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Fanfic / The Emancipators

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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.


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...?

The fic is currently on hiatus.


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.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Midoriya comes across as more angry and bitter than in canon thanks in no small part to the story's Adaptation Relationship Overhaul.
  • 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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    • In canon, they might not be friends, but Izuku and Mineta are on good terms. Here, not only does Izuku dislike Mineta, but his opinion of him is even lower than Bakugo's. Izuku might not feel the same visceral hatred for Mineta as he does for Bakugo, but even he can admit that there's little doubt as for why Bakugo managed to get on UA's hero course, given that he has a powerful quirk, book and street smarts, confidence and determination. Meanwhile, Izuku only sees Mineta as a dumb, cowardly pervert with an okay quirk, and he can't wrap his head around how somebody like him managed to get admitted into the UA's hero course.
  • 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.
  • Age-Inappropriate Dress: Discussed. When Ochako complains about how tight they made her costume, Izuku wonders who the hell thought it was a good idea to make a form fitting costume for a fifteen year old girl.
  • 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.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: To a rather disturbing extreme. Izuku is so used to people being indifferent to him at best and treating him like garbage at worst, that if anybody treats him with any amount of kindness, Izuku will develop extreme loyaltly towards them practially overnight. This, however, also causes Izuku to develop very murderous thoughts towards people who are mean, or god forbid, hurtful towards the few people Izuku considers precious.
    • Bakugo scarring Ochako during the Heroes vs Villains exercise already makes Izuku hate Bakugo even more (something he thought wasn't even possible), and grows to hate the League of Villains on a personal level because they want to kill All Might, not because he's the #1 hero, or because murdering anybody regardless of who they are is wrong; no, it's because All Might is one of the very few people who treated Izuku with kindness and had faith that he could be a hero.
  • Beneath the Mask: On the surface, Midoriya Izuku appears an 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.
  • Blaming the Victim: When called out on permanently scarring Ochako, Katsuki tries to argue that they "should have dodged".
  • 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.
  • Cool Loser: Played With when it comes to Todoroki. After befriending Ochako and Tenya, Izuku notices that other students are also forming their own little cliques, with Todoroki being one of the only few still on their own, which strikes Izuku as strange, given that Todoroki is both good looking (even with the scar) and has an extremely powerful quirk, he should not only have little trouble making friends, but be the most popular guy of the class
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Izuku vowing to destroy Bakugo's life after years of unrelented bullying might be understandable. Izuku vowing to destroy Iida's life after a small argument? Yeah, pretty much. Thankfully, after Iida apologizes, the two of them become friends.
    • After pegging Monoma as an asshole with an inferiority complex, Izuku plans to have Monoma copy his quirk so he blows his arm in the process. The plan goes without a hitch, however, this makes Izuku realize that there's something very wrong with him.
  • Endearingly Dorky: Izuku sees both Iida and All Might this way at times, commenting that their occasional dorkiness is part of their charm.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Played With. At the beginning, Izuku carries several actions that seem heroic to somebody watching, but by his own admission, are anything but:
    • Izuku saving Bakugo from the Sludge Villain. While in canon he genuinely wanted to save Bakugo, here he went to his rescue for three reasons: 1) Because Izuku saving Bakugo would be incredibly humiliating for the latter (in fact, he even said that Bakugo's face "looked like he was asking for help" to add even more salt to the wound), 2) to get revenge on the Sludge Villain for attacking Izuku earlier, and 3) because destroying Bakugo's life is something Izuku, and only Izuku, is allowed to do.
    • Following on the above, when All Might praises Izuku for his heroism, Izuku never corrects him, and lets All Might train him to become his successor, unaware of how dark and bitter Izuku is on the inside. Still, Izuku vows to be the best hero he can be so All Might doesn't regret his choice, as All Might's faith means a lot to him.
    • During the UA entrance exam, Izuku decides that the best strategy is to go on a killsteal spree, letting the other students weaken the robots first before he delivers the final blow, taking the points while letting the others do the hard work. If he's called out (as it happens with Tenya) he simply says that he was helping somebody that appeared to be in trouble. This strategy works even better than he thought, since it nets him a truckload of rescue points.
  • First-Name Basis:
    • When Tsuyu tells Izuku to call her by her first name instead of "Asui-san", Izuku inwardly says that he's uncomfortable addressing a practical stranger so casually, but decided to humor her because he didn't want to come as an asshole (though he does call her Tsuyu-san rather than just Tsuyu as she wanted).
    • 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: Simply put, is very, very easy to earn Izuku's scorn with a bad first impression. Then again, as shown by Iida, it is possible to get on his good graces if you're nice to him afterwards.
    • 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.
    • Subverted with Iida. After his initial scolding, Izuku pretty much puts him on the same level as Bakugo, even vowing to destroy his life as well. However, after Iida apologizes Izuku for wrongly judging him, Izuku is able to let bygones be bygones and the two become good friends.
    • Izuku's first impression of Mineta was seeing him ogling at Ochako's form fitting hero costume. His first impusle was to punch him, but he settled for "accidentally" making him trip. Later, whenever Izuku addresses Mineta, either out loud or in his thoughts, he always refers to him as a disgusting little creep.
  • 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.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Constantly. Many times Izuku will catch himself fantasizing about murdering somebody in a very gruesome way (usually Bakugo, later Shigaraki and the League of Villains), realize that those aren't thoughts befitting a hero and to do something about them, but not really doing anything and let those dark thoughts fester inside his mind. However, after Izuku tricks Monoma into blowing his own arm by copying One for All, and not only not feeling anything, but enjoying Monoma's screams of pain, Izuku realizes that there's something very wrong with him, and it may cost him both All Might and his friends if he doesn't do anything about it. That moment Izuku contemplates the thought that his revenge on Bakugo might not be worth it if it comes at such a high cost, and vows to be a better person, this time for real.
  • 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.
  • Jade-Colored Glasses: The whole point of the story. Due to growing up being tormented by a bully while everybody else encouraged and praised said bully, Izuku grew up as an incredibly cynical individual who's always on guard and ready to think the worst of people. Tenya apologizing to him after their bad first encounter leaves him so stumped he doesn't know how to react.
  • 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" Remark:
    • 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. Though he seems to abandon this mindset later on, as he said he wouldn't mind if Bakugo died during the USJ attack.
  • Properly Paranoid: Katsuki's assumptions about Izuku doing things purely to piss him off? More often than not, he's actually right here.
  • 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.
  • Take That!: When hanging at Izuku's house, Ochako suggests to watch a bad movie and rip it to shreds. The movie she ends up choosing?
    Tenya:...why are we watching a movie about sharks in a tornado?
  • 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.
    • Same thing happens when, during the USJ attack, Shigaraki disfigures another of Izuku friend's face with his quirk.
  • 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.
    • He frequently mentions his desire to make Bakugo suffer, die, and go to hell.
    • He has no real problem with thinking that he'll kill any villains that attack his friends and classmates.
  • 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?