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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.

Chapter Text

Things were going well, it seemed like Barry had managed to get most of the warblers on his good side. He was still surprised by Nick suddenly being civilised towards him with no prompting, but he wasn’t going to question it. In general, people were being a lot nicer to him. He didn’t get any weird looks when he joined in with conversations anymore, and most of the boys had stopped thinking he was plotting something. It was nice to no longer have a dozen suspicious pairs of eyes watching him all the time.

The only person still giving him hassle was Thad and that was no surprise. The guy was like a little scrappy dog, always trying to pick fights where he didn’t need to. So Barry was happy to accept Thad’s constant glares.

Thad on the other hand was not so content in the progression Barry was making. It infuriated him to see the warblers suddenly trusting the soloist after everything he’d done. So he tried even harder to convince them. At every meal, whenever Sebastian would say anything, regardless of what it was, Thad was ready. Ready to make a snide remark or find fault in the boy’s comment. But it did no good. All that happened was the warblers started looking at him as if he was the bad guy! Thad was completely outraged by this new development.

It wasn’t until the last day of term that he was able to do anything.

Barry had been working himself up. Tomorrow he was going to see his family for the first time in a long time and in this timeline they hadn’t seen him in years. What would they think of him. They hadn’t ever seemed mad at him on the phone for ignoring them all those years but this was different. What if they realised they hated him? He would hate himself. What was he gonna do if they were angry? He had no excuse, they deserved more than that, the deserved more than him. He was a failure, a murderer.

‘Mr Smythe, is everything okay?’ The kind English teacher asked softly from the front of the class. He looked at the slight woman, she was blurry and he mind was fuzzy, chest heaving. He shook his head.

‘I’ll take him to the nurse, Mrs Rees.’ A voice struck out. He was confused, the voice sounded oddly malignant for someone who was offering help. But Barry really wasn’t in the best place to assess the situation before he was dragged out of the room.

He leant heavily onto the person escorting him noticing they were muttering, or were they speaking to him.

Barry was pushed into a room, and he noticed it wasn’t the nurse’s office but the boys toilets. He was pushed against a wall.

‘You may have everyone else fooled but not me!’ The voice was raised now, Barry managed to focus his eyesight on the face in front of him.

‘Thad, I can’t breathe.’ He panted out helplessly.

‘Tell what you’re up to, tell me what you’re planning!’ Thad gripped his hand into Barry’s blazer threateningly.

Barry stumbles and mirrors Thad’s actions, reaching out to grab onto the other boy.

‘Help’ His legs buckle beneath him and he slides down to the floor pulling Thad down with him. Realisation hits Thad that Sebastian wasn’t faking this. His mind flashing back to when Sebastian had first started acting weird, his panic attack in the Warbler’s practice room.

‘Okay, okay, just take deep breaths.’ Trying to get Sebastian’s attention. There was a wild and unfocussed looking his eyes.

Thad knelt in front of him and tried to calm his breathing, forgetting about his previous anger.

Eventually Barry calms down and Thad falls into a sitting position beside him against the wall. For a while the only sound heard is Sebastian’s heavy breathing, echoing slightly in the acoustic room.

‘Why do you hate me so much?’ Barry asked breathlessly.

Thad started, looking sharply at Sebastian, surprised by his question. Barry continued.

‘Like, everyone hated me, but now it at least seems a bit better.’ Thad just looked at him.

He turned back and looked away from the boy angrily so they were both facing forward.

‘I don’t like you, I don’t like that you get to act terrible to everyone and still get everything. I mean, you just had a panic attack, and about what?! What could possibly be wrong with your life?!’ Thad gritted out bitterly.

Barry looked at him. Then quietly spoke.

‘I’m in foster care. My real dad is in prison for the murder of my mother, I came here to stop from having the shit beaten out of me everyday for being gay, something my adoptive dad doesn’t even know. This holiday, I’m gonna tell them and if they don’t accept me- I have nothing else, I have no other family, I don’t have any friends because I’m an idiot who pushes people away. I mean all I do is ruin things for people, I- I’ Thad cut him off when he started breathing harder again.

They sat in silence.

‘Is that all true?’ Thad asked quietly.

‘Why would I lie about that?’

There was a pause. Barry briefly wondered if he’d broken the other warbler.

‘I didn’t know’

‘Nobody knows. I can’t believe I even told you all of that.’

Another pause.

‘This doesn’t mean we’re friends.’ Thad said.

Barry finally broke the tense atmosphere with a wheezy laugh. Thad startled at the sound looking at him like he was insane.

‘Okay’ Barry agreed still laughing slightly.

——————————————————————

Saturday morning was tense. The warblers spent the morning practising in their rehearsal room, but he could hear people milling around in the corridors, showing parents around. Barry already knew Joe and Iris wouldn’t be getting there until midday. It was a 3 hour flight from Colorado to Ohio.

He was excited and nervous for them to hear him sing. He really hoped they liked it, but honestly he was just excited to see a familiar face. He was going to be singing I Want You Back, he didn’t want to risk learning a new song. Blaine had even taken back his comment about it not being classy, much to Barry’s happiness. Blaine and Kurt had come along to watch the show.

Eventually, they made their way to the hall which was terrifying for Barry. All the nerves suddenly hit him as he saw the stage and pictured himself singing for his family.

‘Whoa, Sebastian, you look like you’re gonna throw up.’ Nick teased as they entered the big hall. Jeff gasped at the sight of Barry’s pale face.

‘Oh my god, are you ok?’ Jeff asked concernedly.

Barry laughs letting some of his nerves go.

‘I’m fine, just a bit nervous.’

‘The great Sebastian Smythe? Nervous?’ Trent sassed. Barry just shrugged.

‘My family haven’t heard me sing before.’ Barry responded.

Before it could be questioned Wes called everyone over to sit in their places next to the stage. Barry heard as people slowly filled up the room but didn’t dare look up to see if Joe and Iris had arrived.

It was the first time they would hear him sing. Barry realised it was the first time he’d sang on stage since he’d come back. He wondered if it would be different, but it was more important what Joe and Iris thought.

In this timeline he hadn’t seen them for probably 2 years at least and he hadn’t seen his future Joe and Iris in a few months and god he missed them.

A microphone crackled and Barry turned his attention to the stage, the headteacher had gotten up. His voice broke through the chatter in the room and he started his speech.

Barry turned away, happy to zone the man out. He cast his eyes over the seated families and spotted a glimpse of colour finding an emerald green leather jacket which could only belong to Iris. She’d always been very fashion forward. Straining his neck to get a look, he found Iris and Joe sat together towards the centre of the chairs. Joe seemed to have his eyes fixed on the headteacher but looked strained. Iris was turning her head around the room to where the Dalton students were standing or sat with their own families.

Ah so they hadn’t seen him yet, that explained why they hadn’t come over to see him.

Eventually, Iris turned back to the front seemingly giving up hope and her eyes landed directly on him. The glance was blank until she did a double take. Her eyes widened and she started jabbing Joe and pointing.

Barry saw a few heads around them turning and giggled quietly.

Joe smiled as he spotted Barry and Barry broke into a huge grin. God he really had missed them.

Soon enough it was time to go on stage. Barry stepped into place with the other warblers and the show began.

Barry was up first. The few seconds of silence before the song started was actual torture.

But he found himself relaxing as the warblers sang the intro. He saw Joe and Iris smiling in the audience and wondered what he was nervous about, he knew he was a good singer.

He sang smoothly, even managed to fit in some dance moves.

When he finished the song the crowd burst into applause. Barry grinned and stepped back into place for the next song.

The rest of the show went swimmingly, people loved Trent’s solo and thought Jeff and Nick’s duet was adorable. After all, who wouldn’t?

——————————————————————————

As the show ended, Barry made his way down and was met with a shrill squeal. Before he knew it, he was being barrelled down by his sister in a tight hug. He managed not to fall and wrapped his arms around her gripping just as hard, ignoring the warblers looks of confusion.

‘I missed you so much!’ Iris said, voice muffled into his blazer.

‘God I missed you too!’ Barry replied, voice croaking slightly as he started to well up.

‘Are you crying? Stop! I don’t wanna cry too!’ Iris pulled back and they finally noticed the warblers, who were still next to the stage staring at them in confusion. Who was this girl? A friend from back home? Maybe some kind of ex? As ridiculous a thought it was, the warblers really had no idea who she could possibly be.

Wes moved forward to introduce himself now that they had been noticed.

‘Hello miss, I am Wes Henderson, head of the warblers,’ The warblers and Barry groaned at his formalities, but Iris just grinned.

‘Hi, I’m Iris, Ba- Bastian’s sister’ Iris introduced herself. Barry was surprised at the mention of his real name having not heard it face to face in a while. He was impressed by Iris’ smooth recovery and glad she’d remembered.

He watched as Wes’ face amusedly as it dropped unable to hide his confusion. Before anyone could say anything a heavy hand clapped down on Barry’s shoulder.

‘Bas, you were amazing up there!’ Joe proclaimed proudly.

Barry spun his body around to face Joe and threw himself into a hug.

The warblers backed off knowing this was a family moment.

‘What just happened?’ Trent questioned. Being the first to voice all their confusion.

‘Those were Sebastian’s family? So is he adopted?’ David mused.

‘Why didn’t he tell us?’ Nick spoke with an offended tone.

‘He didn’t need to tell us, and besides he never said he wasn’t adopted or whatever so it’s our fault for assuming.’ Thad explained assertively. The warblers now looked more confused at the prospect of Thad defending Sebastian.Either way, they nodded in agreement.

Thad felt pretty pleased with himself.

‘doesn’t mean we’re friends’ He muttered only to himself but with a smile.

—————————————————————————

‘Well, we should actually get going, we’ve got to get everything packed up for the flight tonight.’ Joe said regretfully ending the conversation.

‘That’s okay, Sir, it was a pleasure to finally meet Sebastian’s family.’ Blaine replied with a charming smile. It was their plan, Blaine and Kurt would meet Joe so Barry could gage his reaction to the gay couple. The conversation had gone perfectly, Blaine had charmed Joe efficiently and Barry was happy with Joe’s reaction.

‘I guess I’ll see you guys after the holidays.’ Sebastian said. Blaine agreed and leaned in, successfully disguising the movement as friends hugging goodbye.

‘Good luck with telling them,’ Blaine said kindly. Barry thanked him and let Kurt pull Blaine back possessively, still not comfortable with them being too close.

Barry bid them goodbye and with a quick farewell to the warblers, the family left for the holidays.

Chapter Text

‘Remind me why we’re doing this again.’ Kurt gritted out in annoyance. Blaine tutted playfully.

‘Kurt, we’re here to watch the warblers perform.’ He said enthusiastically. Kurt glared.

‘You know that’s not what I meant, why do we need to help Sebastian? You know how much I hate him!’ Kurt hissed. Blaine intertwined their fingers so they could hold hands as they waited for the show to begin.

‘I know but Sebastian’s clearly going through a tough time right now and who would we be if we didn’t at least try to help?’ Blaine encouraged.

’Logical human beings.’ Kurt muttered scowling at Sebastian from across the room. Blaine chuckled.

‘Hey all we have to do is meet his dad so he can see his reaction to a gay couple.’ He placated.

‘I don’t wanna meet some snobby attorney rich guy.’ Before Kurt could say anymore their former headteacher rose to the stage to speak trigger nostalgia for the two ex warblers.

Blaine had certainly been surprised when Sebastian had asked for their help, it wasn’t like him to show weakness, or any kind of human characteristic at that. So Blaine thought he’d been appropriately suspicious. Honestly, it was hard not to be with Kurt there watching Sebastian like a hawk. But after he’d seen Sebastian that last weekend, his face completely bruised and damaged, unable to walk into the room without falling in pain Blaine could see he wasn’t as tough as he made out to be. Particularly when the warblers told him it was some old bully of Sebastian’s, Blaine felt like he’d unlocked another side of the soloist that he hadn’t seen before.

And then for Sebastian to just show up on Monday at the Lima Bean, acting like everything was okay, well that was interesting. It was convincing too. He must have had loads of makeup on because you could hardly see the injuries on his face and the way he walked was like nothing had even happened. It made Blaine wonder how long Sebastian had had to hide the bullying to get so good at it, and what else he’d managed to hide from everyone.

‘He looks nervous.’ Kurt whispered, Blaine looked up to see the warblers had made their way onto the stage and were in their starting formation. Kurt was right, Sebastian looked terrified. He was managing to hold the position perfectly but his eyes were completely panicked for those few short seconds. Ge seemed to make eye contact with someone in the crowd and Blaine and Kurt watched as the nerves disappeared like magic. They turned to look for who Sebastian had seen but couldn’t see anyone even closely resembling the tall warbler.

They hadn’t actually seen anybody who they thought could be Sebastian’s family, the way they imagined his family that is. But thinking about it, they’d had to reevaluate quite a lot of what they thought about Sebastian recently so this was no surprise.

Even the way he was performing was different. There were none of his cocky smirks or seductive dance moves, just a boy enjoying himself on stage. It was a serendipitous performance for the boys to watch. Sebastian had changed a lot, since they’d last seen him he was trying to seduce Blaine into cheating on Kurt when Kurt was texting that Chandler guy- but Blaine didn’t think about that anymore.

He wondered what could have caused such a huge change in Sebastian’s personality, or if really was just some scheme like Kurt had tried to tell him.

They applauded politely once the show had ended and watched the warblers descend from the stage. The couple decided they’d leave him for a bit to meet up with his family first, they went over to the buffet table and picked at some finger food while they waited, Kurt grumbling every now and then about ‘stupid rich people’ and ‘horse teeth’. Blaine shook his head with fond exasperation.

‘Who’s Sebastian talking to now? He’s meant to be bringing his family over to us not talking to random people. I bet he’s doing this on purpose just to make us wait.’

Blaine looked up from his paper plate choosing to ignore Kurt’s tirade for once. Sebastian was stood to the side of the stage still with a couple of people. Maybe they were family friends, there were lots of children of rich business men and women at Dalton so it wouldn’t be too shocking if Sebastian had met some of them before. They obviously weren’t his family being that they were of a different race, but Sebastian sure was treating them as if they were. Another thing to add to the surprises of the day: Sebastian hugging people, and looking happy about it. Who were these people?

The corners of Blaine’s mouth turned down into a thoughtful frown. Just then he realised Sebastian was walking over towards them.

‘Quick he’s coming over, stop scowling, please just try to be nice to them?’ Blaine stage whispered to Kurt with puppy dog eyes. Kurt huffed a short ‘fine’.

‘Sebastian! Great performance up there, we loved watching the warblers again!’ Blaine greeted warmly. Sebastian grinned and stopped next to them.

‘Thanks for coming, I really appreciate it.’ Blaine knew he meant for meeting his dad and not the performance. The gel haired boy cast his uncertain eyes over the two people Sebastian had brought over.

‘Joe this is Blaine and Kurt, they’re in a show choir at a different school but they used to go here so,’ Sebastian said awkwardly. Joe shook both their hands kindly. Blaine was thankful that seemed to be keeping quiet.

‘It’s great to meet Sebastian’s other friends.’ The said with a jovial expression.

‘Oh we’re not his fr-‘

‘It’s a pleasure to meet you too Sir,’ Blaine cut Kurt off, ‘May I ask how you know Sebastian?’

The man briefly looked confused for a split second.

‘Right sorry, Joe West, I’m Sebastian’s foster father.’ Blaine blinked and his charming smile froze. What? Foster father? So this actually was Sebastian’s family? Wait foster? What was going on? Did Sebastian lie to them? Did this count as lying? Blaine felt like this was something he should have known. He internally slapped himself for that thought. Why should he have known? Kurt was right, they weren’t friends, Sebastian didn’t need to tell them anything. But still, this was probably like the tenth surprise of the day and yet it ranked higher than all the others.

Blaine’s surprise was evident on his face, Kurt wasn’t doing much better, his jaw had completely dropped and his eyes were narrowed as though he was trying to figure this out. Joe shuffled awkwardly.

‘I’m Iris, Bastian’s sister.’ A bright voice broke through the awkwardness, Blaine cleared his throat pulling up his charming bravado back into place, not noticing Sebastian’s amusement at the nickname. The girl reached out initiating the hand shakes.

‘I love you’re jacket!’ Kurt said, smiling for the first time, Blaine, not forgetting the purpose of this meeting, moved in to put an arm around Kurt’s waist casually.

‘Kurt’s a bit of a fashion enthusiast.’ Blaine turned to grin at Kurt looking into his eyes, their faces barely apart. Iris smiled.

‘How long have you two been together?’ She asked happily.

‘About a year.’ Kurt replied warmly. Meanwhile, Blaine was inconspicuously watching Joe’s reaction, trying to gage some kind of opinion. The man’s smile widened ever so slightly, it was barely noticeable, so either the man was playing his reaction off or it genuinely didn’t make any difference to him if they were together or not. But his reaction didn’t seem negative, so Blaine thought it was a good thing.

They stayed there for a while longer, Kurt talking fashion with Iris and blaine engaged in some small talk with Joe about school and his future, the normal things adults like to ask teenagers. Blaine marvelled at seeing Sebastian so relaxed and happy, it made him realise that he hadn’t ever seen Sebastian like this before, had the boy really not been comfortable showing this side of himself, or had he just not been happy around them, Blaine was starting to question everything he thought he knew about Sebastian.

Soon enough, they said there goodbyes, something about having to catch a flight, Blaine realised he didn’t know where Sebastian lived outside of Dalton.

‘Is it just me or do we know nothing about him?’ Kurt said conspiringly.

‘We know nothing about him.’

Chapter Text

‘Oh god,’ Iris said exasperatedly. Joe came in carrying a suitcase and looked up at what Iris was reacting to, only to groan similarly.

‘Barry, you’ve cried 7 times already, stop.’ Barry choked out a little laugh.

‘Sorry, I’m just really glad to be home-‘ He was cut off by Iris.

‘Yeah we get it, just like you were really glad to see us, and to get in the car, and to go through the airport. We get it, you’re a happy person.’ She teased.

Barry just grinned.

‘Yeah I am, aren’t I?’ Iris rolled her eyes.

‘Ok clearly you’ve been at school too long, they’ve fried your brain.’ Joe said in mock seriousness. Barry gasped feigning offence.

He didn’t disagree though, Joe didn’t know how right he was. Even though everything had changed so much at Dalton over the past month, Barry still couldn’t be real. Not really. Not when no one even knew his name. Being back home made everything a lot easier. It was odd because he knew he wasn’t really back to normal, it wasn’t his timeline anymore and he didn’t know if he’d ever get that back but this was so far the closest he’d gotten to feeling normal again.

He joked around with Iris, helped her with her christmas homework considering he’d finished his within a day. He helped Joe in the kitchen and when he was stressed over a case. Joe was reluctant at first to tell the teenager about his cases but soon gave in and found Barry to be surprisingly helpful. In truth, Barry kind of missed his crime fighting life, he liked feeling useful and felt like every choice he’d made recently was about himself. But helping Joe out and even solving one of the cases soon turned that around.

Basically, everything was great. For the first time in a while he felt carefree. He didn’t need to worry about anything. And he embraced that.

Joe and Iris certainly noticed how much he’d changed since they’d first sent him to Dalton. Obviously he was much happier than the reserved boy they’d remembered, still bruised as they were shown around the new school, just a week out of hospital after what those bullies had done to him. Surprisingly though, they noticed he was unhappy still, but not in the ‘scared for his life’ kind of way, more like he’d seen too much, it was an anger and pain that they saw in his eyes even if Barry didn’t realise it himself. They hoped that now he was home, he’d be able to open up to them a bit more, there was so much they needed to catch up on.

Unbeknownst to the two, Barry was working on just that.

-Are you sure? S
-Sebastian, trust me, if they were homophobic they would’ve at least reacted to me and Kurt. B
-But what if it’s just me they don’t want being gay? Then what do I do? S

The next text took a few minutes to come through.

-Look it’s obvious you want to tell them so think about yourself instead of worrying how they’ll react, if you don’t tell them you’re gonna be living a lie, you’re gonna be thinking about it every time you speak to them. If anything, not telling them could ruin you’re relationship as much as telling them could. So think about what you want. Would you rather be honest and able to live openly? Or do you want to create a barrier between you and you’re family because you can’t show them who you really are? B

Barry paused, that was a good point. He didn’t want to relive his original timeline. Joe thinking he liked Iris and him going along with it out of convenience. No, they deserved to know the truth this time. After a quick thank you text to Blaine, Barry left his bedroom.

‘Iris?’

It was 11 o clock when he peeked around the door into Iris’ bedroom, in hopes that she was still awake. She was sat on her bed on her laptop which she looked up from when he opened her door.

A smile grew on her face and she put her laptop aside and crossed her legs to make room for him, patting the bed beside her.

He complied, rubbing his hands together nervously.

‘So, what you doing?’ Barry said awkwardly.

‘Just messaging Jack’ It took a second for Barry to realise who ‘Jack’ was meant to be.

‘Ah, the boyfriend. And do I get to meet this boy?’ He said curiously. Iris grinned.

‘Do you want to meet him?’ Barry puffed out his chest comically.

‘Of course, I need to make sure he’s right for my little sister.’ Iris laughed punching his shoulder, he faked the most dramatic injury he could.

‘You’re older than me by 3 months!’ Barry raised his hands in mock surrender laughing. The laughter died down until they were just smiling at each other.

‘I really am happy for you, you know’ Barry said sincerely. Iris reached out putting her hand on his arm.

‘Thanks Barry, it really is important to me that you approve’ She smiled and spoke again after a few moments.

‘So what about you?’

‘What about me?’

‘Come oooon Barry! You’re an attractive guy, and you’re super nice. Why don’t you have a girlfriend yet?’ Barry chuckled looking at Iris’ duvet that he was scrunching his hands into, he hadn’t actually planned how he was going to do this.

‘I mean some girls have definitely shown an interest.’ Barry replied slowly, thinking of some of the girls at Crawford.

‘Well, what is it then? Not pretty enough? You need to be less picky.’ She teased. Barry paused before speaking again.

‘Just not male enough.’

Iris went quiet.

Barry looked up at the ceiling trying to force himself to say it, feeling his jaw clench around the words.

‘I’m gay, Iris.’

The pause that followed almost killed him.

‘Why didn’t you tell me?’ Barry winced hearing the edge of anger.

‘Iris I-‘

‘I could have been setting you up with guys all these years!’

Barry finally looked at his sister, seeing her smiling lovingly, a sheepish grin grew as relief flooded Barry’s body.

‘You aren’t mad?’

‘What? Of course I’m mad, you go to an all boys school, Barry, and you’re telling me there isn’t a single guy there who could be your boyfriend?’ She joked before gasping dramatically.

‘Wait! Am I the first person you’ve told?’

‘Hate to disappoint, but I think everyone in Ohio knows I’m gay.’ Barry said shamelessly.

‘Well fine, but that doesn’t answer my first question.’

‘I’m not really a relationship kinda guy.’

Iris gasped again.

‘Barry Allen! Are you saying you’re a player?’

They both laughed

—————————————————————————————

It was a few days later, when Barry got up the nerve to tell Joe.

They were sat together in front of the tv, watching some programme about tornadoes or something, Barry wasn’t paying attention.

Iris had gone upstairs, so Barry knew this would be a good time to say it.

‘Hey Joe, you remember those two guys I introduced you when you came to pick me up?’

Joe distractedly answered.

‘What? Yeah, Kent and what’s his name, that other guy. Yeah I remember.’

‘Kurt and Blaine, yeah, um what did you think about them?’ He asked nervously, he’d seen Joe’s reaction the them, or lack of reaction, but he needed something to be able to lead into the conversation, not knowing any other way to bring it up.

‘Nice boys, cute couple.’

Barry nodded and watched the tv for a few more minutes stalling.

‘Yeah they’ve um been helping me out with a few things.’

Joe glanced between him and the tv a few times, before finally realising that Barry was trying to have a conversation. He paused the tv and turned on the couch to give him his full attention. He silently gestured for Barry to continue.

‘Right, um like I said, they’ve been helping me out with a few things.’ He said fiddling with his sleeve. joe didn’t say anything, waiting for Barry to continue.

‘So um I guess I just wanted to say, I wanted to tell you that I, I’m gay.’

There was a small pause.

‘You are?’

Barry nodded nervously, not able to gage any kind of negative or positive emotions on Joe’s face.

‘Ok, just um, give me some time ok, I need to just think, ok?’

Barry nodded again and excused himself to his room.

As soon as he shut his door he felt himself tearing up. He sat on the edge of his bed holding his head in his hands, a deep feeling of regret rushed over him. It wasn’t the worst reaction that could happen, but he’d expected Joe to have the same reaction as Iris. Now he didn’t know what to think, was Joe really not ok with him being gay? What was going to happen now? He would have to permanently board at dalton, could he even do that?

He raised his tear dampened face at the sound of his door opening. Iris shuffled in. He saw the anger in her eyes when she saw his face. He didn’t know how she knew that he’d told Joe, but in that moment he knew she was fully prepared to march downstairs and reprimand the man. This just made him cry more.

Her face softened and she sat down beside him wrapping her arms around him.

‘It wasn’t bad, he just said he needed some time,’

‘Hey it’s okay, whatever happens it’ll be okay, I promise.’ Barry snuffled letting himself be comforted.

Meanwhile, once Joe was over his shock, he was on his phone dialling the captain’s number.

’Sir, I’m sorry for calling this late, I was hoping to discuss a personal matter?’

—————————————————————

Later that night, a soft knock sounded on barry’s door. Inside, Barry and Iris sat up from where they had been cuddling.

‘I’ll give you two some space’ Iris said. Barry nodded and smiled thankfully.

She stood and opened the door for a sheepish looking Joe. She passed him making sure to give him a firm warning look.

Barry stood looking awkwardly at Joe.

The older man took a few steps forwards pausing slightly at the sight of Barry’s tear stained face, before pulling his son into a hug, which after a moment was reciprocated.

Barry tucked his face into Joe’s shoulder. In that hug he felt everything that needed to be said, just love and acceptance.

‘I love you son, nothing will change that, ok? I don’t care who you end up with, as long as you’re happy.’

—————————————————————————————

The sounds of jazz under clusters of conversations and clinking glasses filled the large room. The precinct was having a christmas celebration which Joe had brought Barry and Iris along to. Barry had been to them before of course, but only once he was actually working there, so it was unusual being a guest of sorts. But Iris seemed completely comfortable and was doing her best to ease his nerves.

Iris wore a stunning red dress and Barry had stuck with a simple tux knowing that these events were usually fancy. Joe had joked about how Barry was going to be the fashionable one now to which Barry laughed whole heartedly knowing Joe was only joking. They’d gotten over the initial tension after his coming out. Joe soon realised that he was still the awkward, clumsy, weirdo guy he had been before.

Captain Singh had come over to Barry at one point and congratulated him for coming out, explaining that Joe had called him for advice.

'If you ever need any advice or someone to talk to, I'll be here for you.' The man had offered, shocking Barry who'd never been spoken to by the Captain in such a way.

And now here he was holding a glass of soda watching the people of the precinct celebrate and be happy. But of course, things never stay good too long for Barry, do they?

Turns out the new officer Joe had mentioned a few weeks ago on the phone, was a lovely woman, who just so happened to go by Officer Woodward. Of course, barry thought to himself, because things could never just be easy for him.

It was half way through evening when Tony approached him having been brought along by his mother. Iris had gone to get another drink so Barry was now alone with Tony, great.

Barry did his best to ignore the boy, looking around trying to see if Iris would be back soon. Tony clearly wasn’t going to change, he’d realised that now, so there was no point even paying attention to the slurs. You know, asking what ‘scum like him’ was doing there, ‘son of a murderer’ kind of thing.

Barry’s plans to ignore him didn’t go his way however.

Tony grabbed his arm pulling him close.

‘Don’t think you can ignore me’

Barry shook him off roughly, finally acknowledging him.

‘Back off’ Tony pushed him in response.

Getting the message that tony wasn’t going to leave him alone, Barry pushed him back.

It was then that he realised that maybe that wasn’t such a good idea as a fist hit him sharply in the nose.

‘Hey stop’

Iris came over, but neither of them noticed.

Tony swung again but Barry was ready this time and ducked swiftly, regretfully leading to Iris getting hit lightly, but hit none the less.

Her drink got knocked out of her hand and smashed to the floor, getting the attention of the officers in the room. They immediately spotted the obvious tension and Barry’s now bleeding nose.

Barry ignored this though.

His eyes filling with rage.

‘What you gonna do fag?’ Tony jeered, clearly also not noticing the new attention they were getting.

Barry gripped the collar on Tony’s dress shirt and slammed him against the wall forcefully, much to the surprise of everyone who could see Tony’s significant physical advantage.

‘Barry stop’ Joe said rushing over.

‘You can beat the shit out of me all you want, call me a fag or a freak or whatever I don’t care,’ Barry spat in Tony’s face.

‘Bar’ Joe tried to interject, heartbroken at the realisation that this was one of Barry’s bullies and he hadn’t realised.

‘You do not touch her.’ Barry continued eerily quiet.

Tony laughed.

‘Like you could stop me’

Barry got closer.

‘Do you hear me? You do not touch her!’ He shouted, eyes flickering with lightning.

Tony’s face dropped in horror.

Barry’s hands start shaking and he is reminded too much of the power he has. Seeing some officers move towards them to separate them finally, Barry lets go immediately going to Iris.

‘Come on, I’ll take you home.’

Chapter Text

Things had been tense since the night of the christmas party. Barry’s nose had healed within hours of getting home, something he tried to pass off as him covering it up with make up. Now at Dalton, this would have been fine, but at home it just gained him more questions. Why did he have make up? Did he normally wear make up? Why did he feel the need to cover up his injuries? They already knew about them. All of which Barry tried to ignore.

That was hard to do, however, with Joe breathing down his neck the entire time. He was trying his best to be there for Barry, making sure he was okay after everything that happened. Wanting to be there for him this time since he couldn’t when a younger Barry was being bullied. Something he was still upset that Barry had not told him about.

It was honestly getting too much for Barry. He wasn’t used to this kind of attention since coming back to this time. He supposed that at Dalton people only really interacted with him when they were arguing or he was just plainly insulting them. But now, the other boys just tended to ignore or avoid him and his new personality. So now having someone constantly there, watching him, and asking him questions, it was getting too much.

It made him feel panicky, of course, there were lots of things Barry couldn’t explain and every time a question was asked it felt like he was getting closer to having to. It made him uncomfortable, and guilty about everything he couldn’t say. It made him want to run.

Running. Now this was something else entirely. Ever since the christmas party he’d felt different, jittery. Like he could feel electricity running through his veins. It felt like he was in slow motion and needed to keep up with the raging ripple of lightning in his legs.

But he couldn’t. There wasn’t much he could do really. What was he gonna do, go running around Central City? People would see him. That could change this timeline tremendously in ways he didn’t want. Not to mention he couldn’t even run fast enough to hide his identity. So he resigned himself to freezing anytime he felt like everyone else was slowing down and hiding his hands behind his back at the slightest tremor.

One thing he couldn’t seem to control was when it happened. He didn’t know what was wrong with him but he didn’t have control over his powers. Which had definitely lead to a few close calls already. But Barry has the worst luck, we all know that by now, so of course he wasn’t going to be able to hide it forever.

They’d just arrived home from going grocery shopping for the christmas dinner. Barry and Iris walked in the door bearably carrying two bags each, Iris prided herself on being able to budget, when it happened. Barry felt the surge of energy running through his body and down his left arm. Feeling his hand start to vibrate with power he dropped the bag letting the contents spill out, nothing dramatic like milk during all over the floor, but enough to stop Iris babbling mid sentence. Her attention latched on the him sharply as his hand juddered. He quickly turned away from her, gripping his hand to his chest begging it to stop.

As it finally slowed to stillness, Barry noticed the silence in the room. He looked around, half expecting Iris not to be there considering the quiet, but she was. Oh and she looked angry, great. Barry wondered what he could have done to make her angry, he didn’t think she’d be to upset about the groceries on the floor.

‘Are you on drugs Barry?’ Barry practically choked on his spit in surprise. He stared at her in disbelief trying to not only figure out a response but also how she’d managed to even come to conclusion.

‘What the hell Barry? Is this why you’ve been acting so different?’ She demanded. Barry managed to get his voice back suddenly.

‘What? No! No of course not! What are you talking about?’ He insisted frustratedly.

‘You’ve been moody, secretive, for god’s sake you’re hands are shaking Barry!’

‘Oh and that means I’m on drugs, does it?!’

‘Barry?’

‘What?!’

Barry shouted sharply before realising how angry he was getting. Once he noticed he’d shouted at Joe, Barry immediately pushed down his anger with some regret.

Joe took in the scene having heard the shouting from upstairs. He pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed.

‘Do I need to get you back in therapy?’ He asked simply.

‘No of course not, why would you need to do that?’ Barry couldn’t believe how quickly this had turned on him.

‘Bar, I’m just trying to look out for you, you’re not yourself’

‘What does that even mean?’
‘Look at you, this isn’t that happy little boy I took in, the kid who smiled and laughed, you used to help Mrs porter across the road with her groceries, and -‘

Too many questions.

Too many names and stories he could barely remember, hadn’t mrs porter moved, he didn’t know.

He’d lost his place in time.

He couldn’t tell where he was anymore, what had already happened and what was going to happen.

‘-you haven’t even been to see your dad-’

‘Dad’s dead!’ Barry yelled, his hands in his hair, this was too much.

He missed the look of horror Iris and Joe shared.

The timelines were overlapping in his head, it was too confusing.

‘Bar?’

He sped out of the room.

————————————————

He ran for what seemed like hours, pushing himself, screaming out his frustration with every footfall. He ran until the sun went down and the streets darkened.

The pavements were submerged in shadow when he skidded to a stop, holes worn into the bottom of his shoes. He stopped.

God only knew where he was, he spent a moment trying to get his bearings. A shiver ran down his spine as snowflakes finally began to settle into his hair.

He sighed.

‘What have I done?’ His feet started moving again, languishingly, back in the direction he had come from. He ran back to central city and decided to walk back from there, if only to put off going home after that little display of his. He couldn’t believe he’d just exposed his powers to his family, and anyone else who’d been out when he was running. But it was different this time, faster, so much faster than before. It was like all his power had been building up and he had just burst. He didn’t know how to feel.

He was probably only a mile short to go when a car rolled into his peripheral. It slowed to a halt beside him and he stopped to not daring to look inside.

After a small moment, he made his way around the police car to get into the passenger seat without a word.

‘Are you ok?’ Joe inquired quietly.

Barry nodded and the rest of the journey was made in silence.

—————————————————

Joe was staring at him, sat in the armchair, detached from Barry. He had been for the past few minutes, in shock or disbelief, maybe even horror. As Barry had discovered, Joe had a way of completely disguising his emotions much to Barry’s misfortune. Barry was relieved to see there was still some conscious life in his foster father as the man began blinking rapidly before his eyes could entirely dry up.

Slowly, he lowered his hand, making the shaking stop and finally feeling more in control now that he’d gotten rid of all his pent up energy. At least he hoped he had ‘cause there was no way he was going running again, not if he could help it.

‘I still don’t understand,’ Iris said from her place next to her brother, where she had managed to get really close to his hand trying to follow the movement with her eyes, often leading to her going cross eyed. Barry wanted to laugh when she did but stayed quiet.

‘I can just move… really fast.’ He said quietly.

‘Yeah, but how?’ Iris prompted nudging his shoulder eagerly. At least she seemed okay with this, Barry still couldn’t make out Joe’s feelings.

‘It’s, it’s a really long story.’

‘We’ve got all night.’ Joe finally spoke up, Barry was comforted by the lack of tenseness in his voice, he just seemed curious right now.

‘No, I can’t- there’s just too much that I can’t explain. I don’t even understand it all myself.’ Seeing Joe’s concern he continued.

‘But it’s fine- I’m fine, I swear. A lot has happened and changed but right now, here, it’s all okay.’ God, he hoped that was true.

————————————————

Barry groaned as he was forcibly prised up from his bed. He cracked open one eye to see Iris leaning heavily and pulling on his arm.

‘C’mon Barry! It’s Christmas!’ He stayed where he was for a moment just seeing how long Iris would go before resorting to physical violence. He never thought it would be but Barry missed this, Iris was dragging him out of bed at the crack of dawn. She let go of his arm suddenly with a huff sending his thumping back against his pillow. Barry laughed gleefully.

‘Okay, okay, I’m coming.’ He conceded allowing himself to be yanked out of his room and down the stairs to open their presents. Apparently they couldn’t start until he was down there with them according to Iris’ rules of christmas. Barry chuckled fondly at that. When they got downstairs, Barry saw a tired looking Joe nursing a cup of coffee. It looked like Iris had got to him too.

Before he could say anything a gift, neatly wrapped with shiny purple paper, was thrust into his hands. Iris watched him expectantly, waiting for him to open it. Carefully Barry ripped off the sellotape not wanting to ruin the paper after it had been so expertly wrapped. The second he saw it his heart nearly stopped.

On the cover were the piercing blue eyes of the man he had grown to hate and the words, Wells: A Biography in black lettering. It took him a moment not to entirely freak out. How had Iris known?

That was stupid, she didn’t know anything, she was just getting him a well thought out gift that in his original timeline he would have loved. It made him think though, he hadn’t ever gone home for christmas in his original time at Dalton, he’d bought the book himself. Maybe it was destiny for him to get the book, maybe there were other things that couldn’t be changed.

‘Do you like it?’ A voice broke him out of his thoughts. Iris had begun to worry when Barry didn’t say anything. Barry calmed himself down, Wells hadn’t done anything yet, or at least not to him in this timeline.

‘Of course, thank you!’ He replied with a forced grin.

He watched as Iris opened her present. He’d gotten her a new skirt that he recalled her wearing something similar to in his version of the future.

‘Hey wanna see something cool?’ He asked shyly, having finally gotten his heart rate back to normal, well normal for a speedster, before speed reading through the book. It was even faster than normal considering he’d already had the book memorised from the first time he’d read it.

Iris gasped.

‘Barry! You can’t be done with it already! I just got it for you! You need the ability to rewind.’ She decided, his eyes widened at the thought and he shook his head rapidly. He’d done enough rewinding. Iris laughed at his expression and he managed to find it in himself to laugh too.

This was good, at least now he wasn’t lying to his family or hiding too much. This sure was hard for him but at least now it was a bit better.

—————————————————————————

It was later on that night that Joe actually spoke up to Barry finally, even if it did take him two glasses of scotch before he could. He sat at the dining table swirling his glass and watching the amber liquid inside. Iris had long gone up to her room to listen to music on her new mp3 player she’d gotten from Joe.

‘What does this mean?’ He asked monotonously, startling Barry slightly as he broke the silence.

‘Well it’s to do with the cells in my body-‘

‘No, I mean, you have powers, right? Like Spider-Man.’ Joe continued citing the only Marvel character he knew.

‘Yeah, pretty much, although if we’re getting technical I’m more like Quicksilver, or even like a good Speed Demon.’ Barry trailed off remembering Joe had no interest in the comics he knew and loved.

‘So are you a superhero or-?’

Luckily for Barry, he didn’t have to worry about metahumans in this time, since they obviously hadn’t got their powers yet, and honestly Westerville was a nice area. So since he spent most of the year there at Dalton, he hadn’t even thought about fighting crime or anything else. He guessed it was a good thing he didn’t have to worry about that.

‘More like I do my school work in a few seconds and stop people from tripping in the corridors,’ Barry sublimated.

Joe deflated slightly but looked relieved none the less. He shook his head tiredly and stood putting his glass in the sink. He made to leave but Barry stopped him.

‘Wait Joe, I’m-‘ Barry paused trying to figure out what he could say to make this better, ‘I’m sorry I didn’t tell you.’ He finished quietly.

Joe sighed.

‘I’m not angry, I love you son, it’s just, for once I wish something could be simple in your life, for your sake Bar.’ With that he said goodnight and left Barry leaning against the counter alone.

Barry let out a deep breath.

‘Yeah me too,’ He admitted to no one. He shrugged dismissively and pushed himself away from he counter, knowing he was in for a long night of thinking.

Chapter Text

Barry trudged through the grey remains of the winter snow, lugging his suitcase behind him tiredly. Iris had decided that they had to stay up late, since it was his last night at home, just watching whatever movies came on to their tv. So he’d spent the night groaning at obvious green screens and laughing at overacted fights before they both fell a sleep in a bundle of blankets and rogue pieces of popcorn.

Things had changed at the west’s house. although Barry had never intended for Joe and Iris to find out about his powers, it felt like a weight had been lifted and whilst barry didn’t use his powers just in case anyone else might find out he no longer had to worry about slipping up.

The thought brought a smile to his face as he continued walking, a smile which promptly dimmed when his hand made contact with the entrance door of the school.

Here we go, he thought to himself, back to being Sebastian. He distantly wondered how long he was gonna have to be like this. He was actually beginning to get used to the idea of going to school again and that wasn’t good.

He was broken out of his thoughts as he was walking up the grand stairs when he was stopped by a familiar voice.

‘Sebastian!’ It sure did feel weird after being called Barry for the last few weeks. Jeff took a comically long time to run up the stairs taking each individual step.

‘Sebastian!’ He gasped out again once he finally reached his target.

‘Jeff.’ Barry replied amusedly.

‘Have you seen him?’ Jeff questioned breathily.

‘What? Seen who?’

Jeff’s face lit up with excitement at being the first to tell him. He grabbed Barry by the wrist and pulled him up the rest of the stairs before sprinting off to his room, Barry, despite his long legs, struggling to keep up with the boy. They came to a stop at Jeff’s room where Nick and David were sat talking. They looked up when the two arrived at the door.

‘Jeff, I thought we were gonna wait until Wes got here and tell him first.’ David whined, a side of him Barry had rarely seen before.

Jeff just shrugged petulantly.

He grabbed his phone off his desk and shoved it in Barry’s face, making him recoil back in displeasure before taking the phone and holding it at an appropriate distance.

His brow furrowed as he looked at the screen. There was a picture of the headmaster leading a boy, he thought he might recognise if the angle were better, out of his office.

‘Who is this meant to be?’ He spoke dispassionately. Nick sighed from the bed.

‘He’s a new student.’ Jeff burst out.

It took a second for it to settle in, but Barry soon realised that Jeff had taken pictures of a new student and was inviting people into his room to secretly look at them. Of course he was. Barry turned to Nick who just shook his head resignedly.

‘His name’s Hunter Clarington, he’s gonna take over the warblers.’ Barry froze as it all suddenly made sense. He shuddered slightly remembering all the chaos that had followed Hunter taken over the warblers. With a sigh, he spoke up.

‘And how do you know all this?’

‘I listened through the door’ Jeff announced innocently as though there was nothing wrong with that.

Well this was exactly what he didn’t need right now. He still needed to work on proving to Kurt and Blaine that he wasn’t trying to sabotage them. He didn’t need to be thinking about all the trouble Hunter was going to cause.

Wes seemed to be similarly put out when heard the news.

‘But I’m in charge of the warblers.’ He’d said to the headteacher barely restraining himself but it was to no avail, Hunter was in charge.

It was interesting that knowing the future didn’t seem to affect Barry’s opinion on Hunter. Everybody hated him from he start. Barry supposed that’s why they had hung out together in the original timeline.

It wasn’t a close friendship or anything that they shared. It was more like everyone hated them so they stuck together and didn’t talk about it. Of course, that’s not to say his younger self hadn’t wanted to. As much as it pained him to admit, if Hunter wasn’t so adamant that he was straight Sebastian would have definitely tried to seduce him, and succeeded knowing his former behaviour. Maybe even more, they certainly would have made a good couple.

Barry stopped himself at the thought and grinned schemingly.

They would make a good couple, wouldn’t they.

———————————————————————————————

It wasn’t weird. No, it wasn’t real, so it couldn’t be weird. It was a good idea, one that would solve his problems.

That’s what Barry told himself, remembering Mr Bennett suggesting that he could find someone else.

‘You could show interest in someone else,’ He’d said. Well, Barry might have found the perfect person.

———————————————————————————————

Hunter had been surprisingly civil when he approached him with the idea, if not understandably suspicious.

‘What’s in it for me?’

‘Well the warblers are more likely to like you if they see a more human side of you. And the more people like you, the more they’ll listen to you.’ He’d thought this out all weekend, coming up with different arguments to persuade the other boy to help him.

It seemed that was enough though as Hunter seemed to agree.

It was as simple as that, they were in a fake relationship.

———————————————————————————————

‘I made a plan.’

Barry blinked, as the boy shut the dorm room door behind him.

‘Oh right, I was, you know, just gonna tell people we’re together.’

‘No one’s just gonna believe we’re together, I’ve heard the rumours about you, you don’t do relationships.’ Hunter huffed frustratedly.

‘Woah, alright then.’ Barry conceded defensively.

‘Look you’re just some stupid high schooler so I don’t expect you to understand but you don’t just become a couple.’ Barry held back from disagreeing to almost everything he’d said. That’s pretty much exactly how high schoolers became a couple, not to mention he wasn’t actually a teenager.

‘Wouldn’t that make you a ‘stupid high schooler’ too?’ He fired back instead.

Hunter hesitated, surprising Barry at the sudden break in conversation.

‘I suppose you should know if we’re doing this, I’m actually 19, 20 in a few months, I’m only here because the military academy I want to go to requires a high school diploma.’ Barry watched him carefully, considering that he might be lying. But as he thought about it, he did remember the reporters after the drug scandal saying he looked too old to be in high school. He supposed that made sense now.

‘Okay’

‘Okay?’

‘I’m older than I look too.’ Barry said cryptically, obviously he couldn’t explain why. He guessed this actually made their relationship, though it be fake, relatively less creepy than it could have been considering he was actually 24. He was relieved to find out that Hunter was nearly 20, not that they were going to do anything, but it still made him feel slightly better.

‘Held back a few years?’ Hunter said half mocking.

‘Something like that,’

They lapsed into silence before Hunter began again, acting like they’d never had that conversation.

‘So the plan, step one-‘

‘How many steps are there?’

‘shut up.’ Barry huffed, ‘step one, assert a bond.’

—————————————————————————

‘Wait, what are we doing again?’

‘Oh my god, how many times do I have to tell you, just look like you’re friends with me, god!’ Hunter hissed as they walked through the corridor together

They continued bickering as they walked into the dinner room, got their food together and sat down.

Barry noticed Hunter sitting really close to him and decided to go along with it turning his body ever so slightly towards the other boy. He noticed Hunter nodded subtly in approval.

‘So, military school huh?’ Barry said awkwardly, trying to keep up the image of them being friends. Hunter glared making sure Barry knew that he was being awkward.

The boy began talking about his old school and Barry tried to look attentive, he actually found himself being interested in the boy he hadn’t really gotten to know in his original timeline. He nodded along completely engaged in learning more about Hunter. This went on throughout dinner, and Barry found himself falling oblivious to rest of the table.

‘Are they friends? Sebastian didn’t seem to like him yesterday and now he won’t look away.’ David asked conspiratorially.

Wes watched the interaction, assessing Sebastian’s body language.

‘He’s probably trying to sleep with him.’

‘Wes!’ David hissed.

‘What? If we take into account Sebastian’s past interactions with other males we can see a clear pattern and the only prediction we can confidently make is that this pattern will continue.’ David rolled his eyes but couldn’t help but agree. He only hoped Sebastian wasn’t going to mess up the warblers chances of being a good team this year.

—————————————————————————

‘Step two, gossip mill.’

‘-and that means what?’

Hunter rolled his eyes exasperatedly.

‘We need to get some new rumours going, not enough to directly pronounce a relationship but enough to feed the idea for a while.’

‘Oh I know just the thing.’ Barry smirked, he was starting to actually enjoy being more Sebastian but for good. As ridiculous as he found this whole plan Hunter had concocted he was finding himself enjoying it. He took out his phone and started to text.

-hey you left you’re tie in my room again x come and get it ;) S

‘Is that enough? I’ll send it to Trent, he’ll definitely gossip.’ Hunter read the text carefully.

‘Good, not direct but definitely has some implications,’ Barry smiled glad Hunter agreed, before sending the text and then a few minutes later sent another.

-oh god sorry, wrong person. S

‘And it’s done, by tomorrow, Trent should have told enough people about it to make some new rumours.’

—————————————————————————

‘Step three, making moments.’ Hunter said completely seriously.

‘Okay, what the hell are these titles?’

‘Would you shut up?’

Barry raised his chin defiantly.

Hunter shook his head almost fondly.

—————————————————————————

‘You know, I’m pretty sure these kind of things don’t actually happen in real life.’

‘Would you just go with it? We’re gonna get caught in the rain and this’ll be our first kiss and it’ll be great.’

‘And how are the others meant to find out about this?’

‘Because I’ll make sure they’re watching.’

‘And if it doesn’t rain?’

Hunter groaned deciding not to respond.

‘It’s January, and the forecast says it’s gonna rain. It will rain.’

—————————————————————————

It didn’t rain. Barry struggled not to look too smug as Hunter sulked all day complaining about ‘stupid weather forecasts’ under his breath.

The only time he seemed to snap out of it was at warblers practice. Or at least he tried to remain professional.

He demanded that the warblers get straight into formation to start singing, Barry doing a solo as usual. He was having a great day, suffice to say he found it greatly amusing when Hunter’s plan didn’t go exactly how he wanted it to. Which is why he was so annoyed when Sam, who had become much more confident in the warblers, managed to add to their ever growing pattern of colliding with each other. He stumbled on one of the steps and managed to trip forwards, kicking one of Barry’s feet out from under him and shoving against his shoulder. Barry was sent flailing to the side into none other than Hunter.

The other boy gasped at the sudden commotion putting his arms out to help catch the soloist, and managing just before he hit the floor. As lucky as Barry felt to not be smacking his head against the floor he couldn’t help but be annoyed as he leaned back, the only thing stopping him from falling being Hunter’s surrounding grip. He looked up at Hunter’s face.

‘Oh you have got to be kidding me.’ He thought bitterly. Hunter looked down at him too, and Barry could see the surprise in his eyes at what had just happened. They stayed there for a second until they heard someone clearing their throat. They quickly scrambled back into a normal position stood beside each other, remembering that there were other people in the room.

Hunter coughed slightly before instructing them to start again.

Neither boy noticed Wes whispering to David at the other side of the formation.

‘I may have to reconsider my original hypothesis.’

‘Yes! New love!’ Jeff cheered quietly behind them. Both Wes and David looked back in concern not realising the blonde boy had been listening in on their conversations.

‘What?’ Jeff said innocently.

Chapter Text

Barry had not slept well. Having managed to keep his cool until about 11 at night when he started overthinking something Jeff had mentioned earlier the day before, Barry had been up all night thinking and worrying, creating different scenarios in his head each worse than the other. Not being able to wait any longer, Barry was up and out of bed roaming to corridors at 7am despite it being the weekend when most of the other Dalton boys would still have their heads buried into their pillows.

It was 7.01 when he burst into Hunter’s room on a different floor, in spite of him not using his speed, fully prepared drag him out of bed to help him. Which is why he was surprised to find Hunter already awake, in shorts, doing sit ups. He turned his head when Barry entered the room but didn’t show any sign of being startled or alarmed by his sudden presence.

‘Well good morning to you too,’ Hunter panted between breaths, turning his head back to continue his exercises. Barry paused, becoming briefly flustered by the image of the shirtless boy.

This was weird. No, this was inappropriate. Wasn’t it?

‘Stop it Barry you’re both adults this doesn’t have to be weird, besides it’s nothing you haven’t seen before.’ He mentally consoled himself.

However, as he got control over himself, Barry remembered the exact reason why he had barged in to begin with.

‘Problem. Jeff mentioned that Nick was talking to David and he said that Blaine is coming over to Dalton today to hang out.’ Barry nervously rung his hands together pacing, his voice raising an octave in anxiety.

‘And this is a problem why?’ Hunter questions, carrying on with his work out completely unaffected by the boy’s announcement.

‘Don’t you get it?! This is the entire reason why I asked you to do this in the first place! I need Kurt and Blaine to see that I’m not coming for their relationship and then they can be happy and love each other and no one has to die!’

Hunter pauses standing up, raising his hands in surrender.

‘Woah, Seb you’re being crazy, where’s this talk of dying coming from suddenly?’ Barry runs his hands through his hair before dragging them over his face, still pacing.

‘Nothing, don’t worry, the point is we need to show them that we’re a good couple! We need a plan, oh my god we’re so unprepared none of this is gonna work!’

‘Hey, hey stop, breathe.’ Hunter grabs Barry’s hands stopping his pacing and pulled him close. He ducked his head slightly to look into Barry’s eyes.

‘It’ll be fine, ok? We already have the entire school convinced, we just need to act like we’re together, ok? We’ve been doing this for a few weeks now I think we’re ready for whatever this is.’

Barry took a deep breath, allowing his focus to move to their proximity and let it comfort him for a moment.

‘Ok, just, promise you’ll try to make this believable? For reasons I can’t explain, this is really important to me.’ Barry pleaded softly.

‘Ok I promise.’ Hunter vowed looking concerned.

‘Ok, now go take a shower, cause you seriously stink.’

Hunter laughs.

‘Maybe you shouldn’t have interrupted my work out then.’

—————————————————————————

‘Hey stop being weird!’ Barry hissed at Hunter with a sharp nudge. Hunter turns to him with a glare having been distracted from his staring.

‘I just don’t get it, they seem perfectly happy together, why are we trying to convince them we’re boyfriends?’ He whispered, they were on one of the couches in a secluded corner of the common room so none of the other warblers, who had gathered to meet up with Kurt and Blaine, could hear them. They had chosen the corner under the guise of doing chemistry work and having to focus. Well, Barry was at least, Mr Bennett had set him some extra credit work. It was just an essay on inorganic compounds of biological significance. He thought maybe his teacher was trying to challenge him, but it was more tedious than anything else.

‘Just stop questioning it- oh my god they’re coming over!’ Barry whispered back in a panic, Hunter moved impossibly closer to him, their legs were practically squished together next to each other now. Whether it was part of the act, or even some kind of protective action against the suspicious glare on Kurt’s face, Barry appreciated it.

The two arrived near them, Kurt dragging along a rather miffed looking Blaine who appeared to be annoyed at being taken away from his conversation with the other boys. The dapper boy soon covered his irritation with the charming smile he showed everyone.

‘Hey Sebastian! Hi, I’m Blaine, and this is Kurt.’ He introduced himself to Hunter holding out his hand to shake. Hunter politely returned the formalities, shaking Kurt’s hand as well, who immediately started asking questions, who was he, where was he from? It was bordering on interrogative but Hunter answered them all calmly with a smile on his face. After a while, once figuring Hunter was managing fine, Barry turned back to his essay, which was due in next lesson after all.

Barry suddenly felt a presence over his shoulder having zoned out and written another paragraph.

‘What are you doing?’ Blaine asked slowly, squinting at Barry’s work, trying to make sense of it.

‘Currently, I’m writing about measuring the concentration of a solute by its molarity, which is weird right? ‘Cause like, I’m mostly talking about mixtures of solutes and water in humans in this section and you know glucose concentration is usually measured in milligrams per decilitre,’ Barry trailed off realising both Kurt and Blaine were now staring at him,’ So yeah, I just thought it was weird…’

‘Except he’s messing up his structure.’ Hunter interjects. Which starts a whole lot of bickering between the two.

’Since when are you some science genius?’ Kurt interrupts.

’Since always, he’s the smartest guy I know.’ Hunter defends catching Kurt’s clipped tone.

Barry smiles appreciatively towards him.

‘It’s still a mess though,’

‘Shut up.’ Barry annoyed. He shoves Hunter with his shoulder. The two Mckinley students look at each other guessing that this won’t end well.

‘You shut up.’ Hunter shoves back.

They pause looking at each other.

Hunter suddenly play tackles him into a kiss, Barry laughs in surprise, much to Kurt and Blaine confusion.

‘Guys, come on, this is like the fourth time you’ve done this.’ Thad complains making the two break apart looking unapologetic.

‘Wait, what?’ Blaine questions, gesturing wildly with his hands in confusion.

Jeff gasps from nearby.

‘Oh my god, no one told you!’ Followed by Jeff reciting what seemed to be some kind of short story he’d written about their love in one breath. Nick definitely looked concerned that he’d pass out.

‘You, Sebastian Smythe, are in a relationship?’ Kurt suspiciously, his eyes wide like he was seeing Barry in a completely new light.

‘Look I know it’s hard to believe, but this is different.’ He gazes into Hunter’s eyes, he stares finding it difficult to believe himself that he could be this happy.

Except, you know, pretend happy.

Barry clears his throat and looks away at the thought. Hunter shoots him a look of concern for a moment before covering up.

‘Well I for one, am loving how the school has rearranged the reception,’ Blaine starts completely sincerely, Kurt rolls his eyes already bored of the conversation.

———————————————————————————

Kurt stared around in disdain at the garish decorations, red heart shaped balloons and banners scattered around Breadstix. It was tacky and annoying. He looked around at the other couples, conversing lovingly over their valentines day meals, and as much as he hated to admit it, he just wasn’t feeling it this year.

Blaine’s rambling comes back into Kurt’s senses as he turns back to his own meal.

‘-and that’s when Rachel said we should do ‘The Girl That I Marry’ from ‘Annie Get Your Gun’, but I’m just not sure because-‘

‘Wait, you mean for Glee this week? I thought we were singing together?’ Kurt said with ‘duh’ face.

‘Well yeah but then Rachel asked and I didn’t see any harm so I-‘

‘You didn’t see any harm?’ Kurt argued incredulously, ‘Blaine we’re meant to sing romantic songs, I’m your boyfriend, do you really want to sing with Rachel over me?’

Kurt’s jaw dropped when Blaine hesitated.

‘Are you serious? Oh my god Blaine, what the hell? Do you not like me anymore? Have you been talking to someone else? I swear to god if this is Sebastian’s fault-‘

‘Sebastian’s with that other guy now, remember?’ Blaine reminded, unhelpfully.

None the less, Kurt paused. They sat in silence for a moment, the sound of chattering and happy laughter from over tables ringing over them.

‘Look, I don’t know what I was thinking, we can sing together if you want.’ Blaine conceded, his voice dull. Kurt brought his hands to his face, pressing his fingers just above his eyes.

‘What are we doing?’ He asked closing his eyes and shaking his head slightly, ‘We should both want to sing together, we should both want to be with each other. It’s not Sebastian, or Rachel, or anyone else, it’s just us, isn’t it?’ He said finally looking up at Blaine, his brows upturned looking almost sorrowful.

When Blaine didn’t say anything, Kurt got worried.

‘Please tell me I’m not crazy,’

‘No, no you’re not. Honestly, I’ve noticed it too.’ Blaine replied taking one of Kurt’s hands in his own, ‘I think we’ve grown up, maybe just a little, but, we’re not the same people we were when we first met. We don’t need each other anymore.’

Kurt looked down at their hands pensively, it wasn’t the same as before. He didn’t get the same thrill he got when Blaine first grabbed his hand and pulled him down that corridor. He didn’t get butterflies or electric shocks. It was just two people holding hands. He took a deep breath.

‘I’m not happy in this relationship anymore, and I don’t think you are either,’ Kurt paused waiting for Blaine to confirm his assumption, which he did, ‘I think that if we carry on like this we’re gonna end up hating each other and it’s just going to be horrible.’

’So we should break up.’ Blaine said quietly. Kurt nodded slowly but decisively.

‘I’ll be ok if you sing with Rachel this week,’

Blaine smiled, happy to know that this wasn’t going to be awkward between them.

‘But ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ is sexist, so don’t sing something from that.’ Kurt criticised.

‘I know right, I was surprised when she even suggested it.’

They were going to be okay.

—————————————————————————

Barry was sat on Hunter’s bed next to the boy, both leaning against the wall watching some funny youtube videos that Hunter ‘just had to show him!’. Barry had already sat quietly for the past hour watching video after video, laughing along with Hunter when something happened, when his phone dinged with a notification.

He took his phone out of his pocket not looking away from the the laptop screen, fully prepared to put his phone on silent so they could carry on when he saw what it was.

-Blaine Anderson has updated his relationship status.-

Shortly followed by another notification.

-Kurt Hummel has updated his relationship status.-

Barry furrowed his eyebrows, tapping on one of the notifications, knowing that if this was one of those fake marriage statuses that people did he was going to throw up.

-Blaine Anderson is single-

Barry’s eyes widened, no, this couldn’t be right, but after checking he saw that Kurt had put the same. His heart dropped into his stomach.

’No, no, no,’ He said almost immediately dealing Blaine’s number to see what was going on. Hunter turned at his muttering, pausing the video and setting his laptop aside.

‘Dammit Blaine why won’t you pick up?!’ He chucked his phone down on the bed. He puts his hands to his face.

‘Oh my god! This is all my fault!’ Hunter takes his hands away from his face and puts one of his own hands on the distraught boy’s face grabbing his attention as tears began to fall.

‘Hey, hey, tell me what’s happening.’ Barry just spluttered out some nonsensical sounds and grabbed his phone, showing him the statuses.

‘Ok look I don’t know what this is you have about their relationship, but they probably just decided they weren’t working out,’ He tried to comfort even though he didn’t really get the problem.

‘No you don’t get it, this is my fault, this wasn’t supposed to happen, I was supposed to fix it! But all I do is mess up other people’s lives, that’s all I’m capable of!’

‘Bas, babe it’s ok, it’s ok calm down,’

‘It’s not ok, I’m a life ruiner!’

‘Hey, look at me, you’re not a life ruiner, take deep breaths, otherwise you’re gonna pass out.’

Nothing seemed to be helping, but Barry’s phone started ringing and his attention snapped to it.

‘Blaine?’ Hunter heard a tinny voice responding.

‘What’s going on? Did you really break up with Kurt?’ His voice some how remaining remarkably clear despite the fact that he was still crying. Hunter tried to listen to the response but Barry was pressing the phone so closely to his ear he didn’t catch any of the conversation, but Barry seemed to be calming down slightly.

’So it had nothing to do with me?’ Hunter waited knowing if it were to do with the boy he would start breaking down again.

He waited patiently for any kind of information until Barry said goodbye and put the phone down.

’So?’ Hunter asked curiously.

‘Blaine said, they realised they couldn’t use me or anyone else as a scapegoat for their problems anymore and that they just didn’t love each other anymore.’ Barry said monotonously. Hunter scanned his eyes over the boy’s face trying to understand.

Barry moved closer to him leaning into him and letting himself be wrapped in Hunter’s arms for comfort.

‘Look I know, I don’t get any of your problems and I respect that you clearly have things you want to keep from me, but I’m here for you, ok?’ Hunter spoke softly. Barry nodded against his chest.

‘It’s just, have you ever had something terrible happen and you thought it was your fault so you went through loads of crazy plans only to realise that maybe it wasn’t your fault to begin with and all of your plans were for nothing?’ Barry asked sincerely.

‘Um no, what? I’m so confused.’ Hunter murmured back. Barry choked out a laugh.

‘Don’t worry about it, I guess.’ They stayed there cuddling like that for a few more minutes in silence before a thought struck Hunter.

’So now that Kurt and Blaine have broken up, that means we don’t need to keep up this whole relationship thing, doesn’t it?’ He states.

Barry pulled back, sitting up and away from him regretfully and almost embarrassed. He felt a pang of pain in his chest.

‘Yeah you’re right, sorry.’ He stared at the floor, wondering if he should leave, when Hunter spoke up.

‘Unless, I mean, we don’t have to stop.’ Hunter said uncertainly, but one look at Barry’s hopeful face was enough to tell him his feelings were reciprocated.

Barry leaned back into him, and shyly this time, they kissed.

Chapter Text

‘Are you ok?’ Jeff nudged him quietly. They were sat in the common room, not many them still there and the curtains had been drawn long before.Hunter had elected to sit next to Jeff who’s boyfriend had gone to bed early, Sebastian was nowhere to be seen. Hunter looked down at his phone where he’d been idly playing some boring game that the phone came with. Noticing the time he realised it was past midnight.

Hunter shook his head and sighed, before excusing himself with an apologetic smile for not being the best company. He left the common room and slowly began making his way up to his dorm.

He didn’t know what the hell was up with Sebastian but he wasn’t ok with it.

Seb had been edgy all week, and Hunter, trying to be a good boyfriend, had been patient with him. However, that was kind of hard to do when Seb was constantly snapping at him, acting annoyed. Hunter thought it was stress at first, he’d seen the amount of extra credit work the teachers were throwing at him with such high expectations of the newly smartest boy in the school, but then Seb seemed to work through it with ease. He honestly couldn’t think of any other reasons but figured now that it was Saturday he’d be better.

Everyone feels better on weekends right?

But no.

If anything he’d only gotten worse. Making snide comments at breakfast, refusing to help Jeff with his homework because it was ‘beneath him’, he even shouted at some poor sophomore who wasn’t looking where he was going in the corridor and walked into him. It was completely our of character.

Quite frankly hunter was annoyed. He wasn’t going to argue with Seb but he also wasn’t going to sit back and be snapped at everytime he tried to help. This lead to Hunter sitting on the other side of the room in rehearsal pertinently avoiding looking at Sebastian.

Which also meant he didn’t know exactly what had happened. But either way it ended with Jeff on the verge of tears and Nick sending death glares.

‘Warbler Sebastian, you are dismissed for this session.’ Wes had dutifully stated.

‘What why?’

‘Dude you’re being a dick’ Nick had answered with a barrel restrained growl.

After waiting a moment, it seemed Sebastian was expecting Wes to say something, or reprimand Nick for his language, but there was nothing. Sebastian looked around the room angrily.

‘Fine!’ He had shouted before storming out. There was a pause after the boy slammed the doors behind him, the younger members of the group whispering to each other at the entertainment.

‘I knew it was too good to be true’ David had murmured. Hunter being quite close to the front heard and questioned him. For a moment David looked startled as though Hunter ha stumbled upon some well kept secret.

‘Sebastian used to be like this all the time, it wasn’t until last year that he started being nicer, I guess he’s bored of that now’ Wes explained bitterly.

After that, Seb had pretty much been gone for the rest of the day, presumably either in his room or off campus. They did briefly see him at dinner but the boy didn’t stay long. He simply got a small plate, shoved the food around with his fork for a few minutes before walking out without a word.

Hunter arrived at his dorm and went in, it was late and he really wanted to just go to sleep after the day he’d had.

As he was laying in bed his thoughts travelled back to something Jeff had said earlier.

‘Maybe he’s sad’ Jeff had suggested with a shrug watching Sebastian’s retreating form leaving the dining hall.

Trent scoffed.

‘What would he be sad about?’

Jeff shrugged.

‘He only stopped eating sometimes, there must have been a reason for all those other times so something must be wrong now as well, especially for him to start acting like this again.’

‘He’s just being a dick Jeff, leave it.’ Hunter grumbled, putting an end to the conversation. He might have been angry at his boyfriend but he still wasn’t comfortable with them talking behind his back. But he was interested in what Jeff had said. Maybe Seb was sad.

But he didn’t know what about. The other boys had evidently know him for much longer and even they didn’t know.

He pushed the thought aside. He needed to be up early to make a Skype call. It was mothers day tomorrow after all.

—————————————————————————————————————

Barry didn’t sleep at all. He lay in bed all morning weeping, not sobbing, he put no effort into forcing his tears, they just fell. His grey heart aching, he felt like his body was full of smoke, he was just full and there was nothing he could do. It didn’t necessarily hurt, there was just this overwhelming feeling of wrongness.

As he watched the sun come up, he registered distantly that the other boys would be waking up about now. Some immediately calling their mothers, some getting dressed to go out and meet them.

But he just lay there, not ready to face everyone, not having the energy to drag himself up from his bed.

He lay there watching the light changing and the shadows moving across his bedroom as the sun rose higher into the sky. He didn’t know how long it had been but apparently it was nearly midday when Hunter came in, having not seen him at breakfast.

Barry heard the sharp knocking on the door, but made no move or sound to answer. They’d go away eventually, was his main thought as he stuffed his head lower into the covers to drown out the noise. It was no use though, as he heard the door opening.

‘Are you done being a jerk?’ Hunter asked half heartedly, taking in the room before him, yesterday’s clothes in a mess of a pile on the floor, drawers left open. Barry lifted his head from under his covers at the sound of his boyfriend’s voice. He was surprised that Hunter had came up here, especially after how he’d been treating him all week. He knew it wasn’t nice but he couldn’t control himself, his teenage emotions getting the better of him.

‘Sorry’ He whispered, his voice cracking with unshed tears. Hunter took one look at his face and sighed, Jeff had been right.

He moved over to the bed, nudging the boy slightly to make more room, and he got in next to him. Barry moved into Hunter’s arms silently.

They stayed there for a while, Hunter trying to comfort Barry but he didn’t manage to get him to speak. So instead, he sat up.

‘Come on, it’s lunch time.’ Barry briefly looked like he was going to argue, but Hunter was already up grabbing him a hoodie to chuck on over his pyjama top and sweatpants. He helped his boyfriend pull the Dalton Academy hoodie over his white top as Barry sniffed sorrowfully. He put his hands gently on either side of his face a thumbed away some stray tears, and gave him a soft smile. Barry attempted a smile back.

‘Thanks,’ He whispered. Hunter straightened up and held out a hand to help him up.

The warblers didn’t say anything to him, when they came down but saw his face and knew something was wrong. They made it through lunch with Hunter watching him carefully and encouraging him to eat.

After lunch, as they left the dining hall, Hunter was surprised that when they got back to Barry’s dorm he immediately started pulling things out from under his bed. Random text books, odd storage, Hunter just stood back and watched without a word. A minute later, Barry resurfaced with a shoe box in hand, he sat up on his bed and looked to Hunter.

‘Let me show you something?’ Hunter nodded silently and moved to sit next to him on the bed.

He watched as the boy opened the box and started taking things out, birthday cards, a 6th grade science fair certificate. Hunter felt honoured to be looking at these little snippets of a life that had been kept so private from him and what seemed like most people. Barry stopped on an old photograph and held it up slowly. There were three people in the picture, a tall man with greying hair but Sebastian’s eyes, a beautiful woman smiling at the camera, and between them, a young boy, with a carefree grin that Hunter had never seen on the boy beside him.

’Those are my parents, my, uh, real parents.’ Barry stated, Hunter stayed quiet waiting for him to continue, ‘ My mom, she died when I was 11.’

Hunter’s heart dropped, that’s why he’d been upset all day, God it was mother’s day, why didn’t he realise sooner?

‘I should have known,’ He tried, but Barry just let out a soft but sad chuckle.

‘You and you’re need to know everything.’ He joked, turning and giving Hunter a sad smile.

‘What about your dad?’ He asked carefully. He knew that Sebastian was in a foster family, despite never meeting the boy’s family. Wen he first arrived he was surprised to find that no one was talking about the new student, conversations were filled with gossip about Sebastian’s family.

Barry hesitated at the mention of his dad.

‘It’s a long story.’

‘Oh ok, sorry, I shouldn’t have asked-‘

‘No, no it’s ok, I can tell you.’ Hunter paused and smiled at Sebastian’s trust in him.

Barry explained that when his mother had died, his father had been arrested for it, and that’s why he now lived with Joe and Iris. He tried to say as much as he could without going into the real killer because that would open up a whole new conversation that Barry knew he couldn’t talk about. After getting through that and being pleased at the lack of judgement or pity from Hunter, Barry spent the rest of the day telling him stories about his parents, happy memories, and then all about Joe and Iris.

It was an odd feeling to be happy on such a horrible day, but as Barry snuggled up to his boyfriend, he felt some of the darkness in his life shift.

Chapter Text

This was bliss, Barry thought, his head rested on Hunter’s chest allowing the slow rises and falls of his breathes soothe him into further relaxation. His hand was tangled with Hunter’s as he played with intertwining their fingers.

Hunter was still asleep. Barry had had too many thoughts buzzing around his head to even think about sleeping. He’d told him everything, about his family. Mostly everything, I mean he missed out all the stuff about his name, oh and you know the part where he’s a time travelling speedster. So really he hadn’t told Hunter much, and yet he seemed to be the person who knew the most about him.

God what was the point of this? What did it matter what he told Hunter if he couldn’t even tell him his name?!

The puffy white clouds of joy became polluted. He was so grateful for how Hunter had reacted and treated him after he told him about his mother, but now it felt like the flood gates had opened.

I mean, why couldn’t he tell him everything?

Well, there was the chance that he wouldn’t believe him and it would ruin their relationship. There was also the gigantic blackhole that would suck them into extinction at the presence of the paradox. But then Barry never had been good at making good choices. Nothing bad had happened when Joe found out, so maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.

‘What are you thinking so hard about?’ A deep voice sounded, the vibrations reverberating through Hunter’s chest. Barry hadn’t notice him wake up, but trust him to wake up naturally at 6.30am. Barry didn’t understand it at all. He looked up at Hunter’s still sleepy face looking back at him.

The face of someone he trusted and loved.

’Nothing, don’t worry about it.’

—————————————————————————————

Together, they trudged their way through their morning classes; never something fun on a Monday especially considering how late they’d been up ’til. Sebastian had been much more amenable to the other warblers at breakfast that morning. He seemed hesitant which Hunter found understandable. He still didn’t know much about this other, meaner version of Sebastian that the warblers had described, but it seemed that after the boy’s behaviour last week, many attitudes had changed quite quickly. The warblers seemed standoffish, not wanting to interact with Sebastian, some even came across as cold which surprised Hunter. From what he’d seen, Sebastian hadn’t exactly been close to the boys, or anyone for that matter, but it was never like this.

It was in his attempts to appear protective of his boyfriend throughout the day, to let him know that he wasn’t going to turn him away so quickly, that he noticed something else.

Sebastian wasn’t just acting uncomfortable around the warblers, he seemed downright avoidant of Hunter. He wasn’t talking to him in their shared classes and all but ran away from him in the corridor when they had planned to walk to class together.

Luckily, he’d managed to catch him on his way to the lunch hall, all but having to grab him to be able to walk alongside him. Sebastian barely greeted him and kept walking. Hunter, fed up of this, pulled the boy to one side of the corridor, to lean against the wall out of the way of the crowds hurrying to lunch. Sebastian protested trying to move away and carry on on his way.

‘Would you stop?!’ Hunter whisper shouted trying not to attract attention. It did the job though, as the boy stopped struggling, turning towards him with his arms crossed.

‘Can you tell me what’s going on?’ Sebastian avoided his eyes.

‘Nothing’s going on, can we just go to lunch now?’ He said impatiently, Hunter could hear the discomfort in his voice but still couldn’t tell what the problem was. Thinking maybe it was related to how the other warblers had been acting, Hunter continued.

‘Babe, you know I forgive you for how you were last week right?’ Sebastian rolled his eyes, ok so that clearly wasn’t the right thing to say.

‘It’s not about that, just, ugh, let’s just go to lunch ok?’

‘What is it about then? We were fine last night,’ Hunter paused, ‘Is it about the things you told me? I’m not going to tell anyone, if that’s what this is about.’

Sebastian paused too then, Hunter saw him clenching his fists at his sides, but it wasn’t out of anger. Sebastian looked like he was holding back, like he was just managing to stop himself from bursting out.

‘I’m hungry.’ He blurted, ‘Let’s go.’

Before he knew it, Hunter was watching the boy walk away. He caught up, not wanting to let him go, but they didn’t speak again.

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

Hunter glanced behind him, twisting his body carefully so not to drop his full tray of food. Sebastian appeared to be taking his time further back, most likely trying to avoid him further. Hunter sighed softly and, after another moment of waiting, made his way over to the table. He didn’t know what to make of the situation. How was he meant to help if he didn’t tell him what was wrong?

He picked at his food, absentmindedly noticing when Sebastian took a seat on the other side of the table a few minutes later.

‘I thought he was being nice again?’ Wes questioned quietly from beside him, making the boy jump. Hunter looked over to Sebastian who was staring down at his tray not engaging in any conversations. Not that there was any invitation to, the warblers around him were closed off, turned away, leaving the boy practically alone.

‘He is, but, I don’t know, something’s up.’

It wasn’t even 10 minutes later when Hunter noticed the boy stand to leave. He wasn’t surprised, he wouldn’t want to stay either. However, he was surprised when he felt a hesitant hand on his shoulder.

‘Hey, I’m gonna leave… can you come with me?’ Hunter only nodded, abandoning his half finished lunch, hoping maybe he would actually get an explanation.

Nick narrowed his eyes watching them go.

How was this fair? Just two days ago Sebastian was making Jeff cry on like an hourly basis and now everyone’s was just okay with him again? Well not ok, but no one was doing anything about it!

No, something wasn’t right about this.

‘Hey babe, I need to go see Mrs Carpenter about homework, I’ll see you in class.’ Nick stated unexpectedly. Jeff looked confused.

‘Oh ok, sure,’ They kissed goodbye and Nick left the hall.

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

Sebastian had all but dragged Hunter to his dorm, with only the hurried explanation that he’d left something out last night that he needed to say. Yet, there they sat on his bed in silence, Sebastian opening his mouth every now and then to speak before shaking his head.

‘You don’t have to tell me, it’s ok’ Hunter tried to placate. If it was this difficult then he didn’t need to know, he wasn’t going to pressure Sebastian into spilling his life story any more than he already had. Sebastian shook his head vigorously.

‘No I do!’ Without a moment more of hesitation, the boy thrust his hands up without abandon. Hunter jumped at the sudden movement but froze immediately at what he saw.

Sebastian seemed to have gone completely still, waiting, the only movement coming from his shaking elbows which blurred the rest of his lower arms.

Hunter stared in shock.

His hands were vibrating.

‘So, I can move really fast.’ Sebastian said slowly.

After a moment of no reaction, Sebastian lowered his hands bringing them back to normal speed.

Hunter seemed to break out of his trance and stumbled off the bed, moving to stand further away.

‘What the hell?’ He said in horror. Sebastian stood up too, his hands up in surrender but it didn’t seem to calm the boy.

‘It’s not dangerous, I mean it can be, but, what I mean is, I’m not dangerous.’ He tried to step closer to Hunter but it was to no avail as the boy scurried back away from him.

‘How the- what are you?’

Barry faltered at the question, this wasn’t what was meant to happen, this wasn’t how it was supposed to go.

‘No, no, I’m still me, I’m still the same, there’s other things, my name isn’t Sebastian but I’m still the same!’

Hunter narrowed his eyes, shaking his head in confusion, a lost look in his eyes as he tried to find words.

‘I don’t- your name- what’s going on?!’

‘My name’s Barry, Barry Allen, I changed it but I’m still the same person I swear, everything else is true!’ He tried to move towards hunter again, this time with tears in his eyes, frightened that he may have ruined it all.

Hunter stepped backwards, his body thudding against the door.

‘I- I can’t deal with this,’ Hunter fumbled for the door handle, not taking his eyes off Barry. He blundered out of the door leaving Barry behind.

Barry watched as he ran from the room, his breath got caught in his throat as he tried to hold back all the emotions he was feeling.

He moved slowly toward the door, but instead of trying to follow Hunter, his hand swung out and slammed the door. He stood there alone, the silence bearing down on him.

That was that.

Under the strength of their emotions, it was a shame that neither boy noticed another wide eyed warbler stood off to the side of the corridor, outside the dorm.

Nick turned away from the dorm and hurried away.

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

Barry numbly made his way down to warbler practice. He knew they were angry with him after last week and honestly couldn’t afford to lose them too right now.

Everyone was sat quietly, when he walked in, looking both confused and shocked.

For a moment, he reflected their confusion. He’d missed all of his afternoon classes, choosing instead to continue staring at the door Hunter had ran out of. Surely nothing that big could have happened in one afternoon while he was absent to have caused such a reaction among the warblers. That is until one boy stood.

‘There he is.’ Nick says standing up, his voice hesitant but accusing.

‘What’s going on?’ Barry questioned fearfully, he hadn’t, had he? Barry searched out Hunter’s face, surely he hadn’t told them. He found the boy looking down at the council desk from his place between Wes and David. Surely, he hadn’t told them?

‘He’s a liar.’ Nick proclaimed firmly.

‘Nick, sit down.’ David spoke up, noticing that their lead council member wasn’t going to.

‘Sebasti- Barry.’ Wes addressed, taking up his former role with ease.

Barry eyes widened and his face went white, he wasn’t ready for this.

’Nick says that that’s your real name? That you have this whole different life that you’ve been lying about?’ Wes implored being the unbiased voice of the group.

Barry’s eyes flickered to Nick who just sat there trying to hide his sheepishness at getting him in trouble. How did Nick find out?

‘I- I- it’s a long story.’ He stammered out in response.

‘But it’s true?’ Barry looked to Wes with intense eyes, his eyes danced over Hunter’s tense frame, begging him to look up. But he didn’t.

‘Yes’ He confessed, almost inaudibly.

‘Then you’re dismissed.’ The order was quiet but final. Barry considered protesting but knew it wouldn’t do anything. He took one last look at the guilt on Nick’s face. The boy hadn’t known it would go this far, but he couldn’t keep it a secret.

Barry left the room.