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Could Have Been

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Barry calmly entered the warblers' practice room putting on a facade after hours of freaking out about Mr Bennett. He was a science teacher after all, so he would understand things about time and the universe. Barry rationalised that no one would jump to the conclusion that he had time travelled because that was ridiculous, if Mr Bennett even believed in time travel, I mean Barry was fully qualified to be a scientist and even he didn't believe in much of the things he'd seen and experienced since becoming the flash. With this being the first warblers practice he’d been to after his rather ungraceful entrance to the past he needed to regain some kind of normality, or at least for the warblers to stop giving him weird looks all the time. After checking his schedule to see when practice was he managed to show up exactly on time and settled himself onto one of the black leather couches in the centre of the room. Over the following minutes more people made their way into the room settling down in various places in small groups.

’So, Tom said you saved everyone in the school.’ A voice rang out cheerfully as Jeff sat down next to him, shortly followed by Nick who sat down beside the blonde boy. For a moment Barry was confused, he didn’t know any Toms, or did he and he’d just forgotten?

’Tom?’ He questioned carefully, trying to act nonchalant about the unknown person that he potentially knew.

‘Yeah he’s in the chemistry club?’ Jeff prompted, ‘he said you were like Batman or something.’ Barry chuckled inwardly at the irony of the statement. But then recalled what Jeff was implying.

‘No, I prevented a small explosion hazard, I hardly saved the classroom let alone the school.’ He dismissed. Jeff just shrugged, refusing to believe that. Barry sighed, Jeff was too kind for his own good always wanting to see the best in people.

The incident in the chemistry lab had been nothing really, especially in context to everything else he’d done in his life. All the pain and destruction he'd caused because of his selfish actions. Something so little as correcting a high school student couldn’t fix that.

Wes called for everyone’s attention, essentially, snapping Barry out of his reverie. With efficiency and authority, they were told exactly what it was that they needed to go over in that practice, which, let's face it, was basically everything, Wes wasn’t going to let them slack on anything. They got to it, making their way into formation and beginning to sing.

It was amazing to be back, to be part of such a group, completely united force of sorts. Barry noticed the freedom he felt, the power it gave him. The feeling of being completely supported if only in a musical sense. It was like in that moment, nothing could go wrong because the warblers had his back. It made Barry feel guilty for how he reacted at lunch, snapping at them like that. He felt so strong and free in those moments. In fact, it made him question why he’d ever given up singing in the first place, especially when it made him feel so happy. Think of who he would have been if he hadn’t gone into science, if he hadn’t been in that chemistry lab on the night of the particle accelerator explosion. He wondered where he would be instead, if it would have even made a difference. Maybe what Dr Wells said was right, maybe he was destined to be struck by that lightening bolt, and it would have hit him no matter where he was.

‘Before you are dismissed, we would like to announce that we have discussed it, and we will be allowing for a midterm audition to take place.’ Wes announced on behalf of the council.

‘Wait, really?’ Barry was overjoyed.

The council nodded. In truth they wanted to figure out this new behaviour of Sebastian’s and acknowledged that indulging his requests may lead them to their answers.

Barry broke out into a grin that none of the warblers had ever seen before.

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Barry lay on his bed happily staring up at the ceiling. He was glad that he didn’t have to tell Sam he couldn’t audition anymore. He genuinely believed that this would be a good opportunity for the boy to come out of his shell. Maybe if someone had done that for him when he was younger- Barry shook off the thought, this was his chance to change things, so instead of dwelling on what could have been he assured himself that he would do what he could to actually make the future a better place.

In the heat of the moment, Barry almost unconsciously began calling Joe to tell him the good news. It’s what he would do normally so he didn’t second guess himself. As the phone began ringing he realised his mistake, it would be too dangerous to call Joe, there was no way of knowing what he would give away and cause a paradox or destroy the world-

‘Hello?’ Joe’s voice chimed out of the device. All panic was immediately eradicated as Barry was suddenly overwhelmed with homesickness.

‘Joe?’ Barry’s voice cracked with unshed tears.

‘Bar? Hey I didn’t expect to hear from you’ Joe sounded so happy. It made Barry feel instantly guilty for not keeping more in touch with his family in his school years. That’s something he would definitely change.

‘Joe’ He didn’t know what else to say, there was so much he wanted to say, and so much he couldn’t.

‘Bar? You okay?’ Joe asked sounding concerned. Barry let out a tearful chuckle, of course after not hearing from him for so long, Joe would be concerned.

‘Yeah, yeah Joe, I’m fine, just miss you is all’ He assured the man.

Joe demanded to hear all about his school year so far. Barry, not knowing what to say, made up a few stories that could have been true or not. He couldn’t really remember things in detail so he may have slipped in some false information and changed the context of some events so Joe didn’t think he’d been terrorising the high school. Joe laughed along happily and at some point he had passed the phone over to Iris.

They started laughing and gossiping, just like old times. He had been interested to find out that Iris was dating some boy, Jack his name was, at her school, it made him question how much he, himself, knew about his sister, having missed such a big part of her life. He let her babble on, just happy to listen to her voice.

’So, do you have a girlfriend yet?’ Iris pried, wanting to know everything she had missed since he’d first gone to the boarding school. Barry sighed as reality hit him square in the chest. His family knew nothing about him. The people who had raised him and loved him, didn’t even know him. Neither did anyone at school. It’s like he didn’t even exist. Just different variations of him existed, but not the real Barry. Hell, the people at Dalton didn’t even know his name.

‘Barry?’ Iris interrupted his thought process.

‘You know I would have told you if I did.’ Barry quickly responded. Iris misinterpreted the sadness in his voice.

‘Aw don’t worry Bar, you’ll find her sometime.’ Barry chuckled softly at his sister’s attempt at comforting him.

‘I’ll uh, take your word for it.’ He assured her unconvincingly.

After a while of more talking they said their goodbyes. Barry almost teared up again as he ended the call but reminded himself that he could call them again anytime.

Barry sat back on his bed and thought about all the secrets he held back from everyone. He wanted to tell people, he wanted to be known for who he really was. He made a mental list of everything he could tell people that wasn’t from the future. Looking at his calendar it was nearing December, soon he’d be able to see Joe and Iris again and set some things straight.

Fear settled in his chest as he thought about it, but he knew it was something he had to do if he wanted to make a change. He had to.