The Hand that Feeds
Skulker didnt enter the room again until the next day, when he had to feed the boy. The one downside to this breaking plan of his was the fact that as a halfa, Phantom still needed food and drink. However, as a silver lining, these things could be used as rewards and taken as punishment.
Today, he would see how things progressed.
He stepped into the room and saw Danny sitting in a corner of the cage, still looking mutinous and angry. No improvement THERE. Danny's eyes flicked up to Skulker when the mech entered the room, and flared with hatred. "You wont keep me here for long," he hissed. "When my friends find out I'm gone-"
"WHAT friends?" Skulker snorted, stepping in front of the cage. At the boy's indignant expression, he elaborated, "I've been watching you, boy, and from what I witnessed, you've effectively ELIMINATED all 'friends' from your life with your shitty attitude. No one's coming for you, get used to it." He held up two bowls, one with a mix of bread and a rough stew he'd made from whatever animal he happened to hunt on his island; it was simple, but he recalled it being filling when he was alive. In the other was water.
Danny opened his mouth, probably to tell him where to stick the bowls, but was cut off by the sound of his stomach growling hungrily. Skulker smirked at the flush of humiliation that crossed Phantom's face, and set the bowls down in front of the cage. The food Phantom could pick out through the bars; the water could only be reached if he brought the edge of the bowl between the bars and tipped it. However, Skulker wanted to know how Phantom would react.
Phantom only glared at Skulker; he wouldnt give his captor the satisfaction of seeing him eat. He WOULDNT. Skulker smirked, already knowing this would happen, and sat back in a chair to watch.
"Go on," he said. "I wont starve you. It's not poisoned. I want you ALIVE. ...in a manner of speaking."
Danny's glare didnt waver; in fact it only intensified when his stomach growled again once he SMELLED the food, which DID smell really appetizing, come to find out. 'Bastard,' he thought, keeping his jaw clenched and refusing to move toward it.
Skulker smiled; just as he'd thought. Alpha-male pride getting in the way of the needs of the body. Well. He could wait. He tented his fingers and continued to watch Phantom like the rare fascinating specimen he was, much to said specimen's chagrin. After five minutes the halfa began to have trouble ignoring his presence. After fifteen he was visibly twitching in want of the food. After a half-hour, he finally snapped.
"STOP WATCHING ME LIKE I'M ONE OF YOUR FUCKING ANIMALS!" he shouted. Skulker grinned.
"I'm not doing anything," he said, splaying his empty hands as though making a point. "You're free to eat as you want. What's stopping you?"
"STOP WATCHING ME!" Phantom's face was flushed with humiliation and rage.
"Do you WANT to eat?" Skulker asked, crossing his arms. Phantom growled, baring his teeth.
"I dont want ANYTHING from you other than to be let go!" he snapped. Skulker shrugged and stood up, walking over to the bowls and picking them up, taking them away and noticing a spark of regret in Phantom's eyes.
"Fine," he said indifferently. "You wont eat unless you ASK to be fed, if you want it that way." Without waiting for a response, he walked out of the room, shutting the door right as Phantom started up another tantrum in his cage.
He reappeared later that night to find Phantom sitting back in his corner, his arms crossed over his stomach, the halfa's expression twisted into one of hunger and desire for food or water. Skulker walked in and phased a bowl of water into the cage, but no food, noting Phantom's body twitch for it.
"You'll get food when you ASK for it," he reiterated before walking out, pausing in front of the door after it closed and HEARD Phantom slurping and guzzling the water down. Internally, he smirked. Phantom hadnt waited to see if he would come back in. He'd ask soon, he was sure of it.
'Soon' had a different meaning in hunter-speak. Skulker was incredibly patient when it came to the hunt. He could wait for hours, days, even, for the perfect shot at prey if need be. And 'soon' for Phantom turned out to be two days later, after he came in to bring in one of the three bowls of water he gave Phantom throughout the day to keep him alive.
After he set the bowl down in the cage and turned to leave, he heard Phantom shift over, but not to the bowl.
Skulker paused, hiding his smirk of success. He glanced back and saw Phantom clenching the bars of his cage, his knuckles white from the effort it took to force the words out of his mouth. "...I'm going to starve..." he began, a loud growl of the stomach accompanying the statement. "I need food."
Skulker rolled his shoulders almost carelessly. "I know you NEED food, Phantom," he said. "But do you WANT it?" He heard Phantom's knuckles crack slightly as he gripped the bars tighter.
Skulker turned around, crossing his arms. "...well?" he said. Phantom scowled.
"I SAID, if you wanted food, you ASK for it." He tapped his finger against his arm. "ASK me for food." An audible growl resonated in Phantom's throat.
"...Can I have food?"
Knowing it took Phantom a lot to say that, but still wanting to see just how far the issue could be pushed, Skulker allowed a smirk to cross his features. "I dont know," he said, reveling in being the smartass for once. "CAN you?"
"GOD FUCKING DAMN IT!" Danny rattled the bars of his cage violently. "I WANT FOOD! GIVE ME FOOD! I'M GOING TO FUCKING STARVE, YOU SON OF A-" He was cut off when Skulker's hand grabbed his neck, the collar keeping him from choking, but it still hurt.
"HOW hard is it to ASK for food, boy?!" Skulker hissed. "'May I have food, please'. That's ALL you have to say! FIVE DAMN SYLLABLES!" He threw Phantom to the other end of the cage with a flick of his wrist. "And no. You CAN not." He stalked out, cutting off Phantom's howls of rage and hunger.
Skulker returned the following morning to find the water bowl empty and Phantom curled up on his side in his corner. Without a word, Skulker switched out the empty bowl for a full one and turned to leave.
He turned around, Phantom still lying curled with his back to him. When Phantom didnt hear Skulker leave, he spoke again. "...May I have food...please."
Skulker grinned and left the room, returning a few minutes later with a bowl of food, slipping it in next to the water before leaving.
Skulker: 1, Phantom: 0.