ARISE: A Solo Leveling Collection

by Laura-chan

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 only own the plot and AU characters that may appear).
Superman (it's not easy) is not mine either, it belongs to Five for Fighting.

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

P.S. – The stories won't follow a chronological order.


Cha Hae-in sipped her champagne from the flute, looking around the crowded room: the Hunters Association had organized a ball for Korean Hunters over rank B and so here she was, together with almost all the members of her Guild.

The smell was disturbing, but not overwhelming and she was slightly enjoying the conversation and the food.

Hae-in was standing on a mezzanine near her Guildmaster Choi Jong-in, who was talking to Reapers' and Fame's Guildmasters Lim Tae-gyu and Ma Dong-wook: in the corner of the eye she could see Baek Yoon-ho with a few White Tiger guildmembers wading through the crowd to reach them. She sighed and hoped there won't be any scenes between Choi Jong-in and Baek Yoon-ho: she wasn't in the mood for playing moderator. Unwittingly, her eyes moved to a corner of the ballroom where a tall, dark-haired man was surrounded by a multitude of people: Hae-in frowned as a particularly bold woman entwined arms with the man, but luckily Jin-woo swiftly and subtly freed himself.

The blonde woman averted her gaze and bit her lower lip: she was starting to regret the privacy of their relationship, because she couldn't just go and taking him away from those harpies. Hae-in didn't want to be in a bad mood the whole evening, so she went back to listen to the other S-ranks' conversation.

Music started to resound in the room and many couples started to dance: Hae-in watched them enviously, but shook her head smiling wryly. 'No use hoping for more'.

On the other side of the room, Jin-woo was feeling exasperated by the people constantly clamoring for his attention and the touchy-feely way some of the women were behaving in: Jin-ho was controlling most of the crowd, but still it was a bit too much for him.

The Shadow Sovereign's slate eyes moved upwards to the mezzanine: highly visible, there, were some of his acquaintances and his girlfriend. Hae-in was wearing a scarlet long dress and and her hair was lightly curled: she was like a beacon among the men wearing dark or grey suits.

As a hand grabbed, again, his forearm, Jin-woo glared and lost his patience: he grasped Jin-ho's shoulder and with him flash-stepped closer to the mezzanine, ignoring the younger man crying out "Hyung-nim!". Maybe it was time to publicize his relationship...

Hae-in stiffened when Choi Jong-in, Lim Tae-gyu, Ma Dong-wook, Baek Yoon-ho and the others around them starting greeting someone coming up behind her.

"Good evening Hunter Sung!" Choi Jong-in smiled, extending a hand to him. Jin-woo smiled back and shook hands with him. "Are you fine Master Choi?" "Not bad, thanks."

"Ah, Sung Jin-woo! Nice to see you in Korea for once!" Baek Yoon-ho wrapped a large arm around the other man's shoulders in a friendly way. "I need to come back home sometimes." the black-haired man replied.

Hae-in sipped again her champagne and her lips curled upwards as she watched Jin-woo intreract with the other Hunters: selfishly, she also felt relieved that he got away from the other women. The blonde inwardly groaned: she hated feeling jealous and insecure.

A few notes from a once famous, slow song resounded in the air and Hae-in sighed in longing.

A long-fingered hand appeared in her visual field and she raised her gaze, gaping.

"Want to dance?" Jin-woo grinned knowingly.

It took her a few seconds to understand what was happening, then she smiled bashfully and took his hand. "Yes, please."

"Let's go then." And he guided her to the dancefloor, ignoring completely the incredulous stares around them.

I can't stand to fly
I'm not that naïve
I'm just out to find
The better part of me

I'm more than a bird,
I'm more than a plane
I'm more than some pretty face beside a train
It's not easy to be me

"I wasn't expecting this." Hae-in said, as she wrapped her arms around his shoulders: Jin-woo's fingers felt hot against her sides.

"I was getting annoyed by other people." the Shadow Sovereign answered lightly, but Hae-in understood the hidden meaning and smiled in pleasure.

"Is this for me?" she pressed against the red handkerchief in the chest pocket of his black jacket. "I remember you asking which colour my dress was going to be."

"Maybe." Jin-woo answered, grinning.

I wish that I could cry
Fall upon my knees
Find a way to lie
'Bout a home I'll never see

It may sound absurd but don't be naïve
Even heroes have the right to bleed
I may be disturbed but won't you concede
Even heroes have the right to dream
And it's not easy to be me

"You know what? I feel like this song talks about you."
"What?" Jin-woo's eyes widened in surprise.

"Everyone expect you to be this kind of Superman who takes care of everything... but I know you're human too. And I know how much you suffered too." Hae-in's hand had moved from his chest pocket to his heart, her gaze soft but determined. "So you must know, you can be yourself with me."

Sure, what had attracted her to him in the beginning was his strenght, the fact that she could be a simple woman with him and not a S-rank Hunter: but as she got to know him better, Hae-in realised he was such a complex person who had had very bad moments too. She liked everything about him and she wanted to support him, if he needed it, like he had always helped her in the past.

Up, up and away, away from me
Well, it's alright
You can all sleep sound tonight
I'm not crazy or anything

Jin-woo was gaping at her, stunned. His heart softened with love for this woman.

"Thank you." he smiled at her softly, wrapping an arm around her waist and pulling her close.

Hae-in blushed slightly, because Jin-woo's handsome face was always one of her weaknesses. "It's just the truth." she murmured.

Then she looked over his shoulder, behind him: many Hunters were watching them intensely and she could see their fellow S-ranks following their every movements, Choi Jong-in being the most alert but with a smile on his face.
"I'm feeling observed." Hae-in admitted, the hand on his shoulder clenching and unclenching nervously.

"Yeah, apparently we're a bit of an attraction... Want to cause more scandal?" Jin-woo smirked.

Hae-in's eyes narrowed in suspicion. "What are you planning?"

I can't stand to fly
I'm not that naïve
Men weren't meant to ride
With clouds between their knees

Just as the music got faster and more rhythmic, Jin-woo crashed his lips against hers.

I'm only a man in a silly red sheet
Digging for kryptonite on this one way street
Only a man in a funny red sheet
Looking for special things inside of me
Inside of me, inside of me.

Hae-in gasped, but got quickly over her surprise, wrapping her arms tightly around his neck. They angled their heads to deepen the kiss and Hae-in lost herself to the pleasure, forgetting where she was; Jin-woo wasn't so utterly overwhelmed, as with his superior hearing he could hear the shocked murmurs around them and the voices of presenters and anchorpeople commenting the scene, however everything was vague and blurry and he concentrated completely on the woman in his arms.

They separated a second to breathe, but he immediately went back for a second kiss, which she accepted wholeheartedly.

I'm only a man in a silly red sheet
Digging for kryptonite on this one way street
Only a man in a funny red sheet
Looking for special things inside of me
Inside of me, inside of me.

After a few seconds they parted again and Hae-in laughed happily as Jin-woo started to spin her around following the now-fast rhythm of the music.

I'm only a man in a funny red sheet
I'm only a man looking for a dream
I'm only a man in a funny red sheet
And it's not easy.
It's not easy to be me.

"You know we're going to have all eyes on us for a least a few days, right?" the blonde grinned, swaying softly with him as the music slowed down.

"I'll pay gladly this price if it means no more women are going to bother me." Jin-woo smiled knowingly: he had felt her frustrated stare earlier.

Hae-in blushed and huffed, feeling exposed. He chuckled and kissed her temple. "Don't worry, the only woman I want to touch me is you." her cheeks reddened further at his sly tone.
"You are so stupid." she shook her head in disbelief, but smiled again and they continued to dance as a new song started, ignoring once again the clamour around them.

Sometimes later, under a newspaper post with the picture of the kissing couple...
- Ah, so they're really dating!

- Awwww, they're so cute together!

- What a power couple!
- Right?!
- Well, with Sung-nim everyone would appear powerful.
- Nope sorry, don't agree. Hunter Cha-nim is a S-rank and she's very powerful too!
- Mate, all the other S-rank Hunters would have died without Hunter Sung-nim at Jeju Island.
- Yes, we all know that Hunter Sung-nim is probably the strongest Hunter in the world (South-Korean pride! *SK flag*), however they're still S-rank! Are you going to say that Hunter Cha-nim is the same as a rank B or A? They say she's actually stronger than Choi Jong-in-nim.
- Ok, I get what you're saying. Still, Hunter Sung-nim is the best.

- This looks like a commercial strategy...
- You really think such private people did this with hidden motives? C'mon mate.

- I wanna see their babies!

- OMGGGG, simping so hard!
- Me too sister, me too!

- I envy her soooo much, Sung-nim is so dreamy!
- Yes, right? I want a sexy man too!
- We're so unlucky, sigh.

- I wish all the happiness to the two of them!

A/N: Yeah guys, this is much later than what I've expected, sorry! I've told you schedule would be erratic... I've been really busy writing my PhD thesis! Moreover, I wrote this short story because... the original chapter 12 is still WIP, lol, and I didn't want to make you wait anymore. What will be chapter 13 is loooong and I like it very much, so be patient for a little while again. It'll be worth it, trust me!
So, you know what do to: if you enjoyed this, please take a minute to leave a review.

So many reviews, I'm thankful and overwhelmed! Thanks to nebula-dream, Ezylryb, Fictional reader, Frankie Andrei Felia, phv1993, many Guests, A Fan, Obama, Leo de Cielo, Shikhar-kun, hhcjdbkjsdbskhcb (hope I copied it right lol), jewelhikari, rizeleth, MQ, Alaskys, duckwithchicken (love this nick!).

finish line: yes, same, I was happy when I finished reading the novel, however I felt we needed to read more backstories (i.e. we know nothing about the background of many characters apart from Jin-woo and Jin-ho) and being a romantic soul I wanted to see more Hae-in/Jin-woo scenes.

Agonyy: thank you, I'm mostly a romance writer but I enjoy some action and family scenes. Especially because, in SL, family is so important and if someone wants to write a fanfiction I believe they can't dismiss that. Moreover, it's really fun to write about Jin-ah and Hae-in!

Kazuma: ahahah, I get what you mean! Don't worry, there will be lots of wholesome scenes in next chapter!

Thank you guys, don't forget to review!