"You can't just stay out until all hours of the night, Danny! You have school tomorrow, and it's dangerous out there after dark!" Right, because a common criminal could really take down Phantom. Can't say that, though, now can I? "You're still a kid, Danny! I know you're growing up, but you're still my little boy. Please, just stay home at night, where it's safe?"

It's ironic, really. Our society rates maturity by age. Dash is older than me, so he's more grown up than me. That's how it works, right? Even though I'm the one who takes care of everyone else; even though I nearly die every day; even though I'm older inside than even Jazz, let alone Dash or Dad; even though I'm handling things people three times my age would have trouble with; I'm the youngest, and so I'm still a kid.

Your little boy, you say? Do you mean the little boy who thought the worst thing that could happen was dieing, and didn't worry about anything worse than whether he'd fail that quiz? Sorry, Mom, if that's your little boy, he's long dead and gone. He was killed in the accident with your precious portal. Or, at least, that's what started it. It took nearly a year for him to finish dieing. He's not even a ghost now.

Or do you mean the little boy who is failing school, sneaks out at all hours of the night, and comes home covered in bruises you never seem to see? The one you never look at anymore, really look at, look at closely enough to see that he isn't who you think? Sorry, but you don't even know that little boy, so how can you call him yours?

"Sorry, Mom, I'll try to get home on time for curfew tomorrow." Because you don't know, can't know, won't know that your little boy is dead and I'm not a kid anymore, and that grown-ups aren't the only ones to face real life.

And because what use is it to tell you anything, when you've already made up your mind, and all you can see is your little boy? Your little boy who is still a kid, who shouldn't go out after dark, and who still thinks that home is safe, because nothing really bad ever happens to little boys who stay at home where their mom's can take care of them.

I'm only fifteen, and I'm all grown up, Mom, but I'll always be just your little boy.

Note: The ending is not meant to be "sweet". This is angst! It doesn't mean "I'm your son and you'll always love me"- it means "you'll always think I'm just a child who can't handle real life". I apologize for any confusion.