She is falling.
No, Deku was falling. He destroyed the zero point threatening to roll her over but she can't move. She's trapped. She can't help him too. Falling. Stuck. Landing. Trapped. He’s not breathing.
He’s breathing. Rolled away on a stretcher. He went too far again trying to protect everyone. Aizawa and Thirteen and All Might too. Anxiety crashes into her like a flood. He’s too quiet.
He’s screaming. Curled up on the ground in pain. He refuses to let go of Eri. Let go. Just let go. She's safe. Save yourself now! Let go!
She's too late getting back. He’s dying, neck disintegrated clean through his windpipe. Shigaraki is nowhere to be seen. A scream cuts through the air.
Ochako startles awake sitting, throat raw, and ears ringing. She fights off her blankets and dashes into her bathroom so she doesn't hurl in her bed.
Shakily, she removes her gloves and splashes her face. Her reflection looks haggard. Bags under her eyes, pale, hair absolutely out of control. It was just a dream. She forces a smile onto her face, just like Deku.
She takes her time cleaning up a bit while she thinks. They were still in their first year and already had much more experience than class 1b. And Deku specifically was targeted by the Villain Alliance. They had been allowed to take on internships. These very dorms had been deemed necessary because the teachers didn't think they were safe.
Her parents had called the other day, asking after her. They asked if UA offered therapy for students struggling with nightmares and trauma. And she didn’t know. None of the teachers had suggested it yet. Ochako had been meaning to ask Aizawa since then, but kept forgetting.
Hair done, taste of vomit out of her mouth, she thinks she looks a lot better. She still looked tired, but it’s the middle of the night, so that was a given. Despite her efforts though, she’s still full of nerves. There’s no going to sleep for a while for sure.
So she heads down to the kitchens. Yes, her room has a mini-fridge. But it doesn't have a stash of fresh cookies Sero made that evening. And right now something sweet sounds really good.
As she waits for the elevator, her thoughts inevitably turn to Deku. She was worried about him. It wasn't fair that he was targeted. And no one seemed to know why, though Deku hardly seems surprised.
Even months later she’s still mad at herself for leaving him alone in the mall. Granted, that was the first time he had been singled out, but she still shouldn't have left him just because she couldn't control her feelings.
She worries about him frequently, and looks up to him as a goal to achieve. And she's turned both of those into a motivation to do better, to be better. So she can stand by his side and protect him, because Ochako learned very quickly that Deku is still learning to protect himself.
She is so wrapped up in her thoughts she completely ignores anyone in the sitting area. So when she comes out and sees Deku curled up she's surprised. The only light is his phone, and something about it makes him look smaller than she's ever seen him.
“Deku,” He jumps at her voice, seeming to snap back into reality “What’s up?” When she sits near him on the couch, his eyes track her movements.
“Er, Hero forums? I used to be on them a lot more, so I thought I’d catch up.”