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His dad didn't know.

He couldn't know.

Grades weren't reported until the end of the week. He wasn't supposed to know so his dad couldn't know either.

But when Brian threw open the front door, charging in, already drunk despite only leaving work half an hour before, Bruce felt the guilty knowledge leave him and fill his father's consciousness.

His friend nudged up against Bruce. Come on .

Bruce shook his head.

Come on, Bruce .

"No."

"The fuck did you just say to me?" Brian demanded. Apparently, he had been speaking.

Bruce stuttered out an apology, head ducking low.

Brian grabbed his hair and breathed angrily into Bruce's neck.

It was still.

Bruce left.

Hulk passed him on his way out.

***

Bruce woke up to his mom wiping a wet rag along his face. It was streaked with his blood. His head pounded. Bruises around his wrists and his ribs throbbed. He didn't know what happened.

Well. He could guess.

"I'm sorry, baby," Rebecca whispered. "I'm so sorry."

"Mom?"

"Hush, sweetie." His mother pulled her son close. "He went out."

Bruce didn't know if she was talking about his father or his ghost.