Disclaimer: I don't own Highschool DxD.

No One Could Save Me but You

Unfortunately, getting Incinerate Anthem to choose a wielder wasn't as easy as presenting it to Gabriel, Griselda, Xenovia and Irina. The flames had chosen none of those four and they'd more or less talked about offering the opportunity to test if the Sacred Gear would choose someone else in the future. They needed to do some heavy screening for that though and Joshua didn't even need to make that a point.

The last thing they wanted was their inside enemies getting their hands on such a powerful weapon, after all.

They might have Dulio Gesualdo on their side with Zenith Tempest, but that didn't mean they could afford to just surrender a Longinus to the other side. If anything, that just meant they had to be extra careful. They needed to hold onto their advantage more than they needed the risk of trying to get more.

On the other hand, this was a very important holy artifact that they couldn't just let someone else take. They had to do their best to get it on their side. Even with that though, Joshua had been surprised by how… lax Gabriel seemed be in regards to the item. She hadn't even tried to argue with him when he said he might do some testing of his own with other people too.

'Don't look at a gift horse in the mouth, Josh,' he told himself, letting out a weary breath and rubbing his eyes tiredly.

"Here, Mr. Joshua," Asia told him, making him blink. 'Maybe I need to take a break,' he thought, trying to gather his thoughts as he turned and then blinked again. There stood Asia with her usual beaming smile that looked even more brilliant than other times. He was almost afraid it'd blind him, honestly.

And being carried in her hands was…

"Asia, you are the best," he mumbled, smiling widely as he reached for the tray and took the cup of tea sitting on top. "The absolute best. Much better than that freeloader, Jeanne."

"Hey! I help plenty!" the aforementioned freeloader protested while Asia giggled, hugging the now empty tray to her chest.

"Thank you, Mr. Joshua. I try," the nun replied, sounding happy as she could be. He wasn't sure why she was so happy that day, but he wouldn't question it. Maybe she was just having a great day, just like how he was having an especially exhausting one… And it was still morning, because of course.

"You are supposed to take my side, Asia!" Jeanne whined. "How am I supposed to win any arguments when you take his side? His familiars already do that!"

"Sorry, Jeanne," Asia replied, turning and giving the swordswoman an apologetic look. "But you don't help around that much," she added without mercy.

"I'll help clean and cook, she said," he grumbled exaggeratedly while Jeanne made scandalized Jeanne noises somewhere in the living room. "I can help, she said."

"I literally fight for my life helping you!" she cried out.

"Bah, those are easy fights and you know it," he argued when the girl came barreling into the kitchen to defend herself. "Truly, aren't you ashamed of yourself?" he asked, raising an eyebrow at her.

She looked at him, half offended and half dismayed… until she caught his lips twitching.

"You are the worst, Joshua!" she cried out, making him burst into laughter while Asia giggled softly, bringing the tray up to cover it up. "Why do I put up with you?"

"Because my spells take care of the chores for you? I can always take them down. I hear chores help build character," he commented idly, drawing a horrified look from his sister.

"You wouldn't, right?" she asked, forcing a laugh. "Haha, that's a nice joke, Josh," she said, sounding very much nervous and not at all amused. "You… You are joking, right?"

"Hm, I don't know, am I?" he asked thoughtfully. That's when he felt something metallic tap him on the top of his head. Turning, he faced Asia, who held the tray in her hands still and a smile on her face. She looked like she was holding back more giggles.

"That's enough teasing, Mr. Joshua," she said and he rolled his eyes with a fond smile.

"Fine. Ruin my fun, Asia."

"Thank you," she replied, beaming at him. Then she turned and skipped to where she left the tray and then went about her day. "If you need me, I think I'll take a walk through the garden."

"Have fun," he called as the girl moved away. Then he turned towards Jeanne. "Did something happen?" he asked, a little confused even if he was happy to see Asia being… Well, happy too.

"She made a flower arrangement for Griselda and Gabriel yesterday and they loved it," his sister explained. 'Ah, that explains it,' he thought with a nod and a hum. When had she given it to them though? He didn't remember seeing that. "You need anything? I'm going out with Kiba in a bit."

"I need you to use-" he started, his lips pulling up.

"Josh," she hissed, eyes narrowed.

"Fine, be that way," he said with a grin on his face. "I think we are good, have fun," he told her, waving her off. "Not too much fun though," he continued quickly when his sister turned and started to leave the kitchen. "You are too young to make me an unc-!"

"Josh!" she screeched, making him laugh. That is, before he felt Morag fall on his back from where she'd been walking on the ceiling.

"Hey girl," he greeted, looking over his shoulder as the spider pulled on his hair. "You feel like playing, huh?" he added with a smile. He was interrupted by a bird's cry as Margalo flew in. "Is Nagini gonna slither in next?" he asked when he saw Cheshire calmly walking in. Then all three of his familiars looked at him. "Ok, I guess we are going to her," he decided, chuckling as he stood up and went towards the room where Incinerate Anthem was.

Not that he needed an excuse to spend time with his familiars, but he could also check on the Sacred Gear too, he supposed.

[}-o-{]

[Eliphas Levi]

He shifted nervously, leafing through the book in front of him even though he'd read it about ten times by then. It wasn't that great a number for Levi, admittedly, since he usually read books until he knew them by heart. However, he hadn't had the time he usually did to get "properly acquainted" with a tome.

No, he'd been requested for a specific job that required knowledge that he had only gotten tangentially thus far. So, in the spirit of doing well in his most important job so far, Levi had done his best with what little time he'd been given. He couldn't fail in this job, after all. There was no way. He refused.

Jobs had always been a rare thing for him, especially solitary jobs. He was usually requested by other magicians in order to be the backup for someone that was more talented in magic but that lacked in theory. He wasn't even bothered by that. He knew he was bad at actually casting magic and he accepted that. Not doing so would have been foolhardy and stupid and he prided himself in not being stupid.

It was a little demoralizing how little he could do with just theory though, he'd admit.

However, things had changed once he joined Professor Davis' Stars, as some people called them, between a variety of other nicknames. Some of those were flattering, some of those were born out of jealousy. Regardless, Levi had never had so much attention on him and suddenly he wasn't that failure of a magician that couldn't cast. He was the magician that had all the answers.

He could hardly believe it.

There were more jobs coming his way. Word seemed to be spreading around of who he was and that he'd been acknowledged by Joshua Davis himself, however vaguely so. People wanted his opinion on a number of jobs now and he wasn't treated like he was a talking book. He was an equal, maybe even a superior now. People were even asking him for tutoring and House of Water had mentioned that they might hire him to teach classes. Granted, they hadn't sounded like the offer was a certain thing, but still.

He owed all that to Joshua Davis, Levi knew, and there was nothing he wouldn't do to pay the man back. His power and skills might be few, but if it was within his limited power, then he'd do it. That much he'd sworn.

All that had led to the position he was now in, sitting with a book on his desk and waiting for his next tutoring student to show up. And what a student it was, indeed. This was, after all, his most important job up to that point. There was no doubt of that.

As the teleporting circle shone in the room they'd been provided at House of Water, Levi straightened in his seat.

"Sorry for the delay," Professor Davis said instantly, looking very apologetic indeed. As if Levi would have cared if he arrived an entire day late. He'd have waited there, too afraid and too resolute to move away anyway. "Someone just couldn't let go of her boyfriend," he commented, while the girl by his side looked entirely unashamed and unapologetic.

He heard the girl speak then, in Japanese, which he didn't understand. He had plans to learn that language though, along with a number of others. At that moment, it moved to the very top of his list. For the moment, he pulled a circle he'd prepared in advance and he was extra careful while casting it.

The last thing he wanted was a terrible first impression.

"Hello," he said once it was cast, coughing behind his hand as he gathered his courage. "I'm Eliphas Levi, but you can call me Levi."

"Aika Kiryuu," the girl replied with a smile. "Was that so I could hear you in Japanese?"

"And so I could hear you in English," he answered, drawing an impressed look from the girl. He knew the spell wasn't all that, a simple communication spell that anyone who delved in the branch even for a few spells would get. Still, he felt pretty proud of that, if only because he hadn't messed up and because of the girl's reaction. "So, Professor Davis said you needed help with Divination."

"I've been helping her so far, but I don't have as much time as she needs and books can only get her so far. I'm also no expert in the branches she wants to learn either, so there's that," the man himself replied instead of the girl as he gestured for Kiryuu to take a seat across from Levi. "So, any help would be nice."

"Joshua doesn't give himself enough credit, of course, but I won't say no to more help," the girl said, shooting the man an amused expression while Levi felt his eyes widen a little. Fortunately, he was able to hold back a more dramatic reaction but… This girl just called him Joshua? Everyone knew the man always asked to be called that until he gave up, but still… Nobody had taken him up on that for a reason. Well, except for Meredith, but she was a special case.

Was this girl an even more special case?

"Welp, with that said," Professor Davis said, clapping his hands. "I'll leave you two to that, yeah? I have stuff to do, but I'll come pick you up later, yeah?" he asked, turning towards Kiryuu at the end. "Here's your pay, by the way," the man added, placing a metal card with a Storage Spell circle carved on it. "I've come across many books, some of them repeated. You can have them as pay for these classes. If you already have them, feel free to sell them or trade them or whatever you want. If you feel like it's not enough, then we can talk more later, yeah? See you."

"Ah, but-" Levi started, only to be interrupted by Professor Davis teleporting away. Closing his mouth, he slumped on his seat. He didn't even need to be paid for this. As it was, he already felt massively in the man's debt.

"So, before we get to it, I have a question," Kiryuu commented, drawing Levi's attention back to her and he readied himself to teach her. Davis had warned him that she didn't have any normal magician education, much like himself, so she might ask or do strange things that he might have to explain to her. So, this arrangement was probably going to be a long project. "In a one to ten scale, how important is Joshua? Because I get this slight sense that he might be downplaying it for me or he might not even know the full scope himself."

Levi blinked then.

Well, that was not the kind of question he'd prepared himself for.

"An eleven?" he answered, wondering if he was, maybe, downplaying it himself. "He's the best in his field, let alone his main magic branches. He's one of, if not straight out the best magic teacher anyone that has had him as one has ever had. He's defeated one – supposedly two or three, depending on who you ask – Longinus Sacred Gear users and he's a master of spell modification, which is really hard for most people."

"... I knew I couldn't be that bad at it," Levi heard the girl grumble, clicking her tongue. "Can we change this from Divination Magic to Magic Culture? Because damn, I feel like I need a lot of context before getting involved in any of this."

That was certainly not the kind of question he'd prepared himself for.

"Ah… Sure," he answered, because what else could he do but adapt? Levi wasn't about to tell this girl no. This was a job for Professor Davis, after all. If the man himself wasn't at the very least annoyed if he messed up, then the rest of the Stars would make sure he felt their displeasure.

[}-o-{]

[Yasaka]

"-And honestly, that guy needs to get a grip. Just because he can't cast well doesn't mean he's a terrible magician," Joshua told her, rolling his eyes in exasperation.

Admittedly, it was a little ironic for Joshua to criticize someone for underestimating themselves when he was master in the art of doing just that. He was getting marginally better at it though, she supposed. His brand of humility sometimes made even Yasaka herself wonder if he was actually just downplaying his own abilities or if he truly believed what he said. It was hard to tell, from time to time.

And that was with her life sensing and generally good people reading skills honed by years and years of politics.

"You care about those students, don't you?" she asked, taking the glass set in front of her and pausing in her eating. There was no rush to get dinner over, really, and she always enjoyed herself just sitting there across from the man she had chosen. Maybe it was the time in between, maybe it was memories that were tarnished by other, less pleasant ones, or maybe it was actually how it was, but she felt like she enjoyed her dates with Joshua a lot more than she did with her ex-husband.

"I do," Joshua answered easily with a fond smile that looked so very well on him. "I guess they remind me of myself a little, a little differently for each of them."

"Does Kunou need to be jealous?" she asked jokingly, earning a laugh from the man.

"Not in a million years. My students are great and I care for them, but they are students, that's all," he replied, waving off her silly statement. Well, her daughter would certainly be happy to hear that anyway. She'd already had some trouble getting used to Asia as it was back in the day. If someone came even remotely close to threatening her place in Joshua's life… "No chances of that, I can promise. Kunou's my daughter," he added with a roll of his eyes.

Yasaka would never grow tired of hearing him call her daughter his. She suspected, in fact, that the man knew this because he took any chance to say those words or a variation of them. Either that or he knew that Kunou liked it, but he did it when their daughter wasn't around too. Yasaka liked thinking that he liked saying that himself, but either would have made her happy.

"She is," she agreed with a content smile, looking intently at Joshua. If the gulp and the slight reddening of his cheeks was any indication, he'd gotten the message. Good. She didn't know his reasons, but she'd rather encourage him to keep doing it regardless.

"Ahem, I-" he coughed, visibly struggling to talk about something to distract himself. It was very amusing, so Yasaka simply let him flounder looking for something. "Don't think I didn't notice that you don't talk about work anymore," he commented, drawing a giggle from her.

"You are just mad you can't glean ways to help me without my consent," she replied, drawing a huff from the man as he calmed himself down. A shame, that, but she was sure she could recover the progress she'd made there without problem.

"Do you have to make it sound like that?"

"I'm sure I have no idea what you are talking about," she answered with a smile as she brought her glass to her lips. When he just stared at her and raised an eyebrow, she sighed. She did hate to talk about this. It wasn't that she didn't appreciate it, but she didn't like receiving help from Joshua. She had her own reasons, of course, but talking about them…

"Yasaka," Joshua said, taking a moment after that to think something through. That was already different from usual. He usually just made a joke or said something about helping anyway. "Am I annoying you with this? Is there a reason you are so against this?" he asked, and immediately her good mood was dampened. Not because of Joshua, what he was doing or anything like that, however.

It was her fault that Joshua was hesitating now. It was her fault that his already low confidence was taking a hit. And it was all because she refused to accept help from the one person she should. It was all on her and she knew it.

"Joshua," she replied, taking a deep breath in and another sip from her drink. "I apologize."

"No, don't worry about it. I'm the one that-"

"No," she interrupted firmly, because she wasn't about to make him feel like any of it all was his fault. "I'm… I'm used to not getting help, Joshua. I'm used to doing things by myself, to not depending on someone else. I guess… That has made me reluctant to accept help."

"I should have realized I was pushing too much," Joshua told her, running his fingers through his hair. "I just-"

"Don't apologize, Joshua," Yasaka interrupted again, pinning him with a look that was much different from the previous one, but just as intent. "Helping is what you do, you shouldn't apologize about it. It's something that I adore about you, but… I guess it did become too much for me, which is why I've been so reluctant to accept your help."

"Ok… So… I should stop?" he asked, more as confirmation than actual doubt.

"I'd appreciate it," she answered with a nod.

"Ok, I can do that… Just, please tell me if you need help, ok?" Joshua asked, looking more resolute than unsure, as she expected. "Because you are important to me, Yasaka. If you struggle, I want to help. And furthermore, if you struggle, Kunou will be affected and I won't have that. So, please?"

"... I can accept that," Yasaka acknowledged, getting a soft smile and a nod from the man. "I have a feeling you'd get me to tell you if you really wanted."

"Let's call those drastic measures, yeah? Which I'd rather avoid," he replied, his grin turning more playful. "Got a little more serious there than I thought we would," he commented with a chuckle. "But… there's a reason why I want to help you most of all, Yasaka."

"Oh?..." Now she was interested in where this was going. She had a feeling, of course, but she certainly was looking forward to hearing it. Because if there was one thing she liked to hear was Joshua speaking his mind when he got like he was then.

No hesitation, only firm belief.

"I want to help you because it's what I do, yes, but I also want to help you because you helped me, Yasaka," Joshua told her and it was his time to look at her intently. "You helped me with things that I really needed help with. You helped in a time when I really needed help. And you've been my rock, the source of stability that I've needed more than once… So… I want to try and repay you at least a little of that, I guess."

"You won't believe me," Yasaka told him then, a watery smile on her face. "But you've helped me just as much if not more already," she explained and she continued then, because Joshua might be able to guess some of the things she was talking about… But she wouldn't have him doubting, unsure. She couldn't allow that. "You helped me with Kunou, who I failed time and time again. You helped me protect her and gave me the confidence that she was safe again when I feared the worst would happen at any time. You've helped make her happy. You've helped me make her happy… And you've helped make me happy. Helped me make myself happy."

She wanted to say more, she did. However, Yasaka suddenly lost all the words that she'd thought of before. There was a knot in her throat and emotions only in her mind. Nothing else seemed to pass through.

"I guess we just can't stop helping each other, can we?" Joshua asked with a smile on his face. His expression one that eased the knot in her throat but somehow left her even more at a loss for words. "What a pair we make, huh?" he added, his voice full of emotion and unreleased laugh in his tone.

"Indeed," Yasaka replied. Even she didn't know how she managed that, with the mess she seemed to have become all of a sudden. Because, for once, she was allowing her emotions to come up and out, unrestrained and uncontrolled. She didn't know how it happened… and she didn't really care.

She simply sat there, her hand setting the glass back on the table else she drop it. Then, Yasaka simply allowed herself to be overwhelmed as she stared at the man across the table. He didn't say anything himself, sitting there himself while returning her gaze silently.

"Joshua," she managed at one point, unsure if they'd stayed like that for a few seconds or entire hours.

"Yes?" he asked, his lips pulling up into another smile that was so very tempting…

"We should finish this meal quickly," she suggested, but couldn't bring herself to do as she herself said. Joshua, for his part, grinned a little wider as he pushed his plate away from him.

"How about we just go instead?" he asked, pushing his chair back. Looking at him, Yasaka felt herself returning his smile in kind and repeating his actions. "I think there's better ways to spend our time."

"Back at home?" she said, standing up when he did.

"Now you are just reading my mind," he replied with a chuckle as he made the money for the meal appear on the table with a dismissive wave of his hand.

"I think you might be reading mine instead," she told him as he moved around the table, pulled her into a kiss and teleported them back to his home.

[} Chapter End {]

Hey guys! How's it going?

Well, that last part kind of got out of hand. Several times at that, actually. That kind of makes me nervous, because whenever that kind of thing happens, I feel like it can only mean one of two things, it's either really good or really bad and… Well, we all know how my mind works by now, I'm sure.

Anyway, there's also an explanation for what happened after last chapter. I imagine some people will feel a little cheated that I didn't follow that up but I didn't feel like it was all that important, considering how it went. Maybe I'm wrong though. I've been told repeatedly that I tend to ignore parts that are supposed to be good. If so, then I apologize.

There's also some Levi, which took me by surprise a little, admittedly.

All in all, I hope you enjoyed the chapter.

As always, if you can't wait until next week for next chapter, there's up to three new chapters in my Pa tre on:

P a treon . com (slash) AdrianKing

Discord Link: discord .gg/UTDransjJZ

Random Question: What do you like about this story?

See you.