Disclaimer: I don't own Highschool DxD nor The Gamer. I own nothing, really.

Chapter 1 - The End Is Where We Begin

Maybe he shouldn't complain, but Joshua Davis thought he had the smallest bit of bad luck in life.

His early years were good enough. Not great, but good enough. Young Joshua had never been a social boy and hadn't really tried to either. He was fine by himself, staying at home with his family and watching TV, be it cartoons or documentaries. Later on, he found books through a relative and his life spiraled into whatever fictional story he could get his hands on. Eventually, he slowly made his way through other mediums until he ended up with fanfictions.

Later on, during high school, Joshua started to realize that maybe living like that hadn't been a good idea. Most of his friends had ended up going to a different school and he found himself having difficulties when attempting to socialize. He would look around and realize that he had no real friends. His own family felt distant to him and his… close acquaintances that went to the same school as him… there was little to say about those. It was disconcerting at first, and then, it slowly developed into sadness.

It was then that his hobbies became so much more. He didn't delve into the stories for entertainment anymore. Now, Joshua did it to escape a lonely existence. Maybe he should have made an effort to make friends, to connect with his family once more. But after so long, Joshua found himself struggling to socialize in any manner. Interacting felt awkward at first, and then his insides started to tie themselves into knots every time he had to talk to someone.

So, he stopped trying and simply continued on with his life. Letting the fictional worlds wrap around him and forgetting his reality.

However, he knew he couldn't keep up like that. And with a new year, he had decided to try harder. He was so tired of being alone that he would withstand any amount of awkwardness if he could grow closer to other people again.

And so, Joshua started easy, with his parents. At first, little comments here and there. Then he started spending time with his father, helping with certain projects. Or cooking with his mother or simply sitting with her to watch some TV series that she liked.

It was progress.

And this was supposed to be the next step. They were going to visit some relatives and he would try to get better there. After that, it would be going up to strangers at college. That would be a challenge, he had thought.

Joshua wouldn't get to face that situation though.

It was simply not to be.

'Why am I thinking about this now of all times?' The younger Davis wondered as he looked around bitterly while blood drops ran their way down his face from where a glass had cut above his eye.

His expression was surprisingly calm when one considered the absolute chaos that surrounded him. But his mind was numb, he realized as he looked dispassionately around.

His parents sat in the front seats. The crash had left them bruised and with little cuts here and there, but otherwise fine. His mother was screaming hysterically, although it reached the young man's ears barely as background noise. His father, meanwhile, was trying uselessly to push his door open, but the impact on his and Joshua's side of the car had rendered that route impossible, not to mention the effect it had on the Joshua's left side.

His eyes moved towards the broken window on his side. He could see several damaged cars outside, some more and some less than his family's. Screams came from some as the people tried to get survivors out of their now metallic prisons.

Joshua felt the strength leave his body along with his blood, idly wondering which of his wounds was bleeding more, his arm or his leg. Maybe he should have shouted for help, screamed his lungs out, asking for someone to help him.

But he didn't.

An even louder scream made him turn towards his mother and notice that she was looking at him or, more specifically, at his injured limbs. His father quickly turned his efforts into turning and lending him a hand, which was made quite difficult by his seat.

A piece of clothing that he couldn't identify was passed towards him and he tried to use it to put some pressure on his wounds with his right hand. It was all for naught though. It quickly turned red and the blood coming out hadn't diminished in the least.

'Doesn't feel like I have much time to be saved…' Joshua mused detachedly as his sight started blurring and the chaos of sounds muted slowly.

He turned his eyes towards his pale and concerned parents. A last look at their faces, through the mist of unconsciousness.

"No!" His father screamed, in a tone that Joshua had never heard from him. "You don't give up on me, son!" He demanded, the blurry sight of him shuffling around trying to reach his son was the only thing Joshua noticed. "You were trying so hard. It won't end like this!"

"No!" His mother screeched, it was painful to hear for the younger man. To listen to his mother scream with such a broken voice. "No, this can't be happening! You'll be alright, you'll be alright," She turned around in her seat as best she could. She sounded like she was trying to convince herself.

Joshua heard a voice outside the car, it sounded close even if he barely noticed.

His vision shook.

"I love you," He heard his mother repeat in between sobs.

Someone had moved him, apparently.

He hadn't felt it.

"I love you, son," His father breathed out. He seemed to be closer than before. "I'm proud of you."

He could only feel the cold.

His eyes closed.

And then there was only silence.


Joshua Davis sat up with a start. He was even more surprised by the fact that he was in a bathtub. Looking down, his eyes widened in horror as he saw the water in it filled with blood. Then, all at once, the memories of the cash came back to him.

Breathing faster than he had ever done in his life, he brought his arm up, out of the water, and stared at it. There was no sign of the piece of twisted metal that had pierced it when a car had hit the door next to him. Instead, there were only thin scars on his wrist.

He frowned as he slowly rubbed out the bloody water with his other hand. Joshua blinked again when he saw that there were similar scars on his other wrist.

His hands started trembling.

Shakily, Joshua let out a disbelieving chuckle when he realized that he was in a bathroom that wasn't familiar to him at all. With his whole body trembling uncontrollably, he closed his eyes and started breathing as deeply and slowly as he could. After a moment, he concentrated solely in relaxing his tense muscles. He had practice with that, he had to do similar things often when he was forced to be in social events or when his solitude got to him.

Slightly calmer, Joshua took a moment to decide what to do.

'Keep it simple, stupid,' He reminded himself, wanting to retain his cool. Opening his eyes, he decided that the first thing he should do was get all the blood away from him and if possible, out of view. And thus, he let the bathtub blood-filled water go down the drain and opened the shower to clean himself off. Then, he started filling it again. Water had always made him comfortable. He loved to swim.

Without any red in sight to remind him of… Blood… Metal… Screams… White faces… He closed his eyes again and concentrated again. He was a mess. But he was in a position that allowed for that, he supposed.

'What are these scars? Where are the wounds from the crash?' He wondered as he looked over his arms and legs. 'Where even am I?' He added while looking at the bathroom again. Looking at his body again, dread started filling him. 'This doesn't… why do I feel like something is wrong here?'

With deep breaths that he couldn't quite keep slow, he pulled himself out and stumbled his way towards the mirror. Fortunately for him, he didn't trip due to the water.

His own face looked back at him, although it looked paler than usual, which was saying something. 'All things considered, that makes sense', Joshua thought wryly. With another deep breath in, he looked over his features once more. This time though, he noticed something weird. 'My hair was shorter than this…' He frowned as he passed a hand through his shaggy black hair nervously. The sight of his deep blue eyes calmed him though, although he couldn't point out why.

This time, instead of trying to calm himself, he tried to just get his mind to actually think.

'I was in a car crash. I was… dying…' He started summarizing. 'And then… I woke up here, with slightly longer hair, no sign of the accident's wounds and scars on my wrists that seem like…' His eyes opened and the young man stared at where his forearms met his hands. 'These…' He looked back at the mirror. 'What the hell?'

Shakily taking one of the white towels in the bathroom, he absentmindedly started drying himself. His mind wasn't into that though. It was like his body had went into autopilot while his brain tried to make some sense out of what was happening.

Wrapping the towel around his waist. He walked slowly out of the bathroom.

What welcomed him was a bedroom. A small one, and it was so plain that he got the distinct impression that it was a hotel room of some kind. There was the bed, a desk and, clearing all doubts, the baggage that he had brought for the trip.

'What am I doing here?' The young man asked himself as he looked around, suddenly unsure of what to do. Feeling his body grow cold, he guessed he could at least dress before starting to think on anything. Soon, he stood in the room wearing a simple pair of black jeans, black sneakers and a navy-blue t-shirt.

Absentmindedly, he started pacing around, looking around keeping his mind occupied or maybe distracted was a better word. It was while he was inspecting the desk that he found a piece of paper. A simple, innocent sheet. The content was anything but innocent though.

A suicide letter.

Sitting at the desk and looking at it, he noticed his own name heading the whole thing… Joshua then proceeded to read through it, with growing dread. He read about… himself and how his family died in… 'In the crash? But… they were fine! I remember them being fine! I was the one that…' And, as he continued through it, he read about his other self being… 'Fine? But… my wounds…' His eyes then trailed off towards his left leg and arm, where the scars of the accident should have been. And, at the end, he explained how he had given up. How the death of the only people close to him had been the last straw.

'What the hell?' He thought to himself as he slowly set the paper back on the desk and rested his forehead on his palm. 'I died, I know I did… or should have, at least. I remember the wounds, and all. And my parents were fine, or… mostly fine. If I survived surely they did too…' He tried to rationalize. 'So… why… and why don't I remember…?'

A tear fell down his cheek.

Closing his eyes with a pained expression, he continued taking deep breaths. His mind ran a mile an hour despite his desire to calm down. The contradictions of his memories and the proof around him battling for the right to be real in his brain.

After a long moment, he regained a semblance of tranquility, he opened his eyes.

"What the hell?!" He pulled back in shock, accidentally falling to the ground together with the chair he had been sitting on. Unfortunately, what surprised him followed right after him. What was it? Well…

[Skill Unlocked: Meditation]

The black text appeared in the middle of a blue square screen. For a long moment, there was silence as Joshua stared in stupefied surprise at the box floating midair in front of his face. Then, surprise morphed into disbelief and ultimately… shocked amusement.

'Sure… things weren't weird enough already, were they?' He thought to himself, trying to add a bit of levity to the unbelievable situation. And then… it hit him.

'I died…' He thought, strangely only listing the fact instead of lamenting it. 'I know I did… and now I wake up in… whatever this is, and read that my parents are the ones that died and not me…' He continued, a focused frown taking over his face as he stood up, and pushed the blue square aside to check the letter again. 'And I somehow… killed myself after surviving? And then, there's this,' His eyes turned to the screen on his side.

'It can't be, can it?' He laughed nervously. 'Status?'

[Joshua Davis

Title: None

Race: Human

Strength: 3

Speed: 5

Dexterity: 3

Vitality: 4

Perception: 2

Magic: 1]

'What the… I… just what… I mean… but it is… what?' He stammered, out loud and in his own mind. His brain was unable to come up with something to say about what appeared in front of him.

A sigh escaped his lips then as his shoulder slumped. 'What happened to me?' He thought to himself dejectedly before his mind came up with the most plausible explications for what happened to him. 'I'm hallucinating, or in a coma because of the accident… or am in a different world where my parents died and I killed myself because of it,' He summarized mentally. 'And I have a Gamer System of some kind, can't forget about that,' He added sardonically.

'Definitely a dream or something,' He nodded, although, he didn't really believe that. He had had dreams. And he knew this wasn't it. Hallucination of some kind it might be, but not a dream.

Slowly, feeling his body go numb, Joshua picked up the chair from the floor and took seat at the desk. With the screen on one side and the letter on the other, he tried to think about what was happening. 'Tried' being the key word there, because his mind seemed to have decided it was done with the insanity around him.

He went over the letter one more time. Now though, he took his time, reading every word carefully. It seemed that everything had ended for the other Joshua. His parents were buried, and he had pushed everyone away. Understandable, really, considering what he was planning on doing.

'It means I'm alone though,' He bitterly realized. Then, his eyes trailed off towards his now scarred wrists. 'What's even the point anymore?'

"You don't give up on me, son!" He shook as his father's words resonated in his mind. Then he laughed hollowly.

'This really was me, wasn't it?' He mused with an empty half-smile as he eyed the letter. 'I really did this,' He finally accepted. 'This was the me from… another reality?'

'And now,' His blue eyes found the blue of the screen, still floating on his other side. 'I got another chance, somehow,' Oddly enough, he wasn't as happy about that as he thought he should have been.

"You were trying so hard. It won't end like this!"

"You'll be alright, you'll be alright."

Joshua closed his eyes. He could almost hear their voices like they were really there. And then, he wept. Wept for the life he had lost, for the parents he would never see again and for lost opportunities.

And from those regrets, a resolution took shape.

He opened his eyes, looking for the first time out the window in front of the desk. His eyes still leaking tears from the sides and a shaky smile on his face, but still determined. He had doubted and feared enough for an entire life, literally.

'No more,' He decided. 'Let's make the best out of this.'



English – Lvl 45/50

Determines the user's ability to understand English.]

[Meditation – Lvl 1/100

Determines the user's ability to connect with his inner energies.

Increases stamina, health and magic regeneration by 1% while actively meditating.

Increases stamina, health and magic regeneration by 0.1% passively.]

'Well, sorry for not being fucking thesaurus,' Was the man's first thought at seeing that he lacked 5 levels to max English. After that, he settled for taking in what all this meant for him.

'This is a very lame list of skills,' Joshua thought to himself as he sipped from the coffee cup in his hand. After crying his eyes out and mourning his losses for a few hours, he decided that leaving the hotel room for a moment would be good. And thus, he ended up finding a seat in a cozy little café nearby and ordering his favorite drink in the world.

'I can work on that though,' He decided, determinedly ignoring the bitter feeling that pooled in his stomach. It would get some time to get over all that had happened. But he had always been good at pushing aside bad feelings. It had helped him ignore his problems for the longest time, but for once it would actually be useful.



Increases the growth speed of all stats and skills by 20%.]

'That's not bad, not bad at all,' He nodded to himself, a small pleased smile making its way to his face before he squashed it. Nobody was looking at him, but he still would need to stop himself from showing anything. Nobody could see the system, it seemed, and he wanted to keep it a secret for as long as possible.

After a moment, he called for his status screen once more.

'No level, HP, MP, no Intelligence, no Wisdom, no Charisma, no Luck… This is one weird Gamer System alright,' He mused to himself before his blue eyes focused on a specific point in the screen. 'Magic though… does that mean that there was magic in my old world? Or is that another alternate reality thing? Something to look into, I guess.'

Blinking, he pulled out his phone and started searching the internet for any of the fictional worlds he was aware of. 'If I can have magic and a Gamer system then anything is possible,' He reasoned. The problem with that was, most magic centric worlds he was aware of had magic be a secret to the public. That made searching confirmation in the internet difficult. He did check for DC and Marvel references just in case. In the end though, he gave up and decided that he would look into it if he ever found anything regarding actual magic. Besides, he didn't want to unknowingly get himself in a tough spot for searching something he had no business even knowing about.

'Let's continue with this,' He decided as he turned to the screens once more. 'Options?... nothing, huh? Inventory?... No inventory? Now, that's a disappointment if I ever saw one. Quests?... I don't know why I'm even surprised anymore.'

'So, this is what I've got,' Joshua thought as he looked at the blue boxes and considered his options. The thought of contacting his family crossed his mind, but it was quickly pushed aside. He had never been very close to them, and it didn't feel like they were really his family, anyway. They were as good as strangers with all the alternative reality bullshit going on around him.

'Might as well just get a job and go from there, right? I don't have enough to last me for long, after all,' He decided idly, his mind focused on short term problems first. Like getting himself an actual place to stay instead of a hotel room. That and food too. Considering how his system was looking, he wasn't holding his breath for not needing to eat or drink or sleep.

Then, he sighed and stood up, going to stand before the man that seemed to be the manager of the café.

Back in his world, he would have been worried sick about talking to a stranger, let alone asking for a job. Now though, either due to his recent death, or resolution or both, he found it laughably easy. Not comfortable, at all, but easy nonetheless. What was the worst that could happen? Him being told no? Big deal, he would ask in every store and business in the city if he had to. Someone was bound to employ him.

'Why didn't I ever think like that back home?' He bitterly asked himself as he explained his desire to the manager (after confirming that his guess was actually right). The man was understandably skeptical about employing someone without experience. However, after answering a question about how he had come to be on that city when he was from elsewhere, the man's eyes quickly softened.

"You know what," He told Joshua. "You work here for a week, we teach you what you need to know and if you do well enough, you get the job. What do you think?"

"That sounds perfect, Mr. Robinson," He replied instantly, giving the man a grateful smile, that ended up being little more than a quirk up of his lips. Thankfully, the manager didn't comment on it. Internally though, Joshua told himself that he would have to work on that. It wouldn't help with his job if he couldn't even smile at the customers.

On his way back home, Joshua couldn't help but be relieved that he had acted quickly, less he give time to his insecurities to come back. Maybe it was pessimistic of him, but he thought there was a good chance of that happening. But that was a problem for future Joshua.


[Cooking – Lvl 3/50

Determines the user's ability to cook.

Increases food preparation speed by 6%.

Increases the quality of cooked goods by 3%.]

'Not bad, I guess,' Joshua thought as he waited for the manager to decide. The week had passed, and he was very surprised that the skill wasn't higher leveled. He wasn't a chef by any stretch of imagination, but he wasn't bad at cooking. Still, nobody had complained and he didn't notice any customer looking particularly bothered by his drinks so, maybe it was something else that he was missing.

Taking a deep breath in, he pulled up the first skill that he unlocked since waking up.

[Meditation – Lvl 2/100

Determines the user's ability to connect with his inner energies.

Increases stamina, health and magic regeneration by 2% while actively meditating.

Increases stamina, health and magic regeneration by 0.2% passively.]

It had leveled even less than Cooking, although it made a lot of sense considering that he spent almost the whole day working at the café and he also cooked for himself, while he only used Meditation before going to bed for half an hour or so.

And that was with a few days grinding the skill like a madman, going to bed late and all. Spoiler: It hadn't been a good idea. At all.

No, he definitely couldn't go about leveling skills and spells like the Gamers of fiction. Those crazy training schedules didn't apply to real people that could actually get tired and needed sleep, food and such things. Which, to his infinite disappointment, applied to him.

During the week, Joshua had also spent most of the money he had renting a cheap small apartment close to the café. If he didn't get the job, he would be in a tight spot, but he had enough to manage for another month if he cut back a little on food and managed to make some money on some odd job here and there. It wouldn't be ideal, but he could deal with it.

He really hoped he did though, and not only for the much needed stability it would bring to his… new life. Joshua had found himself enjoying the rather simple job, if he was being honest. It was… peaceful, and while it did involve talking with people, it was also in a slightly detached manner that made things easier. Which helped a lot, because after his newfound determination wore off a bit, he had found himself with much less confidence, even if he was better than before… the event.

Back to what he had been doing over the week, Joshua had also started making plans. He had looked around the city and found several places of interest. Gyms, to look for a way to increase his stats. Fighting classes, for some useful skills, since he was pretty sure that there would be conflict of some kind in this world. The gamer system had to be there for a reason, after all. He had also looked for a library, a bunch of other places that could provide useful and not so useful skills. He had even noted down two 'magic' stores. He was very sure that most of the stuff in those places was fake. However, there was the smallest chance of finding something genuine there, and thus, he needed to make sure.

'Definitely an anime world,' Joshua mused idly with an amused smirk as he saw yet another person with an odd hair color. The first day, he hadn't noticed those irregularities. The second, he had reasoned that they had just dyed their hair, it wasn't like people doing that was that rare. But by the third day, he had to give up that logic. Especially when he saw a family with the father and the two children having green hair.

A quick search on the internet had confirmed that, indeed, hair color could naturally be just about anything in this version of his world. They were rarer than, say, brown or black, but they weren't that rare. Kind of like redheads.

'That reduces the number of possibilities,' Joshua had reasoned at the time, re-checking for any world that he knew with the same luck. 'Still, it wasn't like I watched every anime in existence, which… is a bit of a problem right now,' He grimaced at the thought. Not knowing anything about the world he was now part of was troublesome, maybe even downright dangerous depending on the world.

"Well, you seem to be learning quick, which is good," Peter said, pulling Joshua from his thoughts before he turned to listen to the manager. "So, I'll happily have you working here. You aren't quite there yet though, so keep on improving."

Joshua smiled, maybe the biggest smile since waking up in that bathroom. It wasn't a big one, nor did it wash away all the other feelings inside him. But it was a start.

"I love you."

"I love you, son."

"I'm proud of you."

He closed his eyes, relishing in the memory.

His smile widened the smallest bit.

[} Chapter End {]

Hey guys! How's it going?

So, this is the first chapter of our new story. I was initially going to write the usual, you know, with the MC waking up in Kuoh with a highschooler's body. But then I thought, there's enough clichés in this shit already, let's put some relatively original stuff there too or, you know, try to, at least.

And thus, here we are. Joshua is around twenty years old, and his location is definitely not Japan. Poor guy doesn't even know in which world he's been dropped in. I think this'll be a lot of fun, if nothing else.

If you've read my other Gamer fic, Game of Shadows may have also noticed that the Game System is different. I've said it several times on that series, but GoS was an experiment. A learning project, if you will. And from there I've picked up things that I liked and some that I didn't. All that ending on what the System 2.0 we're going to be working with in this series. I hope you like it.

As always, if you can't wait until next month for next chapter, the next chapter will be available up to three weeks in advance on my Pa tre on:

P a treon . com (slash) AdrianKing

Random Question: How do you think our guy will find out just where he is?

See you.