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Could Have Been

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Prologue

 

It had been a good day for Barry. He woke up early and very nearly made it to work on time, so the Captain only gave him a small scowl today. He managed to get all of his work done meaning he could go home early and relax. So, it was a good day. Until the phone call came.

‘Hello?’

‘Sebastian? It’s Blaine.’ There was a hint of something in his voice that Barry couldn’t recognise but it didn’t sound good.

‘Hey Blaine, how’s it going?’ Barry continued cheerfully.

‘Don’t act like you don’t know, you fucking asshole!’ Barry almost recoiled in surprise at the vicious tone of Blaine’s voice. He could feel the rage pouring through the line and was frozen for a moment at a loss as to what he’d done to deserve this.

‘Blaine? What? I don’t understand what you’re talking about, did I do something?’ He was genuinely confused, he’d made up with Kurt and Blaine enough that they were able to be civil, so this was entirely unexpected.

‘Kurt’s gone you idiot and it’s your fault, how could you do this to us?’ Realisation dawned on him as he remembered hearing about their short lasting marriage. He predicted it would end that way.

’Shit yeah, I heard about the divorce-‘

’Not the divorce, Sebastian, he’s gone, he’s gone and it’s your fault!’ Now he was stumped, he didn’t understand the situation and how it could possibly be anything to do with him. Even with their civil acquaintanceship, Barry hadn’t spoken to either Kurt or Blaine in a year if not more.

‘Blaine, can you just slow down and actually explain to me what’s going on?’

‘Kurt killed himself.’

Barry felt like he’d been punched in the chest, all the air left his body and he felt like he’d been plunged into freezing cold water.

‘Oh my god, Blaine, I’m so sorry’ He tried to comfort Blaine knowing he must have felt terrible.

‘No you’re not. This is your fault, if it weren’t for you he wouldn’t have been so insecure, he wouldn’t have trust issues, he wouldn’t be gone!’

Barry fell silent.That wasn’t true, right? That was years ago and Kurt had forgiven him. As for trust issues he was pretty sure that could have been attributed to Blaine cheating, but still, there was a part of him, a sickening feeling growing in his stomach that said ‘yes it was your fault’

‘Blaine, I’m sorry, I don’t know what else I can say-‘

‘Don’t say anything, nothing can ever bring him back and I hope that fact haunts you for the rest of your fucking life.’

Barry heard Blaine hang up

Barry tried to carry on with his life but the guilt and regret was a huge weight he had to drag around with him at all times.

A few days later

‘Hey, are you feeling ok, you don’t seem like yourself?’ Barry looked up at the sound of Caitlin’s soft voice breaking through his trance. He’d been doing that a lot recently, zoning out, not being able to take his thoughts away from that phone call. He cleared his throat.

‘Um, yeah I’m fine, just tired I guess.’ He couldn’t tell them, he felt too ashamed, what would they think of him if they knew?

They resume their training, he started running laps. At first he tried his best to maintain his focus but eventually felt his mind slipping back to the dark thoughts that had been plaguing him.

He doesn’t even notice it when it happens, doesn’t notice himself speeding up or Caitlin calling for him to stop. He does however, notice the flash of blinding white light encompassing him, the feeling of being pulled in every direction all at once. By the time he notices, it’s too late.

Chapter Text

Barry halts to a stop. He doesn’t skid across the floor or leave burn marks like he usually does after running so fast, instead he feels like he’d been dropped into place. He’s panting from running. Where is he? The sound of music surrounds him. Did he phase into a building? This is going to be awkward to explain away.

His breathing is hard, he feels out of breath but suddenly overwhelmed by the new environment and disorientation. He distantly notices the music stopping. Barry ignores it, dismissing it as being irrelevant at this moment. Turning, he attempts to figure out his location only to see a dozen eyes staring at him.

A small sound of shock escapes his mouth and he jumps a little, having not expected to have so many people watching him.

‘Sebastian?’ An involuntary gasp escapes his mouth, no one in Central City knew him by that name. Unless he wasn’t in Central City-

Everything falls into place. He’s at Dalton.

‘Why- why? What are- I don’t’ He’s at Dalton, how could that be possible, this didn’t make any sense. He begins to panic, his breathing getting harder. He tries to loosen his suit around his neck but when he reaches for it, he doesn’t feel the tight texture of his suit. Instead he feels buttons and a collar. He looks down startled to find that he’s in a uniform, his old Dalton uniform.

Looking back up at the boys, Barry realises this has to be a joke, or a crazy nightmare, but the logical part of his brain knows neither of those options actually make sense. He steps back from the boys fearfully.

‘Sebastian, are you ok?’ A voice called out, it sounded far away and muted but he could see someone’s mouth moving not to far away from him.

‘Don’t call me that!’ Barry whispered harshly. He’d escaped this. He’d changed. How could he be back here?

He jumps back when he feels someone place a hand on his arm, flinching back and stumbling in the process. He can hear his pulse pounding in his skull.

‘You’re ok, you’re having a panic attack, but you’re ok’

It was Wes. Wes shouldn’t be here. None of them should be here.

He absently heard shuffling of which he assumed was people leaving the room.

‘What do we do?’ Who was that? They sounded younger than Wes.

‘Just stay quiet, he’ll be fine soon’

‘He’s never done this before’ Another voice?

Barry covered up his head and ears trying to block them out so he could calm down. Whatever was going on, he needed to be calm.

‘That’s right just take deep breathes Sebastian’

Oh my god this is actually happening, he must have ran too fast and time travelled. How could he get back?

He realised he’d have to live like this and he just freaked out in front of everybody. Well done Barry.

After he’s calmed down, he looks up slowly to find four people watching him with deep concern lining there faces. He looks around not knowing what to do.

‘Sebastian’ Wes asked carefully.

He turns to look after a second, remembering that he is Sebastian.

‘Um… yeah I um’ The boys saw him struggling.

‘It’s ok, you don’t need to explain anything, we’re not judging you’ That was David, oh god everyone looks so young.

‘Ok um thanks’ Oh yeah because that’s exactly how Sebastian would act!

‘I have to go.’ Barry jumps up knowing he has to leave this conversation before he screws up any further if he’s going to try and act like Sebastian.

He leaped up and walked swiftly out of the room.

Chapter Text

The room was full of noise, arguing to be more precise. Around the room stood boys in Dalton uniform sighing exasperatedly and in the centre was Sebastian standing tall looking down his nose at the others.

‘Come on guys, you need to work harder otherwise it’ll be your fault that we lose.’ He spoke with malice but his anger was belied by the smirk cast across his face.

‘It’s not our fault you’re trying to upstage everyone!’ Trent spat back at him.

‘You know, maybe if you were up to my level it wouldn’t be upstaging.’ This continued on for a while, no one was too concerned about stopping it, this was a common occurrence in Warbler practices since Sebastian had arrived at the school. It was clear that very few people actually got along with him, with the exception of Nick and Jeff, but that was mostly because Jeff liked everyone. For all he was disliked, Sebastian threw out double the amount of detestation right back at them.

‘Warblers! There is no time for petty bickering. Start again.’ The stern voice of the lead council member, Wes, cut through the noise, silencing the two.

All glaring towards Sebastian, in a united front, the Warblers got back into formation.

They began to sing the first song from their setlist, with Sebastian singing lead much to everyone’s annoyance, and it all seemed to be going well. That is until the second chorus. Sebastian stopped singing, the sound cutting off mid sentence, and tensed up. The other Warblers carried on gleefully, assuming he’d forgotten the lyrics but would jump back in when he’d remembered. They took satisfaction out of seeing him mess up.

But he didn’t carry on.

He broke out of his trance like pose gulping in air as though he had been holding his breath. The Warblers looked at him confused, some stopped, startled by the sudden gasp from their soloist.

He was breathing heavily and looked confused.

‘Stop, what’s going on?’ Wes called from where he had been surveying the performance. The Warblers looked to Sebastian for an answer but it was like he hadn’t even heard them. He was looking around at the room disorientedly almost as though he’d never seen it before.

After a moment, he seemed to notice that everyone was watching him and let out a noise of shock. His eyes widened comically.

The warblers backed away as though he was a frightened animal about to attack. Nick, however, stepped towards him, going to the aid of the boy he only acted nice to because of Jeff.

‘Sebastian?’ He spoke tentatively. They all watched as the boy gasped and backed away from Nick like he was afraid. They heard his breathing starting to get dangerously fast.

‘Why- why? What are- I dont’ His voice was hoarse and fearful. The Warblers watched in shock, some in a cruel fascination, at seeing their soloist acting so vulnerable and out of character.

Sebastian tugged at his shirt collar, they assumed trying to loosen it, but it only caused him more stress as he started to clutch and pull at the material roughly. He backed away, creating more distance again, from the boys looking so lost and confused. The three council members had left their desk and come around to try and sort out the situation.

‘Sebastian, are you ok?’ David took the initiative to try and reach out verbally. His attempts were met with a harsh hissing whisper.

‘Don’t call me that!’ The words were strangled and panicked. That induced a wave of confusion to circulate through the room.

A button popped off his shirt as he pulled the material too hard and rolled around on the floor before settling under one of the black leather couches.

Wes reached forward and tried to pull Sebastian’s hands away from his uniform. They watched as he reacted violently flinching away and tripping in his haste. He scrambled on the floor until his back was pressed against one of the couches. He looked like he was trying to merge with the furniture or go through it entirely.

‘Right ok, get everyone out of here.’ Wes spoke responsibly to Thad, his third council member, hoping that without so many people watching they might be able to diffuse the situation.

Wes kneeled down in front of Sebastian who was hyperventilating by this point.

‘You’re ok, you’re having a panic attack, but you’re ok’ He tried to soothe the soloist seeing the desperate glint in his wide eyes. As the last of the people left the room Nick, Jeff and David joined Wes near the panicked boy.

’Wes, no shouldn’t-‘ Sebastian was mumbling incoherently through his sharp breaths.

‘What do we do? Jeff whispered not wanting to alarm Sebastian. Wes turned to the other boys looking just as shocked as they felt.

‘Just stay quiet, he’ll be fine soon’ They heard the slight uncertainty in Wes’ voices. He was completely bewildered at seeing Sebastian like this.

‘He’s never done this before’ Nick spoke quietly not knowing why he felt that was relevant but feeling like he should try to contribute.

They heard a confused whimper. Sebastian seemed to be trying to curl up, he wrapped his arms around his head. They started to panic again not knowing how to deal with this until they heard his breaths deepening.

‘That’s right, just take deep breaths, Sebastian’ Wes spoke with some relief.

They waited another few minutes as his breaths evened out until, eventually, the boy unwound himself and lifted his head.

The four waited for him to say something, anything, so they would see he was alright. He looked around seeming more aware of his surroundings now.

‘Sebastian?’ Nick tried gently. They worried when he didn’t respond immediately, but watched as after a second his head snapped round to face them.

‘Um… yeah I um’ He seemed at a loss for words, the boys saw him struggling and luckily David came to his rescue.

‘It’s ok, you don’t need to explain anything, we’re not judging you’

Sebastian lowered his eyes not meeting their questioning looks.

‘Ok um thanks I guess’

He suddenly seemed angry.

‘I have to go.’ Sebastian blurted. The Warblers tried to assure him that it was ok but he jumped up and walked swiftly out of the room. Wes let out an exasperated sigh.

‘What just happened?’

‘Like I said, he’s never done that before.’ Nick said, affirming that none of them could have predicted that.

‘Do we go after him?’ Jeff was always the sweet one, he felt guilty, thinking maybe Sebastian’s argument with Trent might have triggered the panic attack.

‘No, he’s probably embarrassed, we’ll make sure he’s ok at dinner.’ And with that the four boys agreed to watch out for him later on.

Chapter Text

Barry slumped against his bedroom door, finally managing to get away from everyone. He thanked his lucky stars that he had remembered his room number otherwise that would have lead to a whole different lot of problems. From his place at the door, he took in the appearance of his room letting the wave of nostalgia wash over him. It was a weird feeling, being back, and not necessarily a pleasant one at that. Even just looking at his room he could see how much he had changed over the years. There were no pictures. There was no comfort, no warmth, nothing to tell anyone who the room belonged to at all.

Barry thought back to how he used to be. After his father had been sent to prison, Barry was the victim of bullying. People were constantly telling him how it was his fault or that he would turn out just like his dad. Any friends he did have he lost because their parents didn’t want to expose their children to such a family. There was always Iris, but she couldn’t be there all the time.

This was all tolerable though, Barry had always been very headstrong and set in his beliefs. With this in consideration, he managed to ignore lots of the bullying because he knew his dad was innocent.

None of this mattered though, because as Barry got older his bullies found another reason to target him. One that he couldn't deny. It was strange, Iris used to comfort him once she found out, assuring him that she knew they were only making up everything about him being gay. For once, the bullies seemed to know him better, they would call him names in the hallways, get him in trouble in class, beat him up behind the school. Iris did her best to help and when Barry was beaten up so badly he had to go to the hospital, Joe helped arrange for him to transfer to Dalton.

It was pretty simple, he had amazing grades. This was also when Sebastian was created. Barry had told Joe that he was still being bullied for his family situation, he was scared that Joe would find out the real reason and not be ok with it. After what happened, Joe was convinced that, for his safety, Barry should change his name. Sebastian was his father’s middle name and Smythe was his mother’s maiden name. It was perfect.

Now you should know that, at that point in his life, Barry was scared of a lot of things, mainly the truth. It was the fact that nobody really knew the entire truth about who he was or what he’d been through. He also hated how much the truth could be dismissed or manipulated. So when he got the chance to leave his past behind he did, by creating a new one.

Barry fabricated fanciful stories about his rich parents and holidays in Paris and so on. It helped for a while, it was nice not to be looked at as damaged or outcast. It was nice to feel better than other people for once in his life. He had complete control over who people thought he was.

Except he didn’t, he fell into his stories, got too immersed in the fiction and turned into the Sebastian that everyone hated. A conceited, arrogant dick. He became so obsessed with this new character that he could use and shield himself with that he was completely afraid to let go of it. He couldn’t turn it off. So he didn’t. It wasn’t until he left Dalton that he was able to reinvent himself, go back to who he really was.

Barry sighed, looking around the room again. He really had changed, who was he kidding? There was no way he could pretend to be Sebastian, he could’t go through that again. Taking a seat on his soft bed Barry placed his head in his hand.

It was then that Blaine’s words rang through his head.

‘This is your fault, if it weren’t for you he wouldn’t have been so insecure, he wouldn’t have trust issues, he wouldn’t be gone!’

As the words bounced around in his head, something occurred to Barry. Maybe this was all meant to happen, it was true he couldn’t pretend to be Sebastian again, but maybe that was the point. This was his chance to change things. Maybe this was his chance to save Kurt. His decision was made in seconds, he had to take this opportunity.

He stood to look in the mirror. He figured starting with his looks would be easy.

He noticed that he’d barely grown at all, he was the same height and looked exactly like his older self. He guessed it was just because of his expressions, he was a lot more emotive facially than he used be since he didn’t ever need to hide his feelings. Barry remembered how he had smirked and sneered at people, he looked back at himself and realised just how much happier he was. Even with all the metahumans and secrets, he’d at least accepted himself and was happy. He smiled at his reflection. Great. Now all he needed to change was the hair. God, the hair, what was he thinking? This much hair gel has got to be some kind of hazard. Going into his ensuite, Barry washed the gel out and towel dried his hair letting it look casually ruffled. Looking at himself now he looked just like he usually did except in his school uniform, which was a really weird sight.

When he was finally happy with his appearance Barry checked the time, only to realise that it was 5:30. He figured dinner must have been around this time.

As he made his way down to the lunch hall he thought about how surreal this whole situation was, he was so lost in thought it was a wonder he didn’t get lost in the long forgotten corridors. He did however manage to collide with a younger student as they both walked around a corner. For only two people walking into each other they made a huge mess. Papers went flying everywhere, Barry was glad he hadn’t been carrying anything otherwise it would've been lost under all of the paper. The two boys found themselves on the floor.

’S-sorry, I should have been looking where I was going!’ Barry looked to the boy who was scrambling up and shoving the papers back into a pile in what seemed to be a completely random order. This actually looked quite familiar to the many times he’d slipped at the precinct throwing case files around in the process.

‘Hey, it’s ok, it was my fault too.’ Barry started picking up papers to hand to the boy who had frozen and was staring at him like he’d just said something extraordinary. He guessed that the boy hadn’t expected him to be nice which made him sad to think of how many people he had made to feel this way.

The boy thanked him for the papers before scurrying off to god knows where, the school was like a maze. Barry nearly got lost on his way to the lunch hall but eventually, he made it. So many memories came back to him as he walked through the doors. He noticed movement to his right and saw the Warblers waving him over. He started making his way over to the table.

Ok, deep breathes Barry. Here goes.

Chapter Text

Ok, deep breathes Barry. Here goes.

Barry almost chuckled at his dramatics. He’d already decided that he was just going to be himself, so all he had to do was hang out with some teenagers and be nice. What could be hard about that? He reached the table and took a seat next to Jeff who had shuffled over on the bench to make space for him.

‘Sebastian.’ Trent greeted bitterly. Oh right, that’s what was going to be difficult.

‘Um, hi guys’ Barry spoke cheerfully trying not to acknowledge the tension at the table. It seems people were either glaring him, which he guessed was usual, or watching him cautiously after what happened earlier.

‘What? No food again?’ It was Thad this time, though his words showed concern, the tone had an unseemly mirth, or at least Barry thought it was unseemly.

Wait, food, how did he forget food. He came all the way down to the lunch hall for dinner and didn’t get food. This time he did laugh slightly at his idiocy. He told the boys that he would be back in a second and left the table to go over to the food counters.

Just like when he was younger, sometimes Barry would go on hunger strike, except it wasn’t for any kind of cause, it was just a bad habit. He would just stop eating for a few days. Barry didn’t consider it an eating disorder, it wasn’t to do with body image or control, sometimes he just didn’t feel like eating, or it reminded him of his mom’s cooking, or even memories of lunch trays being knocked out of his hands in middle school.

Looking at the food here though, Barry wondered how he had managed to resist. God knows he couldn’t now. He got a bit of everything knowing he needed to eat a lot with his powers. Then it hit him, he hadn’t even thought about his powers. He decided to test them out later to see if he even still had them.

He made his way back over to the table desperately trying to balance all over the food on his tray. As he took his seat again some warblers scoffed at the amount of food he’d piled up.

’So, what are you guys talking about?’ Everything he did or said was managing to get him weird looks so he decided to just go with it. Nobody seemed to want to answer.

‘Did you hear about Miss Marquez?’ Jeff interjected. Barry caught onto the fact that they didn’t want him to know what they were talking about, meaning he was probably the topic.

‘Who?’ He almost cursed himself for speaking without thinking. Jeff didn’t seem bothered by the question though.

‘Oh you probably didn’t know her, she was the Spanish teacher.’

‘What? What happened? I love her classes.’ A warbler Barry wasn’t sure of the name of spoke up.

‘I heard she got fired for sleeping with a pupil.’ Jeff answered and weirdly enough, Barry noticed the looks he got at the statement, which he was confused about. That is, until he picked up someone muttering to another boy ‘I bet it was him’. They all thought had slept with a teacher, and a woman!

Yeah, Sebastian had been very promiscuous, once Barry had gotten away from Joe and Iris he felt comfortable acting on his sexuality without them being able to find out, so the warblers knew that he was very gay. With that in mind, how could they think it was him? He let it go as being them blaming him for something they didn’t like. He guessed that was fair enough.

‘Oh that sucks, do you know if their gonna get a cover for her classes?’ Barry said, trying to move the conversation along.

‘Why so you can get them fired too?’ Ok now they weren’t even trying to hide it, Barry had to speak up for himself.

‘I didn’t have sex with Miss Marquez, why would I, I’m gay?’ Some looked surprised, he guessed they hadn’t expected him to give a valid argument rather than just insulting someone.

’So you are gay then?’ Nick asked. Well that took a turn for the unexpected.

‘What? Of course I am, you didn’t know that?’ He questioned them incredulously. How could they not know that? He hadn't tried to hide it, in fact, he’d been very clear about it.

‘We just kinda figured you were a ‘fuck anything with a pulse’ kind of guy.’ Was that really a kind of guy? Was he really that kind of guy? It was funny how he’d never actually told anyone that he was gay and yet they all managed to come up with different conclusions.

There was a pause as no one spoke. An awkward quietness fell over the table and Barry momentarily felt guilty for causing it.

Barry went back to devouring his multitude of food.

The rest of dinner was filled with short lasting conversations. The warblers found it difficult to have normal discussions as they had grown accustomed to arguing for most of their conversations when Sebastian would give an opinion.

Barry hurried back to his room once he managed to eat all of his food, much to the amazement of the other boys who’d never seen him eat so much.

As soon as he got back to his room Barry started trying to test his speed.

‘Ok come on Barry, just run across the room.’ He tried his best but it was no where near as fast as he was used to. Considering he was in his younger self’s body that was fair enough. But this did not help his situation at all, he couldn’t try and run back, he probably couldn’t run down the street with being hit by a scooter. He would have to just carry on as he was. This was the thought that ran through his head as he got into bed for the night. Who knew going back in time and trying to change people’s perception of you would be so tiring?

Chapter Text

Sunday

A groan escaped Barry’s mouth as he felt sunlight pushing against his closed eyelids. He needed to wake up, he was probably late for work and he didn’t want to face Singh’s angry expression first thing. Slowly, his eyes opened and widened as they adjusted to the light. Barry’s memory of the previous day came rushing back to him. He surveyed his room, honestly, a small part of him had hoped that it was all just some messed up dream and Barry would wake up in his normal life. But of course, nothing could ever be normal in his life, could it?

Barry looked over at the alarm clock on his bed side table to see that it was 8:26. He groaned again realising that it was a Sunday so he probably didn’t need to be up that early anyway. However, he was already awake at this point so with a sigh Barry heaved himself up and out of his warm bed. After washing he realised he had a big decision to make.

Clothes.

What did Sebastian usually wear? He didn’t remember. That was ok though because he just needed to dress the way he normally would, in Sebastian’s clothes. God he was so uncomfortable.

After rummaging through his old closet for what seemed like ages, Barry eventually found a vaguely acceptable outfit. He went with a pair of grey jeans, which he found uncomfortably tight, and a dark blue sweater that he’d discovered under a pile of folded clothes. He picked a random white shirt to wear underneath and some blue converse he had spotted. Giving himself a once over in the mirror, Barry nodded in approval.

——————————————————————

‘Morning.’ Barry greeted the warblers, who were at the table in the hall, after receiving a life saving amount of coffee, which he had desperately needed. Wes looked up from his breakfast with an almost startled expression.

‘Sebastian. You know I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed you at breakfast on a weekend before.’ Wes spoke. Barry was glad he had responded first, Wes seemed to be impartial towards him, not wanting to let his opinions affect his position on the warbler council. Barry was ok with that. Wes reminded him of Caitlin in a way, very professional, never letting their feelings be shown.

Another voice piped in as Jeff arrived at the table with Nick in tow.

‘Wow, Sebastian Smythe, not hungover on a Sunday! I never thought I’d live to see the day!’ The blonde boy chuckled at his own words. Barry joined in, happy that no one seemed to be sending him any negative vibes yet.

’Shut up’ Barry laughed back to Jeff, ’So, um, what are you guys doing today?’

‘Just hanging out I guess.’ Nick said looking around the table to see if anyone had plans. They only nodded in affirmation.

Some of the warblers seem cautious or even uncomfortable at Sebastian’s civil behaviour, still not accustomed to this version of him. Barry wasn’t disheartened though, this was his first day technically so he didn’t expect them to be any different.

He reached in his back pocket to check the time on his phone only to realise it wasn’t there. After the mini heart attack that ensued, Barry remembered he must have left it in his room. He excused himself to go retrieve. He wasn’t used to being away from it, usually he needed to be ready for a meta human alert so being away from it made him feel kind of lost. He internally shook his head at how stupid that was.

Back in the room, he began searching for the device. It was lying on his desk on top of some papers. Looking over the papers a small smile began to form on Barry’s face. Chemistry homework, and really easy chemistry homework at that. Noticing handwriting at the top of one of the pages, he saw that it was due in tomorrow.

He sped through the work not wanting to make the warblers suspicious of how long he was taking. He had told them he would meet them in the common room after breakfast. It took him about a minute but soon the work was complete.

Barry’s loss of speed had left him feeling conflicted, on the one hand he was still faster than any human, but it was still no where near the speeds he had ran before. All that hard work and practice, and putting himself in dangerous situations just to get faster was wasted. He guessed he should be more grateful though that he didn’t lose his speed all together, he figured it was because a part of him was still his future self, like his brain, even though his body was much younger. It didn’t make much sense but then again, nothing about his life made much sense anymore.

———————————————————

He finds the warblers in the common room, sitting around and chatting casually. They all seemed so relaxed with each other, Barry couldn’t remember ever being like that with them. They are gossiping and seemed to be trying to give relationship advice to one of the younger warblers. They all laughed together and shouted out suggestions for how the blushing boy could speak to his crush.

Barry felt out of place, not knowing how to give relationship advice. He’d never been in a proper relationship, in Sebastian’s time, he was more of a sexual person, never sticking around long enough to find out more than the person’s name. In college, well, Barry was just too shy and awkward and then anything after that, Linda, Patty, Iris, well none of them worked out. So Barry had no words of advice for anyone looking for a successful relationship except maybe what not to do.

The warblers seemed to accept his absence from the conversation, Barry honestly wasn’t entirely sure they’d noticed his presence in the room at all.

‘Ugh, I have so much work to do.’ Trent complained, the warblers had calmed down a while ago, sparing the young warbler of further harmless teasing.

‘I know, I haven’t even done Mr Simmons’ work yet, balancing equations, does anyone actually know how to do that?’ Nick questioned rhetorically. Barry sparked up at the mention of the chemistry homework he had done earlier that day.

‘The chemistry work? I can help you, I did it this morning.’ He spoke with a hint of excitement. He loved chemistry.

His happiness at the topic died down in the silence that followed his offer. He worried he might have offended Nick’s intelligence.

‘Or, you know, I could just not, I mean, whatever,’ He tried to take back his words awkwardly.

It did nothing to fix the quiet. The warblers were either looking at him or sharing glances between one another.

‘Ok, give it up Sebastian, what are you up to?’ Thad asked with hostility. Barry blanched and began stuttering.

‘W-what, what do you mean? I don’t know what you’re talking about.’

‘Why are you being so nice and acting weirdly?’ Crap, Barry panicked, what could he say? None of them would believe the truth so what could he possibly tell them?

‘Can’t I be nice to people with out it being weird?’ He laughed nervously, trying to be nonchalant.

‘No. You can’t.’ David said stoically. That shut Barry up. He didn’t know how to respond to that, he gulped slightly at the blatancy.

’So… homework?’ Thank God for Jeff, Barry took the moment to sink down into the couch he was sat on, glad for the distraction.

He didn’t realise this would be so hard. He though he could just be himself and people would eventually accept it. He didn’t expect this.

It really was a wake up call, he knew he’d been disliked in high school, but he never remembered being hated. Maybe that was just because he had pretty much ignored other people’s opinions when he was Sebastian.

As he thought more about it, Barry realised he’d never really had proper friends growing up. He had Iris, but how much of their friendship was just a consequence of them living together? If Barry hadn’t moved in with the Wests, would he still have been friends with Iris? It struck him how differently his life could have turned out, it made him wonder if he’d already changed something in the future from just the small amount of time he’d been back at Dalton.

The other warblers were doing homework by this point. Wanting to distract himself from his thoughts, Barry pulled out his phone, it’s what he would normally do if he didn’t have anything else to do. But he realised this Barry hadn’t met Cisco or Caitlin yet. He could phone Joe or Iris but he didn’t want to do that with the warblers so near by. He decided he should call them at some point though.

—————————————————————

As darkness began to fall, three boys sat in a circle in a dark dorm room.

‘What’s said in this room must never be repeated- ‘

‘For God’s sake Wes, stop making this weird!’ David reprimanded playfully.

The warbler council had gathered to discuss Sebastian. They, along with everyone else, had noticed Sebastian’s sudden personality change.

‘Maybe he had a brain transplant’ Thad snarked, not caring about Sebastian’s behaviour figuring he would be back to normal soon enough.

‘Thad, this is not a joke.’ Wes scolded.

‘Maybe that’s exactly what this is, maybe Sebastian’s just trying to trick us, throw us off our game for regionals!’

‘Why on Earth would he do that? He’s on the same team as us!’ David tried to reason.

‘I don’t know, but just don’t get used to this, because I know the one thing you can count on Sebastian for is for him to be a dick.’

Wes sighed.

‘Maybe something’s wrong, maybe he’s ill, or on drugs, or-‘ Wes’ eyes widened as he spoke, more possibilities being conjured in his mind, each one more dreadful than the last.

‘Look, we’ll just keep an eye out, ok? If there is something wrong then we can go to a teacher or something, yeah?’ David stated. The others nodded and they settled on that plan of action.

They would be watching Sebastian very closely.

Chapter Text

Barry burst awake at the shrill beeping screaming beside his head.

‘Ugh, it must be a crime to have to get up this early!’ Barry thought to himself as he dragged himself out of bed with all the willpower he had. It was his first day of classes today, well, Barry’s first day acting as Sebastian in class, but you know, whatever. Therefore, as much as it pained Barry to face the realm of consciousness so soon, he knew if he didn’t, he would be very late.

Slowly and sluggishly he went through the motions of getting ready, making sure his uniform looked completely perfect, he wanted to make a good second impression on his teachers. He figured this would be an adequate way to start.

Barry narrowly made it down to breakfast with only five minutes to spare. He rushed in and made his way over to the warblers table as usual only this time completely out of breath, any attempt to tidy his hair was now wasted from the run down to the hall.

‘Cutting it a bit close, don’t you think?’ Wes sent him a look of disapproval from across the table.

‘We were worried you might be ill’ Jeff added innocently

I spark of annoyance at their constant comments ran through my body.

‘Yeah well maybe you should just worry about yourself instead.’ Barry retorted almost immediately regretting it. He paused shocked at himself, but he knew this was just how he was in the mornings. Barry noted that Thad smirked over at Wes and David like he’d won an argument or something. David just rolled his eyes and Wes didn’t react at all. Nick looked like he wanted to speak up to defend Jeff but was restraining himself to prevent the situation from escalating.

Barry looked down at Jeff who looked like he was trying to ignore what Barry had said. Barry put his hand on Jeff’s shoulder apologetically ignoring the glares Nick was sending him for speaking to Jeff like that.

‘Sorry, I mean’t- Sorry, I just need coffee.’ At that, Jeff smiled up at him forgivingly. Barry breathed a deep sigh of relief that someone as sweet as Jeff existed.

——————————————————

First up he had english with Nick. Barry actually felt kind of nervous to be going to class for the first time in so long. He waited as nick and Jeff said their goodbyes like it was the last they would ever see of each other. Together, Barry following Nick closely, they rushed off to english. Neither of them really knew what to say to each other so the short journey was filled with silence.

English went by very slowly. Barry had no real interest in the subject knowing that he wasn’t going to use it after high school. It was just a grade to him. It was really helpful knowing what could happen in your future, it helps you focus on the important things and Barry found that that english class was not one of those important things.

After class he realised he had to find his chemistry class by himself as he watched Nick walk off for a different class. Panicking he began to rack his memory for some kind of mental map of Dalton. As he spun around in the corridor trying to pick a direction to start walking in he felt someone bump into his side. He let out a small grunt at the sudden collision.

Looking down Barry realised it was the same kid he’d crashed into a few days ago. The kid flushed bright red in embarrassment at walking into him again.

’S-sorry, again.’ Barry dismissed the boy’s quiet apology with a wave of his hand.

‘No problem’

And with that the kid started to walk away.

‘Hey wait!’ Barry called after him as an idea popped into his head. The kid froze and turned back looking worried.

‘So um, this is probably gonna sound weird but could you point out the direction of the science classrooms, please?’

The kid looked at him weirdly, furrowing his eyebrows and letting a slight frown of confusion fall onto his face.

‘Um, well, I have biology there now, I could take you if you want?’ He said timidly, as if Barry would be offended by the offer. However, Barry only grinned gratefully in response.

‘Thanks man, you’re a life saver’

They walked off together.

‘I’m Ba- um Sebastian, by the way’ Barry internally face palmed at his mistake. He felt that he should probably introduce himself to the kid he kept walking into just in case it became a habit.

‘Sam.’ The boy said quietly, ‘and I know who you are, everyone knows who you are.’

Barry didn’t know how to respond to that, he wasn’t sure of the context behind the blonde boy’s words and whether or not he was speaking positively about him. So he decided to try and move the focus of the conversation away from himself.

‘Are you a freshman? How come I never see you with anyone else?’ Barry spoke inquisitively, curiosity had gotten the better of him and genuinely wanted know more about this kid.

‘Yeah, I’m a freshman and I don’t, I’m not really, I’m not very good at talking to people.’ Sam lowered his head shamefully, like he was expecting Sebastian to mock him.

Barry now understood that Sam knew of Sebastian’s reputation of being mean. He thought hard of what to say in response feeling an urge to protect this kid like he was his little brother. He remembered being like that before he’d come to Dalton and then kinda the same in uni. Barry knew how important it was to have people to talk to, something he usually figured out the hard way.

‘Why don’t you join the warblers?’ Barry suggested as the idea struck him.

Sam laughed slightly.

‘Oh no, I-I wouldn’t get in.’ Sam said shyly, but Barry wasn’t gonna let him crawl back into his shell.

‘No, seriously, I could try and get you an audition, everyone’s really friendly.’ He said trying to convince Sam that joining the warblers would be a good way to make friends. Well, they weren’t really very friendly to him but he couldn’t imagine anyone being mean to Sam.

Barry realised they’d arrived at his class from reading the label on the door they’d just stopped at.

‘Thanks, what can I do to repay you?’ Sam asked earnestly. Barry was confused, this kid seriously thought he needed to do something in return for Barry trying to help him make friends?

‘Don’t worry about it kid, anything for helping me out, you uh won’t tell anyone I needed help getting to class right?’

Sam agreed happily to keep his secret, if other people found out they’d ask questions about how Barry could possibly forget his way to class as a Junior at this point in the term. That would make everything way more complicated.

Sam waved as he walked off to his own class weaving his way through the small crowds of stray students. Barry was happy to see that Sam didn’t look so uncomfortable anymore.

Chapter Text

Barry burst through the door to the chemistry lab just as the final bell was ringing. He looked around to see the classroom he had always loved, in secret of course, Sebastian couldn’t have had people think he had any actual interests other than sex. Nobody looked up from their conversations as he entered the room, almost like this was expected. Barry recalled often being late to classes and sometimes just not turning up at all. In hindsight he had no idea how he’d managed to graduate in the first place.

‘Ah, nice of you to finally join us, Mr Smythe, do you feel like taking your seat today or are you just going to stand there for the rest of the lesson?’ Barry startled at the teasing voice coming from his left. It was Mr Bennett. He was an affable teacher, even though he pretty much hated Barry for not being a good student, his words were always light heartedly mirthful. The boy smiled at being able to see him again.

Barry then realised what he was saying and hopped into action hurrying to the only free seat in the class.

To say Mr Bennett was caught off guard when he didn’t have to reprimand Sebastian once would be an understatement. He was pleasantly surprised when the boy did as he said throughout the lesson and worked congenially with his lab partner. When Mr Bennett spoke, he actually thought he saw a spark of interest at his words coming from the formerly terrible student. He wondered what had changed.

Barry on the other hand, was completely in his element, pun not intended. Of course, the work they were doing was painfully simple for the CSI. Regardless, Barry hadn’t taken time to just do an experiment in so long, this was a very enjoyable experience.

He watched happily as he saw the effervescence of the two chemicals violently reacting to each other. A pleased smile graced his face. It was great to be able to just watch a chemical reaction, just for the sake of doing science. As a CSI, everything was for the job and once he started trying to save the city, there wasn’t exactly much time left for sitting around and exploding things.

‘Have you seen this reaction before, Mr Smythe?’ A voice beckoned his attention from over his shoulder. Barry jumped once again, nearly knocking over some test tubes as he turned, which he clumsily caught and put back into place before acting as though it hadn’t happened.

‘What? Oh um no?’ Barry said questioningly, he had seen the reaction before but wasn’t sure if this version of himself had yet.

‘You just don’t seem surprised by the results.’ The teacher stated inquisitively.

‘Oh no I mean, well, what is there to be surprised about? The results seem completely logical.’ He gave a bout of nervous laughter as he tried to explain his lack of reaction to the experiment. Mr Bennett looked at him with a kind of confused suspicion before nodding and moving along to the next table after congratulating us on finishing the work.

By the end of the lesson, Barry’s tummy was rumbling so loudly, he had resorted to wrapping his arms around his stomach and looking around embarrassedly to see if anyone had noticed. Much to his relief, no one seemed to except for his lab partner who made awkward small talk about how he couldn’t wait for lunch.

‘Ok, well done everyone, you’ve worked well today. On your way out, remember to leave you homework on my desk.’ Mr Bennett said cheerfully. Barry started packing away his things and making his way out to the door with everyone else.

‘Oh and Mr Smythe, don’t forget you have detention after school today.’

‘What?! What for? I haven’t done anything.’ Barry queried defensively. Mr Bennett’s smile almost dropped at his sudden turn of character.

‘For not coming to class on Friday.’ Mr bennett spoke firmly. Barry desperately tried to remember why he hadn’t shown up but it was obviously a lost cause.

‘I-I was ill?’ He tried to justify his absence, more for Mr Bennett’s sake than his own, he didn’t want the teacher thinking he didn’t like this class. The teacher just raised an eyebrow.

‘Yes, I’m sure you were ill, when I saw you mocking one of the freshman students in the corridor.’ Confusion showed on Sebastian’s face but he accepted that that was a likely scenario.

Begrudgingly, he agreed to return for detention and put his homework on the top of the pile before leaving as his tummy started to rumble again.

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

Lunch was going well, that was probably a strange statement, but Barry had come to realise that these meals were the most important time for him to change the warblers impression of him. So far it had been going well. He was joining in with the conversations, and even managed to make a few of the boys laugh at one point.

‘Oh! I almost forgot, I was wondering if you guys could do me a favour?’

As if a switch had been flipped, the other boys suddenly looked uncertain, like all of his prior niceties had been to soften them up for this one cause.

‘Why would we do you a favour?’ Trent asked, some of the boys looked hesitant at Trent’s tone but did nothing to object to his question. Either way, Barry called that progress. Very, very, slow progress.

‘Well, look, I was wondering if you would let someone audition midterm?’ Wes sighed heavily at his request.

‘Sebastian, we can’t let people into the warblers because you want to get in their pants.’ He said tiredly, Barry didn’t remember asking for that reason before but he must have if Wes’ face was anything to go by. He rushed to assure them.

’No, no, no, listen, I’m not trying to sleep with him.’

‘Sure you aren’t’ Thad said reflecting his disbelief at Barry’s words.

Barry huffed impatiently. He just wanted them to let the kid audition, it wasn’t like he was asking for a kidney or anything.

‘His name’s Sam, he’s a freshman-‘ Barry tried again but was cut off indignantly.

‘A freshman? Sebastian don’t you think he’s a little young?’ Trent lectured with a patronising smirk. Barry snapped.

‘For god’s sake! I’m not- I’m just trying to do a good thing, he has no friends but he’s pretty cool and you know what I said, I said join the warblers, everyone’s really friendly. Maybe I was wrong.’

With that he walked out of the hall. Barry knew he was being ridiculous, but so were they. He wasn’t asking for much, he just wanted to help Sam out, who he’d now officially decided was his little brother.

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

Barry had three other classes after lunch but was mentally absent from all of them. He was trying to come up with ways to convince the warblers to let Sam audition. He’d gone through everything he could think of, even considering blackmail at one point. But it was no use, he couldn’t think of anything that would actually work. He realised he would have to just apologise to Sam the next time he saw him, which he was now not looking forward to.

After class, Barry followed the way Sam had shown him and made his way back to the chemistry lab. He knocked curtly on the door and entered.

‘Mr Smythe take a seat.’ He did as he was told and sat in his usual seat near the windows in the middle of the room. Mr Bennett brought over some sheets for him to complete then went about setting up an experiment on the other side of the room. Barry wondered what experiment he was going to do, and if it was what they were doing next lesson. He hurried to begin the work sheets though when Mr Bennett sent him a pointed look.

About five minutes later, the door opened again and in came two scrawny looking boys, shortly followed by more boys, some he recognised from his classes today. They glanced over at him in confusion as to why he was here which he reflected back to them.

‘Boys, please excuse Mr Smythe’s presence, he is serving detention in here today.’ The groups of boys nodded quietly. Mr Bennett put emphasis on the word detention, giving Barry another pointed look and gesturing to the work he had given him when he once again noticed the boy had gotten distracted.

Barry finished the work in about twenty minutes, which he recognised as being pretty fast even without his speed considering just how much work was given to him. He had already gathered that the group of boys were some kind of chemistry club as Mr Bennett had started explain to them what the experiment was and how to do it. Barry had listened with interest before realising it was once again a rather simple experiment, to his standards at least. Barry had taken to watching out the window.

‘Mr Smythe, I’m not going to say it again, do your work.’ Barry turned quickly and apologetically towards Mr Bennett whose attention had be drawn away from the experiment at hand. Barry went to explain to the teacher that he had finished when he did a double take. The bright flicker of one of the bunsen burners being deliberately aimed at the test tube of liquid had drawn Barry’s eye.

‘Mr Smythe!’ Mr Bennett called again demanding his attention, but Barry ignored him completely. From what he had gathered from the experiment they were doing, that test tube was filled with hydrogen peroxide, and if that got heated-

Barry jumped up, making his way across the room in seconds and snatching the bunsen burner out of the boys hands. He turned it off and put it aside. The boy jumped back in shock.

‘Are you insane?! Do you even realise how dangerous what you were about to do is? You could have been seriously injured, no, not just you, everyone in here could’ve been seriously injured. What the hell would possess you to heat up hydrogen peroxide?!’ Mr Bennett gasped suddenly as he himself realised what the boy had been about to do.

‘I-I’m sorry, I didn’t know, I swear!’ The boy stuttered out frantically. After a pause, Barry let out a frustrated breath.

‘If you don’t know how something is going to react then don’t try it.’ Barry said more calmly, making his way back to his seat.

Everyone was quiet for a moment before Mr Bennett cleared his throat.

‘How did you know that they wouldn’t react well?’ The teacher asked genuinely interested to know how a student who showed no interest in chemistry had just saved some of his best students from harm. Barry just shrugged.

‘When you heat hydrogen peroxide it to loses stability and decomposes into both oxygen and water, obviously, the oxygen released is an exothermic decomposition which can combust if it mixes with fire. So, heating hydrogen peroxide with flames can cause an explosion when the exothermic release of oxygen occurs.’ Barry spoke as though this was the most natural thing for him to say, the teacher and the club on the other hand were astonished by his knowledge of complex chemistry that they hadn’t even covered in class yet.

‘Yes well, thank you Sebastian, that could have been very disastrous.’ Mr Bennett dismissed the club as the experiment had now been left too long to have the same effect. Barry remained in his seat assuming he was expected to stay there for the remainder of the hour.

As the teacher passed his desk to put the equipment back into one of the cupboards he noticed Barry had completed the work.

‘You’ve finished.’ He stated, this had certainly been a very surprising day for him.

‘Yeah, a while back.’ Mr Bennett just nodded and said he could go.

On his way out of the classroom, Mr Bennett spoke again.

‘Perhaps, you are not as I thought you were… Barry.’ Barry froze in his step, running the words through his head in panic. Mr Bennett just called him Barry, that couldn’t be right, how could he know?!

Barry turned back to face his teacher who was looking down at his work.

‘You called me Barry.’

‘It’s the name you wrote on the top of your work.’

‘Oh. Silly me.’ He tried to laugh off nervously. Before the teacher could do anything, Barry had taken the work sheets and was erasing the name at the top of his work and changing it to Sebastian. He rushed out of classroom before anymore could be said.

Mr Bennett just stood there.

‘Yep, definitely not as I thought you were.’

Chapter Text

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.

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

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.

Chapter Text

By the middle of week, Barry should have been able to say that he was getting used to waking up so early for classes, but even he could not convince anyone of that. He would make his way down to breakfast hurriedly with barely five minutes to spare where he would guzzle down coffee by the gallon. It was another new change the warblers had noticed. How could they not? The boy who usually had an air of been a thousand steps ahead of everyone was now regularly flailing into the hall in a conspicuous display of disorder and chaos. Some were even concerned about their formerly suave and put together soloist. Others were not. Thad in particular thought it was because of a lack of sleep, ‘he stays up scheming to sabotage us through the night’ he would tell the others much to their amusement at his blatant show of paranoia. On a brighter note, one thing Barry was getting into the swing of was the act of actually going to class and remembering his way around the school. It was surprisingly becoming quite a nice little routine for him now.

This, however, was something new entirely though.

Gym class.

Ok, so not exactly as new or as daunting as it may have been presented, Barry consoled himself, but it most certainly broke away from the calm classroom environment he had become accustomed to. It wasn’t that he was bad at sports by any means. It was quite the contrary. In his original timeline, he was on the lacrosse team, they played in the Spring and Summer. But other than his ‘Flash running’ he wasn’t really very physical at all in that sense. Especially not before his powers, the most exercise he would get was running to work when he was inevitable late.

He, of course, had good stamina and strength for lacrosse, and the tactical element of the game was something that came naturally to him being a self proclaimed nerd. However, he was not fast at all before, as was formidably proven by his former bullies. Which is why Barry realised this was going to be interesting. They were doing athletics in class. Mostly focussing on track for the time being.

As the boys, some he recognised from just making his way around the school, made their way down to the adorning athletics track, Barry pondered on something. Obviously, he was a much faster runner now, not quite at his Flash speeds, but definitely faster. What was questionable was the extent to which his should show this new ability, if at all. People on sports teams took notice of who was good at what, it made picking players each year easier. Barry was sure someone would notice if he was suddenly able to run faster than was usual for him. Additionally, he wondered what kind of effect that would have on the future.

In groups they were called forward to do a 400m race, as he was called forward, Barry decided that he didn’t want to draw attention to it, he didn’t want it to cause any negative consequences, he was there to make things better in the future and drawing attention to himself was not going to do that. He lined up with the small group at the start line, getting into a starting position in his given lane.

At the sound of the bang from the mock gun, the group of boys started running. They weren’t running as fast as they could be considering it was only a 400m, so Barry happily managed to keep up. He found it quite enjoyable, it wasn’t often that he was given the opportunity or chance to just slow down for once and actually enjoy running. He didn't really have time for that in his original future, or anything enjoyable really. He had to put other people first.

As they started drawing closer toward the 200m mark, the boys started to speed up and as easily as he found it for him to keep up, Barry realised that if he were to keep running at his high school self’s pace, he was going to lose, catastrophically.

It was a pattern for him to lose. It was what he did. When he was younger he was always being chased down by bullies and always being caught, never being fast enough just get away for once. Even in his future, it was exactly the same even with his powers, he was never good enough, always just a step too slow to win. Well, he wasn’t going to let them beat him now.

At the halfway point Barry joined the others in speeding up, turning a few heads of the other racers as he managed to take over, gliding past them without the slightest show of a struggle, and get to the front with a practised ease. But he wasn't stopping there, no, this was all or nothing. Barry started to sprint with the speed of an olympian knowing that he was winning and finally in control.

He ran so fast that when he looked back from the finish line, barely needing to stop for breath, the other boys were still at the other end of the last straight. He panted softly, internally celebrating his triumph and watching as the other competitors crossed the finish line, some stumbling over in exhaustion at the challenge he had presented.

A solid hand clapped down on his shoulder, making him jump when he remembered that there were people watching. He took note that they now seemed very interested in him which made him very uncomfortable to have that kind of attention.

‘That’s the fastest I’ve ever seen anyone run.’ The coach, a usually gruff man, said with a slack jaw, sounding like he was deep in thought and not quite processing his own words.

‘What? No, I, it was nothing, really.’ Barry disagreed nervously, his voice hitting heights his anxiety usually took it to.

The coach held up the timer close to his face, eyes still glazed over slightly with an awestruck expression on his face.

‘You set a new school record.’ Barry didn’t know what to say, there was no way he could write it off as being nothing now.

‘Oh, wow, that’s, that’s great, yay me.’ He said weakly as he scolded himself internally, he just had to go and show off didn’t he. The man opposite him blinked and seemed to go back into coach mode, he managed to come back down to Earth and regained his manly stance.

‘Tell you what,' The man started, 'the school is hosting an athletics tournament this weekend and someone dropped out last week, how would you like to fill in for him?’ Well, wasn't this a lovely confliction, he admonished himself, he needed to stay focussed on his goal right now, not show off. But then again it was only for one day, and they had asked him, it wasn’t like he was pushing himself on them. This cycle seemed to roll around in his head for a few seconds as the world around him carried on as normal.

‘Yeah with him on the team, we’d be sure to win!’ Some boys had gathered round, presumably members of the team, after hearing the coach’s proposal. That seemed to be all the persuasion Barry needed to make his decision.

‘Oh um, this weekend? Um sure, I guess, I mean, if that would be ok with the team.’ He stammered out awkwardly, not wanting to push his chances.

‘Dude are you kidding? With you competing, we’re gonna destroy the other teams.’ They in turn clapped him on the back in appreciation. Well this certainly was a turn of events.

Chapter Text

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.

Chapter Text

As much as he wanted to remain lying there if only to avoid the pain of moving, Barry realised begrudgingly that spending the night outside on some gravel whilst probably still bleeding out wasn’t going to help his situation. Well, that and the fact that he knew he had warblers practice tonight which he was probably already late for.

The sky had gotten increasingly darker to the point that Barry now lay submerged in shadows from the athletics shed. Groaning, he pushed himself up so he could sit heavily against the shed. Pain sparked through his body and his face felt wet. Wiping at his cheeks tenderly with his arm did nothing to help, except spread blood further onto his body. Barry looked down at the smear of dark red streaks now covering his lower arm.

He didn’t know how long he’d been there but the pain had subdued minimally.

Maybe he was healing, maybe he was numb from the cold air. He didn’t know. Either way the pain was quick to return, slamming into him, almost knocking him back down as he tried to rise into a standing position.

They definitely messed up his knee.

And you know, the rest of his body. Regardless, Barry limped his way back up to the locker room which now seemed like a significantly longer walk than it did that morning. On his way, he wondered if anyone had noticed his absence.

After stumbling his way into the locker room and regretfully falling against one of the lockers, resulting in a loud pang echoing around the empty room, he cleaned himself up as best as he could. Which was just washing blood off himself and changing into some casual clothes he’d brought for after the competition. He regretted his choice of jeans and a button up wishing he could just wear sweats instead. But how was he supposed to know that he’d end up in this predicament.

He checked his phone seeing about ten texts from Wes asking why he wasn’t at practice and three from Jeff asking if he was ok.

On checking himself in the mirror before leaving, the sight he was presented with didn’t fill him with hope. There was absolutely zero chance of him being able to hide this. His left eye was swollen shut and painted black and blue. In fact, the whole left side of his face was scattered with colour dancing across his cheekbone, temple and jaw. That’s not to say that the other side of his face went unscathed though. He had jagged abrasions across his right cheek from the gravel which he tried to clean and had luckily stopped bleeding. All of this was topped off with a lovely split lip.

And that was just his face.

The rest was just bruising though, it was nothing he couldn’t hide. His face, now that would be the thing to cause him problems.

With a sigh, he exited the locker room and limped his way through the school, fortunately not seeing anyone on his way. He headed hesitantly for the warblers practice room hoping he hadn’t missed too much. It was Sam’s audition day, after all, and he really wanted to be there for him.

He pushed his way through the heavy doors, stumbling rather ungracefully as they moved forwards. Thankfully the warblers were still there. They were just sat around with the council talking about some christmas thing that Barry mentally dismissed for the moment.

‘Warbler Sebastian, you’ve missed pra- Oh my God what happened?!’ Wes exclaimed once he lay his eyes upon the his injured teammate. Barry straightened up as best as he could and cleared his throat.

‘I’m fine, I just ran into some trouble.’ He chuckled inappropriately at how literally that could be taken whilst still being correct, but a chuckle soon turned into a cough and a wheeze. Barry curled in on himself at the struggle. Some warblers jumped up to help him to one of the sofas, being particularly perceptive of him favouring his left side.

Barry winced visibly as he collapsed into the soft chair, smiling apologetically as Jeff knelt down into his vision in front of him.

’Someone go get the nurse.’ Wes commanded. Barry straightened up again causing him to gasp as another wave of pain hit him, he needed to stop doing that.

‘No! No, honestly it’s fine, all there gonna do is call my family and start up loads of trouble that doesn’t need to happen.’ Barry tried to wave off. Wes looked unsure but nodded, understanding the boy’s reasoning. Flint brought over a first aid kit looking guilty.

‘Dude what happened? You were fine at the competition today.’

What could he say? It wasn’t like he could just tell them, he wasn’t about to bare his life story to them and sparing no details of how he was bullied.

‘Just someone from my old school.’ He settled for, hoping that would be enough.

‘It was that guy who came over at the start wasn’t it?’ Barry cursed not realising Flint had noticed.

’Seriously guys, just leave it, it was nothing.’ Barry stated trying to be as convincing as possible, but the warblers looked hesitant to believe him, with a huff he continued frustratedly.

‘Ok, so it wasn’t nothing, but he’s just a dick who gave me a hard time at my last school and I came here to get away from him. So if you could just drop it then I can happily continue pretending he doesn’t exist.’ He spoke firmly.

Barry hissed as one of the boys pressed an antiseptic on the right side of his face, but nothing else was said of the matter. Barry couldn’t be more grateful.

————————————————————————————

When he finally got back to his room, closely followed by Jeff and Nick, who were worried he would die on his way there, he was exhausted. Turns out he had missed most of practice, but he was told that Sam had gotten in. He was sad he hadn’t been there to see the boy’s audition but he was beyond happy for him.

Barry collapsed onto his bed, internally groaning as he stretched to take his shoes off.

‘Hey um, I know we’re not close or anything but,’ Barry could see the clear hesitation on Nick’s face, ‘I was bullied at my last school too, so you don’t have to hide things like that from us’.

‘My family sent me here after- after it got too bad.’ Barry shrugged but nodded his thanks at what seemed like a kind of peace offering from Jeff’s other half.

Once assured he was fine, the boys left Barry to relax. Barry lay back but sighed remembering his promise to call Joe and tell him about the competition. Checking his phone he saw it was just after 8, and he had about a million texts from joe asking how it had gone.

Barry sighed tiredly, not entirely ready for this phone call, but inevitably dialled Joe’s number.

‘Barry?’ Joe’s fatherly voice rumbled through the phone.

‘Hey Joe’ Barry answered weakly.

‘C’mon tell already, how’d it go?’ Barry felt a lump form in his throat at his foster father’s excited tone.

‘Yeah it went well, I won my race and we came first overall.’ His voice shaking.

‘What’s wrong? Aren’t you pleased?’ Joe immediately turning concerned. Barry brought his hand up as he tried to stifle a sob, his ‘teenage’ emotions finally catching up with him.

‘Barry?’ Joe prompted, clearly worried now.

‘My old school was competing,’ Barry croaked, ‘and he was there.’

‘Barry tell me what happened.’ Joe questioned, thinking the worst. Barry let out a shaky breath.

‘They beat the shit out of me.’ He blurted softly.

’Those little- Are you okay? How bad is it?’

‘I’m fine, bruised, a lot, but I’m- I’ll be fine, it’s just suddenly caught up to me that people like him aren’t gonna change, and if people like him won’t change, then do other people? Like why do we try, when we can’t change anything? The future is set.’ Barry rambled depressingly, officially confusing Joe.

‘Barry where’s all of this coming from?’

Barry just sighed, knowing he had no explanation that would make sense.

‘Nothing, I was just- nothing don’t worry.’ Barry responded defeatedly. After a pause, Joe continued.

‘Well look, maybe people like him won’t ever change, but you Barry, you’re the strongest person I know, and you can make whatever you want of you’re future, okay?’ God, if that wasn’t enough to make Barry homesick then nothing was. In that moment he could feel everything he knew on the tip of his tongue, just daring him to spill it all. He could’t though, Joe wouldn’t believe him, he’d just get sent to another psychiatrist.

‘Okay’

——————————————————————————————

Barry shuffled down to the common room around midday day the next day having thoroughly slept through breakfast and hoping some of the warblers would be there. As the room came into his view he was greeted with the sight of Blaine and Kurt sitting and talking with Wes, David, Nick and Jeff.

Still out of sight of the boys, Barry froze in his step, his breath caught in his throat.

Kurt was alive.

And right there in the flesh.

All his pain and guilt at hearing of his death rushed straight back into him. He wanted to run over and apologise his heart out. He wanted to hold onto him and make sure he never left again. The more logical part of him however, said that would be too weird. Composing himself, he calmly took a step into the room immediately forgetting his injuries.

He let out a yelp as his knee buckled beneath him.He managed to save himself from falling completely by landing roughly against a hard wooden cabinet. Barry scrunched his eyes closed at the pain and embarrassment knowing the warblers would have now noticed him.

Reflexively he flinched away from the sudden hands holding on to his arms.

‘Sebastian, it’s ok.’ He heard Jeff’s voice soothing him. At he reminder that only the people at Dalton knew him as Sebastian he let himself be helped up, opening his eyes.

’Thank you’ Barry said quietly.

He noticed Blaine had gotten up to help but hadn’t moved away from the couch. It was almost as though he didn’t want to overstep any boundaries. Maybe it was for Barry’s sake or maybe for Kurt’s.

‘Hey Sebastian, the guys told us what happened, how you doing?’ The ex-warbler enquired with a look of understanding. Barry watched the two Mckinley students with intensity.

‘I’ll be fine.’ He managed to say with a small smile once he remembered to respond.

Kurt scoffed, to Barry’s surprise.

‘See, he probably just pissed some guys off, he’s barely even bruised.’ Kurt speculated.

Barry realised with relief that he must have healed somewhat overnight, meaning he still had some enhanced healing abilities even if it would still take a week or so.

He saw Blaine’s scandalised look at Kurt as if to tell him to stop. But he couldn’t even be angry right now, it was so great to see Kurt like this.

’It’s good to see you guys.’ Barry chuckled. He couldn’t find it in himself to care about the confused looks they sent him. He knew Sebastian would never act like this. It reminded him of what Joe had said. He needed Blaine and Kurt to know that he wasn’t going to get between them this time.

And maybe he could work on opening up some more in the process.

Before they left, Barry pulled the two aside.

‘Hey, do you guys wanna get coffee tomorrow after school?’ Barry said as casually as he could, which for the record was not casual at all.

‘Sure, Sebastian’ Blaine agreed trying to be supportive. It was clear that Barry seeing Tony again had shown Blaine a new perspective. Kurt, on the other hand, was not so easily convinced.

‘Why so you can hit on Blaine some more? What are you doing Sebastian?’ Kurt questioned suspiciously. Barry sighed.

‘Kurt, I’m sorry for everything I’ve done, I’m sorry, from the bottom of my heart, for ever coming between you two. Truth is, I’ve never really had friends and i guess my social skills are a bit inhibited.’ he said honestly, looking down guiltily.

‘Lima Bean, 4 o’clock, don’t be late.’ Barry looked up in surprise but Kurt was already dragging Blaine away. Barry let out a slow breath finally feeling like he was moving in the right direction.

Chapter Text

Mr Bennett held him back again. This was becoming a habit. Barry had spent the entirety of the class tapping his pen against the wooden desk and watching as the grass outside got lost under a thin sheet of snow. Something his chemistry teacher accepted of course, considering Barry could do the work in minutes without listening to a word of his lectures. As much as Barry loved chemistry it was becoming quite tedious to do simple, predictable experiments each lesson.

Barry remained in his seat waiting for the rest of the class to filed out. He dreaded the possibility that he was going to get another detention like last time but the jovial teacher was smiling.

‘Sebastian, how are you? I heard you ran into some trouble this past weekend.’ The small man announced casually.

‘You heard too?’ Barry implored sheepishly.

’News travels fast’ Mr Bennett said in response.

Nothing was said for a few moments. Barry looked down awkwardly once again wondering if there was any purpose to him being held behind. Mr Bennett blinked seemingly realising that they’d lapsed into silence.

‘Look Sebastian, it’s come to my attention that you are one of, if not the brightest student in my class, I wouldn’t want anything else to get in the way of that or hold you back. But I know how easily that can happen to people your age.’ Barry found himself surprised by the turn of conversation but none the less internally chuckling. If only Mr Bennett knew just how old he actually was. He was however, confused at why the teacher was bringing this up.

‘What are you saying?’

‘I’m saying that if there is something and you don’t feel comfortable talking to anyone else, you can come to me with it. It’s one of my duties as a teacher to make sure my students are alright.’

This time Barry did let out a small dark chuckle, thinking about everything that was on his mind.

‘Thanks Mr Bennett, but I think my problems are a bit too big, for even you to understand.’ And if a science teacher wouldn’t understand it all then no one he knew would. The awkward man didn’t seem to catch on to Barry’s dismissal.

‘That’s ok, we don’t need to face all your problems at once. What’s the one thing bothering you most right now?’ Barry sighed at the teacher’s persistence before conceding.

‘Ok fine, say I flirted with someone who is in a relationship, repeatedly, and now I’m worried it’s actually going to hurt their relationship and I want to take it back.’ Barry stated bluntly, expecting the teacher to take back his offer at the prospect of this challenging dilemma. The man simply raised his eyebrows.

‘Wow I didn’t expect you to be so open- no we can do this, ok, well I would say communication is the key, but you teenagers never listen to the easy option do you so let’s think. You could show interest in someone else, ah but then that might still establish a promiscuity, or you could show no interest, to anything, or-‘

Barry let him ramble on choosing to ignore the promiscuity comment. Showing interest in someone else wasn’t a bad idea, but it would have to be one person only. Then Kurt and Blaine would believe he’d moved on. Barry grinned.

———————————————————————

He waited in the lima bean, sat with a coffee. Blaine and Kurt had seemed apprehensive when he’d asked to meet. He could understand why. They hadn’t had a chance to talk since he’d come back.

The two boys entered the coffee shop, cheeks reddened by the cold. Barry instantly smiled and waved over at them. He saw them share a look and some words that he couldn’t hear.

Blaine made his way towards the counter and Kurt begrudgingly started towards the table. He sat down opposite, acknowledging Sebastian with a terse nod. They sat in silence for a moment, Barry struggling to find things to say and Kurt wanting to ignore him at all costs.

’That’s a cool top.’ Barry finally said, breaking the silence. Glancing towards Kurt’s top which had an equals sign on it.

Kurt scoffed assuming he was being sarcastic.

‘No, seriously, it’s for human rights day, right?’ Barry trailed off awkwardly.

‘What?’ Kurt finally looked up at him, confusion showing on his face.

‘Oh, no, it’s just that, it’s human rights day today and I figured since it’s an equals sign maybe it was for that.’ Barry backtracked.

‘It is, I just didn’t expect you to know that.’ They lapsed into silence again as Blaine finally made his way over with drinks.

Kurt seemed to relax at his presence.

‘Hey Sebastian, good to see you again.’ Blaine greeted clearly only saying it to be polite.

Looking at them now, sat together in front of him, Barry realised how surreal this was. They looked so young, so happy.

So alive.

Barry pushed down that particular thought to focus on the task at hand.

‘It’s great to see you, thanks for coming, both of you.’ Blaine said pointedly, trying to diffuse the hostile glare Kurt was sending him.

‘Well, come on, lets get this over with, what do you want?’ Kurt cut in harshly, wanting to be done with this already. Barry spluttered. He’d been putting this off and hadn’t prepared how to approach the topic. The thing was, he wouldn’t be able to pretend to like someone else until he found someone who would go along with it, he didn’t think any of the Warblers would go along with a plan like that so that would have to wait. In the meantime, he figured he should try and establish an actual friendship with the boys and what better way than to open up to them. Barry figured that if they saw a vulnerability in him, then maybe they wouldn’t feel as threatened.

Honestly it was a long shot, but maybe this could help him in other areas of his life too.

‘So um… I’m gay-‘ His statement was cut off by Kurt snorting loudly. He continued anyway.

‘-and, you’re gay’

‘No, we will not have a threesome with you.’ Kurt interrupted with attitude.

He saw Blaine putting a protective arm around Kurt. This was the point where Sebastian would say some scathing remark about how he wouldn’t want to sleep with someone like Kurt. Barry saw the movement and jumped in to defend his actions.

‘No, no that’s not why I asked you here!’ Barry paused not knowing how to proceed. Blaine noticed his hesitance and being the samaritan of course, decided to try and coax the information out of Sebastian.

‘Why did you ask us here?’ The gel-haired boy inquired. Barry looked up at the two of them, bracing himself.

‘Um, so, I was just wondering if, you know, you guys could give me some advice.’ He stuttered out quietly, this wasn’t normal for him, even in his future he was never the kind of person who would ask for help with anything. So this was especially hard for him, knowing how audacious it was of him to ask them for anything. He needed people to know the real him though, and it was christmas break after this week so he needed to work fast.

‘Advice, about what?’ Kurt questioned, his brow now furrowed with confusion. What could Sebastian possibly need from them?

‘Is this about what happened this weekend? You can tell us if you’re being bullied again.’ Blaine assured, and wow he hadn’t realised the warblers had told them that too. Kurt seemed to have dropped his glares at seeing this vulnerable side of Sebastian. He hated the idea of anyone being bullied, even Sebastian Smythe.

‘What? No. That was, um, that was nothing-‘ Barry cut himself off when Blaine raised his eyebrows, clearly not believing him. He needed to get back on topic.

‘No. It’s- um, I’m going home for the holidays, and… I want to tell my family.’ Barry said awkwardly. The two stared at him blankly.

‘That I’m gay.’ He continued.

Realisation dawned on their faces. Kurt’s mouth dropped open a little.

‘Wait, you, Sebastian Smythe, are not out to your parents.’ Blaine asked in obvious surprise. Barry decided to ignore the parents part of that sentence, not ready to jump into that mess.

‘They don’t know anything.’ Barry continued honestly. They looked like they wanted him to explain further.

Barry sighed, there was a lot to explain.

‘They live really far away from here, and after the bullying, well, when I got here I became a new person, because I can do practically anything here and they won’t find out.’ Barry said, hoping that would be enough of an explanation of how he could hide his sexuality from his family when it seemed so obvious to them.

‘Why now?’ Blaine asked.

‘It occurred to me that no one knows the real me and that’s really sad, so I just want to be more honest with people.’ They accepted that and went on, telling how they came out and giving him suggestions. Soon he had to excuse himself so he could get back for warblers practice, but he thanked them profusely.

——————————————————————

Turns out he had actually missed a lot on Saturday, other than Sam’s audition. Sam had come over at the start and thanked him for getting him the audition and was now sat with some other freshman boys getting along nicely. Barry was happy for him.

It seemed that there was going to be a performance on Saturday for the parents when they come to pick them up.

‘We’re gonna do three songs, with three different soloists. does anyone have any issues with that?’ Wes formally asked.

Barry noticed that all the warblers subtly turned their attention to him. He realised that they thought he would have a problem with other people having solos. Well since people were looking at him he decided to speak up.

‘Maybe there could be a duet, so more people have a chance to sing?’

The council seemed surprised.

‘That’s actually a nice idea, Sebastian, does everyone agree?’ David spoke this time. There was nodding around the room and Wes banged his gavel finalising the decision.

It was decided that Barry would have a solo alongside Trent, and Nick and Jeff would have a duet. He tried to give his solo to someone else but was told it would be strange if their lead soloist didn’t sing, which he could understand.

Barry knew it would also be strange if the lead soloist’s family weren’t there to watch, considering it was a performance for the parents specifically. Which presented Barry with a new challenge.

During his high school years, Barry had managed to completely isolate himself from his family so it shouldn’t really be very surprising that they weren’t aware of his singing. Barry didn’t even realise himself that singing was something he’d enjoy until he became more confident at Dalton. It was oddly easy to brush off any previous questions the warblers may have had at other performances, he’d say they were in the audience or they couldn’t make it. So if Joe and Iris were to watch the performance on Saturday, which they had to really, there would be a lot of surprise from all parties. His family would finally see him sing and of course, the warblers would come to the conclusion of Barry’s adoption.

Barry managed to assuage some of those fears in a phone call to Joe later that night. Begrudgingly, he had to use the phone down at reception having realised his own phone had ran out of battery.

‘Singing? You? Well this is certainly going to be interesting.’ Joe laughed. Barry pressed his hand on his chest in mock offence even though Joe couldn’t see him.

‘I’ll have you know I’m quite good actually.’ He fired back with a grin.

‘Okay, okay. We’d love to come watch, and you can introduce us to some of your friends.’

The conversation carried on along that line until Barry gave in after the receptionist’s fifth sigh and glance at her watch. He said his goodbyes and nodded his thanks to the receptionist. He turned back and started making his way back to his room.

Whilst turning a corner once he got upstairs, he firmly crashed into someone. Barry looked up half expecting it to be Sam given their track record of walking into each other. He was surprised to see it was Nick closely followed by Wes and David.

‘Oh hey guys, sorry I was just heading to my room.’ Barry said feeling the need to justify his presence. He knew Nick still hadn’t quite warmed up to him. Which his why Nick’s next words surprised him.

‘It’s fine, look, we were just going to hang out in Jeff’s room before the monitor’s come to send us to our rooms for the night. Do you wanna join us?’ Nick said. This was the first time Nick had initiated any kind of friendly interaction without any prompting from someone else.

A warm smile fell onto Barry’s face.