Disclaimer: I do not own Danny Phantom
"Come on, Skulker!" Danny growled, "It's not funny!"
"Is it not?" the metal encased ghost mused and shook his head, "I do not understand human humor."
"Stop being such a jerk. We're wasting time!" Danny yelled.
"You really need to develop a little patience," Skulker advised, "It is one of the most important qualities for a hunter."
"Yeah, well sitting here and letting the 'prey' get away is a pretty funny quality in a hunter."
"Funny? How is that humorous?"
"The thing about humor is; it's all about timing." Phantom balled his fists. "Wait until I give you the punch-line."
Skulker nodded, "Timing is good. But knowledge is better."
"You sound like my teacher," Danny groused.
"Have you discovered the prey's obsession?" Skulker asked.
Skulker frowned. "That is unfortunate. It will make things harder."
"I capture ghosts all the time without knowing their obsessions."
Was Phantom being deliberately obtuse or was he just too angry to focus? Maybe it was another example of Human humor. "Knowing its obsession will help predict its movements or let you lure him into a trap."
"I don't need to know his underlying motivation to know where it's going to be," Danny said smugly.
Skulker raised an eyebrow inviting Danny to elaborate.
Danny explained about Dash, "He shows up when Dash has his shift at the Haunted House."
Skulker looked down at the half-ghost and then broke into a grin, "I'm finally coming around to seeing it your way: humans have their uses after all."
"So help me, I'm gonna wipe that smile off your face!" Danny snarled between gritted teeth, "It's nothing like that!"
Skulker gave a low chuckle, "Are you sure about that? Let me guess; you weren't planning on telling this Dash you were using him as a lure were you?"
"That's none of your blasting business!" Danny eyes blazed a burning green."
Skulker chuckled softly, "Getting angry at me won't change the facts."
"You don't know anything," Danny shouted back.
The armored ghost answered with the steadiness of a Zen master, "I know hunting. You not only are hunted by others, you unknowingly hunt yourself"*
"What's that supposed to mean?" Danny gave Skulker his best glare; the one he hoped would freeze him where he sat even without ice powers.
Skulker was unperturbed. "It means if you're too thick to understand, no wonder you haven't caught the ghost."
"Know your enemy, know yourself," Skulker chuckled.
"Cut the philosophy," Danny growled.
You asked for advice about hunting, so hear me out." Skulker ignored Danny's indistinct reply and continued, "You're a protector. You need to always be on guard ready to fight. I'm a hunter. Above all a hunter is patient."
"You can shove your patience in your…" Danny snapped back.
"Now, now, Danny," Skulker chided.
"…ear," the halfa finished.
Skulker waited until Danny huffed, "So, are you going to enlighten me as to what you are going to do with all your patience?"
"That depends on what you know."
"I know that the ghost knows when and where the trap is going to be set."
"Does it?" Skulker asked.
Danny said through gritted teeth. "My parents told it when it overshadowed me."
Skulker burst out laughing.
"Blast it, Skulker. We've got to stop it!"
"I understand the passion of the hunt but we need to be rational about this."
"And it makes sense to sit here while it runs amok in Amity Park?" Danny snarled.
"The hunt should not be rushed, it should be savored."
"And while you're busy savoring it, he is going to get away!" Danny shouted.
Skulker gasped and waved his hand weakly, "Give me a minute."
When the spasms of laughter subsided, Danny asked testily, "Are you done yet?"
Skulker looked at the frustrated Phantom and dissolved into mirth again.
"Skulker! You swore on your obsession that you would help me catch this ghost! If it wasn't for the deal, I'd smash that grin off your face right now," Danny's aura flared with his heated words.
With an obvious effort, Skulker brought himself under control, "Okay, I'm done. Phantom, don't you realize that this is the perfect opportunity to set a trap for the ghost?"
"Phantom, temper your passion. You need to understand yourself as well as your prey. If you weren't so worked up you would realize how to take advantage of the situation," Skulker said smugly.
Skulker gave his best evil grin. "The ghost thinks he knows when and where the trap will be set. All we have to do change that and it will walk blindly in."
"We can't change the location," Danny explained sullenly not giving Skulker the details the invention's limitations."
"Change the time," Skulker suggested reasonably.
"Dross and Brass aren't going to like that," Danny chuckled.
"How long do your parents need to set up the shields?" Skulker inquired.
"About a day I guess," Phantom answered.
Skulker considered the logistics. "It will be necessary to keep the ghost from going to the haunted house."
Danny said, "Dash has football practice at school tomorrow."
"Then, I suggest you let it chase the bait tomorrow and lure him into a false sense of security," Skulker advised.
"What about the rest of the time?" Phantom answered belligerently.
Skulker shrugged, "He will need to be distracted. Since you're Amity Park's protector you can deal with it."
"You're such a jerk," Danny fumed.
"Is that supposed to persuade me to help?" Skulker voice rumbled.
"It's supposed to persuade you to move your big fat butt!" Danny retorted.
"What did I tell you about patience? A hunter waits until the time is right," Skulker chuckled.
"I'll have to keep that in mind when I plan my payback," Danny replied.
"That is good," Skulker approved. "You need to be calm not running off half-cocked."
"Just get off me," Danny demanded.
"Are you calmer now?" Skulker inquired.
"Yes," Danny grumbled with bad grace.
Skulker nodded amicably, sat back, and let Danny up. "Let's go."
*Dejan Stojanovic The Sun Watches the Sun
Dear Readers, My profuse apologies about the lateness of this update. I actually have been diligently working on this (which is more than I can say for my Danny-muse) - writing and rewriting and rewriting again but it took me forever to get it right.