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We are the Hunters

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Chapter 1: A Rude Awakening

When he woke up, he didn't know where he was.

All he knew was that the room he was in smelled of death.

It was night, and he was in an unfamiliar room, in an unfamiliar bed.

A strange bed though. It seemed more like a crib. Pine bars rose on every side of the mattress. For some bizarre reason there was a life-size teddy bear on the bed with him.

Ridiculous. Whose idea of a joke was this? Pranks weren't unheard of amongst the Cadets, but this was pretty elaborate for a prank. He rose to his feet unsteadily, and was shocked to realise that not only was he wearing a nappy- a nappy!- his body felt and looked... wrong.

He looked down at his pudgy legs, at his pudgy hands gripping the... crib railing.

His eyes spied a splash of red, and he was startled to see that there was a female shape lying on the floor. Oh. That explained the smell then. She looked to be big enough to be a Titan, but she was... wearing clothes? What the hell? Since when did Titans wear clothes? He'd heard that it was only very occasionally that they were female, but where was the steam? She had bright red hair- that was what had caught his attention- and green eyes, already glazing over in death. He had seen enough dead bodies by now to be able to recognise the state. He couldn't tell what had killed her though. From what he could see, there were no marks on her body, though maybe all that red hair was hiding the kill blow at the nape of the neck... but she wasn't turning into steam or disintegrating. Titans did that. He knew, he had sat through enough classes saying so, though he had never seen one killed before.

Think, he told himself, think. How the hell had he got into this situation? What was the last thing he remembered?

Pain. Heat. He had been... swallowed? Yes. Yes! He had saved Armin, pulled him straight from the Titan's mouth, and then the Titan had bitten down. It had bitten his arm off. His arm! Then he had fallen, and then been surrounded by boiling liquid and dead and dying bodies. Bodies like the bodies of his team. He had saved Armin, but that meant only one of them had survived unscathed. Even before he had lost his arm, he had already known that this was his last mission- the Titan had leapt up and snapped his leg off when he had been flying with the 3DMG... how could he have predicted that? The liquid -stomach acid?!- was boiling him alive, and he was losing blood, fast. The girl dying next to him had cried out for her mother, he had screamed...

And then it all went black.

Eren grimaced, rubbing absently at his forehead. It felt like there was some kind of welt on it, and whatever it was, it was giving him a killer headache.

This body wasn't his. For one, it was chubby in a way he was sure he hadn't been since he was a tiny child. For another, it wasn't missing any limbs. Not that the latter was real cause for complaint, Eren admitted to himself, but the fact remained that somehow, he had ended up in a body that was not his own.

Somehow, instinctively, he knew that he had died, there in the belly of the Titan.

He screamed in rage, beating the wall of the crib with his fists.

No! No! No!

And that was when the gigantic man walked in.

Eren's rage turned to fear.

A Titan?

He opened his mouth to scream some more, but he saw... tears?

What? Since when did Titans have expressions other than that creepy empty grin? The stranger looked devastated. Like he had just lost all of his friends in the world.


The man might have been huge but like the large woman lying dead on the floor, he was wearing clothes.

"Lily! Oh Merlin, Lily."

Eren frowned. The man had spoken, but not words in a language he understood. But still, he had spoken!

The man knelt and closed the dead woman's eyes.

Remorse? Sorrow?

Eren might not have been the brightest in his class- that would be Armin or Mikasa- but he wasn't an idiot either.

Certain feeling that he had died, strange crib-like bed, feeling that his body wasn't his own, almost-certainly-not-Titans that were nonetheless a whole lot bigger than he was.

He swore aloud.


"Harry?" the man rose from the floor, and then suddenly he was looming over the crib.

Eren felt the urge to cower away from the huge presence, but as he had since he was a child, promptly ignored it and glared instead.

The face creased looking concerned.

"Harry? It's Uncle Padfoot, you know me. Come on, Pup. Let's get out of here."

Eren still couldn't understand the language the man was speaking, but he recognised the tone. It was a tone that some adults had adopted around him and Mikasa when they heard about his mother. Adults who cared, who felt sad for his loss. The last of them, (apart from Hannes, but he always sounded so guilty that the tone was rather different anyway,) had been marched off alongside Armin's grandfather on the suicide mission to reclaim Wall Maria, and there had been few enough of them to begin with. Doctor Jaeger's freaky kid and his freaky kid sister were not exactly popular even before Shiganshina had been lost. Something about them beating up the other kids for picking on Armin, and Eren's unhidden desire to see the outside world. Oh, and the rumours about them killing the thugs who had killed Mikasa's parents, when they were both nine...

Yeah, Eren admitted to himself, maybe there had been a few decent reasons why people steered clear of them.

Mikasa... she was right, he thought morosely, feeling a twist of nausea at the thought of her being left alone. She had tried so hard to protect him, and what had he done? Barrelled straight in and got himself killed on his first engagement. Apparently sheer guts couldn't replace skill after all. Graduating fifth in his class had meant nothing after all, since he had obviously failed his first real test. What was going to happen to her? And Armin?

Eren's shoulders shook.

How was he going to survive without them, the only people who had survived Shiganshina and stuck by him through thick and thin and hellish Cadet training?

His feelings of deep depression were rudely interrupted by the sensation of being lifted out of the crib by his armpits.


Oh. The man.

Eren squirmed in the man's grasp. This was so humiliating!

"Hey, settle down there, Pup. We've got to get out of here, and I can't carry you if I'm worried I'm going to drop you!" the man sounded half-hysterical, but was nonetheless gentle as he hugged Eren to his chest, wrapping arms securely around him.

Eren ceased struggling, despite himself, as instinct told him that he was safe and secure. Which made no sense to Eren, but suddenly he was feeling really tired. Nothing made sense. He had died, but he was alive. Alive and apparently trapped in the body of a small child. Who had been the dead woman? Nothing made sense.

"K'so," he muttered, and he could feel the man's heartbeat under his ear, and a slight rumble as the man said something.

"Bless you. That's the second time you've sneezed. I hope you're not catching cold. That would be..." the man trailed off, but Eren didn't care, he couldn't understand a word the man was saying anyway.

The man left the room, and carried him down what felt like stairs.

So weird... Eren thought hazily, and shivered slightly as they left the house. There had been another body lying just inside the entrance way, a dark-haired man with glasses that seemed to have been smashed when he had fallen, if the spider-web cracks were anything to go by. His eyes had been closed for him. Eren assumed that meant the man carrying him had found him first.

Why had he woken up, alive, and in a strange house full of dead people?

What the hell was going on?

Alarm at his situation woke him back up again, and before he fully realised it he was struggling again.

"Ha-Harry! Cut it out!" Eren stilled when the man almost dropped him. Maybe struggling was a bad idea. He still remembered what it felt like to fall. It hadn't hurt as much as losing his leg, or his arm for that matter, but it hadn't been exactly fun either.

"Sirius? That you?"

A voice boomed out of the night, and suddenly the man holding Eren spun around, to face...

Eren froze.

No way was that a human!

He yelled for the man holding him to run, to move, to get out of there!

"Shhhh Harry, it's just Hagrid. It's alright, it's okay, please stop screaming..."

The huge face loomed closer, and reached a hand towards them.

Eren fought the man's hold- if he was too stupid to run, Eren wasn't going to stick around!

"Baka!" Eren yelled as he writhed.

"What's wrong with 'im?" the voice boomed. "Don't 'e remember me?"

"I have no idea, Hagrid. It was so strange before, when I picked him up, it was like he didn't recognise me!" the man grunted as Eren managed to kick him in the stomach. "Ugh! Hold him for a second would you? I guess he's traumatised or something- Merlin knows what he saw You-Know-Who do to his mother before he killed her..." Massive hands gripped Eren, and he started to scream with rage.

"'E's going ta do himself some damage, Sirius!"

"I know, I know, just hold him for a sec, alright, dormio!"

Abruptly, Eren felt himself falling asleep. He moaned, and tried to stay awake, but suddenly his eyelids just... felt so... heavy...

The next thing he knew, he was jerking awake to the sound of a woman shrieking.

His eyes popped open, and he struggled against the blankets that were securely wrapped around him.

He looked around, trying to ascertain his surroundings.

What the fuck!?

Why the hell had he been left on a fucking doorstep?!