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Midoriya Izuku longed to become a hero. Despite the obvious disadvantage of being born without a Quirk, he still wanted to follow his dreams. But Kacchan — no. Bakugou Katsuki had stopped being his friend long ago. Maybe he'd never actually been who he thought he was. And the moment Bakugou 'suggested' that he should take a swan dive off the roof, Izuku made himself a promise.

I will be the reason that Bakugou dies. I will destroy him in every sense of the word. Nothing will be left when I am done with him. I will uphold this until my dying breath.

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The Emancipators, a My Hero Academia fanfic by Zykaben, chronicles the results of that vow. Make no mistake, Izuku has no intention of giving up his dreams of heroism — no intention of becoming anything that his rival wants him to be. And with All Might taking him under his wing as the next bearer of One For All, the path to the future he's long dreamed up seems to have opened up, brighter than ever. But the shadows run long and deep, and the road might not be so clear-cut... especially when Bakugou's right there alongside him, seemingly just as awful as ever. Can Izuku keep his promise without slipping too far down the slippery slope...?


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This Fan Fic contains examples of:

  • Achievements in Ignorance: During their match, Monoma is able to copy Izuku's Quirk despite the fact that doing so should be impossible, as One For All cannot be stolen or passed on involuntarily. Toshinori assumes that this happened because he hadn't thought to reassure Izuku about that; thus, Izuku went into the fight believing that it could happen, and the Quirk reacted accordingly. He's wrong.
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul:
    • Part of the premise: this is an Izuku who absolutely resents Bakugou for being such a bullying bastard and intends to make him pay for all his sins.
    • Downplayed with Izuku's initial assessment of Tenya being much harsher, as he pegs him as arrogant and responds to his lecture before the entrance exam with a Death Glare. The two of them still become friends, but with Tenya unaware of how Izuku is much more guarded towards him at first.
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  • Adorkable: Izuku sees both Iida and All-Might this way at times, commenting that their occasional dorkiness is part of their charm.
  • Affably Evil: Kurogiri, who not only sounds regretful for sending the students to their possible death, but is unfailingly polite when interacting with them as well.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Kurogiri is noticeably regretful when he starts teleporting the students around the USJ, commenting that he hopes any deaths are quick and painless.
  • Armor-Piercing Response:
    • When Katsuki confronts Izuku after he surpassed him in U.A.'s entrance exam, Izuku hits him with two in a row:
      Katsuki: What dirty tricks did you use to do it, you Quirkless twerp! I was supposed to be the first from our school, and the highest ranked student! You've taken my plan and torn it to shreds!
      Izuku: Good.
      Katsuki: The fuck did you just say to me?
      Izuku: Did your explosions suddenly make you go deaf? I said 'good'. I'm happy that I ruined your plans, you pathetic excuse for a Pomeranian.
    • After Ochako successfully tricks Katsuki during one of their exercises:
      Katsuki: You think you're worth anything? You think that I give a shit that you had one half-assed idea?
      Ochako: If a "half-assed idea" worked, then what does that say about you?
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: When Bakugou comments on how they're being assigned different locations so that kids from the same school can't help each other out:
    Izuku: No, it's so that Cthulhu's sacrifices are organized in such a way that he can easily consume us.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Izuku naturally sees Katsuki as this, reveling in every little nick and blow his ego takes.
    • Deconstructed with Monoma. Izuku's ability to dismiss him as such triggers a jarring realization when his plan for their match works perfectly.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Izuku has dedicated a lot of time to analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of various Quirks, including figuring out the best ways to neutralize them.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In-Universe, Tenya is confronted by Shinsou who gives his standard "You live up to my low expectations," speech about hero course students... but then Tenya congratulates him on his goal of getting into the Hero course and wishes him luck. He finishes by saying that even if Shinsou doesn't get in, Tenya is sure that Shinsou will do great there as well. Shinsou is clearly thrown off his game by this.
  • Beneath the Mask: On the surface, Midoriya Izuku appears an Adorkable Ascended Fanboy who's working hard to achieve his dreams. Technically, none of that is a lie, exactly... there's just a lot more going on inside his head. And some of those dreams he's pursuing involve making Katsuki's life a living hell before finally destroying him personally.
  • Birds of a Feather: Izuku confides in Shoto his burning hatred of Katsuki, and encourages Shoto to use his fire side to utterly surpass his father as revenge by completely overshadowing him. Shoto is much more receptive to the idea as it is coming from someone else who knows what it is like to truly hate someone else.
  • Body Horror: In addition to the incidents that leave Ochako and Tsuyu scarred, there's the match at the Sports Festival where Monoma swipes a copy of One For All, activates it, and nearly blows his arm clean off. The results are described as literal chunks missing from the limb, with Izuku marveling at how it's managed to stay attached.
  • Briar Patching: When facing Monoma, Izuku feigns concern for his opponent, warning him that his Quirk's too powerful and that he'll only hurt himself if he copies it. This leads to Monoma effectively exploding his own arm when he attempts to use it.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Izuku wasn't originally a dragon, but after receiving One For All, the main thing protecting Katsuki whenever he comes after him is his self-restraint.
  • Cassandra Truth: After learning about Endeavor, Izuku confides in Shouto just how much he despises Bakugou. After all, as he points out, nobody would believe Shouto if he told them about it.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Toshinori assumes that Monoma was only able to copy OFA because Izuku thought he could, unaware of his Quirk's built-in protection. Actually, Monoma succeeded because Izuku wanted him to take it.
  • First-Name Basis: Following the U.S.J. incident, Izuku, Tenya, Ochako and Tsuyu all upgrade to a first-name basis with each other.
  • First-Person Smartass: Izuku has shades of this, particularly when observing Bakugou's behavior.
  • For Want of a Nail:
    • During the entrance exam, Izuku goes kill-stealing, targeting robots that have already been weakened by other participants. This unintentionally leads to him earning a lot of rescue points — enough to put him at the top of the class.
    • Izuku and Ochako come up with a different plan for the Heroes vs. Villains exercise. As a result, Ochako is badly burned when Bakugou uses his gauntlet grenade, leaving her with scars on both arms.
    • Shinsou chose Monoma as one of his teammates for the Calvary Battle during the Sports Festival. Thus, Monoma makes it to the tournament and serves as Izuku's first opponent rather than Shinsou. And while One For All cannot normally be copied, Izuku wants him to be able to use it, allowing him to take it temporarily.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Izuku's plan for dealing with Monoma during their match works perfectly, just like he'd intended... and also leaves him badly shaken as it sinks in that he wasn't disturbed by the grisly results.
  • Hate at First Sight: Izuku meets Neito for the first time shortly before their match. All it takes is a few arrogant, dismissive comments from the blond for him to decide that he hates him already, and start scheming to use his psychological weaknesses to his advantage.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: The more Izuku focuses upon his desire for Revenge, the more he runs the risk of slipping completely into this. He recognizes this on some level, and struggles to mitigate and manage his darker thoughts.
  • Heel Realization: While Izuku recognizes that several of his thoughts aren't exactly heroic, silently chiding himself for the most overtly devious ones, his match with Monoma serves as a tipping point. After seeing the results of his handiwork, with Monoma accidentally blowing up his own arm with One For All, he realizes that his reaction isn't normal. His disgust with himself only grows as Toshinori attempts to comfort him afterwards.
  • In Spite of a Nail:
    • Despite getting off on the wrong foot with Tenya and having a much harsher reaction to his scolding, Izuku still comes to count him as one of his close friends.
    • Even though he doesn't face Bakugou in the Heroes vs Villains, Izuku's costume is still ruined when he rips off his sleeves to bandage Uraraka's wounds.
    • Shigaraki and the League of Villains still attack the U.S.J., with Shigaraki earning Izuku's ire by scarring Tsuyu's face with his disintegration.
  • It's All My Fault:
    • Izuku starts blaming himself for how their training exercise went wrong before reminding himself that Katsuki was the one who took it too far and hurt poor Ochako.
    • After Izuku and Neito's match goes awry, Toshinori blames himself for not foreseeing the potential problems with pitting the two of them against each other. Mainly because he was aware of how One For All cannot normally be copied, but hadn't thought to tell his successor that beforehand.
  • Just Between You and Me:
    • When Katsuki corners Izuku after the entrance exam, Izuku takes advantage of the fact they're alone to inform him that he's glad he's 'ruined his plans', and that if he tries anything at U.A., he'll inform the staff — and unlike their middle school, U.A. has a strict anti-bullying policy.
    • Happens again after the training exercise where Katsuki left Ochako scarred. This time, he counters and flips Katsuki after he attempts assault, and spells out that he will make him pay for what he's done.
  • Malicious Misnaming: While Izuku no longer regards Katsuki as his friend, he still calls him Kacchan. Mainly because he knows that it pisses him off.
  • Morality Chain: Toshinori, Tenya, Ochako, Tsuyu and his other friends serve as this for Izuku. Particularly Toshinori, as he wants to live up to his example.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Izuku has a variation of this after his match with Monoma. Specifically, he's bothered by how he's not that bothered by the pain he caused — that on some level, he actually enjoyed Monoma's anguished screams.
  • Never My Fault: Bakugou refuses to acknowledge that he did anything wrong even after one of his explosions leaves a classmate heavily scarred, instead insisting that their injury somehow 'proves' that they aren't worthy of being in U.A.
  • Not So Different:
    • When Shouto opens up to him, Izuku is immediately struck by how the expression on Shouto's face when he talks about his father is the same one he gets when thinking about Bakugou.
    • When Neito manages to copy Izuku's Quirk during their match, his expression is described as arrogant and dark... with Izuku having to carefully ensure that his own face doesn't match it as he anticipates the results.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Toshinori's efforts to comfort Izuku after his disastrous match with Monoma serve as this, as he's blissfully unaware that Izuku wanted Monoma to steal One For All and hurt himself attempting to use it.
  • Oh, Crap!: Monoma's face twists from triumph to terror right before his borrowed copy of One For All nearly blows his arm off.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: This is part of the reason why Izuku still saves Katsuki from the Sludge Villain. Another major factor is that he's well aware that being rescued by 'that useless Deku' of all people will seriously get under his skin.
  • Properly Paranoid: Katsuki's assumptions about Izuku doing things purely to piss him off? More often than not, he's actually right here.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • After Katsuki scars one of his classmates during a training exercise, Aizawa lectures him in front of the whole class and gives him detention and lessons on why assault is unacceptable, making clear that his behavior will not be tolerated. He also makes a point of monitoring him more closely.
    • The basic premise of Izuku despising Katsuki. In canon, he holds no hard feelings, but in a real life situation, a person would have many more negative feelings towards a long time bully.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: Tenya doesn't understand sarcasm very well. After realizing this, Izuku offers to signal him whenever he's being sarcastic to help him out.
  • Scars Are Forever:
    • A training exercise gone wrong between Bakugou and Ochako leaves the latter with burn scars along both forearms.
    • During the U.S.J. incident, Shigaraki manages to get his hands on Tsuyu's face long enough to leave scars behind.
  • Shout-Out: Chapter Nine features Izuku, Tenya and Ochako chilling at his place and watching — and riffing on — Sharknado.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Izuku's grudge against Bakugou intensifies after one of his explosions leaves a friend with burn scars running up both of their arms.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: One of the first ways this version of Izuku diverges from his Canonical counterpart is the contents of his Hero Journals. While they started out the same way, they became an outlet for dealing with being bullied... by detailing all their weaknesses and ways that he could neutralize them. He has enough notes on Katsuki to practically fill up a whole journal all by themselves.
  • Victim Blaming: When called out on permanently scarring Ochako, Katsuki tries to argue that they "should have dodged".
  • Villain Respect: Shigaraki compliments Izuku's Megaton Punch that sends him flying, saying it was a "cool move". He adds that he's not happy he got hit by it, and that it negated his sneak attack entirely, but he still thinks it was cool.
  • Villain Takes an Interest: Shigaraki notices the murderous look on Izuku's face when coming after him at the U.S.J. He also isn't fooled by Izuku's Briar Patching against Monoma, labeling him 'ruthless'... and interesting.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Played for Laughs when All Might uses One Percent Punch against Izuku while training, then gushes over the result — right in front of Recovery Girl.
      All Might: Young Midoriya, a One Percent Punch from me is enough to do some serious damage! I have broken bones with that move before!
      Recovery Girl: You've broken bones with that much power and you used it on a child?
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