A/N: I was really disappointed at the end of 1Q84. I expected to learn more about the Little People, the two moons, and the maza and dohta, but no... there's a magical pregnancy and Aomame and Tengo disappear back into the real world. Happy endings for all, except the characters back in 1Q84. What happened to them, anyway? I really enjoyed learning about the Little People and the maza and dohta. It just left so much open at the end; normally I'm cool with leaving things a little open, but this was too much. Anyway, I just wanted to continue the story a little longer.
Aomame and Tengo had lived in Nagoya in the Chubu region in 1984, now 1985. Aomame had a large, round belly. She and Tengo placed their hands over it, feeling for movement within. Within a few weeks, Aomame would be giving birth. That is, unless it came early.
Aomame frowned, her face becoming distorted. She knew it was okay to make this face around Tengo.
'What's wrong?' Tengo asked. 'Do you feel pain?'
'No, not physical pain,' Aomame corrected. She sighed, and stared outside the window in their apartment. 'I just wish I could tell Tamaru and the Dowager about this. They meant a lot to me, I wish I could share this happiness with them.'
'Yes, I understand.' Tengo said. This was a lie. He didn't really know, not like Aomame did. 'I think it's for the best that we stay out of contact with them. It's only been a few months, we don't know if we can trust anybody yet. We don't know if there's some sort of Sakigake in this world, and we don't know if there are some embodiment of The Little People who are looking for us... and the little one.'
Aomame nodded. She knew this was true. All they could do right now was stay in their apartment as much as possible, keeping a low profile. Janacek's Sinfonietta played in the back of Aomame's mind. It soothed her, but only slightly. She felt the warmth in her belly grow. She hoped the little one would come into the world soon, and safely.
The Little People back in 1Q84 had been regaining power since Tengo had left. The promise of his next novel was not available to cause harm, and the hype from Air Chrysalis had died down. Their entry into 1Q84 was still limited, but not so limited that they couldn't appear. This was marked by their exit from Ushikawa's mouth. Ushikawa was quickly disposed of, but they had managed to create the dohta before that had happened. The dohta was of Ushikawa as a young boy. He formed in the conference room. His large malformed head was particularly ugly even as a young child, and he wiped his nose with the back of a sleeve.
Weeks passed, and they approached Ushikawa in the conference room once more, when he was alone. They had left the mouth of a dead fly against the wall. It was an eerie sight. They started out so small, but then increased their size three fold.
'Will you help us make an air chrysalis?' they asked him. The young Ushikawa looked at the six Little People.
'Okay,' he said. His voice was monotonous, but that was the beauty of the dohta. They were simple and straightforward, and easily manipulated by The Little People.
'Do you remember Aomame?' the Little People asked. The young Ushikawa thought for a moment. The dohta had all the memories of the now dead Ushikawa.
'Yes,' Ushikawa said.
'Will you help us make her child?'
Ushikawa nodded, and helped the Little People as they pulled fine threads out of the air and made the cocoon. The Little People knew nobody could leave 1Q84, now 1Q85, unscathed. Even if somebody left, there were still memories of them. Mere memories could help them bring something into being.
'Ho ho,' the Little People said.
Aomame's eyes widened. She hunched over, an extreme pain radiating from her uterus. Was this what it was like to be in labour? Tengo grabbed her hand and tried to look into their eyes, but they were shut tight.
'Is the little one coming?'
Aomame gasped, beads of sweat appearing on her forehead.
'I don't know. I didn't think it would be this painful. It doesn't seem right.'
She got to her feet and ran to the bathroom as fast as she could, hunched over and clutching her belly, worried it was going to fall out like bricks in a plastic bag. She jumped into the bathtub and pulled her slack pants off, followed by her underwear. She could feel liquid coming through, but she couldn't see anything yet. She felt frightened, and scared. She couldn't go to the hospital... What if somebody from Sakigake was there, looking for the little one?
Tengo and Aomame had talked about a home birth and had hired a private nurse. They didn't expect her to be in labour so soon, however. This might be a problem if the nurse was busy. Tengo was soon on the phone to her in the living room, in some kind of panic.
Suddenly, Aomame screamed. A blood-curdling scream. It echoed in the bathroom and to the very depths of Aomame's soul; it penetrated the ears of the little one. Blood was coming out of her body in large torrents. Miscarriages couldn't happen this late in pregnancy, could they? She gasped and panted. The scream was undignified of her, but the pain was so strong and sudden, she couldn't do anything about it. She clenched her teeth, and tried to focus on her breathing. What had gone wrong?
Suddenly, she remembered the impression she had gotten back in 1Q84. What if she had an air chrysalis inside her belly? She could almost hear the The Little People, as if they were right next to her.
'Ho,' They said.
The air chrysalis was coming along nicely. Ushikawa was very capable, even for a young boy with the memories of a dead man. The room was becoming dark. Ushikawa couldn't help but wonder.
What had caused 1Q84 to open up and allow Aomame and Tengo in? Could their feelings for each other had been so strong that it caused some sort of dimensional rift to open? That in itself didn't make sense. But, to be honest, the Little People didn't even know. Ushikawa knew this much. They were messengers and carriers of a larger substance even they didn't understand. Like the stars in the night sky, they were distant and mysterious, yet very beautiful. Perhaps God had come down with a cold one evening, and sneezed all over the universe?
What a childish thought, Ushikawa decided.
'Ho,' said one of the Little People, pulling a thread from thin-air.
'Ho ho,' said another, doing the same.
'Ho?' Ushikawa said, stopping for a moment.
The Little People ignored him. The air chrysalis was almost done, and the beginnings of life were peeking through tiny cracks. The Little People stopped and turned to the young, large headed Ushikawa.
'Open it,' they said.
'Why can't you open it?' Ushikawa asked. But he realised how stupid the question was as soon as he said it. The Little People may have had physical substance but they weren't real,in the common sense of the word. He was having a hard time putting it into words.
Nonetheless, he pulled at the chrysalis, teasing it open, looking deep inside.
'It's dead,' Aomame said suddenly, filled with fear and apprehension. Her eyes widened, as if she couldn't quite believe what she was seeing. 'It's gone.'
The nurse had helped Aomame extract the baby from her uterus, except it didn't scream or wail or kick its legs. It was a lifeless core of a human boy. Or was it something other than human? It was covered in red blood and its skin was blue. The placenta sloshed into the bathtub under the being. It looked ugly, but it had nourished the little one...
Aomame sobbed loudly, pushing the bloody mound away from her. The nurse frowned, and genuinely looked sorry. She turned to Tengo and shook her head, and then left, perhaps to dispose of the creature in a biological hazard container. Aomame cried loudly, not caring who heard. The bathtub was splattered with blood. She had put so much hope on the little one. Tengo put his hand on Aomame's naked and sweat-laden shoulder.
Inside the air chrysalis was a human... a thing. A dohta. The thing had cauliflower ears like Tengo, Aomame's stern face, and its long black hair and empty eyes were reminiscent of Fuka Eri. The boy stepped out of the chrysalis. His hair flowed down his back like a mane. His eyes peered at Ushikawa, as if wondering why he was there.
'Leader...' Ushikawa mumbled, recognising the boy immediately. He sank to his knees and kissed the boy's hand. The boy didn't grin.
'Ushikawa,' Leader said, drawing his hand away. 'In this life, I will live with no pain. And Sakigake will continue to be an influential body. I would like you to help our organisation, from a higher position. You have done well.'
Leader turned to the Little People to say hello, but they had vanished into thin air with the remains of the chrysalis.
'Ho ho,' said the air.
'Remember, Aomame, your pregnancy was abnormal from the beginning,' Tengo said, wrapping his arms around the woman. He remembered it clearly; on the night Aomame had killed Leader in the hotel, Fuka Eri had sex with Tengo and had absorbed every last drop of his sperm. Aomame had miraculously gotten pregnant, but they had always had a suspicion that Leader had caused this to happen.
'I know,' Aomame said, frowning. She knew the story. She knew they had their uncertainties.
'We can always have another one. One which would only have existed in this world.' Tengo continued. The sight of the gory mass had disturbed him, but even more disturbing was the feeling that it had been taken from this world into another. Aomame had told him once that her belly felt like an air chrysalis inside. Perhaps Leaders needed a longer incubation time; for that, did they need a human vessel? If that's what was inside her. Why Sakigake wanted her child didn't make sense, otherwise.
'At least 1Q84 can have their Leader back,' Aomame said, as if reading Tengo's mind. Maybe it was just that they thought alike. Even though it was 1985, they still felt inclined to call it 1Q84.
'I have a feeling,' Tengo said. 'That the Little People won't be bothering us anymore. Our feelings are too strong, they can't come near us, especially with all our knowledge. Any link they could make to us from that world would be weak and die.'
Aomame wasn't so sure.
'But what about this world? What if there's a Sakigake here?'
'I don't know,' Tengo said truthfully. 'But... I think it's best we get back to work; me at the cram school and you at the gym. If my suspicions are correct, Sakigake can't want anything else to do with you; they only wanted the little one. Maybe now, we can lead a normal life.'
Aomame smiled, but her eyes did not. She went to the kitchen and had a bite to eat. She offered Tengo some coffee, and he accepted. Then, Aomame pulled out a bottle of wine.
'Before we make our new little one,' she said, popping the cork out of the bottle. 'How would you like to enjoy some wine with me?'
Tengo nodded. He was not sure if Aomame wanted to do that just because she wasn't pregnant, or to wash away the sorrow of losing her little one. He decided it didn't matter. 1Q84 had their Leader back, and Aomame and Tengo were together. Whatever Leader was like in 1Q84, he didn't care. It wasn't his or Aomame's child after all. They just had to keep moving forward, and forget about this little incident. Of course, that would be impossible, but as long as they could focus on the future in 1985, and not 1Q84, everything would be okay.
He knew, deep in his heart, that this was true.