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Izuku was never quirkless.

Sometimes quirks hide until they are triggered. Izuku tasted death and found it lacking, every flavour bitter and lacking spice. In the moments between death and life, he gazed into the howling abyss and it followed him home. Everything he thought he knew about the world is a lie. There are monsters lurking in the dark below, always waiting and always watching, hidden by the shadows.

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They wait patiently, waiting for one to sit upon a throne of crystal madness and eternal suffering. They have waited for aeons and will wait until the end of eternity.

They wait only for Izuku Midoriya.

The Dark Below is a My Hero Academia Fanfic that features Izuku with a quirk that sends him to an eldrtitch plain each time he dies.

Cue lots of death, angst, and philosophical discussions on the nature of being a hero.


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Tropes that feature are:

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Averted. The story is set centuries into the future with an extensive alternate history.
  • Abuse Mistake:
    • Aizawa and Recovery Girl believe Inko is abusing Izuku, which couldn't be further from the truth.
    • Todoroki thinks All Might is Izuku's abusive father and that's why he didn't step in during the Battle Trial, not knowing it was naivety and over confidence on Izuku's behalf that kept him from interfering.
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: As a result of Izuku dying multiple times and the trauma from having half his face melted by Bakugou during the Battle Trial, Izuku is sent to therapy.
  • Adaptational Badass: Kurogiri uses his warp gates for decapitation and leads a war all by himself.
  • Adapted Out: Mineta, Hagakure and Kouda. Seeing what Izuku becomes during USJ drives them insane.
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  • Adults Are Useless: Averted. Inko does everything in her power to protect Izuku.
  • Adult Fear: This is a story rampant with immoral people.
    • Inko has to deal with a son being driven insane by his powers and his hallucinations of his dead twin.
    • Aizawa firmly believes Inko is an abusive parent as of chapter 7.
    • Mitsuki Bakugou has to deal with the possibility of her son going to prison for his actions during the Battle Trial.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Zigzagged with Izuku. Initially diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder, the voice in his head is now a character.
  • The Apprentice: Izuku to All Might. He also becomes a temporary one to All For One.
  • Ascended Extra: Kurogiri is more than just the League's method of transportation. He's also All For One's right hand man.
    • Mikumo Atakani: the original concept for Izuku, here he is Izuku's dead twin brother. He doesn't stay dead.
    • Hisashi, Izuku's absentee father from canon, is a character who is on speaking terms with the Emperor and All For One, as well as a multiverse traveller.
    • Fumikage Tokoyami, a relatively minor character in canon ends up becoming the Slave King, one of the three monarchs of the abyss.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Izuku, firmly. His powers let his control shadows, a classic villain power, but all he wants to do is help anyone and everyone.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Inko is deeply saddened after seeing Izuku with his new facial scar for the first time... because his hair is a mess and he clearly hasn't been taking care of it.
  • Big Eater: Izuku, and later Inko, can eat three or four times as much food as a normal person without gaining any weight. Fortunately, can isn't the same as need.
  • Blow You Away: All For One has an extremely powerful wind quirk which he stole from one of UA's expelled students. He gives it to Izuku when he dies.
  • Boring, but Practical: The second round of the Sports Festival consists of pairs claiming one of eight pillars by being the only ones on it for five minutes straight. Taking someone else's pillar first requires "neutralizing" it which takes half as much time as they've spent on it . As a result, most teams ignore claimed pillars so long as others are still free.
  • Boxed Crook: After the Battle Trial, Katsuki is given a sealed red order that basically means he has to become a hero or go to prison, that any violent crime he commits will see him tried as an adult and if he commits a violent crime after becoming a legal adult, he'll also be sent to prison for his assault on Izuku.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • Ojiro and Izuku share this interaction:
    Izuku: Who knows. Maybe there’s someone writing my story and they suck at being internally consistent with their rules.
    Ojiro: A bad author indeed.
    • Jin Mo-Ri comments that his story is over and he's not even a side character, just someone who pops up when needed.
    • The entirety of Shouto and Izuku's journey into the abyss seems to be this and failing to deconstruct story tropes.
  • Brown Note: Aizawa erasing Izuku's Quirk causes him intense physical pain and internal bleeding on top of feeling blind without being able to sense shadows.
  • Call-Back:
    • Inko mentions the anti-quirk riots and Taiwan sinking in chapter 7.
      • Tokoyami later reveals a member of the imperial family committed that crime.
      • Shoto mentions in chapter 16 that his parents were married around the same time and that Endeavour fought to marry Rei.
      • Nezu mentions the sinking of Taiwan led to the purge of Shikoku and the anti-quirk riots
      • It is implied that Hisashi was involved in all of this.
    • Eao makes a prophecy that "Naraka, ally to come, betrayed by your shadow hands". In chapter 28, Izuku betrays Shouto, who wields hellfire. Naraka is the Buddhist concept of hell.
    • Another one of the lines from Eao's prophecy, that Izuku's disciple will take his wings, comes true when Spinner does so, becoming a wish-granting dragon.
  • Can't Catch Up: Ojiro remarks that besides his tail acting as an extra limb, he's stuck at purely human limits, meaning he's likely to never make it big like some of the others.
  • Casting a Shadow: Izuku can manipulate shadows, though it's much more difficult outside the Abyss and needs a light source to make a strong enough contrast to form shadows.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • In his first appearance, Aizawa threatens to expel his students just like he did his class two years ago. During the Sports Festival, Midoriya encounters a security guard multiple times. This guard is revealed to be one of Aizawa's expelled students and planted the explosives in the stadium.
  • The Chessmaster: Hisashi Midoriya. When the Emperor's Heir sank Taiwan, he ended up accidentally sacrificing all the inhabitants to a dead god who gained enough power to break the boundaries between ths abyss and the real world. This resulted in the Shikoku Incident, where people where being driven insane by the abyss' influence and wielding godflame. Hisashi stepped in, inciting the villians to distract the heroes and police while forcing all of the Royal Guards to fight of the abyssal threats.
  • Clark Kent Outfit: When Kirishima is surprised at how muscular the seemingly scrawny Izuku is, Ojiro comments that hitting him is like punching a brick wall.
  • Combo Platter Powers: Izuku. Let's see: he can generate shadows, travel to an eldritch dimension, returns to life, and still receives One For All.
    • Tokoyami: He acquires a dragon who wields godflame. Later, he gains an army of abyss creatures.
    • Todoroki: His ability to wield godflame gives him power over all natural laws (energy, time, gravity...), and his ice can manupilate entropy.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: Izuku, and Inko to a lesser extent, reaches a point of calmly accepting the eldritch horrors and forbidden knowledge he encounters due to his Quirk.
  • invokedConfirmation Bias: Aizawa believes Inko is abusing Izuku and takes everything she does as confirmation, including outrage and fury at the very notion she'd ever harm her son. Recovery Girl calls him out on foolishly confronting her rather than following regulations.
  • Darker and Edgier: The story opens with the main character dying. It doesn't get lighter from there.
    • Nezu operates a hidden facility which he uses to hide UA's problem students, never to see the light of day again.
    • Taiwan was sunk a few years before the start of the story.
    • Several students actually die when the League attacks the training camp, rather than simply being injured.
  • Dented Iron: Izuku is stuck with a permanent limp after the USJ.
  • Dumbass No More: While not an idiot by any means, Inko used to be unable to do basic calculus but after seeing the higher dimensional mathematics Izuku wrote in his own blood, she's able to perform the proof for a Gaussian integral in her head.
  • Easily Forgiven: Subverted. Initially, Izuku seems to forgive Bakugou for mutilating him but later realizes he was in denial about it and admits he'll likely never forgive the other teen.
  • Eldritch Location: The premise of Izuku's quirk.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Chapter 16 shows that this is what Izuku becomes when he dies.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: All For One's original plan would have set off the explosives in an empty part of the stadium.
  • For Want of a Nail: The Battle Trial leads to a lot of things.
    • Because of his bad reputation after the Battle Trial, Nezu convinces All Might to stay in the school, directly leading to Izuku dying in chapter 16 and becoming an Eldritch Abomination.
    • This leads to Tomura heavily modifying the plan to assault the stadium by making Izuku and Todoroki priority targets.
      • This directly leads to Izuku and Shouto being trapped in the abyss and having to fight their way through.
  • The Gadfly: Ochako tends to rile people up, especially Iida, for her own amusement.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Mineta is rendered catatonic from seeing the Eldritch Abomination Izuku becomes upon death. Toru and Kouda are driven insane to a lesser extent and are put into therapy.
  • God in Human Form: Essentially what the three king of the abyss, Izuku, Tokoyami and Todoroki are, with each one of them holding dominion over one-third of all existence and being able to destroy the other two-thirds.
  • Grail in the Garbage: Hisashi had an autographed autobiography of Hawkmoon packed away in his old things, something Izuku insists is worth a fortune.
  • Hate at First Sight: Dark Shadow despises Izuku immediately upon meeting him.
  • Hidden Depths: Inko used to be a card shark who "milked casinos dry" and admits she's lucky to have never been arrested.
  • Honor Before Reason: Tokoyami has shades of this.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Izuku insists on espousing Bakugou's virtues while ignoring that the other teen very nearly killed him, seemingly believing that the fact Bakugou wants to be a hero is enough to absolve him of his bullying, abuse, and aggravated assault.
  • Impossibly Mundane Explanation: Aizawa and Recovery Girl brush off explanations for Izuku's reactions and injuries, even ones given by the boy himself, and insist he's being abused by his mother. For example, Aizawa disregards Izuku's insistence that his black eye is from tripping while jogging, citing that a trained martial artist like Izuku shouldn't trip so easily. In reality, Izuku really did trip because he spaced out while jogging.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Izuku still receives One For All.
  • Innocently Insensitive: During the Quirk Assessment, Izuku makes a comment about how easily Tokoyami controls his Quirk, something that infuriates the other boy because controlling the sentient Dark Shadow is a constant struggle, not knowing that Izuku needs over half an hour to gather enough shadows to do anything.
  • Killed Off for Real: By the end of the Kamino Ward arc Uraraka, Asui, Shinsou, Iida, several UA first years, Aizawa, Vlad King, the Pussycats, 6 of the Top Ten Heroes, All Might and All For One are dead.
  • "Leave Your Quest" Test: The first time Izuku intentionally kills himself to access the Abyss, he's offered the chance to simply die instead rather than continue on, being told that it'll be his only chance to do so. While Izuku's response isn't shown, he still goes ahead into the Abyss rather than passing on.
  • Locked into Strangeness: Izuku's first death leaves a scar on his head where his hair grows in white.
  • Lovecraftian Superpower: Besides entering an Eldritch Location upon death and controlling shadows, Izuku gains knowledge which seems to affect others as well. Him writing higher dimension mathematics in his own blood caused Inko to excel in math to the point of doing the Gaussian integral proof in her head and listening to his Black Speech allowed her to talk to certain animals such as birds and spiders.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Nezu has markings of this.
  • Manchild: Shigaraki is this.
  • Medium Awareness: Midoriya is well aware that he's trapped in Shouto's story come chapter 25 and makes mention of common storytelling tropes.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Tokoyami's refusal to listen to Izuku's pleas for help during the combat exercise leads to the boy being brutalized by Bakugou. After following Aizawa to the nurse's office, Tokoyami collapses in the hallway and breaks down crying.
    • Bakugou is horrified both by critically injuring Izuku and later learning that he once killed the other teen.
  • My Greatest Failure:
    • All Might refuses to listen to the various students warning against setting Izuku against Bakugou in the battle trials or stop the fight even after Bakugou resorts to deadly force, resulting in Izuku being heavily injured and landing in Recovery Girl's office for the third time in a week.
    • Izuku fails to help a girl in chapter 15. This goes on to haunt him. In Chapter 52, All For One informs him that the interview Izuku was in incited a prison riot that the girl was killed in.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Izuku spends most of his match against Todoroki pummeling the other teen mercilessly in an effort to make him use his fire.
  • Not Afraid to Die: Izuku. Because of his powers, dying isn't a concern.
  • Not Hyperbole: An accidental example. Inko declares Izuku would likely forgive someone who murdered him, not knowing he's already done so after Bakugou caused his first death.
  • No Sense of Direction:
    • Izuku because of his powers.
    • At the USJ, Tokoyami admits he has a poor sense of direction and needs Hagakure to point out which way they need to go.
  • Omniglot: Because he "speaks the litanies of dead gods", Izuku understands every mortal language without even noticing if someone is speaking a different language.
    • Inko likewise knows every human language for the same reason.
  • Passing the Torch: Both All Might and All For One do this with Izuku, choosing him to carry on their legacy and change the world.
  • Poor Communication Kills: A large part of why Recovery Girl and Aizawa think Inko is abusing her son is Izuku not being forthcoming about his injuries and scars, instead playing them off in a way that resembles abuse victims.
  • Psychic Nosebleed:
    • Izuku suffers nosebleeds frequently due to his powers. Sometimes his ears, eyes, or mouth bleed instead.
    • Inko suffers one as well from using her Quirk to stop Todoroki's ice from hitting the audience during his final clash with Izuku.
  • Put on a Bus: Hagakure and Kouda are temporarily withdrawn from class after seeing Izuku's Eldritch Abomination form drives them insane.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Izuku's initial deaths are quite messy, leaving him a lot of cleanup work after he revives.
    • The U.A. faculty are horrified to learn Izuku genuinely believes Bakugou critically injuring him is his own fault.
    • After Izuku spends weeks recovering from the battle trial, his muscles have atrophied significantly from lack of use.
  • Reforged into a Minion: Mineta and Hagakure are kidnapped from the UA facility and turned into Noumus.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: After the Battle Trials, Aizawa rips into All Might for his failures as a teacher.
    Aizawa: Do you know what the biggest responsibility a teacher has towards their students? To keep them safe. And you have just completely jeopardized that for Izuku.
    All-Might: I know.
    Aizawa: I very much doubt that. Have you even once considered what this will do to Ojiro? He was very nearly ready to strangle Bakugou. You left Tokoyami to deal with that situation. And right now, he’s so guilty I’m going to have to spend the rest of the term making sure he doesn’t have a nervous breakdown. I have to make sure Ojiro doesn't kill someone. I had to spend the last hour calming all the students you abandoned because for some unfathomable reason, instead of checking everyone else you had a duty to, you wasted your time uselessly in Chiyo's office. That doesn’t even begin to deal with Bakugou. He’ll be lucky if the judge tries him as a juvenile.
    All-Might: There’s no—
    Aizawa: Izuku’s mother is fully in her right to press charges against both Bakugou and the school. The fact that you don’t know that proves every single reservation I had about you. You let a student who I specifically marked down as unruly and temperamental, possibly dangerous, battle someone he threatened to kill. You did this despite the protests of his fellow classmates. You did not intervene when deadly force was used. You are the reason he’s in that hospital room. And now I must deal with this. So, you stay out of the way before you make anything worse. You are, undoubtedly, the single worst teacher to plague UA’s halls at this moment. And in your very first lesson, you undid everything I was working towards. You set us back so far in your arrogance.
  • Sanity Slippage: Chapter 10 and Izuku's absolute insistence that Bakugou did nothing wrong in critically (almost fatally) injuring him drives home to Inko that her son isn't just unhinged from knowing things mortals aren't meant to, but that he was fundamentally broken even before discovering his Quirk.
  • Scars Are Forever: Because his Quirk only heals any injury that kills him and not injuries received prior to death, Izuku gains several in just the first few chapters alone.
    • Izuku's first scar is on his scalp where he hit his head on a light pole and died the first time.
    • Another on his shoulder came from one of the denizens of the Abyss.
    • He has a scar on his forearm from slitting his wrist.
    • The battle trial against Bakugou left him with a burn scar on the side of his face.
    • After the USJ, Izuku walks with a noticeable limp.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Izuku can easily comprehend why someone who breaks the law has to be punished, even if they achieve something noble while doing so, except when it comes to Katsuki. No matter how others explain that what Bakugou did was unacceptable, Izuku will insist "it's different because Kacchan wants to be a hero".
  • Shout-Out:
    • Mikumo references the song 8-mile and then quotes Infinity War in the same chapter.
    • Many Worm characters are mentioned throughout the story including Scion, the Slaughterhouse Nine, Lung, Bakuda, the Empire 88.
    • Mika from "Yesterday Upon The Stair" makes an appearance.
    • Dark Souls and Bloodborne are mentioned multiple times. Shouto and Izuku are forced to take part in the Old Hunter's DLC.
    • Destiny concepts including Sword Logic and throne Worlds are mentioned multiple times. The guns Hawkmoon and Graviton Lance are reprised as characters. Eao the Ahamkara is a character that grants Izuku a wish
    • Tokoyami visits a facility with a group of children whose appearances and Quirks are clearly based off the Nine Tailed Beasts.
    • In the Abyss, Izuku encounters a a green being waging war in a place resembling hell.
    • Before the Sports Festival, Inko gives Izuku a modified version of Zangetsu's speech to Ichigo.
    Inko: Abandon whatever fears you have. Just keep looking forward and never stop. Retreat and you’ll grow old with regrets. Hesitate and you’ll die with those regrets.
  • Side Bet: The faculty start a betting pool based on the Sports Festival with a one month's salary minimum bet.
  • Slasher Smile: Izuku's smile unnerves even pro-heroes like Aizawa.
  • The Smart Guy: Izuku can speak every mortal language and considers college level mathematics easy, including a problem people with math degrees find difficult.
  • Split Personality: Hisashi Midoriya has two personalities: the operator, who only wants to go back home to his family; and the World Walker, who is callous and cold, only seeing people in terms of threats and taking over whenever he needs to deal with the abyss' madness.
  • Tears of Joy: Shinsou starts crying when Izuku not only compliments his Quirk but brings up the Sludge Villain incident and says he probably could've handled it even better than All-Might did. Shinsou is noted as "looking like Izuku just hung the moon and stars for him".
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted. Izuku sees one early into the story.
  • Time Abyss: Many of the entities Izuku meats in the Abyss qualify, such as a group of Spear-morph elders where the youngest is slightly younger than the Earth.
  • Title Drop: The author seems to be a fan of this.
  • Touched by Vorlons: Izuku's powers rub off on Inko, granting her the same prodigious ability at mathematics along with omniglot and Big Eater status.
  • Tranquil Fury: When Inko learns how badly Izuku was hurt during the battle trial, she spends the entire conference quietly furious, which unfortunately further sells to Aizawa that she's abusing Izuku.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: After Izuku's first encounter with spider monsters in the Abyss, he makes a point of killing any such creature he spots even if it isn't attacking him.
  • You No Take Candle: Jin Mo-Ri is a downplayed example. Being from Korea originally, his Japanese is a bit choppy.

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