It starts with a limit. An upper boundary, an end. And then from there it's mostly empty space, occasionally littered with questions and painted with a blank stare. She presses her fingertips together pensively, as if touching each of the quirk-laden pads to one another will jump-start a new thought process. Nothing much comes to mind, just the repetitive strokes of her given name, her home address, her cell phone number. Around her, the hospital is dim. The night shift nurses bustle about, unaware that she is awake. She's not quite sure why she’s awake.
“Uraraka Ochako,” she whispers, “Twenty-four. Born on December 27th. Pro hero, Uravity. Graduate of Yuuei High School.”
Like a mantra, it begins. Ochako repeats it all day until her name is numb on her lips and she can’t figure out why she even began.
Today she’d had three visitors instead of the usual two. Midoriya had come around noon, right after her parents left to buy her takeout in place of bland hospital soup. He’s big now, to say the least, filled into a broad frame and a decent height. The baby fat on his cheeks has slimmed to handsome angles, his hair is as unruly as ever, and he still can’t properly tie a tie. Ochako is convinced that he owns thirty pairs of the same red shoes because he continues wearing them, even now.
Although he’s busy, Midoriya spends a whole hour in her room with his hands folded in his lap, looking patient and serene like there’s not a single soul in the world to be saved.
Except for me, Ochako thinks, sullen. And he couldn’t save me if he tried.
“How are you doing?” Midoriya asks. He’s cordial but uncomfortably polite, silently probing for answers she doesn’t have.
“Fine, I guess. I only know what they tell me. The doctors and my parents, I mean.” Ochako picks up tidbits like breadcrumbs, piecing together the date, the time, her age, and occupation. She requests the newspaper daily, browsing for significant news and spotting her old classmates — “Froppy’s Big Coast Guard Assist Saves Fifty Lives!” and “Red Riot Cracks Down on Yokohama Weapons Trade!” — while keeping the TV on in the background, keen to hear familiar names.
“Has he visited?” Midoriya asks, fingers weaving together. His brow furrows slightly, sweat accumulating on his temple despite the chill of the hospital room.
It’s her turn to frown.
“Why would he visit?”
Midoriya’s face briefly twists into something akin to pain, as if someone had pinched him hard. He shakes his head, courtesy trumping honesty, and summons his trademark All Might smile. She offers him a fake laugh and a typical upbeat jab at how he’s muttering nonsense again, but the bitterness eats at her. It’s not hard to tell what he’s thinking, and Ochako mulls over for hours it after he’s gone. She’s well aware that he doesn’t want to ask — no one does — or maybe he just doesn’t want to find out how much she remembers.
Or, rather, how much she has forgotten.