ARISE: A Solo Leveling Collection

by Laura-chan

Author's Note: Ok guys, here I am with a new story. It's been a long time since I've written something (as you can see from my profile), but during the lockdown I fell in love with Solo Leveling and I'm utterly disappointed by the lack of fanfictions – especially Jin-woo/Hae-in ones.
So here it is.

I know that the title isn't that original, but after two days of thinking, nothing better came to mind.

IMPORTANT: There will be SPOILERS from the novel.

The stories – most of them one-shots – will take part after Jin-woo & Hae-in's date: I'm moving into a "what if?" realm, that is "what if they had more time to spend together, what if all the chaos with the Dragon Emperor and so on happened a few months after the date and not almost immediately after that?"

I will probably also write some mature scenes: because, even though Jin-woo seems to be hormones-less, I can't imagine a healthy 25 years old not wanting to have a physical relationship with his (beautiful) girlfriend. Of course, if I'll write mature scenes, the rating of the story will change.

I'll try not to make them OOC.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything. Everything belongs to Chugong and Jang Sung-Rak.

I'm Italian, so English is not my first language: forgive any mistakes I may do.



It was the vibration of the cellphone that woke her up.

Cha Hae-in had been sleeping deeply, a sleep without dreams, which didn't happen often: since her awakening two years before and her entrance in the Hunters Guild, she hadn't been able to sleep as peacefully as she was once used to. Hae-in had always been a cautious and responsible girl and that disposition just increased tenfold when she became a S-rank hunter.

So, at first she was confused: confused by the sound near her head and confused by being woken up so suddenly from a sound sleep.

Without moving her body, Hae-in lifted a hand and patted around slugglishly on the night-table near the bed, searching for her cellphone: when she finally found it, she opened one grey eye and checked the caller.

Cursing mentally, she answered with a sleepy: "Master Choi?"

"Hunter Cha, did I wake you up?"

She could feel the sardonic smile in his voice and aswered honestly. "You did. What happened?"

"I know it's early, sorry, but it's an emergency: the Hunter Association has found an A-rank gate near the Namsan Tower. We don't know how long it's been open, we need to close it today. Can you be here in 45 minutes?"

It took her sleepy mind a few moments to catch up with the news and calculate the time.
"It will probably take me a hour." Hae-in admitted "I need to get ready and get there, even if it's early..." she turned her eyes to look at the dawning sky out of the windows, "...there won't be much traffic, but still, probably a hour."

"Okay, arrive as soon as you can."

"Yes Master Choi."

Hae-in closed the call and leaned her head back on the pillow, eyes closed, trying to regain her bearings.

It was then that she realized there was something heavy on her stomach: she suddenly opened her eyes and looked down.

Her entire posture relaxed and she smiled sweetly when she saw the dark head of Sung Jin-woo, still asleep, resting just under her breasts: in her dazed awakening, she had forgotten he had slept at her apartment that night.

Hae-in took a few moments to admire his sleeping features as her fingers moved to caress his black hair: it was the first time she had been able to catch him unaware and she marvelled how much younger he looked when he wasn't awake.

Even at the amusement park and in the clearing in Japan there had been an underlying tension in his body, and the morning after he had woken up before her – as he usually did – so this was the first time she could look at him still asleep.

She stroked his hair, remembering how he had appeared like magic late in the night, looking exhausted, probably from overseas: Hae-in had long lost the battle of trying to understand, or even just follow, Jin-woo's movements all around the globe. She had experienced his way of traveling with the shadows and was still amazed by his ability.
The night before, Jin-woo had looked at her with that gaze he had sometimes, full of both loneliness and determination, and Hae-in truly wished he would trust her with his worries and let her help: however, he was always fighting alone.

So she had been surprised by his arrival, but concluded that he was, for once, seeking companionship: thus, she had put down the book she was reading and opened her arms. He had exhaled, relieved, and undressed quickly, before moving into her embrace on the bed, nestling his head under her chin, his long, strong arms enveloping her body.

Hae-in, if she had to be totally honest, wasn't actually sure what was this... thing... going on with Jin-woo: sure, he had asked her out on a date, they had went out for dinner twice, they chatted on the phone, he would come to her apartment and they would talk for hours, they kissed and had decided to take a step forward not long ago... Nonetheless, they had never talked about what they were and sometimes Hae-in was confused: was Jin-woo her boyfriend? Were they just dating and having some fun? Was there something more?

From her part, Hae-in could answer that yes, there was something more: after the Jeju Island raid she had developed a crush on him, which had evolved into a stronger feeling the more she knew him. She liked how she could be just a young woman, and not a S-rank hunter, when she was with him; she liked how safe and relaxed and simply happy he could make her feel.

But Jin-woo was always quite mysterious and not open with his feelings: during their date, he had said she was his only friend. And maybe he was kidding, but people don't go around kissing and sleeping with their friends, right?

Moreover, Hae-in was embarassed by the idea of asking him clearly what he though about her. So she just went with the flow.

Looking at the screen of the phone, Hae-in inwardly groaned when she realized she had lost ten precious minutes while thinking about her relationship with Jin-woo. Slowly, trying not to awake him, she gently moved his head from her stomach and disentangled her legs from his: Jin-woo frowned but continued sleeping.

'Whoa, he must have been really tired.' she marvelled.

She quickly moved into the bathroom and did her business, while trying to decide which of her armours would suit her best for the raid. She put on some coffee, she would need it, and realized she didn't have time for a full breakfast.

'So, no rice or kimchi... just a quick toast.' Hae-in thought sadly.

She put the bread in the toaster and went to put on the designated suit: as usual, it was a solid, form-fitting, metal armour which covered her from neck to toe, red and black as she preferred.

While she was standing in the kitchen, drinking her coffee and spreading some jam on the toast, she heard something shuffling and moving from the bedroom: soon after, Jin-woo appeared in the doorway, face sleepy and with a bed-head, still wearing only his underpants.
Hae-in felt her heart swelling by how adorable he looked.

"Raid?" Jin-woo asked, hiding a yawn behind his hand.

"Yes, an urgent one. Master Choi called me earlier... sorry if I woke you up." she explained, feeling regretful.

Jin-woo just shrugged and came closer, wrapping his arms around her waist: Hae-in leaned her head on his shoulder and inhaled his cool scent, hoping to get her fill so that for the day she could resist the stench emitted by other hunters.

After a few moments she moved away: "Sorry," she said disappointed "I'm on a tight schedule, I must be at Namsan Tower in..." a glance at her phone made her groan "...twenty minutes, I'll never be there on time!"

A low chuckle made her look up: Jin-woo was watching her with an amused look in his eyes.
"Don't worry." he said "I can give you a lift."

Hae-in just looked at him, not comprehending what he meant.

"With Kaisel." Jin-woo clarified.

Her grey eyes widened and she smiled widely.
"Thank you!" she exclaimed, cupping his face in her hands and giving him a sound kiss.

Hae-in then released him and proceeded to eat her toast, munching in a way much happier than before: Jin-woo just stood there for a few moments, looking dazed, not used by this show of affection and emotion by her, who was known to be a cold woman.
"Ok." he coughed "It's better if I get dressed, I'll take a shower when I'll go back home."

Five minutes later, they were both ready: Hae-in quickly checked that everything in the apartment was in order – or almost in order, as the bed was still unmade – tied up her hair into a ponytail and grabbed her sword, nodding at Jin-woo.
He opened a window and jumped outside, his eyes flashing blue as he summoned Kaisel: as it was still early, dawn had barely passed, no one seemed to notice the dark wyvern suddenly appearing in the sky.

Hae-in, too, jumped on the shadow dragon and swung the window close as best as she could: since she lived on a high floor, she wasn't worried about someone entering her home from there. She sat down behind Jin-woo, wrapping her arms around him, and he ordered Kaisel to fly towards Namsan Tower.

Choi Jong-in was getting impatient: most of the attack force was already on the spot, together with some hunters from the Association. The mining and extraction forces had been informed about the raid and were on their way: since they weren't needed in the beginning, they weren't in a rush. Only a few people of the mining force, like team leader Bae Yoon-suk and miner Lee Sung-gu - who had worked with Jin-woo before he had been aknowledged as Korea's 10th S-rank hunter, were there.

Choi Jong-in started tapping his feet, hoping Cha Hae-in would appear soon: without her, it was dangerous to enter such a powerful gate. He may have been the "Ultimate Soldier", but Cha Hae-in was stronger than he was and a force to be reckoned with.

"She only has five minutes." he muttered.

"Please, calm down Master Choi." said A-rank Son Ki-hoon, who had once been saved by Jin-woo, trying to reassure his leader. "Hunter Cha will be there in time, she always is a responsible person."

"I know." admitted Choi Jong-in. "And it's my fault for calling her for last. I just don't like having a powerful gate this close to Seoul's city center."

"I agree." Son Ki-hoon glanced towards the blue swirling portal, the magic energy coming from it making the hair on his neck stand up. He wondered how it could be that no one had noticed it as soon as it appeared, but he sighed and though that non-hunters or even E-rank and D-rank hunters couldn't feel the energy as strongly as higher ranks did, and the gate hadn't actually been visible from the Tower.

"Uh? What's that?" a mage on the attack force suddenly asked, pointing a finger to the sky.

Son Ki-hoon and Choi Jong-in raised their head and gaped at the black shadow moving quickly towards their direction.

"Wha-?" Son Ki-hoon gasped.

"That's... that's Hunter Sung Jin-woo." answered Choi Jong-in looking perplexed and a bit worried. He wondered why Hunter Sung was coming to their gate: he hoped it wasn't because he needed it, that wouldn't be the first time...

"That's quite a strong gate." Jin-woo declared as they approached Namsan Tower.

"Yes, I guess that's why it's urgent to close it... it's truly in the center of Seoul." Hae-in bit her lip: the cool air around them had definitely woken her up and she was ready for battle.

As they hovered just over the gate and the other hunters, Jin-woo turned around so he could look at her seriously. "Just be careful, alright?"

Hae-in watched him carefully and tried to examinate the reason of his behaviour. "Do you feel something weird?" His sensory ability was much better than hers, so it was better to listen to him if he sensed something strange.

"No, no." he smiled slightly to reassure her, taking her hand in his and entwining their fingers. "Just, it's powerful and who knows what's in here. But it's nothing that you can't take."

Hae-in blushed a bit, hearing the praise in his words and comprehending that he was just worried about her. She turned her head to look at the gate, hoping to hide her reddening cheeks and ears, but failing.

Jin-woo's smile widened as he pushed a strand of blond hair behind her ear. 'How adorable.' he though, liking how she still blushed after all this time. Hae-in was really a modest and private person and she wasn't used to hearing praises and having someone worrying about her after she became a S-rank hunter.

"I'm always careful." Eventually she answered. "But still, thanks." she smiled.

She moved her legs, ready to jump down from the shadown wyvern, when a hand grabbing her arm stopped her.
"Hey, hey." Jin-woo frowned. "Not even a goodbye? And I could make Kaisel go lower, so it would be easier for you to jump down."

Hae-in looked at him a bit perplexed and then laughed as she realized what he meant.
"Sorry, sorry, you're right."

So, for the second time that morning, she cupped his face with her hands and moved closer: his hands grabbed her waist as they kissed sweetly and lazily. Hae-in truly enjoyed kissing Jin-woo: his lips were always soft, even if a bit dry. Both of them hadn't had many romantic experiences in their lives, so they were learning together what to do and what they liked, and Hae-in was quite happy about this.

After a few moments they separated and Hae-in hugged him, leaning her head on his shoulder.
"I must go now or I'll be late." She nuzzled her face in his neck, inhaling his smell: he really did smell good to her and she wasn't used to people, hunters especially, smelling good.
"And don't worry, I can jump fine from here."
Honestly, it was actually lower than when she jumped from the helicopter on Jeju Island.

"See you soon." she smiled brightly.

Jin-woo cupped her face with one hand and caressed her cheek with his thumb. "See you soon. Write to me when you finish the raid."

Hae-in rolled her eyes and grinned: "Yes, dad!" It was like sometimes he forgot she was a S-rank, one of the best actually.

Jin-woo huffed and watched as she slid along Kaisel's flank and jumped down to earth.

Choi Jong-in, Son Ki-hoon and the other members of the Hunters Guild watched cautiously as the shadow dragon hovered over them, flying slowly in circles.

"What is he doing?" wondered a long-haired female healer, the same one who Jin-woo had met in the Red Orcs dungeon.

Choi Jong-in was asking himself the same thing and was actually getting more worried as time passed.
"Maybe he's just checking if everything is alright...?" Son Ki-hoon suggested.

Suddenly they all gasped as they saw something red falling down from the wyvern.

"Ah! It's Hunter Cha!" someone exclaimed.

Cha Hae-in landed elegantly on her feet, her legs bent to cushion the fall: after a moment, she stood up straight and looked upwards towards Kaisel. She smiled and lifted an arm to wave at Jin-woo.

Jin-woo was now visible standing up on Kaisel's back and waved slightly with a hand, before ordering the shadow to move away: soon, they were just a dark smudge against the sky, before disappearing completely.

Hae-in turned to her teammates and stopped in her tracks when she saw everyone watching her with mouths agape and wide eyes.

"Vice-master!" a young female mage called as she moved closer to Hae-in. "What was that, why where you with Hunter Sung?" the attack force moved to surround her, all talking excitedly and asking many questions.

Hae-in was completely taken aback by this behaviour and for an instant could only gape at them, the tops of her ears reddening. She hadn't realized that Jin-woo accompanying her would have created all of this chaos, but she should have foreseen it: after all, Jin-woo was a national hero and the members of the Hunters Guild had worked with him closely and admired him greatly.

"He was just giving me a lift." she stammered, embarassed. "I was going to be late otherwise."

Choi Jong-in watched the scene from afar, rubbing his chin with a hand: he had known that Hunter Cha and Hunter Sung had gone on a date some time before, he had been asked his thoughts about that by journalists and reporters, but hadn't been aware that their relationship had progressed this much. Because, since it was quite early, it was obvious that the only way Sung Jin-Woo had known that Cha Hae-in needed a "lift" was due to the fact that they were together when Choi Jong-in had called: and when he had called, Cha Hae-in had been sleeping so...

Choi Jong-in let that trail of thought fade: after all, it wasn't his business who his hunters dated or slept with. As long as Cha Hae-in did her work in the gates, he wouldn't have anything to say about her relationship with Hunter Sung.

The other members kept pestering Cha Hae-in and she was getting increasingly flustered, so Choi Jong-in clapped his hands to regain control of the situation.

"Everyone, leave Hunter Cha alone." he said sternly. "What she does in her free time is her own business. Let's move, we have a gate to close."

With that, everyone calmed down and became serious again.

The mining team leader, Bae Yoon-suk, just chuckled lowly and murmured to Lee Sung-gu: "Well, who would have thought that things would have evolved like this for Hunter Cha and Hunter Sung? Remember the first time he came with us? Probably that was the first time they met."

Lee Sung-gu, who still hadn't forgotten how Sung Jin-woo had looked at him in that occasion, just grumbled: "Well, that's a boy full of secrets, so who knows."

Bae Yoon-suk laughed out loud and patted his companion on the shoulder: "C'mon Hunter Lee, it's always nice to see love blossoms between two young people! Don't be a surly old man!"

Hae-in, blush faded, moved to stand beside Choi Jong-in: "Usual tactic?" she asked.

"Yes." he answered. "I'll stay in front, you'll go protect the rear."

She nodded and was just starting to walk to the back when Choi Jong-in's voice held her back, making sure only she could hear. "Next time it's better if you don't bring your famous boyfriend to work." His grin and tone of voice told her that he was teasing her, but still Hae-in blushed and stammered. "Well, you know..."

Choi Jong-in laughed and said "Don't worry Hunter Cha. Hunter Sung is always welcome." and with that he walked to the front, so they could begin the raid.

Hae-in moved to the rear, hiding her red face with a hand. "Aaaahhh." She exhaled. It was not her day.

'Still', she smiled ' wasn't bad starting the day with Jin-woo.'

Hae-in glanced one last time in the direction he disappeared to and then took the first step inside the portal.

So here it is guys!
I realized as I wrote this that I'm bit rusty in writing fanfictions and in writing in English, so it'll take me some time to get used to it once again.
Schedule will be erratic, as I am also working for my phd and due to covid I fell quite behind.
Hope you enjoyed.
If you did, please leave a review!