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Horsing Around

Chapter Text

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.”

“Sorry, I’ll--.”'

“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?”

“It’s cute.”

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.”

“Really?”

“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?”

“No, Imai--.”

“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...”

“Shut up.”

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.

“Sorry, Imai.”

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.”

Chapter Text

When Imai woke up, he had no idea what was going on. He was sure that just the night before, he and Atsushi got back from a Halloween party at Aki’s place. But now, he was back in the back of a horse costume. Something was different this time. Atsushi wasn’t in a cat costume; well, he wasn’t in anything. And it didn’t feel as hot in the costume, either. What was going on?

“Where are we?” Imai asked.

“Oh no, Imai, you’re here too!” Atsushi cried.

Imai had no clue what Atsushi meant by that. “Nice to see you too?”

“Well, I guess it’s too late to do anything about it now. Let me explain. We… died.”

Atsushi’s attempt at an explanation left Imai with more questions than answers. “What the fuck is that supposed to mean?”

“You don’t remember? When we were... horsing around?”

“At the Halloween party?”

“Oh shit,” Atsushi said to himself. He sounded distraught; Imai would have comforted him if they weren’t stuck in the goddamn horse costume. “Not only is Imai dead, but he has amnesia too…”

“What do you mean? Last night, at Aki’s party--.”

“Imai, that was decades ago.”

“What? If that’s the case, why the fuck are we in the horse costume now? You better not tell me we were buried in this piece of shit.”

“No, no, nothing like that! We uhhh, were fooling around, and I… uhhh… I...” Atsushi stopped speaking after that.

“Well, say it.”

“I slipped on the stairs.”

“Oh.”

“I’m sorry! I was hoping you wouldn’t get killed too, since it took awhile for you to get here, but...”

“Then it’s a good thing I don’t remember anything. If it took awhile to get here, my death must’ve sucked.”

“I’m sorry,” Atsushi repeated.

“No, it’s fine! Too late to do anything about it now, anyway.” Atsushi’s retelling of events didn’t explain the horse costume, but Imai honestly didn’t want to know what that was about. “So, what’s going on outside of this costume?”

“Uhhh, I see a line. At the gates.”

“Of Heaven?”

“Yeah. Some guy is letting people in… St. Peter, I think.”

“Oh, fuck, the Christians were right. I hope we can get in.”

“Do you think we even have a chance?”

“Listen, I doubt Satan would let us take this costume off, so we have to try.”

The two of them walked to where people were lining up. “Everyone’s staring at us,” Atsushi whispered.

“It’s fine. Let’s just get in and find someone to take this costume off.” Imai hadn’t even thought about the last few decades. “Wait. Do we know anyone who...?”

“Uhhh, yeah. Hide should be in there, hopefully.”

So Hide died before them. “If we get in and Hide didn’t, that would be some bullshit. I guess we can get him to take the costume off.”

“Yeah. Issay should be there too, and Sugizo.”

“Fuck, Sugizo died before us?”

“Yup.” Atsushi paused. “It’s so weird that you don’t remember anything. I guess the rest of us will have to fill you in, or take you to the Heaven doctor or something.”

“Does Heaven even have doctors?”

“Next,” Peter said.

“Oh, that’s us!” Atsushi exclaimed, and the two started walking.

“Atsushi Sakurai and Imai Hisashi?” the gatekeeper asked. The two nodded. “Okay… you’re both in.”

“Holy shit, really?” Atsushi replied.

“Don’t curse in front of the saint, Atsushi,” Imai whispered.

“Nah, we curse all the time. It’s cool. Anyways, you’re both really in. The Lord doesn’t care about your kinks, hehe.”

Imai didn’t know what Peter meant by that, but he was just happy to get inside, find Hide, and get out of the costume. “Sorry about showing up like this, by the way. We’re going to change as soon as we--.”

“Afraid not,” Peter interrupted, though he sounded nervous. He chuckled, and then his voice lowered. “Sorry, but…” Imai didn’t catch the rest of the sentence.

“We have to wear what we died in for eternity?” Atsushi asked.

Peter said something else after that, but Imai didn’t catch it. “What did he say?”

“He said yes,” Atsushi said. “Oh, Imai, I’m so sorry!”

Imai comforted Atsushi as best as he could in his position, while continuing to bargain with the saint. “Fuck. Peter, are you sure there’s no other way?”

“You can go to God court, but the wait list is pretty long. It might take a while, sorry.” Suddenly Heaven didn’t really seem like heaven anymore.

 

Once the two were settled inside the gates, they tried to figure out what they would do next. Atsushi wanted to find their friends and family, but Imai was honestly scared to see them like this. But he knew he had to get over it at some point. He would be spending a long, long time in this costume, after all.

When they finally found Hide, things seemed familiar. “Oh my God,” Hide said. “This is. The greatest thing that could have happened.”

“Shut up,” Imai replied.

“We haven’t seen each other in years, and that’s how you greet me?”

“You only got here a few months ago,” Atsushi replied.

“Damn, if a few months feels like years in this place, good luck to you Imai.”

“Thanks, I really fucking appreciate it.”

“Imai, I’m so sorry,” Atsushi repeated. He sounded like he was crying.

“Oof,” Hide said. “I’m gonna go find Issay for you guys.”

Once Hide left, Imai tried to comfort Atsushi. “Now how many times have you apologized since we got here?”

“I mean it! If I didn’t slip on the stairs…”

“It’s fine. This situation sucks for you too. Once the man upstairs--.”

“Isn’t he the man on our floor now?” Atsushi interrupted.

“Regardless, once he hears our case, I’m sure he’ll make an exception. But even if he doesn’t, we’ll just have to make it work.”

“Imai?” a familiar voice said.

“Issay!” Atsushi exclaimed. “I missed you so much!”

This whole situation was so weird to Imai. His last memory was with all of them at Aki’s party, so he felt like he had just seen them. “Oh, Hide just went looking for you. Did you see him?”

“No, I didn’t. I’ll use my iPhone 25 to let him know.” Imai suddenly wanted out as soon as possible; he needed to see how many cameras the iPhone 25 had. “Anyways, can I ride you guys again?”

“What do you mean, ‘again’?”

“Issay, I think it would be best if we wait and see if Imai’s memory comes back first,” Atsushi explained.

 

After getting settled in, Atsushi and Imai went to Heaven Court. Peter wasn’t lying, though; the waitlist was so long. Despite being Paradise, there must have been a lot of problems. Still, Imai’s experience was the opposite of Hide’s; time seemed to be moving way faster than normal. That seemed odd to him, but he reasoned it was like vacations in life. They always went by faster.

 

A few months after Imai and Atsushi arrived, Toll showed up as well, and he asked the question Imai had been too afraid to ask for all this time.

“Why were you two in the horse costume when you died in the first place?”

Oh no. “Uhhh,” Atsushi replied.

“Wait, Toll has a point,” Hide added. “I can’t believe I didn’t think to ask that. But Toll, shouldn’t you know?”

“The news didn’t mention a horse costume. But it does bring to mind something Yuta said. He was the one who found you guys, and at the funeral he said something like, ‘They died doing what they loved.’”

“Was it some sort of kinky sex thing?” Hide asked.

Imai hoped not.

 

After a few decades, Imai and Atsushi’s case was finally about to make it to Heaven Court. Apparently it took that long because it was “low priority”--appeals from people in Hell got a lot more attention than a dumb case about a horse costume.

A few weeks before the big day, Yutaka finally arrived. “I’m happy you had a long life,” Imai said, “but what the fuck took you so long?”

“Oh, it’s because you can’t see anything back there,” Atsushi explained. “He’s like, half-cyborg right now.”

“Oh shit. I really want to see, that sounds cool.”

“Yeah!” Yutaka exclaimed. “Human lifespans are so much longer now. They have catperson surgery now, too.”

“What?” Atsushi said. “C-catperson? Do… do you think I could put a case in Heaven Court asking to be resurrected so I can become a catboy?”

“It’s worth a shot,” Hide replied. “Have you guys seen the Heaven Court channel on Heaven Cable? There are some wild cases on there.”

“I can’t wait for us to be on that channel,” Imai said sarcastically. “I can’t believe the case is finally getting to God Court. I can’t believe we’ve managed to stay in here for so long, but at the same time I’m scared he won’t make an exception.”

For the first time in a while, Atsushi got emotional over the horse costume. “Imai, if I had to be trapped in a horse costume for anywhere from a couple decades to an eternity with anybody, I’m glad it was you.”

 

The big day finally arrived. Sugizo agreed to represent their case, so the three of them entered the courtroom together. This courtroom seemed a bit different from Earth court, because there were two seats behind the judge’s chair: one for the Father and one for the Son.

"Though, even when the Father was ready to start the trial, the seat to his right remained empty. “Has anyone seen my son?” God asked.

“Sugizo-sama!” a voice exclaimed.

“Who is that?” Imai whispered.

“It’s Jesus,” Atsushi answered.

“Oh my God.”

“Hey, Jesus!” Sugizo said. “It’s an honor to finally meet you.”

“No, you! I… I’ve been a big fan of yours for a long time. C-can you sign my albums?”

“What am I, chopped liver?” Yoshiki asked from the jury. “After all the times I’ve taken a picture with you, Jesus…”

“Sorry, should I meet with you another time?” Jesus asked Sugizo. He sounded nervous, not at all what Imai expected.

“Ignore Yoshiki,” Sugizo replied. “I’d be happy to sign your albums."

"Thank you so much! Uhhh, can you sign this one for my friend Siddhartha Gautama too? He's also a huge fan."

"I'd love to!" Sugizo paused for a moment to sign the albums. "Jesus, would you like to get coffee sometime?”

“I’d love to! That sounds amazing! Thanks so much.”

“Anytime. I wrote my number on one of them, so just put it into your iPhone 41 and let me know when you're free."

“Dad, I met my honmei!” Jesus whispered.

“I’m happy for you, Son. Can we start the trial now?”

“Okay! So, what are you guys here for?”

Atsushi explained the situation to the judges, getting unnecessarily emotional at certain parts. However, they both seemed confused. “What are you talking about?” God the Father asked.

“The rule,” Atsushi said. “That we have to wear the clothes we died in for eternity. You know?”

“Is that a rule?” he whispered to Jesus.

Silence fell upon the courtroom. “Atsushi, what’s going on?” Imai whispered.

“They’re looking through all the rules,” Atsushi explained.

“I think I know what happened,” Jesus finally said after a while. “Peter, did you pull a prank on these poor souls?”

“Guilty!” Peter replied. “I really didn’t expect it to go on this long, though. I tweeted about it, and everyone seemed to agree it was funny. They can’t use phones, so they didn’t know. I guess you’re too out of touch with technology to have seen my tweet, you old man.”

“Who are you calling an old man?” Jesus replied teasingly. “I died first, don’t you remember?”

"So that’s why no one’s changed clothes in all these decades,” the Father said. “I guess that settles that.”

“So we could have changed the whole time?” Imai asked.

“Well, it would have been difficult because I asked Gabriel to use his angel powers to remove the inside zipper, and everyone else was in on it,” Peter explained, “but yeah, basically.”

“Wait. Our horse costume didn’t have an inside zipper.”

“Our original horse costume didn’t,” Atsushi corrected.

"What?”

“We bought another one at some point because we needed one we could get out of without another person.”

“Why did we need t--?”

“Unzipping time!” Sugizo interrupted, and freed the two of them.

As Atsushi got out of the costume, Imai’s vision started to fade. Before everything faded away, he heard one last comment from Hide.

“I knew it was a kinky sex thing!”

 

~

 

“Imai!” Atsushi exclaimed. “Wake up already!”

The guitarist opened his eyes. He was in his bedroom, and things finally started making sense. It was all a dream. “Oh, thank God I can see your face and not your ass.”

Before Atsushi had a chance to respond, Imai started kissing him. “Good morning to you too?” the vocalist asked when their lips parted.

“Listen to me: if you ever put on a horse costume again, stay away from stairs. Okay?”

“I think that’s common sense.”

“It wasn’t common sense to dream you!”

“Aww, did I die in your dream? Oh baby, that must’ve been scary.”

“It was a bit more complicated than that, but it was scary. Let me explain.”

Imai told Atsushi about the dream, and things seemed to make more sense as he told it. Why he didn’t remember anything after the Halloween party, why he didn’t know why they died in a horse costume, why it took supposedly decades for their case to reach Heaven Court but it didn’t actually feel that long. Regardless, Imai was glad it was all a dream, and he didn’t actually spend decades in a horse costume.

“So, do you want to try it?” Atsushi asked when Imai finished his explanation.

“Try what?” Atsushi grinned at him. “Oh, uh, maybe another time. I can’t even imagine putting that thing back on after last night and that dream.”

“Fair enough.”