Hey people! I'm back with the Danny's POV!

I was a bit apprehensive with trying to write from inside his mind, and I'm not sure that I captured his thoughts and emotions to their fullest extent…but I tried my best. After this, there will be one more chapter which will wrap everything up. I hope all of you like this chapter!

A big thank you to all of the reviews I received. It really gives me a burst of inspiration to read them.

Disclaimer: You know, if I actually owned Danny Phantom, I wouldn't bother with writing fanfiction. My works would be actual episodes. Since they're not, it's safe to assume that I don't own the show.


Nothing Less Than Torture

Part Three

I never thought my life could ever be this way. I'm the most popular guy in school.

Yet I feel miserable.

I have everything I dreamed I could ever want in life; popularity, adoration, acceptance, and even Paulina. The one girl I idolized, drooled over, and made a fool of myself for, is now idolizing, drooling over, and making a fool of herself for me. It's ironic, now that she supposedly "loves" me so much; my attraction for her has simply…died.

And that was all it was, attraction. It was a crush, it was me being an idiot and falling for a heartless and immature girl just because of her looks. Well, maybe not heartless. I just think that her heart was cut to pieces under the double-edged sword that popularity really is. I think it must be the fate all the popular people have to suffer through, myself included.

I can feel it; I've been turning into one of them. I can hear the goofy, naïve teenager in me dieing. One day, I'll wake up and be a useless shell. I won't have any heart left to care about anyone else. I'll stuff freshman, nerds, and geeks in lockers, date to up my social status even more, and beat guys up to prove how tough I am. I'll turn into a repulsive, brainless, heartless thing. Like Dash, but worse.

Will I turn into Vlad, then too? Using my ghost powers for my own gain? Instead of putting ghosts where they belong, will I use them in some mockery of chess?

All of this pressure, this back-stabbing mutiny that soaks every fiber of what popularity is…you can try to claw your way up the social ladder all your life and never get anywhere, but circumstances outside of your control can land you on the top instantly. It's when your at the top, when you realize that what you've been striving for, this yearning for recognition, isn't all what it's cracked up to be.

The things that truly mattered to me, I've left behind. I've left my friends. Tucker and Sam…the two people who would have done anything for me. And they have done a lot of things for me. We all just drifted apart. Sam and I to opposing sides of the popularity battle, and Tucker stranded there at the bottom.

It may be that I'm surrounded by people who call themselves my friends, but they wouldn't do the least thing for me unless they expected something back. It's a continuing cycle of who owes what and who's better than whom. It's a desperate attempt to give yourself some sense of worth that you really only half-believe.

Unless you're so far gone, that you've been completely blinded.

Like Paulina, the girl hanging so desperately to my arm that if she clung any tighter, my arm would turn purple. The funny thing is, even though she's so desperate to keep me, I know she still has that shrine of me in my ghost mode in her locker. Maybe she still has that girl's dream of being swept off of her feet like a knight would to a princess in a fairy tale. That dream's probably the only thing keeping her sane.

It's odd how much better I understand them though, where they're coming from and why they act the why they do. They're continually being pressured by others while pressuring everyone else themselves; constantly trying to live up to other people's standards while setting standards for other people to try to live up to.

It's getting harder. It just feels so wrong when I fight ghosts without them, my real friends. We were a team, and I never really realized before how much they helped. I barely get any sleep anymore. I don't know how much longer I can keep this up.

Not very long.

Paulina's trying to get my attention. She's probably feeling neglected again. I've been getting lost more and more in my thoughts lately...

"Dannnyyyy!" She wines in my ear.

"Hmmm?" I reply without much thought.

"Come on! Didn't you say you were going to take me to dinner and take me to a movie afterwards? I need to get ready!"

I turn my head towards her to respond, but over her head, I see Sam, Sam and her boyfriend of the week. I still don't know how she changed that much. She's almost turned into a girl version of Greggor…it's just that guys pile themselves at her feet instead of her having to try to catch them. In fact, I'd say she's almost turned into Paulina, the girl she used to hate; like I've almost turned into Dash.

Sam meets my eyes, and for awhile, she doesn't look away. Not until her boyfriend, whatever his name is, taps her on the shoulder. I see her snap something at him, and he holds his hands up in a placating gesture, muttering something back. He then wraps an arm around her, and she smiles at him.

But there's something missing. I can't put my finger on it, but something is just off.

They're starting to walk down the hall. Sam's fidgeting now, and her eyes are darting. She looks up at the guy with a sickening mockery of adoration. I know there's something wrong with that look. Something's wrong, and it's been bugging me. Her boyfriend acts all gentlemanly and opens the door for them to walk through.

Paulina's getting impatient so I follow their lead and walk outside with Paulina still clinging to me. As we walk through the door, I can see Sam giving him another smile.

There is just something so wrong!

I see him hug her, and that's when I can't watch anymore. I turn to Paulina instead and kiss her, hoping with all there is left in me that there is something there.

But there isn't.

Mimicking that other guy's actions, I wrap my arms around my…girlfriend…it's almost difficult to call Paulina that. I hug her, trying as hard as I can to either feel something or create the feeling.

I can't.

It hasn't ever worked and it never will.

Maybe I just can't feel anymore.

Maybe there really isn't anything behind love but physical attraction. Maybe there isn't supposed to be feelings that just are inexplicably right.

The world might as well have no meaning.

It's nothing less than torture.


Okay guys, if there was ever a chapter I want feedback on, it would be this one. I don't exactly know if I hit the mark with this chapter, so please tell me what you think.

Also, I'm debating with myself on whether to make the ending happy, sad, or somewhere in-between. Please tell me your preference!

Thank you so much!