Imai got his things together as he waited for Yutaka and Atsushi to show up at his house. The three of them were going to Aki’s Halloween party. Normally, Atsushi would pick him up for something like this, but neither of them would be able to drive, so they asked Yutaka to help. Thinking about their plans made Imai question his decisions, but it was too late now.
Yutaka arrived first, dressed as a vampire, and Imai offered him some snacks. “Thanks for agreeing to pick us up,” he said to the bassist.
“Of course!” Yutaka replied, smiling. “So, why did you need me to pick you two up, anyway? Do you both wanna drink tonight or something?”
Imai sighed as he recalled his and Atsushi’s plans. Guess it’s time to explain. “Nah, nothing like that. If you want to drink tonight, you can. I’ll drive back.”
“Oh, okay. So why did you ask me to pick you up? I’m curious.”
“Okay, so here’s what happened. A few weeks ago Atsushi started begging me to do this costume with him.”
“Aww, paired costumes! So cute!” Yutaka almost laughed when he said it, so Imai could tell he’d really like to hear the rest.
“I’d prefer that, but no. He wants us to wear a horse costume. ‘You be the back, I’ll be the front,’ he said.”
Yutaka snorted in response. “So that’s the costume you’ve been hyping up for the past two months? I don’t believe it; I can’t see you in the back of a horse costume.”
“No, that’s not the costume I’ve been hyping up. I told him, ‘Atsushi, I’ve been planning this costume since July, I’ve been really excited to wear it, can’t you find someone else to do this with you?’ But he looked at me with these cute, sad eyes like that one emoji,” Imai realized Yutaka wasn’t as tech-savvy as he was, “you know. He begged me to do it. So I agreed, but only for one hour. Then we’re going into the bathroom and changing into individual costumes. I don’t know what he’s wearing after because the horse costume was the only thing he really wanted to do, but I’m sure he has something planned. But we can’t drive in the horse costume, and also needed someone to carry our other costumes and our phones and stuff.”
“So I’m just a pack mule to you two?” Imai glared at him. “I’m only kidding! I’m excited to be the first person to hear about and see this costume. I’ll help you put it on too, okay?”
Imai was just about to thank Yutaka when he heard the doorbell ring. “That must be Atsushi. I’ll go get it.”
When Imai opened the door, he was greeted with an enthusiastic meow and a kiss on the cheek. “I’m a cat! Pretty cute, right?”
Imai looked at Atsushi’s costume, if it could even be called that. He was basically just wearing black pajamas, cat ears, and a bell, but he did put makeup on his face to look like whiskers. “Cute, but predictable.”
“Well, yeah, but that’s why we have the horse costume!” Atsushi pulled out a brown horse costume that he must’ve ordered online somewhere.
“You’re lucky I’m indulging this. Remember: one hour.”
“I know!” Atsushi let himself in and greeted Yutaka.
While Atsushi and Yutaka discussed each other’s costumes, Imai stepped into the horse costume. He just wanted to get it over with. “Whenever you’re ready, Atsushi.”
“Oh!” The vocalist got into the front, and that was when Imai realized one problem: Atsushi wasn’t just wearing cat ears, but also a tail.
“Hey, Atsushi? Maybe you should’ve put that on after we took the horse costume off.”
“Oh, so that’s why you’re not wearing your costume yet.”
“Yeah. Your tail is in my face.”
“Done!” Yutaka interrupted. “I zipped up the costume for you two.”
“Thank you!” Atsushi exclaimed, completely forgetting about the tail. Oh well. It would just be an hour, right?
Besides a bit of trouble getting in and out of the car, the three of them didn’t have any difficulties getting to the party. Yutaka helped Atsushi and Imai into Aki’s house, where they were greeted by the host himself. “Hey Yuta!” Aki exclaimed. “Nice costume.”
“Thanks!” the older bassist replied while looking at Aki’s costume. “And you are..?”
“A goat!” Aki answered while pointing at the horns. “What do you think?”
Aki smiled. “So who’s in the horse costume?”
“Why don’t you guess?” Yutaka asked while patting the costume.
“Fuck, that was my head!” Imai shouted. “Oh shit. Hey Aki.”
Aki chuckled. “So I guess Atsushi is in the front?”
“Meow!” Atsushi replied.
“He can’t see the cat costume yet,” Imai said, “dumbass.”
“Oh yeah. Hey, Aki. So who else is here?”
“Uhhh,” Aki paused for a moment, “all of my bandmates came over early, and Kyo is here too. Oh, and Issay and Die are already here.”
“Issay?” Atsushi replied, and then started running into the living room with no regard for the man behind him.
Atsushi dragged Imai along until the guitarist realized what was happening and started walking. “Can you tell me when you wanna go somewhere next time?”
“Sorry!” Atsushi exclaimed, slowing his pace to make things easier for Imai. Though, even then things were difficult for the horse’s hind legs; Atsushi’s tail kept slapping him in the face, and the ringing of the bell around Atsushi’s neck was getting annoying.
Still, Imai tried to ignore all the inconveniences of the costume. It would just be an hour, and then he could walk around on his own--and actually see what was going on. “So? See anything interesting?”
“Well,” Atsushi said, then whispered, “Kyo and Mao are really going at it on the couch.”
“Yeah. They’re both dressed as pirates, but their costumes are really different. Mao’s costume is really accurate, but Kyo went for a more sexy pirate type thing. It’s like they tried to coordinate costumes but Mao took it too seriously.”
Atsushi’s description sounded cute; Imai wished he could see everyone’s costumes. “And what were they doing on the couch?”
“Oh. Just cuddling.”
Imai sighed. “Then why did you say they were ‘really going at it?’”
“I was exaggerating. Anyways, I think Yuta went looking for Die. And Aki…” Atsushi stopped, and Imai bumped into him. “Sorry! Well, Aki is still at the door. His costume is slutty, too. He has horns on his head, a bell around his neck, and pants on, but not much else." Considering Atsushi's cat costume was just ears, a bell, and a tail, Imai didn't know how the vocalist could judge, but he dropped it. At least Atsushi wasn't shirtless. "You think he’s looking for a certain someone?”
“Maybe.” Normally Imai would’ve been curious too, but all he could think about was how much he wanted out of the horse costume. “So, have you found--?”
“Imai?” a familiar voice interrupted. Shit, he was hoping he would arrive before they got the costume off.
“Hide!” Atsushi exclaimed. “Can you come to the front? It’s difficult to turn around in here.”
“Oh my God,” Atsushi and Imai’s bandmate said, holding in laughter.
“Hide, please,” Imai replied.
“This is the best thing I’ve ever seen. Atsushi, how did you convince him to do this with you?”
“Bold of you to assume it was my idea,” Atsushi replied.
“It was your idea,” Imai stated.
“Well, thank you, Atsushi. You made my night.” He patted the horse as he said it, but luckily Imai wasn’t the victim this time. Atsushi didn’t seem to mind, though.
“So you convinced him to do it?” another familiar voice said.
“Neigh!” Atsushi exclaimed. He finally got it right. “Hi, Issay! I told you he would agree.”
“You were in on this?” Imai asked.
“Atsushi came to me first, actually,” Issay explained. “But I declined his request.”
“Wow, thanks,” Imai replied. “Anyways, what’s your costume?”
“Yeah, actually,” Atsushi said, “what are you?”
“I’m a vampire,” Issay answered.
“Like Yuta!” Atsushi exclaimed, and then paused. “You look the same as usual, though.”
“Nah, I'm a vampire. Anyways, can I ride you guys?”
Imai was shocked by Issay’s request. He hoped the other man was joking, but felt the need to refuse just in case. “Absolutely no--.”
“--Sure, go ahead!” Atsushi interrupted.
Fortunately, Issay listened to Atsushi’s hostage. “If Imai doesn’t want me to, I won’t.”
"Oh, thank God," Imai replied.
For the rest of the hour, Atsushi and Imai spent most of the time with Hide and Issay, as well as Toll when he arrived at the party. Apparently a few more people were coming after another Halloween event, but most of the guests had arrived at this point. The rest of Dir en Grey showed up as well, and Aki started mingling with all of the guests, his arm around a sheep-disguised Shinya. Despite his uncomfortable position, Imai was enjoying himself; he liked Halloween because he got to see so many different people.
Once the hour was over, Imai, Atsushi, and Issay went to the bathroom so Issay could help the two get the costume off. Meanwhile, Yutaka headed back to the car to get Imai’s costume. The guitarist was glad to finally be freed from his horse prison, and he thought he would be so grateful to Issay once he could finally change into his other costume.
However, Issay seemed to really be taking his time. Imai hoped he would figure it out, but Issay eventually admitted there was a problem: “Uhhh, I’m having trouble unzipping it.”
“What’s wrong?” Imai asked.
“It’s just... stuck.”
“Oh, well,” Atsushi said. “I guess we have to keep it on for the rest of the night.”
“Oh fuck no! Issay, can’t you ask Aki for a knife or--?”
“No destroying the horse!” Atsushi shouted.
“I’ll buy you a new horse!”
“It won’t be the same!”
“Imai, you can breathe in there, right?” Issay asked.
“Yeah, but it’s hot as fuck and I want out.”
Issay took a moment to respond. “If you’re not in danger or anything, I don’t want to ruin Atsushi’s costume.”
“You’re in on it, aren’t you?”
“Atsushi, can we go to Aki?” Atsushi didn’t respond or start walking. “Listen, I just want to make sure the zipper’s really fucked. I won’t ask them to destroy your precious horse costume that you probably just ordered off of Amazon.”
“I got it on Etsy,” Atsushi said, “but okay.”
The two of them headed to where Aki was, and Shinya started trying to unzip them. “Issay wasn’t lying,” he said. “You guys are stuck.”
“You should wait until after the party’s over,” Aki added. “Maybe it’s not actually stuck and everyone’s just too drunk to unzip it.”
“I haven’t had anything to drink though,” Shinya explained.
“Yeah, you're right. And you are good at playing with small, dangly, shiny objects...”
Imai didn’t know what to say to that. “Okay, well, let’s go see what everyone else is doing.”
Atsushi started heading for where Yutaka, Die, and Toll were sitting, and then whispered to Imai. “Shinya wouldn’t stop staring at Aki’s nipple ring.” So that was the small, dangly, shiny object he was referring to.
Before the two of them could get to their destination, they were interrupted. “Atsushi! Imai!” Sugizo shouted, causing the two of them to stop in their tracks. “Someone really wants a picture.”
Imai groaned. “You don’t mean--?”
“Hey, guys!” Yoshiki shouted. “Can I get a picture?”
Imai didn’t really care either way, but even if he did there was no saying no. In the music world, there’s only one rule: if Yoshiki is in one's general vicinity, they must take a picture with him. To make things easier to the two in the horse costume, Yoshiki positioned himself next to them, and Sugizo took the picture.
Imai almost facepalmed at the sight of the man in the front of the costume making the X pose. “Atsushi, you know no one can see you, right?”
“Oh yeah,” the vocalist responded. “Sad.”
For the rest of the party, Imai and Atsushi remained in the costume. As much as Imai was frustrated by the situation, he decided to make the best of it and wear his other costume next year. That made things easier for him, anyway. Still, Atsushi’s tail hadn’t ceased to annoy him, and he was positive he smelled like a gaming convention by the end of the night.
When the party started dying down, only Shinya, Aki, Die, and the Buck-Tick members were still there. Well, Kyo and Mao were there too, but they headed to the bedroom at some point.
Though he seemed tired, Shinya had another go at the zipper, but to no avail. Although Imai didn’t understand why those on the outside wouldn’t just break them free at this point, Atsushi kept encouraging them to try to unzip the costume.
At least until Aki’s cat showed up.
“Oh, hey Gin!” the host said calmly, and began petting his cat. “You finally decided to show yourself now that things have calmed down, huh? Or did Mao scare you off?”
“C-cat?” Atsushi replied.
Aki picked up Gin and put his face near the eyes of the horse costume. “Gin, say hello to Acchan!” The sound of the cat’s meow was music to Imai’s ears, because he knew what was coming next.
“Someone, get us out of here!” Atsushi cried. “Please, I need to see Gin!”
Yutaka sighed and got up from his spot on the couch. “I guess this has gone on for long enough.”
Imai was confused. “What are you going on ab--.” Before he could finish the sentence, they were freed. “What the hell?”
Imai tuned out the sound of Atsushi gleefully playing with Aki’s cat to listen to Yutaka’s explanation. “I messed with the zipper. It was a prank.”
“What? Yuta, why would you--?”
“Sorry Atsushi, I take it back,” Hide said, and began patting Yutaka on the back. “Yuta, you made my night.”
“So you really pranked us?” Imai asked.
Imai joined Atsushi in petting Gin. “Eh, it’s fine. I’m impressed no one figured out whatever the fuck you did to the zipper.”
“Me too, to be honest. I thought someone else would’ve gotten you two out by now.” The bassist sat down on the floor and pet the cat. “So, should we get go--.”
“No!” Atsushi interrupted.
“I didn’t even know he was listening anymore,” Die said.
After some time relaxing and playing with the cat, Atsushi, Imai, and Yutaka headed back to Imai’s house. Though the bassist headed home, Atsushi was tired from his time in the horse costume and Gin caused his allergies to flare up, so he decided to stay at Imai’s place.
Both ex-parts of the horse were tired, so they headed to bed straight away. Though, before they fell asleep, Atsushi put his arm around Imai and kissed him on the cheek. “Thank you for today.”
“No problem,” Imai replied.
“No, really. I know you weren’t thrilled about the horse costume, but you did it anyway. So thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” Imai paused for a moment, and Atsushi turned away to shut the light. “Though, I enjoyed it, too.”
The vocalist turned back. “Really?”
“Yeah. I was trapped in the back of a horse costume, but you were still able to show me a good time. So thanks, Atsushi.” Imai returned the other man’s kiss, this time kissing the vocalist’s forehead. “Good night.”
After such a long night of partying--well, doing as much partying as one can manage as the hind legs of a horse costume--Imai was glad to be ending it having such a tender interaction with Atsushi. As he started drifting off to sleep, he let his bandmate’s response echo in the back of his mind.
“Good night, Imai. Sweet dreams.”