Izuku manages to consistently use One for All at 100%, without breaking himself, half way through his second year. He graduates with that power tightly regulated, completely under his control; his quirk is his, completely.
And then he enters the hero scene.
Despite the many years of the world watching him take on some of the worst villains in history - the League of Villains hadn't cared that him and his classmates had yet to graduate, after all - the hero world is still not quite prepared for him.
Not even slightly.
He is a lightning storm contained just barely inside a human body. Beautiful. Impossible. Terrifying.
The world watches. The ground quakes.
The graduated class 3A have a word for it when Izuku - Deku - goes 100%. It's a physical sensation, they learned early; a pressure in the air and on their lungs and down to their bones and blood. Everyone within his vicinity can feel it.
They call it going green.
They've matured alongside that power, they're accustomed to the hair raising intensity of it. How when Izuku goes green it means that they need to be careful. That whoever they're fighting is a true and utter threat for him to need to go to that level of power.
For them, it's almost reassuring. It tells them there's a threat there, for sure. But it also tells them that Deku is there, and over the years that becomes one of the most reassuring things of all. Because when Deku goes green, he does not stay green for long. Not much can hold up against that sort of power, it's an all encompassing, overwhelming and pure power.
So when class A feels their hair rising on end, smells fresh ozone like lightning has been struck into their midst, they know the fight is almost over.
Heroing Japan, hell, Japan in general, has not had these experiences. They've seen Deku’s fights, yes. Normally through a camera. Normally he's not fighting all out. Most of his recorded fights exist either as shaky mobile footage taken from far away or as videos which cut out before the fight truly gets going, when the filmmaker has to evacuate.
So Izuku goes out, a smile so bright on his face and bouncing with the energy of finally being able to become the true hero he's always wanted to be.
He wants to be the symbol of peace. He basically already is. He’s graduated at the number 27 spot on the charts, purely due to all the good he had done even before then.
He joins teams. He gets on with them well, works with them well too. He has a lot to prove to heroes older and technically more experienced than him; eventually though, they love him, his work ethic, and the way that once he gets to the scene, everyone knows that things are going to be okay.
They say he’s the next coming of All Might.
All Might had refuted that on national TV, in a live interview that pretty much everyone has seen. It was after the final defeat of the League of Villains, once Shigaraki had been taken down once and for all. A fight whispered about but that only the heroes who had been on the case bore witness to. No video footage of it existed, and speculation was rife.
Only one thing was known: Deku had been the one to do it.
The interviewer had said that he was like the new All Might, and Yagi Toshinori had turned to her, his skeletal face hauntingly cheerful, and said-
“I think he and his generation will surpass me to an extent even I can’t imagine, far quicker than anyone will expect.”
Since then, Japan has had its eyes on class A, and on Deku in particular.
His analytical mind allows him to crack cases easily. His compassion brings hope to everyone he encounters on his assignments. He and some of his class form their own agency straight out of UA and start performing on the level of the top heroes straight out of the gate. They are well regarded as the prime heroes of their generation.
The trouble only comes about four months after he graduates. After all, as they learned during high school, Izuku is nothing if not a villain magnet.
There had been a mass break out from Tartarus. Deku and his team, along with a good proportion of the heroes in Japan had gone to assist with re-catching the escaped convicts.
And there, in a fight against the villain Jupiter, Deku goes green for the first time since UA.
One third of the people at the scene collapse to their knees.
It takes Deku two minutes to defeat Jupiter. Two minutes and ten seconds in total to get quirk suppressing handcuffs on her and then tightly leash his power once more.
For the people on the floor, it takes a lifetime.
Hero Triskelion stared at Jupiter with fear in her eyes. Jupiter, a massively powerful villain that had been apprehended by All Might nearly eight years ago.
Even back then, even with All Might, the damage taken to the area was massive.
Like the god she named herself after, she could command lightning and storms. And akin to the planet she shared a name with, she had giant red spots on her hands with which she controlled the super storms she created.
Triskelion and the others around her did not have the strength of All Might. This part of the battlefield was mostly made up of lower powered heroes, and was intended to be where the weaker villains would be corralled by the main hero force.
In other words, they did not have the manpower to stop Jupiter.
The closest battle-field with someone even approaching Jupiter’s power level was almost 5 kilometers away, where Miruko and Endeavour were holding up the main wave of villains.
Lost Rider, another hero in her agency, and the lead hero for this part of the beach close to the off-shore prison, still made the call.
Hand to his ear, his voice stuttered as he reported. “HQ, this is Lost Rider. Zone 6 sees Jupiter, coming in hot. I repeat - Zone 6 sees Jupiter. Orders to proceed?”
Her earpiece crackled with static, as did everyone else's as the reply came through the main frequency. “This is HQ, Zone 6 is to brace for Jupiter, a level S plus villain, we cannot afford for her to join with the main force. Is there anyone available who can back-up Zone 6?”
“This is Zone 1. Negative.” Miruko’s voice was strained.
“Zone 4. Negative, sorry.” Hawks didn’t sound any better.
With every report back, Triskelion could feel her and the heroes around her lose hope.
Helpless, they could only watch as Jupiter descended from the skies like an avenging god, carried across the water to the beach where they were waiting by the fierce winds of her storms. All three of Triskelion's legs trembled. She remembered watching the fight where the villain in front of her had been taken down.
She remembered the carnage.
As a newly graduated hero, that had terrified her. That she might one day be expected to face a force like that. Of course, she had never imagined that it would be Jupiter herself she’d be facing.
She never imagined they’d have to do it in a world without All Might.
“This is Deku from Zone 2.” The feed cut out, static in their ears before it cut back to the sound of light panting. “I can assist.”
“How many heroes can Zone 2 spare, Deku?” HQ questioned.
Deku’s mic clicked back on, but all that came through was the sound of someone further away from the mic shouting. “-he fuck out of here, Deku, I’ve got this covered!”
“Deku here, just me.”
“Headquarters says you need at least one more person, Deku.”
A sigh from Deku, then a heavy thud and the sound of chains - handcuffs. He’d forgotten to turn the mic off, or maybe he’d been distracted, judging by the sound of what must be a villain swearing filtering through the mic.
Triskelion had worked with Deku before - or more accurately, been on the same case as the hero world's new golden boy. He’d been a very proficient lead hero on the assignments he’d shared with her since then, so she had agreed with the general consensus that he’d likely be a very good hero in the future.
But he had only graduated about four months ago, with this being the first major incident to occur since then, and she felt her heart sinking.
She’d heard tales too amazing to be true about villains he’d taken down while still a student, but it didn’t stop his hero ranking from shooting straight up from number 27 to number 15 at the hero ranking awards held two months after he’d graduated. But ranking and rumours didn't mean he would be able to change the outcome of their fight against a S+ ranked villain.
She remembered how he’d cried when his ranking had been announced; the newly number 20 hero, Ground Zero, cackling behind him.
She exchanged looks with Lone Ranger, despair on both of their faces. They were getting sent rookies as back-up against fucking Jupiter .
Deku’s voice came back, noticeably irritated. “Acknowledged, HQ. Zone 2, who wants to join me?”
He neglected to switch over to his areas assigned frequency, so they all heard his question, an amateur mistake that made the sinking in her stomach just a little bit worse. They also all heard what answered him.
A snort came over the line, followed by a young, female voice. “Uravity reporting, negative… They really think you need back-up, Deku?”
“Shouto - negative. It does seem inefficient…”
“Just go and get off the fucking comms, Deku, I already said I’ll take the lead here for you - Ground Zero, negative.” Came a new, rough voice.
“Your concern is appreciated, Kacchan.”
“Brats, stop squabbling on the main frequency.” Holy shit that was Eraserhead, Triskelion used to fear his classes when she was in UA.
She wondered why he was interjecting here, he normally washed his hands of his students once they’d graduated.
“Problem Child," there was a mind boggling hint of fondness in his tone, "follow orders for once in your life and take someone with you, Jupiter is no joke.”
She’d shit herself if Aizawa had ever used that voice on her but the kids on the line barely seem phased. “Sorry, Sensei.”
“Creati reporting. I’m free to accompany Deku. HQ, how long until Jupiter hits?
Triskelion honestly wondered if any of these new heroes understood the magnitude of what they were facing. Lost Rider was obviously thinking the same thing, judging by the look on his face. Still, he dutifully replied, “Less than 30 seconds.”
“On our way,” Deku said.
“Zone 6,” Creati sounded like she was in an air tunnel, “I would recommend that you clear the area.”
“We have evacuated already,” Triskelion said, rightfully pissed that this newbie was telling them what to do.
“No, I mean-” Creati was saying before, with a flash of green lightning, Deku was in front of them, Creati in his arms. He gently set her down to her feet, before, with another flash, he was at the waterfront, facing the incoming Jupiter.
Triskelion didn’t know he was so fast. Zone 2 was close to Zone 1, so to get to their zone, he had just carried someone around 5 kilometres in less than 15 seconds.
“I meant - you might want to get out of the way,” she finished.
Triskelion was confused, but there wasn't any time to ask what Creati meant, or to implement whatever it was, because - oh shit Jupiter - Jupiter had started to land on the beach while they were distracted and they haven't made a plan, they have no strategy oh fuck ohfuckfuck-
Suddenly, a crackle appears in the atmosphere. The fine hairs of her arms, her spine, her neck - stands on edge as a shiver goes down her spine.
She looks around desperately to try and locate whatever is telling every single one of her instincts to run.
All she sees is Deku, shining like a fire bright sun against the darkening skies of Jupiter's brewing power. Flares of lightning scatter off him erratically, ribboning out into the air around him like seeking vines.
The feeling persists.
It feels like when she breathes, vapour should emerge from her mouth. Like the bracing chill of cold air is in her lungs, but it’s so cold it's heavy. Sitting there. Freezing her from the inside out.
She can hear a low subsonic buzz, like static, or bees, getting louder and louder, until it's almost tangible. A vibration in her ears and across her skin. She can feel it clacking in her mouth, the feeling of biting into cold ice cream with sensitive teeth.
All the while, Deku shines brighter, and brighter. Until she can’t look away. Couldn’t move her eyes away if she tried.
She doesn’t even register when he launches himself at Jupiter.
He’s lightening masquerading as a human figure, features indistinguishable from the sheer light emitted from his form, a crackling optical illusion that hurts to look at. She sees him only in burning sunspot afterimages, left far behind in the next second of his movement. He is lightning in its basest form, a phenomenon, a god.
He’s so bright, but his smile is real and reassuring, the only spot of warmth.
Danger, her instincts insist. Her mouth tastes of iron.
But she knows that's not right. That his power is on their side, and she’s so relieved she could cry with it. Deku is there to help them, Deku will help them. He always does, he makes sure to save everyone. It had gotten him into trouble in cases before, when he went against orders to make sure that everyone got out okay, no matter what.
Deku is a hero - is on their side.
She still feels pressure like she’s being crushed.
It’s only when her knees hit the ground that she realises she’s shaking. Legs trembling too much to hold her up. Sand rough against her knees and palms where she’s holding herself up.
It’s not fear, exactly, that she feels. Just -
It’s not exactly not fear, either.
She can move, she could get up even. She just doesn't want to. Like if she moves, she’s going to attract the attention of that great, overwhelming power. And though she knows that wouldn’t be a bad thing, exactly, she doesn’t want to risk it, nonetheless.
Time passes her by strangely in that state, it moves like molasses yet it could’ve also been seconds for all she knows before she realises she’s being ridiculous and forces herself up to her feet.
A good third of the heroes around her, who had also been affected by that power, she realises, start doing the same. As if realising if one of them can do it, the rest can too.
The rest of the heroes present are busy fighting the lower powered villains that Jupiter had brought with her across the water, or cuffing the ones that had collapsed like the heroes. They seem to be having a relatively easy time of it, as attentions are split to where Deku streaks across the air like a star fallen to earth.
All the while, Creati stands there, watching the horizon where Deku has managed to subdue Jupiter and is holding her down while he fixes suppressor hand-cuffs on her.
She looks serene. She could pass as someone who had just wondered down to the beach for a walk if it wasn’t for her hero costume.
She’s also reabsorbing what look like massive cannons, still smoking where she must have been using them to assist Deku against Jupiter. Triskelion hadn’t even seen her make them, hadn’t heard her use them.
It occurs to her that she missed nearly the entire battle. Hadn’t even seen it after it started, she had been so locked in her head.
She looks at Deku, at the power that seems less crushing now she’s more used to it, now she’s convinced her brain that it’s not harmful. It’s still overwhelming, she can still feel it like a physical sensation. But it seems less like an alert predator, looking for prey now.
Or maybe she’s just rationalised that she’s not the prey.
Nonetheless, she looks at Deku, and wonders.
Deku triumphantly locks the handcuffs on Jupiter and releases his power, wiping the accumulated sweat off his brow.
There's a split second of silence, a feat unheard of on a battlefield, before Creati approaches him and nonchalantly helps him escort Jupiter to where the police are waiting with the iron maidens.
Neither one of them seem even slightly aware of the way everyone else is staring at them. At Deku.
Then Deku trips over a rock and falls on his face.
Creati collapses into choked, undignified laughter, she can barely manage to help up the green hero she's laughing so hard. Deku’s face is flushed, obviously mortified. A pout sits on his baby face; it makes him look his eighteen years of age. It makes him look non-threatening.
The laughter spreads over the battlefield. Quietly at first, mere giggles. And then the hysteria sets in and everyone is laughing.
Jupiter alone doesn't laugh. The fear doesn't leave her ashen face, it hadn't ever since Deku went green. She, the sole focus of that devastating power and focus.
She, the prey.
No one sees how the laughter melts off Creati's face. How she bumps her shoulder against Deku’s, just slightly, distracting those observant eyes from where they’re watching the heroes around them.
Deku gives her a quick, but real smile.
He reminds himself to send Midnight flowers for her classes on public image.