A/N: Hey there, and welcome. After a long, long period of not writing, I did some 100% Orange Juice fanfiction to practice up, and kept it on a little blogspot to show to basically four loveable nerds in a discord chat. But then I noticed: there wasn't actually an OJ category on yet. Well, welcome to the result of that observation.
For a little preamble: these pieces probably aren't connected canonically, or if they are, are only very loosely so. You should consider it a collection of oneshots. They're all set in the QP Shooting - Dangerous! world, and almost all of them are goofy comedy. Additionally, I don't own any of these characters, and since they're shmup characters with all the depth that implies, they'll probably veer off from canon in the process of me fleshing them out. Enjoy!
Aru's ears drooped. Despite being a functional killing machine equipped with the powers of flight, seasonal gifts, and spewing bullets out of her face, she was still beholden to her lapine nature. Some part of her would always dislike loud noises, unnatural tastes and arguments, and the look on Arthur's face told her that an argument was well on the way.
"Hey, Mr Shopkeeper. Give me a cola, with plenty of ice," Syura commanded. Syura was petite, redheaded, and completely unaware of her own particular place on the food chain. There was a certain smugness about her that screamed Stage 1 boss, in Aru's opinion.
"Do this look like a grocery store, kid?" Arthur growled, his eye twitching behind his dark glasses. The butt of his cigarette, held loosely at the corner of his mouth in defiance of all smoking laws, crumpled as his jaw begin to grind. "We don't stock cola."
"Who cares if you stock it? I asked for a cola. A real, hot-blooded merchant would see this as an opportunity," Syura replied, half wheedling, half scolding.
"Oh, believe me, my blood is boiling right about now. I'm a businessman, not an errand boy. How about you take a little walk around the block and get a cola yourself?"
"Hey, I'm doing you a favour, businessman. You know how much time and money real businesses spend on analytics to figure out what their customers want? I just told you for free. It's my first time in this shop, my frenemy is showing me around, and I want a cola. Make it happen," the girl said, puffing out her somewhat unimpressive chest. "Of course, I'll pay you extra for your time. I'm not an unreasonable lady."
"That's just because you ain't a lady," Arthur sighed. He stubbed out his cigarette in a cheap ashtray on the shop counter, and blew a leisurely ring of smoke. "...How much extra we talking about?"
Syura smiled a catlike smile, and launched her negotiations in earnest. She was a veteran of videogame bartering systems and economics; she knew how much a broadsword was worth and how much an adventurer could expect to be paid for slaying their first novelty giant-sized rat. Arthur, on the other hand, knew how to use his stern looks and rough voice to gouge a price. It ought to be a close contest, Aru thought, but it was better than an actual fight. Assured that she would have no need to administer some concussive diplomacy, she turned her attention to QP.
QP was a regular customer at the Rbit Room. In fact, she was the regular customer. Not everybody had the temperament, discipline or desire to learn the ancient arts of the battle bunnies. In fact, the general, uneducated consensus was that these arts did not exist, which was a definite problem when it came to paying the bills. Yet QP would wander into the shop after school like clockwork, clutching her allowance in her hands, carefully inspecting musty tomes on rabbit warfare and then asking if the contents could, perhaps, be summed up in the form of a limerick or a haiku to help her understand them. Aru was not particularly good at either, which lead to memorable offerings like:
Glimmer of power,
You are the pew-pew windmill
What up, it's Orbit
Regardless, the dog girl always seemed to appreciate the effort, because, as she said, it came from the heart. She had a talent for seeing the best in everybody that Aru, as a result of her own duty to peer into the hearts of children across the globe and pronounce a select portion of them to be naughty in the sovereign eyes of Santa, had difficulty fathoming. QP did not, for instance, see Arthur as a grizzled, chain smoking, questionably ethical merchant motivated only by raw greed and the fear of Aru's retribution. In fact, her opinion of Arthur seemed to stop at "tall", which was a small mercy for all parties involved.
"What brings you here today, QP? We're always delighted to see you, but are you looking for anything in particular?" Aru asked, ignoring the intense economic debate going on between Syura and Arthur.
QP scratched her nose. "Well, uh... Actually, Syura was just being really weird, and I needed an adult. The closest thing to an adult I know is a big bullying cat who throws darts around everywhere and leads an evil organisation dedicated to taking over the world, so I decided you were my next best bet."
"You keep such interesting social circles," Aru murmured.
"I don't really keep them. I'd throw them back into the ocean if I could. I just keep running into strange people and they stick to me," the dog replied mournfully.
Ah, so she's acquired a quirky stable of friends she doesn't really like that much, Aru thought. She's finally begun to mature as a shoot 'em up protagonist. She left that unsaid, and tried a different tack. "I'm happy for you to hang around as long as you like, but I don't really understand... Syura is your friend, right?"
"It's ambiguous," Syura said proudly, having paid Arthur four times the going rate for a cola and sent him on his way. She was flush from what she no doubt considered a victory. "Nice to meet you, by the way. I'm Syura, embryonic developer of videogames. One day, I will hatch into a beautiful game dev swan!"
Aru fought the urge to roll her eyes. "Very interesting social circles, indeed. What exactly was she doing that was so weird?"
QP opened her mouth to talk, but Syura beat her to it. "I wasn't doing anything weird. In fact, I was being generous, and telling my unemployed friend here how I'd give her a job when I get my studio all set up."
"She wants me to wear a maid outfit," QP added, mournfully.
Syura shrugged. "Well, of course. Your head is full of pudding, so I can't let you handle any of the code. All you'd need to do is flutter around the studio, bring me tea, address me as master, let me rest my head in your lap and massage my temples whenever I get tired of looking at the computer screen, and then occasionally do some light debugging. It's a cushy gig!"
"The rest I could deal with, but the debugging is too much! It's sexual harassment! Tell her, Aru!" the dog said, and clung to Aru's arm like it was a anchor against a flood of madness.
Aru, however, had transcended her mortal form and was roaming in the magical world of her own imagination. A girl with dog ears and a maid outfit? Surely it was too much power for one mortal to have. The amount of money and popularity that she could amass in the hidden circles of the world was astronomical. A very small part of Aru - the part that mourned as it watched the Rbit room go into decline, the part that wanted to eat quality food instead of economy rice day after day after day - whispered in the back of her head, telling her that she should harness that power.
Another part of Aru had gone in an entirely different direction. QP was her favourite customer, but she'd rarely ever seen her wearing anything but her school uniform. Putting aside the maid cosplay, which was too dangerous to think about in public, she wondered what her friend would look like in more classically feminine clothes.
"Aru? Earth to Aru? You zoned out for a little while there," QP called, waving her hand in front of the rabbit's eyes.
"While drooling," Syura added helpfully.
"Yes, well, um, shop harassment is against sexual rules. I mean, sexual harassment is against shop rules!" the rabbit replied, feeling a trickle of sweat wind its way down her forehead.
There was a moment of silence. Then there was another moment of silence, consecutive to the last. Moments of silence began to shunt into each other like minecarts on a crowded track. Overpopulation of moments of silence began to threaten the national ecosystem, and local government authorities sent out an all-points bulletin to park rangers announcing the sad necessity of a cull. Then, at last, Syura spoke.
"Fine. I'll allow it. You go on ahead, QP. I want to actually look around this goofy little shop and drink my cola."
QP, anxious to escape and run home for a cup of well-earned pudding, seized the chance and trotted out of the shop. Syura watched her go, a wide smile on her face. After the dog had been gone for a good few seconds, she turned to Aru, and grinned. Aru blanched.
"...Were you looking for any merchandise in particular?" she tried.
"No," Syura replied, shrugging. "I was just thinking that maybe we share some interests, you know? We could be great friends. Hey, hey. Take a look at this for a moment."
She produced a phone from her pocket, and began pressing buttons faster than Aru could comprehend, her fingers no more than a blur passing over the screen. Before long, she had found what she was looking for, and presented the phone to Aru, her chest puffed out with pride.
On the screen was a picture of a maid uniform. It was high quality, dyed sumptuous black with a pristine white apron. It was also very short. Aru felt breezy just looking at it.
"So, let's skip the formalities and get down to business. I think that with enough prodding, I can get QP into this thing. How much are you prepared to pay for pictures?"
"...Make me an offer," Aru said, making a steeple of her fingers.
"20?! Listen, friend, I asked you to make me an offer, not make me angry," Aru growled, warming to her part. Arthur was a hard nosed, occasionally crooked businessman. Aru kept the Rbit room in business and still had enough left over to buy toys for the world's children at the end of the year. Negotiating was her strong suit. "For 20, I'd want fifteen minutes of lap pillow and the skirt would need to be at least two inches shorter."
Syura looked at her, blank eyed. Then, slowly, she began to smile. "You know what, Aru?" she said. "I think we're gonna get along great."
A/N: I'm not really sure how to characterise Syura except as a semi-obsessive agent of chaos yet, but one thing I learned from doing these pieces is that Aru is best bunny. (Also, it feels weird that this is the first story in this category, and I, of all people, am submitting it.)