he wasn't still on the streets, where he had come from. At least the clergy was gracious enough to give him a home, food, clothes, and an education. Sister Imperator said that was all he needed.
But he just really wanted what the other kids had, no matter what Sister Imperator said.
He just felt so lonely.
"My wish..." Copia closed his eyes, inhaling deeply as he hoped desperately for his wish to come true. "I wish to have a friend."
As Copia opened his eyes and gently blew out the flame, his room growing dim as the source of light was vanquished, a single tear welled up in his green eye, before spilling down his cheek and trailing along his jaw as his shaking hands clutched the cupcake aloft, his vision blurring as more and more tears welled up in his eyes.
Before he knew it, tears were streaming down his face and his body was wracked by sobs, the young boy's shoulders shaking as he curled his thin knees up to his trembling chest, tucking his head against them as he tried to muffle the loud sobs that rang out through his room, not wanting to get in trouble for his actions.
Copia just didn't want to be alone anymore. He just wanted to have a single friend that would celebrate his birthday with him. He just wanted a single friend that could wish him a happy birthday, instead of ignoring him or calling him ungrateful and greedy for just wanting what the other kids had.
That was all that he wished for.
As Copia lifted his head to rub a fist against his tear-filled eyes and took in a shuddering breath, his sobs pausing momentarily, he noticed movement in his peripherals.
As Copia was granted with the sight of a thin rat that was huddled against the wall of his bedroom, it's black eyes shining in the dimness of the room as the boy stilled, not wanting to startle it with any harsh movements.
"Hello there little buddy..." Copia smiled warmly at the little rat as he spoke softly. He had always found the creatures cute, and this one was no exception. "Are you hungry? You're looking a little thin. Would you like to share my cupcake with me?" Copia peeled back the wrapper of the cupcake, carefully pulling out a chunk of the cupcake that didn't have any icing on it. "It's my birthday, you know, I bought the cupcake to celebrate." Copia slowly leaned over and placed the cupcake as close to the rat as he could. "You can celebrate it with me!"
The rat slowly crept out of the shadows towards the cupcake, keeping a careful eye on Copia as the boy watched it edge closer and closer to the food left on the floor, before darting the final few inches to it and grabbing the bit of cupcake in his little paws, his teeth making short work of the small chunk as he scarfed it down.
"Wow! You sure were hungry, little guy!" Copia grinned as he pulled out another piece of cupcake, offering it to the rat, this time leaving the chunk on his palm and extending his hand out to the rat.
"I think I'm going to call you Ratatoni." Copia beamed down at the rat, who looked up at him as it pawed the rest of the cupcake that was still clutched in the young boy's hand. "That's a cute name, yeah? I think you look like a Ratatoni."
Ratatoni chittered at him, before turning back to the cupcake and chomping down on the cupcake liner that Copia had pulled away from the cupcake when he had pulled the pieces off for him.
"Oh, no buddy," Copia chuckled and reached out to pluck the cupcake liner from Ratatoni's grip. "you can't eat the wrapper, but if you're hungry you can always have more of my cupcake." Copia crumpled the cupcake liner up and stuffed it into his pocket where Ratatoni wouldn't be able to get it, before replacing it with another small chunk of cupcake that the rat eagerly grabbed onto and began to nibble on. Copia smiled to himself as Ratatoni finished the small bit of cupcake and curled up on his thigh, the little rat content to sit with him as the boy gently ran a finger over his fur, brushing down the strands that hadn't been lying down, taking a few bites of the cupcake himself as he petted the small creature.
Copia didn't need anyone else, he didn't need a birthday party or expensive gifts to be happy on his birthday. Copia had all that he had wished for, right here.
Copia had a friend.