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Could Have Been

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The rest of the week went by quickly. Classes were easy enough that Barry could sink back in and do the work as though nothing had changed. Much like Mr Bennett, Barry’s maths and physics teachers were astounded by his advanced knowledge, that he honestly did try to keep to himself. But how could he not offer to help the others in the class who didn’t understand? It wasn’t really his fault if he accidentally rambled on into complex variables or quantum physics respectively.

Surprisingly, the only class that he showed a decreased knowledge in was French, which was ironic considering that had once been one of his best classes at Dalton. He didn’t know how he’d ever gotten away with that anyway since he’d never been to France nor was he ever fluent in the language, as much as he would have loved to have been. Honestly, all he’d really done was learn a few long sentences that he could repeat because no one would remember them and then payed attention in class. All in all that seemed to be enough to convince people that he was fluent which even Barry could see was ridiculous. So imagine poor Mademoiselle Dupont’s dismay when her favourite student spent an entire lesson looking round helplessly and nudging the student next to him who frustratedly refused to help for the fifth time.

“Sebastian, ça va? qu'est-ce qu'il y a?” She had tried to ask only for the boy to squint back at her.

“Uhhh, what?”

So that had certainly been a disappointment, but the teacher didn’t seem to take it so hard. Barry was not looking forward to the day she would realise that he wasn’t just having a bad day, he literally did not understand a single word of French.

But, generally, the classes were easy enough that no one noticed anything different. So before Barry knew it an entire week had passed. He hadn’t made much progress with the warblers, they still thought he was plotting something but they seemed to have grown tired of pointing it out, resigning to the fact that he was acting weird and they didn’t know why, so they just let it happen without question.

After another long phone call to Joe who had excitedly wished him good luck for the athletics tournament the next day, Barry had settled down for the night. When he heard a cacophony of strange noises. Heavy footstep rushing down the hall, a crash and a thump against his door followed by streams of giggling. Barry got out of bed to investigate. As he opened the door, to his surprise a boy rolled in. Of course it was Jeff, who else would it be? He must have been leaning against the door from his place on the floor surrounded by unopened snacks. On the other side of the corridor, also leaning heavily against a wall, was Nick laughing just as hard. Jeff managed to heave himself off the floor as he realised he had tumbled into someone’s room.

“Oh hey Sebastian, sorry, we bumped into each other.” The blonde boy choked out through giggles referencing to the mess on the floor. Barry shook his head fondly, refusing to believe that anything would ever be that simple when Nick and Jeff were involved. Nick sobered up when he saw Sebastian.

“Hey, what are you still doing here? Shouldn’t you be out at some skanky club by now?” Nick asked more in curiosity than annoyance at Sebastian’s presence.

“It’s like 10 o clock.” Barry said simply expecting that to be an obvious excuse for him not wanting to go out this late.

He bent down to pick up some of the snacks closest to his door, missing the look Nick and Jeff shared at his reasoning.

“What the hell do you guys need all this for?” Barry questioned standing up straight and passing the snacks over to Jeff. The boy’s eyes widened as though it were obvious.

“Dude, it’s movie night! We’ve been doing this every Friday since like Freshman year, how can you even ask that?” Barry held his hand up in mock surrender and laughed out an apology.

“Everyone’s back in my room, we’re gonna watch The Goblet of Fire” Nick further explained.

“Harry Potter?!” Barry exclaimed excitedly choosing to ignore the fact that everyone was invited but him.

Jeff nodded grinning, before pausing and nudging Nick with a meaningful look. Nick looked from Jeff to Barry and huffed.

“Sebastian, would you like to join us for movie night?” Nick said miserably. Barry had noticed the look and was touched that Jeff would think of him.

“Oh no don’t worry, I’m just gonna get a good night’s sleep-“ He was cut off.

“Nonsense, jooooin us fellow Potterhead!” Jeff chanted out dramatically and dragged Barry out of his room before he could protest.

————————————————————————————————————————————————

The other boys didn’t look too pleased when their snack delivery had the addition of Sebastian but didn’t say anything, much to Barry’s relief. They eventually warmed up to his presence when he didn’t make fun of them singing along theatrically to the music or cheering when certain characters came on to the screen. He even joined in for some of the characters.

In turn, they didn’t make fun of him for hiding his face in a cushion when Cedric was killed. The scene was too similar to some of his own memories that he couldn’t bear to watch.

By the end the boys were all comfortably slouched around the room, as Nick got up to put the DVD away Barry was surprised to see no one got up to leave.

“That’s one of my favourite Harry Potter movies. I like that there’s different challenges so I don’t have to focus on one thing throughout.” One warbler expressed casually.

“No man, I think that makes it confusing, one moment we’re fighting dragons and then suddenly we’re in the lake, like what?” A few chuckled at that warbler’s exaggerations.

Seeing Sebastian’s face, Jeff rolled over to the edge of the bed, he and some others had sprawled out on, to where Sebastian was sat on the floor with the majority of the warblers.

“We usually just stay and talk about the movie or just random stuff afterwards.” The boy whispered in explanation, to which Barry nodded his thanks.

he tuned back into the conversation.

“Cho is way better looking than Hermione,”

“What is wrong with you?!”

“Hermione is a goddess!”

“I liked Draco’s hair in this one,”

“When Moody turned him into a ferret-“ The room burst into laughter at that.

“Guys!” Wes gasped, calling attention, “We need to officially sort Sebastian.”

Pretty much everyone started speaking, exclaiming how he was obviously a Slytherin.

“No guys, we should do this properly.” At this Barry interrupted.

“And how exactly do we do this ‘properly’?” He asked becoming slightly worried as to what was in store.

He watched as Wes clumsily dragged a lamp over, struggling because the wire kept getting caught on furniture much to the warbler’s amusement, and place it directly in Barry’s face to emulate an interrogation. He then proceeded to grab a notebook which must have been hidden somewhere and start reading out different scenarios, much like the Pottermore quiz which Barry was not ashamed to have done, but with a warbler twist on each question. Barry gave his answers as best as he could, marvelling at how insane these people were and how had he missed that they were so into Harry Potter?

“Now for the results!” The warblers made a drumroll with their hands as Wes counted up the score, some slowed when they saw the brief look of shock on Wes’ face “Gryffindor!”

No one cheered, but Barry was surprised to see no one objected, they must really have faith in this test of theirs, he thought.

“The test is final.”

“Welcome to the team.”

———————————————————————————————————————————

Barry woke up in a good mood the next morning, he’d made his way back to his dorm at around 1am after an enjoyable night hanging out with the others. Looking objectively at his life, Barry could definitely see how he could be a Gryffindor, but that wasn’t to say he’d ever expected it.

He got out of bed and started preparing for the day, breakfast was a bit later on weekends so he’d managed to get in an extra hour of sleep before he had to make his way downstairs.

Today was the athletics tournament, which shouldn’t have been so nerve-wracking for him, maybe it was just that he didn’t know what to expect from the day. His nerves must have shown on his face though, because as soon as he sat down at the warbler’s table, Flint, who was also on the team, made his way over.

“Get lots to eat before we head down to the track, okay? You don’t want to be running out of energy before we even get down there.” Barry just agreed, not trusting the nerves thrumming in his chest not to speak for him.

Making their way down to the track, having met the rest of team in locker room, Barry let out a nervous chuckle.

‘Oh God.’ He muttered, seeing just how many different schools had shown up. He didn’t realise this was such a big event.

“It’s okay man, you’re gonna be winning all the races.” One of his teammates said hearing him, surely trying to comfort him. No pressure there then, Barry thought.

They settle at their team area, each school was given a specific place to sit to keep the event organised. Barry joined in with the meaningless chatter as they waited for the competition to begin. Barry was only in the 400m race and the relay so he knew he would just be sitting around a lot watching the other races.

‘Well look who decided to show their face, long time no see.’ A low voice jeered tauntingly. Barry could place the voice before even turning to look.

’Tony. You’re here.’ Barry observed dreadfully at unexpectedly seeing his former bully in the flesh. The last he saw of him was when he locked him up in the pipeline. It was an odd experience to see him roaming free. Another weird thing for Barry was seeing him this age, so young compared to the meta he’d dealt with but still older than he remembered his childhood bully being. It was strange to think that Tony had been here in Barry’s original timeline but they hadn’t seen each other because Barry hadn’t been on the athletics team.

‘Course, this is an athletics tournament, which makes me wonder what someone like you would be doing here.’ Tony responded boastfully. Overhearing, one of the Barry’s teammates interjected

‘He’s our best athlete.’ They chimed in happily, clearly missing Tony’s grim tone. The rough looking teen barely spared them a glance, choosing to remain staring down at Barry with a sneer.

‘We’ll see.’

This didn’t bode well at all. Barry didn’t recall his old school having a strong athletic presence meaning they wouldn’t have a very big team. So there was a chance Barry would have to race against Tony which didn’t give him much hope.

Barry decided to put that out of his head as the event began. He needed to support his team. Not that they needed it, or him for that matter, Barry was amazed that there were such talented athletes at Dalton. They seemed to be winning almost every race and field event. In fact, it almost made him more nervous for his own race, thinking he wouldn’t be able to keep up with these runners.

But as he lined up on the track when time came for him too, Barry reminded himself of his thoughts earlier that week.

He was not gonna let anyone beat him, especially not Tony, who was a few lanes down from him. No, he could win this.

And he did, much like during gym, Barry clearly dominated in this race, making his way to the finish line before some were even half way around the track. Tony crossed the line in second place with a scowl. If looks could kill. But Barry assured himself that tony wouldn’t do anything in front of so many people. Instead he allowed himself to be congratulated by his team and let himself be happy.

After their success in the relay as well, their team had enough wins to make them the winners of the whole event. The basked in the glory, watching their captain receive a big trophy. Barry was pleased to see the coach doing fist pumps at the side of the track. It had been a great day, Barry was excited to go call Joe to let him know how the event had gone.

As everyone was helping tidy up their seating area and the other teams were packing up to leave, No one else noticed when Tony came over, grabbing Barry by the arm.

‘Let’s talk.’ He said simply, before walking off in the direction of the athletics shed.

Barry continued helping to tidy, before heading off in the same direction managing to slip away from the team somehow.

He figured he could try and clear this up with Tony, they were both older now and the didn’t need to fight. Maybe then he wouldn’t have to worry about him when he got his meta powers in the future.

Barry walked around the side of the small building to find Tony stood there alone.

‘Look Tony, I’d really like it if we could just be civil, and act like men.’ Barry placated, hoping to just get this over with.

He was surprised by Tony laughing.

Barry felt a presence behind him and suddenly there were two big guys at each of his sides holding his arms.

‘Act like men? What would a little fag like you know about that?’ Tony spat advancing on him. Disconcerted by the change of situation Barry tried to shuffle backwards in the two guys grips, keen to get out of this quickly.

‘Let’s not do this, we can-‘ A thumping pain erupted in his left cheek as Tony swung his fist with a practiced ease silencing Barry.

Tony got really close, until their faces were almost touching, and spoke eerily calmly.

‘Did you think you could just show up, make us look stupid and we’d just let you get away with it?’ He whispered in mock offence.

‘I didn’t ‘make you look stupid’, it’s not my fault if you’re not as fast as me.’ Barry grumbled back.

Tony narrowed his eyes and took a step back.

‘Well if you’re so fast, let’s see you try and get out of this.’

Suddenly the two at his side let go but only to begin their attack. Barry was getting beaten from three sides.

He fought back desultorily, elbowing one in the face, but a sharp hit between his shoulder blades knocked him down. Barry felt a stinging graze upon his palms against the gravel as he stopped himself from face planting into the ground. In his future, he would be able to get out of this easily, but now with his limited speed and being outnumbered- he was doomed.

The three were relentless. Barry rolled onto his back to try and fight back but it was to no avail.

Tony stood over him lifting him by his shirt so he could repeatedly punch him in the face, while the others kicked at his sides and legs.

Barry gasped as he felt a particularly hard kick to his right knee, making him groan out in pain only to be cut off to another hit to his mouth leaving a splatter of blood across his cheek.

After what seemed like hours, he heard one of the others speak.

’Tony, Matt texted, the bus is gonna leave soon.’

Barry was dropped hard onto the ground leaving him winded and gasping for air. Through swollen eyes Barry saw Tony still standing over him.

He cackled cruelly.

‘Yep, you’re really fast.’ The sarcasm being very clear.

Barry didn’t respond, not even sure if he could.

As he heard their footsteps retreating, Barry closed his eyes finding the dimming sky too bright to handle. He lay there wheezing, wondering just how quickly he could heal from this.