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After his dream is finally crushed, Izuku isn't quite sure there's anything left for him to live for, but... he can't exactly kill himself either, not without hurting the people he cares the most about. So, when he realizes that the quirkless can't technically be vigilantes, it seems like the best of both worlds. He'll be able to save people even without being a hero and, if he happens to die while he’s at it... well, like Kacchan said, maybe he'd be born with a quirk in the next life.
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Viridian: The Green Guide is a My Hero Academia fanfic by myheadinthecloudsnotcomingdown. It can be read on Archive of Our Own here.

Not to be confused with Viridian, a fic by a different author.

This fic has been completed as of August 6th 2021.


Tropes in this fic include:

  • Abled in the Adaptation: With the help of Viridian, Bakugou, and the Crawler, Tensei defeats Stain and never becomes paralyzed.
  • Abuse Mistake: A milder and more realistic example. When Inko brings Izuku into the hospital with several bruises and a broken arm, both give a different story to the doctor. After his x-ray, Izuku's asked if Inko is abusing him, though the doctor accepts his vehement insistence that she isn't.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: Izuku figured out that the artificial bee he found would be robot-like enough to be hacked, not knowing for sure whether it was Quirk-created.
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  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Izuku. He had confidence issues in canon, but here, Izuku blatantly thinks he's complete garbage both as a person and as a son. It's to the point where literally the only reason Izuku hasn't killed himself yet is because he's worried it'd hurt Bakugou's chances of becoming a hero.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance:
    • Amplifier first appears during Izuku's first night as a vigilante, whilst in canon she didn't appear until My Hero Academia: Two Heroes.
    • Kaminari first appears working at a hardware store whilst Izuku is shopping for weapons, whilst in canon he doesn't appear until Izuku enters U.A.
    • Izuku meets Tsuyu sometime between New Year's and the start of U.A.
    • Dabi shows up during Katsuki's search for Ogawa, before U.A. begins.
    • The vestiges of the Torchbearers within One for All show up after Kaminari accidentally overloads himself during the Heroes vs Villains training due to getting One for All a few moments earlier.
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    • Toga shows up to warn Bakugou about an attack on U.A. the day before the USJ incident.
  • Adaptational Intelligence: Whilst Izuku did quite well in school in canon, here he aces the entrance exam for an online school, then gets excellent scores in his online courses and finishes the finals far quicker than he expected. It's strongly implied Izuku had been sabotaging himself due to his poor self-esteem back at Aldera.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: While Mineta has never been the most morally clean of 1A's students due to his perverted tendencies, in the final chapter he ends up asking why Midoriya is allowed to be in the class, calling him a "quirkless freak", which gets him a detention in response.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Bakugou's character development begins much earlier than in canon; after a Heel Realization, he ends up volunteering at a villain rehabilitation center to learn how to be a better person.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: In canon, Kaminari is shown being strictly into girls, here he's bisexual. He then takes Izuku out on a date, with Izuku becoming his boyfriend, making Izuku gay or bi as well.
  • Adults Are Useless: Downplayed. Those outside of Izuku's school certainly care, but the faculty at Aldera will do absolutely nothing about children being bullied. The first time Katsuki stood up for another student to keep them from being bullied, the principal tried to dissuade him, saying Katsuki had more important things to do.
  • All for Nothing:
    • Years of planning spent by All For One are ultimately undone by Izuku, culminating in Shigaraki being captured and Kurogiri's brainwashing being broken during the Sports Festival - and then his own death.
    • One for All exists primarily to defeat All For One, and has gone through nine holders for the sake of accomplishing this legacy duty. All For One is killed by a quirkless kid with a screwdriver and the assistance of his quirk-cancelling mentor.
  • Alliterative Name: The Pro-Heroes who have interacted with Izuku so far have been calling him "The Green Guide".
    Aizawa: The Green Guide? Seriously? They couldn’t think of anything less obvious?
    Tsukauchi: Well, the kid wears green and leads them to crimes in progress. I don't know, the alliteration is kinda catchy.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Aizawa gets angry with Viridian when the latter insists on trying to help with the Trigger investigation, but it's only because Aizawa knows the stakes and how dangerous it would be for him to get involved.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: "Viridian, you're suicidal, aren't you?"
  • Armor-Piercing Response: After finally learning about Viridian's identity, and faced with his continued denials that someone like him could ever be a hero, Inko says six words that shut down his argument completely.
  • Ascended Extra: In the MHA canon, Amplifier was a pro-hero that only makes a one-scene appearance in My Hero Academia: Two Heroes as an announcer to the "Villain Attack" attraction for the I-Expo's Early Access Event. Here, she is the first pro who encounters Izuku when he begins his vigilante career. It is through her that the various local heroes learn about him and come to see him as an early warning system for nearby-crimes. She also runs a villain rehabilitation centre, which Bakugou attends after his Heel Realization.
  • Attempted Rape: Izuku stumbles upon a man with a mole quirk attempting to rape Hina Yu two weeks into his life as a vigilante; rather than try to get another Hero's attention, like usual, he ends up intervening, beating the would-be rapist unconscious.
  • Badass Normal: Whilst Quirkless, Izuku has managed to fight off a man with a mole quirk attempting to rape someone two weeks into his Vigilante career, along with helping Eraserhead take down a Trigger user with a crab Quirk.
  • Batman Gambit: Aizawa manages to get Izuku into the vigilante rehabilitation program by keeping mum about his Quirklessness until after the Hero Commission announces Viridian's enrollment in the program.
  • Black-and-White Insanity: In Endeavor's eyes, vigilantes are no different than the criminals they supposedly stand against, and he thinks absolutely nothing of attempting to burn Viridian alive when they cross paths.
  • Blatant Lies: Eraserhead questions Viridian on how he's unharmed by Queen Bee's quirk-based venoms. Viridian's response is a nervous claims that he wasn't stung at all. Eraserhead appears to believe him, but later tells Nedzu he knows Viridian was lying, although he is not sure about what.
  • Boring, but Practical: Izuku's first two weeks as a vigilante consist entirely of heckling heroes until they chase him towards a crime he spotted earlier. While certainly not glamorous, it does help people and Izuku currently has neither the skills nor physical fitness to fight villains himself.
  • Brats with Slingshots: When looking for things to use as vigilante weapons at a hardware store, Izuku comes across the store's display of hunting slingshots. He decides to buy one, and purchases a large number of marbles in bulk at a toy store to use as ammunition.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: All For One has Endeavor captured, drugged with Trigger and brainwashed so he will fight non-stop until he kills Viridian, and then stuffed with so many fire Quirks that he can produce a lot more fire, at the cost of only having a few days of life.
  • Bullying a Dragon: When Katsuki decides to stand up against his former friends and stop them from bullying their latest target, 'Fingers' immediately assumes that this makes him another weak 'nerd'.
  • Call-Back: It's implied that the villain with tentacles on his head that Izuku fought with Aizawa is the same tentacle-headed villain that's in the Villain Rehabilitation program Katsuki joins.
  • Calling Card: Subverted with Izuku's marbles. While Amplifier initially thinks this, Aizawa points out that Viridian probably just picked marbles as ammo for his slingshot.
  • Cannot Keep a Secret: Denki ends up slipping and revealing to Izuku that All Might offered him One for All.
  • Cheap Costume: Izuku's Vigilante costume is nothing more than a dark-green hoodie, a black long-sleeved shirt, a pair of black ripped jeans, green-tinted goggles that are Quirk-enhanced to not color the wearer's vision, and his sneakers. He humored the idea of using his hero-merch to disguise himself, but he already knows that that is the Crawler's thing and he doesn't want to make him look bad by accident. In Chapter 7, Izuku added a dark-green tool waist apron to his costume to safely and securely store his new weapons on his body.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In chapter 58 Izuku buys a screwdriver and mentions that it could be used as a weapon of last resort. Come chapter 115, he uses it to brutally kill All For One by stabbing him in the head.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: During the New Year's attack, Izuku makes note of a couple with frog Quirks he saves. These turn out to be Ganma and Beru Asui, who are also Inko's co-workers.
    • Shortly after they first start hanging out, Kaminari takes Izuku to a cafe. Their waitress has an eyepatch and is offhandedly mentioned as having her personality change somewhat after her accident. Izuku learns in chapter 51 that Queen Bee enters teenager girls' heads through their eye sockets and takes control of them. Said waitress is Queen Bee's current host.
  • Children Forced to Kill: In "Mortality", Izuku repeatedly stabs All For One with his screwdriver until the villain finally dies, leaving him traumatized.
  • Content Warnings:
    • Chapter 4 features a trigger warning for sexual assault due to the Attempted Rape on Hina Yu.
    • Chapter 35, meanwhile, warns about the beginning being quite dark, given it looked into Izuku's thought process.
  • Continuity Nod: Viridian remarks on the fight against Queen Bee in Naruhata, which Eraserhead was heavily involved with. It turns out to be Foreshadowing, as Queen Bee is still active and Izuku ends up crossing paths with her.
  • Cryptic Conversation: Some time after Izuku saves them on New Year's Eve as Viridian, he meets Tsuyu's parents. As Izuku's leaving Ganma, Tsuyu's father, softly thanks him then elaborates he means for the cookies Inko baked. As Ganma seemingly recognized him earlier, Izuku's pretty sure it wasn't about the cookies.
  • Cut Himself Shaving: Izuku tells Kaminari that his various injuries come from accidents while performing parkour.
  • Death Seeker: Izuku's vigilante activities are partially out of a desire to die but an unwillingness to directly kill himself.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • Endeavor dies shortly after his attempt to kill Viridian fails, with the media reporting on it as being a result of tainted Quirk-enhancing drugs but actually caused because All For One stuffed him with multiple Quirks.
    • All For One kills Doctor Kyudai Garaki and all the remaining Nomu in a fit of rage after Shigaraki is captured.
    • All For One is killed by Izuku and Eraserhead, the former brutally stabbing the villain in the head with a screwdriver and the latter erasing his Quirks to prevent him from healing.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Izuku's attempt to make Rock Lock follow him to a robbery almost fails because the man doesn't see a point in chasing after some punk who threw a rock at him. Luckily, Amplifier was with him and knows Izuku is trying to lead them to a crime.
  • Didn't Think This Through: After the New Year's attack, Izuku only gets basic first aid from Kaminari before going to bed. The next morning, he thinks about what a horrible idea that was, largely due to the sheer amount of pain he's in from his injuries.
    • All Might acknowledges that giving One for All to Kaminari just before the Heroes vs Villains training class was a very dumb idea.
  • Disability Immunity: Izuku's quirklessness means that he's completely unaffacted by Queen Bee's venom, which is made to target quirk factors. It also makes him immune to All for One.
  • Disney Death: Hagakure has to be temporarily killed so the heroes can extract Queen Bee safely from her.
  • Don't Tell Mama: Izuku doesn't want his mother to find out about his new vigilante life because he doesn't want to worry her.
  • Doorstopper: Viridian is the longest fic in the For The Want Of A Nail series by a colossal margin, at 272,617 words.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • After the New Year's disaster convinces Aizawa that vigilantism is too lethal a risk for Viridian to continue taking without consistent oversight and support, Aizawa and the proper authorities decide to arrest Viridian and put him in the Hero Commission's Vigilante Rehabilitation Program, sincerely believing that Viridian's refusal to become a legal hero stems from his mental health issues and that arresting him will force him to accept help and opportunities that will allow him to channel his passions legally. What Aizawa doesn't know is that Viridian is Quirkless and thus that the support offered by the Hero Commission will almost certainly be taken away as soon as they properly ID him, leaving Viridian with nothing and ruining the one outlet that had given Viridian a reason to continue living. Far from the misunderstood saving grace Aizawa believes himself to be offering, Viridian understandably still sees being arrested as the end of the line.
    • Izuku interprets One For All as relatively safe for anyone to inherit based on All Might's medical information, and further, uses this information as the basis for his argument that it would be much safer for someone like Denki to inherit the Quirk, since his body is already used to having one while Izuku's isn't. The audience knows, however, that Izuku is interpreting the data completely wrong because of one very important missing piece of context: All Might was born part of the genetically Quirkless minority, so his data actually only supports the idea that One For All is safe for people like Izuku, not Denki—the exact opposite of Izuku's conclusion.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • While not named, Ogawa first appears as one of the thugs high on Trigger in the substance's introductory chapter. Ogawa is properly introduced to the reader later when Katsuki volunteers at the Villain Rehabilitation Program.
    • Dabi is mentioned as one of the people protesting Endeavor after his actions during the New Year's Eve attack.
    • Aizawa, Denki, and Rock Lock all make appearances before U.A. starts, as opposed to the first day of U.A. and the Internship Arc respectively.
    • Tsuyu's parents were in the club the berserker villain attacked on New Years Eve.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Eraserhead believes that Viridian has some kind of invulnerability Quirk, based on how he manages to get out of so much trouble and All For One's apparent interest in him.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: While brainstorming ways to help Kaminari with his Quirk, Izuku realizes that they've been going at it from the wrong direction. Rather than trying to shoot his electricity through the air, Kaminari should focus on electrifying his body, allowing him to act as a human taser.
    • When Izuku indirectly reveals that he's Quirkless, Eraserhead suddenly puts together all the clues that Izuku has been dropping about his status.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Bakugou is completely disgusted when the principal suspends Izuku for getting beaten up so badly his arm broke. It helps solidify his Heel Realization.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: For all his cruelty, All For One did genuinely care for his younger brother and mourned his death.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Dabi vs. Shigaraki.
  • Eye Scream: Played with. All For One may not have actual eyes anymore, however he is still killed when Viridian stabs him in the head through the eyesocket.
  • Famed in Story:
    • Downplayed. While "Viridian" isn't well known to the public, he's become fairly famous among Pro Heroes. Ingenium even comments that his marbles have become collector's items in the hero community. Then he gets filmed saving the people attending a New Year's Eve party from a berserker villain and becomes famous all over Japan. Izuku complains in chapter 51 that he couldn't replace his hoodie or marbles because everyone's buying them, lampshading how everyone buying green marbles because of Viridian have left none for the actual Viridian to use.
    • Another example, though only among villains and vigilantes, is Katsuki. Because Stain decided to spare someone he thought could become a "True Hero" one day, everyone started spreading rumors, not knowing much beyond the boy's name apparently being Kacchan. Naturally, Katsuki is appalled to learn this.
  • First-Name Basis: Denki insists that he should have the right to call Izuku by his first name after he helps him patch up his "parkour" injuries.
  • For Want of a Nail: Izuku doesn't receive One For All from All Might. While in Mastermind this pushed him into villainy, and Deku? led to him becoming an analyst for heroes and a hero-course student by recommendation, this incarnation of Izuku took the middle-ground and becomes a Vigilante Man.
    • All Might ends up choosing Kaminari as his successor.
    • Izuku guides The Crawler to find Ingenium after Stain attacks him, saving Ingenium from being paralyzed.
    • Shigaraki and Kurogiri attack U.A. during the Sports Festival after they learn that Viridian is there. This leads to their capture and Oboro being freed from All For One's mind control.
    • All For One dies shortly after the Sports Festival when his order to capture Viridian backfires massively on him.
  • For the Evulz: Half of All For One's plans are made for the sake of combating his boredom that has built up over centuries of being alive.
  • Forced to Watch: In a variation of this, Aizawa is forced to see Izuku killing All for One because, due to how his Quirk works, he needs to keep his eyes open in order to prevent the villain from using his Quirks.
  • Go Look at the Distraction: Part of Izuku's plan to stop Berserker!Endeavor consists of getting him into a building and then pelt him with marbles from different directions to keep him distracted and inside. Thanks to the collaboration of several Pro-Heroes that were already on scene, Izuku's plan works.
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: The tinted goggles Izuku finds at a costume shop are Quirk-enhanced to not color the wearer's vision while wearing them, which is why he buys them for his Vigilante costume.
  • Hazy Feel Turn: After Endeavor's death, Dabi makes several remarks about rethinking his life, and is seen acting civil with his siblings. However it's vague whether he truly wants to redeem himself, or is only pulling an Enemy Mine against the League of Villians. He eventually joins the Vigilante Rehabilitation Program after he becomes the one to capture Shigaraki.
  • Heel Realization: Bakugou comes to realize how much of a bully he's been to Izuku after watching an interview where All Might calls out Endeavor for insulting his fans. It isn't until Izuku gets suspended after being beaten by a group of kids that it occurs to him that he has been behaving more like a villain and that the school has been enabling such behavior.
  • Hero Does Public Service: After his Heel Realization, Bakugou takes to volunteering at a villain rehabilitation center, partially because it looks good on his application to U.A., but largely because he's trying to learn how to properly be a hero.
  • Hero with an F in Good: Endeavor uses his fire generation powers to attack both Viridian and the berserker in the New Year's Eve party, not caring about the many people that are still inside the bar in his clear attempt to kill or seriously injure Viridian—or the fact that the building is filled with alcohol, a notoriously bad thing for fires. While it's never specified how the thirteen total deaths from the incident parished, it's confirmed that at least some of them died from the fire and subsequent building collapse, and heavily implied most if not all did.
  • Heroic BSoD: Izuku falls into one after discovering that he indirectly caused the death of Queen Bee's host. Aizawa has to force him to promise he will stay alive.
    • And again after he kills All for One.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Played for Drama. Aizawa is shocked that Viridian, who he can tell is a smart and resourceful kid, considers himself stupid, which makes him deduce (correctly) that he was the target of bullies that really did a number on his self-esteem.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Izuku's plan to defeat Berserker!Endeavor is to get him into a building and then keep him there - the flames Endeavor produces (which get boosted due to the multiple Quirks he was force-fed) end up heating the air within the building so much that his natural resistance is overwhelmed, dehydrating him.
    • All For One's plots backfire multiple times because of themselves.
      • Using Endeavor ensures Dabi will oppose him - which fires off when he becomes the one to capture Shigaraki.
      • Sending Queen Bee to UA leads to her eventual capture.
      • Ordering Shigaraki and Kurogiri to destroy Queen Bee leads to Shigaraki's capture and Kurogiri recovering his true identity as Oboro Shirakumo.
      • Trying to steal Viridian's Quirk leaves him wide open to Izuku making him bite the dust.
    • Viridian telling Aizawa he's Quirkless while they're captured by All For One in an effort to comfort the Pro gives Aizawa the final piece necessary to figure out his identity.
  • I Hate Past Me: After his Heel Realization, Bakugou comes to hate himself for how he used to act.
    • Played for Laughs when Izuku decides that he hates his yesterday self for getting minimal first aid for his multiple injuries instead of going to a hospital.
  • Idiot Ball: Izuku's passively suicidal tendencies lead to him picking this up whilst fighting a Trigger user with a crab Quirk, running in up close to hit him with his pipes rather than using his slingshot.
  • Improvised Weapon: When Izuku is fighting somebody who was about to rape a reporter, he uses the pencil in his back pocket and a random tin can of beans as makeshift weapons. He later upgrades to a box-cutter and some wooden dowels (and a soup can). In Chapter 7, Izuku buys an actual knife and a slingshot from a hardware store, but he still buys two 30cm long pipes to use as fighting batons. Izuku also gets marbles to use as his slingshot ammunition instead of steel-shot ammo because the marbles were cheaper and he was uncomfortable with the idea that shooting steel-shot was potentially as lethal as using a gun. The heroes think he may have picked pipes as his weapon because they are harder to track.
  • In the Hood: Izuku uses the hood on his Cheap Costume combined with the goggles to hide most of his head from villains and Pro-Heroes during his Vigilante work.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Aizawa tries to keep Viridian out of the Trigger investigation by pointing out he should be worrying more for making plans with his friends - hitting one of Izuku's buttons.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Izuku's horrible self-esteem causes him to jump through a lot of mental hoops to explain away a lot of his positive encounters with others, such as Aizawa being relieved he's still alive after Izuku ran off with serious injuries or Aizawa complimenting his analysis skills. For the former, Izuku just assumes he's terrible at reading expressions and for the latter, he decides Aizawa was lying to make him feel better even though he knows of the man's Brutal Honesty tendencies.
  • Internal Reveal:
    • In Chapter 81, Bakugou discovers Izuku is Viridian and spends the next few chapters reeling.
    • Shinso gives Eraserhead a clue that lets him know Bakugo knows Viridian.
    • Downplayed; Kaminari finds out Izuku is Viridian at the Sports Festival, but he implies he'd suspected Izuku of being Viridian for a while.
    • Izuku tells Aizawa that he's Quirkless after they are captured by Giran. Which Aizawa then uses, along with the other information they have on Viridian, to connect Viridian with Izuku.
  • Interrupted Cooldown Hug: Katsuki has just managed to calm Ogawa down from his quirk and brainwashing induced rampage by promising to help him, when Queen Bee sends an entire swarm of poison filled bees to off them.
  • Kansas City Shuffle:
    • After Aizawa tries to capture him to get him into the rehabilitation program, Izuku manages to run fast enough to reach a point with two possible escape paths without the Hero seeing which path he chose. Aizawa hears a marble bouncing off one of them, and picks the other path, thinking that Izuku was just trying to invoke Go Look at the Distraction - only for Izuku to have actually picked the first path.
    • This is how Izuku and Aizawa manage to kill All For One. Knowing he's listening on them through a camera, they make him think they are planning for him to steal Aizawa's Quirk, expecting it will erase all the other Quirks he carries and giving them a window of time to free themselves. This turns out to be Briar Patching, as their actual plan is for All for One to attempt to steal Izuku's (nonexistent) Quirk and then take advantage of his shock so Aizawa can erase All for One's Quirks while Izuku (who has freed himself and carries an Improvised Weapon) stabs him to death.
  • Karmic Death: All For One's. He spends the story committing brutal medical atrocities onto the people he has kidnapped, most of which result in brain decay to the point where the only remaining brain function is uncontrolled rage. The resulting violence the victim then instigates while blinded by rage inevitably gets them killed. Though never victim to experimentation, All For One ends up instigating the circumstances of his side's defeat and his own death out of a similar senseless rage towards Viridian.
  • Kazoos Mean Silliness: All for One uses someone playing a kazoo during a symphony as a metaphor for Viridian messing up his carefully orchestrated plans.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Apparently Izuku learned at the early age of nine not to report the constant bullying he (and his fellow classmates) is subjected to because when he tried to do that, he was given detention for "being a troublemaker".
    • Then, after he obviously gets a beating from a bunch of bullies at school - which leave multiple bruises and a broken arm - the school headmaster has the gall to suspend Izuku for two weeks, claiming that Izuku was the one that attacked the bullies, who just "defended" themselves and thus don't get punished. Unsurprisingly, Inko pulls Izuku out of the school that same day. Even Bakugou realizes how dumb this was after the fact.
  • Kill Steal: Dabi calls out Shigaraki on this during the League's attack on the Sport Festival.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • As Izuku finds out, the Quirkless technically cannot be vigilantes, as vigilantism as defined by the law is to use one's Quirk similarly to a pro-hero without a hero license. Deconstructed as it means Viridian technically isn't qualified for the resources intended to help vigilantes either, creating tension between him and the pro-heroes when they begin pressuring him to go legit via the Vigilante Rehabilitation Program, with the Heroes unable to understand why all their assurances of acceptance only seem to exacerbate Viridian's anxieties and insecurities.
    • When the police first learn about the new vigilante, they can't officially call Izuku that yet because he hasn't fought any villains; he just alerted Pro-Heroes to crimes-in-progress so they can deal with the villains.
    • Shinso and Izuku manage to un-brainwash Ogawa by skirting around the previous brainwash and finding a way to block it without triggering it. Shinso manages to use this to free Kurogiri/Oboro from his own brainwashing.
  • Loves the Sound of Screaming: While targeting a victim with a voice-based Quirk, 'Fingers' complains that this means they won't be able to hear them screaming while they beat the hell out of them.
  • Martyr Without a Cause: As he is outright suicidal, Izuku is just shy of eager to throw himself into situations where he'll likely die, even if it isn't strictly necessary. The two things that keep him fighting rather than letting a villain kill him are trying to save said villain's victim(s) and worrying that his death might somehow hurt Bakugo's chances at becoming a hero.
  • Master of Delusion: Izuku is very good at convincing himself that he's below average and that serious injuries are nothing to worry about. Not only does he brush off Eraserhead's sincere praise of his analytical abilities, Izuku convinces himself that his arm which is visibly bent in the middle of his forearm isn't broken.
  • Meaningful Background Event: In Chapter 6, a thug complains about the flies flying around him and his group and biting them. Shortly thereafter, they all go berserk, showing signs of being affected by Trigger, even though Izuku did not see them any of them shooting up or smoking. He later realizes that there should have been no flies, because it was night and they should have been asleep. He later realizes that the "flies" were actually the delivery system for Trigger.
  • Mega Twintails: Akiko, one of the members of a villain rehabilitation group, has massive pigtails which she can use to drill through almost anything.
  • Memetic Mutation: Viridian becomes a source of memes in-universe after the New Year's attack, particularly a video of him punching a bouncer in the crotch.
  • Metaphorically True: U.A. handles the accusation that vigilantes were involved in dealing with the LOV attack on the Sports Festival by claiming that the vigilante in question was Dabi, a civilian with no prior record who was there for personal reasons and technically committed vigilantism by using his Quirk to help out, and was being let off lightly due to it being a first offense. This distracts the press from the fact that Viridian had been involved.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: People taking Trigger leads to the discovery that All For One is still alive and plotting his return.
  • Named by the Adaptation: The unnamed ponytailed reporter that harassed the students before the USJ attack is given the name Hina Yu.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Izuku's investigation into Queen Bee causes the villain to abandon her current host and kill her, something Izuku learns almost immediately afterwards - and gives her the chance to infiltrate U.A. as Hagakure.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Despite it being incredibly painful to admit due to how often it's been used to justify cruelty against him, Viridian confesses his quirkless status to Aizawa in order to comfort the man as they wait in All For One's captivity. Once All For One is dead, Aizawa immediately uses this information to track down Viridian's civilian identity, which is Izuku's greatest fear, since it represents an existential threat to the only calling in life that makes him happy. Played with in that Aizawa genuinely wants the best for Izuku and isn't trying to punish him, but Izuku has learned to fear exposure due to how horribly society at large has treated him in the past.
  • No-Sell: Being Quirkless, Izuku is totally immune to the Quirk-burning poison contained by the bees which attacked Bakugo, Ogawa, and Eraserhead. Next chapter reveals that he didn't even realize the bees were injecting him with poison.
    • It also allows him to do the same to All For One's attempt to "steal" his Quirk.
  • No Social Skills: Izuku struggles over how to make friends when prompted by Eraserhead.
  • Not So Above It All: Iida gets a moment or two likes this.
    "Please refrain from comparing our classmates to animals." Iida reprimanded. "Bakugo is a human, not a hedgehog or a pomeranian no matter how apt those comparisons may be!"
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Bakugou's attempts to apologize to Izuku fall flat when Izuku tries justifying them and saying that it wasn't really that bad. Rather than reassuring Bakugou, this just reveals how the bullying went far past physical injury and caused serious psychological damage as well.
  • Official Couple: Izuku and Denki.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Downplayed. When Aizawa offers Izuku the chance to become a Pro Hero through a rehabilitation program, Izuku rejects the offer, since he is not a vigilante and that "people like [him]" can't become Heroes. Aizawa believes Izuku is just engaging in Heroic Self-Deprecation in the aftermath of the fiasco with Queen Bee, but Izuku is actually speaking of the fact that he's Quirkless (meaning that (a) he cannot be actually accused of being a vigilante and (b) he fully expects the authorities' offer of Vigilante Rehabilitation Program membership to be taken away once he's revealed to be quirkless, as they’d never allow somone like him in.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Dabi states that only he is allowed to kill Endeavor and goes on the war path against All For One and the Villain Factory when they cause Endeavor to go missing and then die - culminating in him showing up when Shigaraki attacks U.A. during the Sports Festival and stopping him.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Dabi knows that Endeavor, for all that he was a complete asshole, he would have never resorted to Quirk-enhancing drugs as the media reports - he easily realizes that the "villain factory" is behind it.
  • Opposites Attract: Subverted. Kaminari and Izuku initially appear to be opposites, with Kaminari a "dumb" "social butterfly" with a powerful quirk and Izuku a nerdy and socially awkward Un-Sorcerer pariah. It turns out that while Kaminari is excellent at shallow socializing, he has difficulty truly opening up to people because he's been taught that his more atypical personal habits make others uncomfortable. Both Izuku and Denki are open-minded and supportive people who tend to deep dive and hyperfocus on their interests, have difficulty appreciating their real talents, are secretly very insecure about whether their loved ones honestly like them, and cherish the one friend that has completely accepted them, all while fearing coming off as creepy or clingy.
  • Pain to the Ass: During the New Year's attack, Izuku suffers minor to moderate burns on almost all of his exposed skin and gets glass shards embedded in cuts all over his body. When he goes to Denki for first aid, Denki verbally fixates on treating the wounds on Izuku's butt first.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Kaminari lampshades that Izuku seems like the sort whose brain goes so fast that they have trouble making themselves understood, as their mouth can't keep up. It takes some time for Izuku to explain his revelation regarding Kaminari's Quirk because of this.
  • Recurring Extra: Played with. While Ogawa and his friends in the Villain Rehabilitation Program play a major role in Bakugou's storyline, they're basically this to Izuku, as they keep inexplicably showing up in Izuku's periphery without him ever learning their names until Ogawa is hospitalized. It's implied Izuku was involved in many of their arrests and briefly indicated via interviews with survivors that they were patrons in the bar Izuku used to call for aid during the New Year's disaster. Ironically, despite Izuku first getting him arrested and then saving his life twice, Ogawa himself never shows awareness that they've met before.
  • Same Character, but Different: In-universe, this is what Izuku is to Bakugou. The last time Bakugou sees Izuku pre-character development, Izuku is the school's punching bag who never fights back and whom everyone either actively suicide baits and beats or complicitly allows his beating and punishes Izuku if he doesn't accept the abuse with grace. Then from Bakugou's perspective, Izuku is Put on a Bus when his mother withdraws him from school, and Bakugou doesn't see him again for almost a year. The next time Bakugou sees him, Izuku is Viridian, a famous vigilante who regularly defeats villains on the street and took down the Number 2 hero after Endeavor went berserk. The shock of this change is so great it takes Bakugou several chapters to work through it. In actuality the trope is Subverted in-universe, as while Izuku is very different, it quickly dawns on Bakugou that Izuku still bears psychological scars from his earlier circumstances.
  • Secret-Keeper:
    • It's heavily implied that Beru and Ganma have recognized Izuku as the vigilante Viridian, but choose not to mention it in gratefulness for him saving them at the New Year's party.
    • Bakugou becomes this for Izuku after seeking out Viridian for information on the Villain Factory. He doesn't like keeping the secret, because he thinks Izuku should accept the offer to become a legit hero, but he recognizes that he's hurt Izuku too much to justify disrespecting his wishes further.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Izuku simply can't see his intelligence and general ability even when told about it by Eraserhead. It's not until Izuku blazes through an entire semester's worth of online classes in two weeks that he starts to think he might actually be smart.
  • Shown Their Work: When Izuku is doing first-aid on a cashier who got severe electrical burns in a villain attack during the third chapter, the still-conscious cashier asks the vigilante why he's using cold water instead of ice to treat the burns. Izuku explains to him that using ice would either shock his system from the sudden and extreme temperature change or the ice would numb the burn so much that nobody could tell if there was further damage.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: After Katsuki starts protecting the other bullied schoolkids, following his Heel Realization, the principal tries to dissuade him from doing so, claiming that he should instead be "focused on preparing for UA". Bakugou's response is to Death Glare at the man and state flat out:
    Bakugou: I am preparing for UA.
  • Signature Move: Aizawa realizes Kaminari knows Viridian because some of his moves during the Entrance Exam heavily resemble the vigilante's. He initially thought he was Viridian, but is quickly disabused of this idea when he speaks with him and Kaminari doesn't react as expected. Some of the other students also notice the resemblance.
  • Skewed Priorities: The only real thing keeping Izuku from killing himself or letting himself die in a villain attack is that it might negatively affect Bakugou's chances of becoming a hero. How horribly his death would devastate his mother doesn't even cross his mind since he thinks she will be happier after he's gone.
  • Spanner in the Works: Viridian is this to All For One. The Symbol Of Evil compares it to trying to conduct an orchestral masterpiece, only to have the performance ruined by a random idiot butting in and playing a totally different song on a kazoo.
    • Viridian is also this in Ingenium's fight against Stain, as his getting in contact with Ingenium at Iida's request allows him and Katsuki to help Ingenium not get crippled by the hero killer and, with Crawler's help, bring him in.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Downplayed, as Ingenium isn't left paralyzed by his battle against Stain due to Viridian's intervention.
  • Spiritual Antithesis: The story at large acts as a middle-ground Take a Third Option Foil for the other two stories in the "For The Want of a Nail" fanfic series. In Mastermind: Strategist for Hire Izuku becomes a villain, in Deku? I think he's some pro... Izuku becomes the first Quirkless Pro-Hero in-training, and in this story, Izuku becomes a Vigilante (while taking advantage of the fact that the Quirkless technically can't be vigilantes) so he can still help save people without becoming a Pro-Hero.
  • Spit Take: When Bakugo tells Dabi he knows he is Touya Todoroki, he does so right as the latter takes a sip. Pfft goes the drink.
  • Stealth Expert: Izuku, due to all his time working as a vigilante, is one of these. In the final chapter, Izuku is able to, with the use of Nedzu's secret tunnels, enter Class 1-A from the drop ceiling, replace the panel he used, and sit on the bookcase in the back of the room with almost no one noticing. The only ones who notice him themselves are Jirou and Shoji due to their Quirks enhancing their hearing, and Aizawa due to having far more experience than Izuku. Bakugou, Shinso, and Todoroki only notice him because they're paying attention and notice Aizawa's minute reaction to Izuku's entrance. The others only realize he's there when he speaks up, shocking all of them.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Having to dodge Pros all the time, Izuku has become really good at the disappearing act, capable of vanishing in the smallest shadow before Heroes and policemen can react.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Izuku sets out to become a vigilante but quickly learns he has no actual relevant skills and is forced to bring heroes to the crimes he finds.
    • When Izuku is brought into the hospital with obvious signs of someone beating him and presenting a different story than his mother, the doctors take the time to ask him if he's being abused by his mother.
    • Endeavor's needlessly brutal attack against Viridian not only almost kills him, it traps people inside and ends up causing enough damage to collapse the building.
    • The only reason All For One is still alive is because of his Quirks. When he gets into Aizawa's range, he's left completely defenseless and without any healing ability, allowing Izuku to kill him with an Improvised Weapon.
  • Take a Third Option: In his first deliberate act as a vigilante, Izuku comes across a mugger in an alleyway. Not having the experience, skills or fighting spirit to take him on himself, he couldn't just leave a helpless bystander at the mugger's hands either. So instead, he heckles the pro-hero Amplifier into following him into the alleyway, managing to slip away when Amplifier noticed the crime occurring and watching the battle from a safe distance.
  • Taught by Experience: Izuku knows how to treat severe burns because he's had to treat his own burns before.
  • Tempting Fate: When Aizawa first learns about "the Green Guide" vigilante and how he's most likely a teenager, he hopes that the kid keeps alerting the Pro-Heroes to crimes instead of fighting Villains himself because it's very likely he'll get killed if he ends up getting dragged into a fight with a Villain. Izuku ends up fighting a rapist to save a reporter named Hina Yu that very night.
  • Title Drop: Early in Chapter 4, Tsukauchi mentions to Shota that the heroes who encountered Izuku call him "The Green Guide". Later, after Izuku saves Hina Yu from being raped, Hina decides to christen him Viridian for her news article about him.
  • Twice Shy: After becoming friends, Izuku and Kaminari have some trouble accepting that the other still likes them despite their faults.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: The A plot is Izuku using vigilantism to work through his suicidality and eventually getting tangled in the Villain Factory case; the B plot is Bakugou unofficially attending a Villain Rehabilitation Program. The A and B plot end up having a Working the Same Case collision when Bakugou's best friend from the rehabilitation program is kidnapped by the Villain Factory.
  • Un-Sorcerer: Izuku remains this unlike in canon, as All Might doesn't give Izuku One For All.
  • Utility Belt: Izuku finds a dark-green tool waist apron at a hardware store during Chapter 7, and decides to use it to safely carry and store his vigilante weapons.
  • Vigilante Man: Izuku becomes this because he can still help people this way and because vigilantism is defined as using your quirk like a Pro-Hero if you don't have a license, which means that with Izuku being quirkless he can't be busted for being a vigilante.
  • Villain Ball: The only reason why All For One would choose to confront Viridian and Eraserhead on his own. Justified as it's implied that All For One is going through something of a Villainous Breakdown owing to his rage at Viridian.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Downplayed. All For One appears to keep things together as his plans are driven off the rails by Viridian, but each plan becomes noticeably more tunnel-visioned as his Cold Anger builds and his failures mount. By the end of the Sports Festival, his desire to punish Viridian for his interference has overridden his common sense and he's got full grasp on the Villain Ball.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapter 4 is when Izuku has his first official fight as a vigilante, impulsively getting the criminal's attention when he realizes that his victim would get raped if he left to find a hero. After saving her, the would-be victim Hina Yu contacts the paper she works at and gives him his new name Viridian.
    • Chapter 6, where Izuku finds out for the first time about Trigger, and unknowingly finds out an important clue about how the Villains are hooking people up on it.
    • Chapter 44, where Izuku stops a villain attacking a New Year's celebration (with the implication that the villain has been sent by Queen Bee to kill Izuku) but almost dies when Endeavor deliberately attacks him with his Quirk even though he can tell he's a teenager, with Izuku escaping by pure chance. This segues into Chapter 45, where Viridian becomes famous in Japan after he gets filmed rescuing people, while Endeavor takes a huge hit for his reckless attack on Viridian, which also caused the building to collapse while there were still people inside.
    • Chapter 51, Izuku learns more about Queen Bee, including that her current host is the waitress Kaminari likes to flirt with. Or at least, she was. Izuku investigating Queen Bee caused her to take a new host and abandon the old one.
    • Chapter 60 confirms that Queen Bee's trying to enter UA as a student and that All For One has plans for Endeavor, who ends up going missing in the next chapter - where Dabi learns about that and the villain factory.
    • Chapter 69 has Aizawa suspect that Kaminari knows Viridian, Recovery Girl mentions students being stung by bees during the exam and All Might offers One for All to Kaminari.
    • Chapter 81 where Bakugo discovers that Izuku is Viridian.
    • Chapter 100 Izuku discovers that Queen Bee is using Hagakure as her host.
    • Chapter 113 where Giran and Toga capture Viridian and Eraserhead to bring them to All For One.
    • Chapter 115 where Izuku and Aizawa manage to kill All For One.
    • Chapter 117 where Aizawa discovers that Izuku is Viridian and shows up at his apartment to confront him about it.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Aizawa calls out Endeavor for using a lethal attack on Viridian that also endangered a large number of civilians and caused an entire building to collapse.
  • Wrong Assumption:
    • A fundamental assumption of the authorities' investigation into Viridian is that he has a Quirk. It never occurs to anyone that he doesn't. This is occasionally played for laughs, but mostly played for drama, because it means Viridian has completely valid reasons for not believing in their "guaranteed" offer to put him in the Vigilante Rehabilitation Program, all while the police and heroes can't understand why the offer repels him, doggedly operate under the assumption that of course capturing Viridian would help him, and conclude that Viridian's refusal comes from Viridian suffering from faulty reasoning and the kid just doesn't know what's best for himself. When Aizawa does find out the truth, he realizes that Viridian was right the whole time in thinking the offer would be taken away from him as soon as he was captured and the Hero Commission found out he was quirkless, and takes action to force a work-around.
    • When fleeing the diner and Kohaku's corpse, Izuku feels himself being watched and assumes Aizawa is following him, commenting internally about how hard it is to focus on losing his tail in his current emotional state. It was actually Queen Bee, who was ordered by All For One to hang around the diner to see if whoever hacked her hive would come back, and to follow them home.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Eraserhead tells Viridian several times that he's prime hero material, refuting Izuku's belief that he cannot be one. He repeats the sentiment after catching Izuku at his apartment, which backed by his mother's encouragement, finally convinces Izuku that he can be a hero.
  • You Have Failed Me: After Izuku removes Queen Bee from Hagakure and destroys all of her bees in a 'fireworks display', All For One decides to have Shigaraki and Kurogiri eliminate her.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: All For One decides this about Queen Bee, after her mistakes in being unable to elminate two high-profile targets (Viridian and Ogawa), followed by the destruction of her hive at the Sports Festival.

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