Hunter King (2015-)
Hunter was first glimpsed at the end of Episode 6243 as a shadowy figure watching Zac and Leah from the bushes at the caravan park. In his first credited appearance, he was a hooded figure who broke into the house, pushing Josh down the stairs when he disturbed him. He was chased from the house by VJ, who managed to grab his backpack containing a map of the town and a photograph of the family that had been stolen a few days earlier. It wasn’t until Hunter turned up at Charlotte’s motel room that it was revealed that he was her and Zac’s son. Charlotte quickly realised that Hunter was the one who had burned down Zac and Leah’s house, and then framed Billie, who had been injured in the fire and who he had seen arguing with the family shortly beforehand. Charlotte had told him Zac wanted nothing to do with him but had to admit that Zac didn’t know about him.
She covered up his crime and sent him back to his grandmother’s rather than letting him see Zac but he slipped back into town some days later and tried to book into the caravan park, leaving when Alf asked too many questions. He gatecrashed the fundraising banquet for Zac’s family and announced who he was. Charlotte got Andy to keep an eye on him at the motel but he went to the surf club where VJ realised he was the intruder and ended up pushing him over a table, although no-one else chose to pursue the matter. Zac went for a walk with him to get to know him, but Hunter had little time for his extended family of Leah and VJ and privately told Leah he was going to get rid of her, also rejecting VJ’s attempt to make peace. He and Charlotte moved into the flat above the Diner and Charlotte encouraged him to gatecrash Zac and VJ playing basketball together. Hunter pretended to want to get on while Zac was watching, but as soon as he was gone he deliberately injured VJ’s wrist with the ball. He continued to play the innocent with both Zac and Charlotte, claiming Leah had it in for him.
Evelyn invited him to lunch to get to know the family and Charlotte told him to go. He let Leah talk him into staying when VJ snapped at him, but then found out she was trying to get Zac to have a paternity test and threatened her again. As a result, he was prime suspect when Leah’s brakes failed while she and Evelyn were driving and he ended up in a fight with VJ at school that saw them both sent home. Although the brake failure turned out to be a simple accident, Leah refused to have him back in the house. Zac spent the day with him on the beach and Hunter faked a cramp and near drowning to get him to stay longer. On the birthday of his grandfather, who had died shortly beforehand, Zac and Charlotte joined Hunter fishing, a birthday tradition for the two of them, although Hunter admitted afterward that he didn’t really like fishing.
He was delighted when Zac moved in with them and took pleasure in letting Leah know, only to feel betrayed when Zac went back to Leah, showing his father a glimpse of his dark side when he berated him for leaving him for “someone like her”. Andy warned him about letting his anger destroy him. When Zac cancelled spending time with him in order to see VJ’s basketball, Hunter stormed round to the house and accused Leah of keeping Zac away from him, prompting her and Zac to order him out. In order to get back at Leah, he stole the safe from the Diner only to find it contained no money. In the process, he accidentally left some wires exposed, causing Marilyn to suffer a severe electric shock that left her in a coma. Hunter wanted to turn himself in but Charlotte refused to let him, hiding the evidence.
Charlotte summoned him home after a few days. He apologised to Zac but was soon complaining about Kat, who had shot at Charlotte when she caught her breaking into the bait shop, supposedly sleepwalking. After a few days of behaving strangely, Charlotte abruptly told Hunter they were leaving town. Hunter went to Zac and Leah for help and Charlotte claimed she’d changed her mind, then told him they had to leave because someone was blackmailing her. However, their car failed to start and after a stranger, Trystan Powell, fixed it, Charlotte told Hunter they were staying after all. Hunter brushed aside Charlotte’s affair with Matt, one of her students, until he found out she had emptied his trust fund to pay off her blackmailer and walked out on her. When Leah found him sleeping on the beach, he told her and Zac about the missing money and the affair, resulting in Charlotte being fired and the town turning on her. Refusing to go back to Charlotte, he moved into a caravan.
After their shaky start, he and VJ made tentative moves towards becoming friends. Olivia got Hunter to hang out with her and VJ and they bonded over being used to living in the city. The townsfolk conspired to keep Charlotte away from him, although Irene and Olivia did encourage him to visit Charlotte when someone threw a brick through her window. VJ resented the fact that Olivia preferred Hunter’s company to his so Hunter offered to stay away from her, then wrecked the offer by telling Olivia why, causing her to get angry with VJ. However, he was left with mixed feeling when Olivia gleefully told him that Irene was getting Charlotte evicted, although he then had a go at Charlotte when she accused Olivia of being the person who vandalised her apartment. He was briefly kidnapped by Charlotte’s blackmailer and dumped in the bush, having been drugged. When Charlotte ran Trystan over and killed him, claiming it was an accident, Kat questioned Hunter who claimed he didn’t know Trystan but then confronted Charlotte about it, realising he was her blackmailer.
When he met Olivia for a swim, she asked him to look away while she got out of the water but he peeked and saw scars on her legs. He told VJ but wanted to leave the matter alone; however, VJ convinced him to tell Zac. He tracked Olivia down when she ran away and convinced her to go home. He continued to spend time with VJ and Olivia but they upset Irene by moving some of her things while looking for a DVD; Hunter joined Olivia in cooking her an apology breakfast. He tried to get Olivia to wear a shorter dress to Zac and Leah’s wedding, prompting VJ to point out that she was worried about people seeing her scars. After spending an evening alone at the beach house, Hunter nearly kissed Olivia but backed off and went home. Olivia followed him and asked if her scars put him off; he explained that he’d been worried she’d feel uncomfortable if he touched them and they kissed. Olivia later confided in him that she’d been self-harming to deal with the fact she’d been abused by a friend of her uncle’s when she was young. She told him she loved him and they slept together, although the experience left them both slightly uncomfortable and Olivia admitted she wasn’t fully over her abuse.
Charlotte gave him back some of the money she’d taken from his trust fund but then asked him for it back, which he refused. He found out that Denny had been found in a shallow grave with the safe that he’d stolen and confronted Charlotte, who admitted that Denny had found the safe and realised he was behind the robbery and that she’d accidentally killed her while stopping her from going to the police. Hunter agreed to keep quiet on condition that Charlotte left town. He was asked to be ring bearer at Zac and Leah’s wedding, although the service was interrupted when Charlotte arrived ranting about all the secrets she knew, including the arson. Hunter dragged her away and told her to go to hell when she told him it was his fault Denny was killed. After the wedding, he told Olivia that soon people would hate him as much as Charlotte and he was leaving town. Olivia caught up with him as he was hitch-hiking and tried to get him to stay but he left anyway.
He returned to town a few days later to find out that Charlotte had been shot dead. He was interviewed as a suspect in her murder, where Zac stopped him from telling the police about his argument with her. He told Olivia that he’d stayed with the guy who gave him a lift but was actually receiving texts from a girl called Lindsay Ford. He texted Lindsay back telling him to leave her alone, then claimed he didn’t care about Charlotte’s death, but Olivia found him crying on the beach. He tried to avoid going to Charlotte’s funeral, then learned Billie was about to stand trial for the fire and was facing ten years. Andy told him he knew he was responsible and he’d back him up if he blamed it on Charlotte. Hunter told Olivia about his role in the fire, the Diner robbery and Denny’s death and she also encouraged him to blame Charlotte. Instead, he confessed during the trial. He was charged and bailed and also questioned again over Charlotte’s murder on the grounds that her knowing about the arson gave him motive. He argued that he wouldn’t have confessed in that case but overheard Zac admitting that he wasn’t sure he was innocent. Neither Leah nor VJ wanted him around the house so Olivia arranged for him to stay with Irene. They called Leah for help when Irene ended up top of the suspects list next.
He found meetings with his extended family awkward and continually butted heads with VJ. During basketball training, VJ continually went in hard on him. However, he did befriend Skye and convince Olivia to treat her better. He and VJ got into a fight in class but Phoebe suggested it was because deep down they still liked each other. After a lecture from Olivia and Skye, they became friends again and Leah invited Hunter to move back in. They went out for a celebratory pizza only for Zac to be arrested for Charlotte’s murder and subsequently charged and remanded. The family became the subject of a hate campaign and Hunter and VJ tried to clean graffiti off the toilet block before Leah and Alf saw it. With the other teens, he arranged a special lunch for Leah at the Diner. He welcomed Zac back when he was released but managed to annoy him by pestering him for details of life in prison.
He was angry when Olivia secretly did a DNA test to see if Claire Lewis was Irene’s daughter, telling her she had no right to interfere. She promised to tear up the results but instead looked at them and told the pair they weren’t related, causing Claire to leave. Hunter refused to tell her she’d done the right thing but the argument was superseded by the arrival of Lindsay, who announced that she and Hunter had kissed while he was staying with her. Hunter asked Lindsay to leave town and told Olivia they had kissed once on the first night he was away after which they’d been purely platonic, but when Olivia saw Lindsay with her arm round him she broke up with him. They argued again when Lindsay sent him a photo that appeared to show Olivia kissing her friend Drew Parton. Despite not being interested in Lindsay, when she came round with DVDs he agreed to hang out with her as friends. However, she then took Alf’s ute for a joyride and when Hunter clambered onto the side he was thrown off. Zac and Olivia took him to hospital and Olivia forced Lindsay to leave town.
Hunter discharged himself and then reunited with Olivia. He took her for a picnic in the bush to celebrate but collapsed, unable to breathe. It turned out he had a tension pneumothorax and Zac had to release the air under instructions from Nate. Olivia re-did the picnic on the beach but ran off when Hunter tried to get intimate with her. Puzzled by her behaviour, he went away on a surfing trip with VJ. On his return, Olivia told him she was pregnant. Although his first instinct was to walk away from her, after a chat with Zac he told Olivia he’d support her. However, Olivia quickly decided they wouldn’t be able to cope with being parents and chose to have an abortion, with Hunter and Irene accompanying her to the clinic.
He suggested he and Olivia go to the movies with VJ instead of the hospital fundraiser, meaning they missed out on the explosion that killed Oscar and Hannah. At the wake, he heard Skye telling Olivia that Tank had caused the explosion and announced it to everyone. However, he defended Tank when Olivia dismissed him as someone who would never change. He helped Olivia search for Irene, finding her abandoned car, and acted as confidante for VJ after he slept with Billie. He tried to get Olivia to stay over in his caravan but she told him she had to wait six weeks after the abortion before having sex again; however, she later admitted the real reason was that she was cutting again and didn’t want him to see the scars. He tried to help her but she told him to let other people do it and just be her boyfriend. When she told him she was ready to sleep with him again, he checked she was sure before complying. However, he worried she would start cutting again when Skye ran away; she reassured him that it didn’t happen every time she was upset.
He and Olivia tried to spend time with VJ and Billie but Olivia ended up insulting Billie and Hunter ordered her to apologise. He then learned that Andy had confessed to killing Charlotte, distracting him from helping Olivia when she became concerned about Irene again, but the police refused to let him see him. He accused Josh of knowing what was going on and, on learning Andy was being transferred for his bail hearing, went to see him. When Andy was unable to explain why he’d done it, Hunter stabbed him with a pair of scissors and was arrested. Initially he didn’t care what happened to him but after a talk from Zac he co-operated with the police and was released on bail, delivering a contemptuous speech to Andy as he left. He was given a suspended sentence and community service for both the stabbing and the arson and, at his first community session, got on the wrong side of his supervisor Danika Kulevski by questioning her instructions. She also refused to let him and Zac take one of the other boys, Jordan Walsh, to hospital when he fainted from mild dehydration. He then found out Josh really killed Charlotte; he was warned by Andy to stay away from him but insisted to Zac that he didn’t care. However, he began skipping school, ignored Zac and Olivia’s attempts to talk to him and burnt all his mementos of Charlotte.