“Surprise, bitch!” everyone shouts as Murdoch walked into the room.

The poor fox still has tear crusts in his fur after waiting all day for his father, mother and Holly to wish him a happy birthday, but it seems all he gave up for them was never enough. His mother did talk to him… to criticise him once more. It was the last straw, and as the sun dipped in the horizon he had a mental breakdown, hiccuping wildly up to the moment Nik and Sam had greeted him at their home.

“Are you okay?” Sam had asked, hugging him to the side while Nik lay a hand softly on his shoulder.

“I’m fine” he said, smiling, easily pushing down his sadness with a near perfect smile.

Now he has tears flowing down his cheeks again, but out of sheer happiness and appreciation at his real family.

“You guys, I just can’t!” Murdoch says happily, dramatically fanning his face with his paws.

“C’mon, make a wish!” Todd says, he and Cliff pushing a chair and urging Murdoch to sit down.

Murdoch does so, sitting down theatrically and blowing his 27 meticulously placed and lit candles in a tornado breath and knocks out the candles from the cake.

“Damn champ!” Will laughs, patting Murdoch on the back.

“What did you wish for?” Dahlia asks?

“Cheeky, but I won’t tell” Murdoch replies, wiping a tear from his eye.

“Again, are you okay?” Nik asks, hugging him.

Murdoch looks around, a searing warmth scalding his skin and heart alike.

“My wish just came true.”