Has anyone else used ExpressionCaptioner.com? I think something terrible is about to happen.
You know that interactive meme site that takes pics with your webcam and makes captions at the top and bottom of the image? My girlfriend showed it to me the other day. We were pretty impressed by how well the software picks up on facial expressions and makes captions based on what the algorithm detects. Anyway, we played around with it for a while, got bored, and then watched some Frasier reruns.
Last night, when I was home alone with nothing to do, I clicked over to that site again to see what kinds of captions I could get it to come up with. For a while, it was no different from the other day. Right when I thought I’d had enough and was ready to head out and get something to eat, the page refreshed and a new button appeared. “Live caption.” I clicked it. My webcam light turned on and my familiar, stupid face appeared. Every five seconds, a still-frame was captured. Like before, it was captioned.
I let it caption me for a few minutes and I watched the picture pool fill with thumbnails of all the captured images. I was a little disappointed. All live caption seemed to do was take away the need to click the “capture image” button I’d been using before. I closed the laptop and went to the burger place down the street. I stuffed myself with bacon cheeseburgers and fries, rolled myself home, and went to bed.
Summary: You’re a meta-human with fire abilities and Barry’s your best friend who finds you adorable.
Being a meta-human was exhilarating. Being able to help the Flash protect Central City and the ones you loved was a gift that you would never take for granted.
Barry Allen had quickly become your friend after he–The Flash–had encountered you at an burning apartment building when he had shown up to try to control the building fire as well. It was near the beginning of his journey of becoming the Flash so you two were really able to learn how to control your powers and grow as heroes (as well as people) together.
You had the abilities to control fire though there was more to it than just that. You were able to heal burn related injuries, calm down or create a fire, and even manipulate different forms or fire like substances, such as lava or magma.
Now, while there were some downsides of having the ability to control fire and heat the positives outweighed the bad. Control was a huge obstacle. Losing control for even a moment could result in catastrophe. There was even a chance that something could go wrong and you could end up burning yourself and let’s just say that healing yourself from a burn is much more difficult than healing someone else.
Even your emotions played a key role with your powers because anger seemed to strengthen the attacks (though it seemed to cloud your mind and make control harder to hold onto), while something like love or lust was only a distraction and weakened your powers.
Excessive use of these abilities would also exhaust you and just drain you completely. Cisco liked to joke about how often you would just pass out in the strangest places but they all knew that you couldn’t help it. Sleep seemed to be your body’s natural reaction to an overuse of powers and was the most effective way of replenishing your strength. Meanwhile, Barry always made sure that you were in a safe place when you passed out (seeing as one time you had passed out in an alleyway and woke up without your wallet and shoes but there was a stray cat that followed you around for almost a week after that).
You’d been working with Cisco and Cait for some ways to overcome this issue but there had been no such luck yet. Little things like tinkering your suit to lower your body temperature seemed to prolong the effects though it didn’t get rid of it completely. But it was a start.
Triweekly training sessions had become a normal event for you.
Caitlin, who was monitoring your vitals, called the training to a halt a bit earlier than normal this time. “Her internal temperature is too high. She needs to stop so we can run tests before she passes out.”
“Come back, Blaze.” Cisco said through your in-ear piece. He’d been pretty proud of that name and the whole team liked it so they all seemed to just interchange it with your real name whenever they pleased. You didn’t mind. Seeing a headline like, Christmas Miracle? The Flash and Blaze Stop Trickster and Save Christmas, always gave you a reassuring feeling.
The sprinklers went on after every training session so you were quick to make an escape before you were drenched. And while Cisco was the one who triggered the sprinklers, he would sometimes set them off prematurely to soak you and Barry for some laughs.
Barry was currently on break (which really meant pigging out on Big Belly Burger in the Cortex while he observed you train) since that was a day where he trained separate from you.
It was consistent that Caitlin would always run tests after a training session so you would automatically sit in the makeshift hospital room so that she could check your blood pressure, heart rate and many other categories you weren’t sure of.
Cisco and Barry soon joined you and Cait in order to help brainstorm a bit.
“What if you tweaked the function from FIRESTORM’s suit so that it doesn’t heat up at all?” Barry suggested, his mouth stuffed with a double cheeseburger as he spoke. “That way she doesn’t feel any resistance or backlash when she uses her powers.”
“Also,” You interjected, sending puppy dog eyes toward Cisco in order to soften him up a bit. “While you’re at that, you could also switch up the color since I stick out like a sore thumb in this neon yellow and orange.”
Cisco glared at you for your incessant urging to get him to change the colors. Because, hey, he worked hard on that and maybe it wasn’t the best color palette for crime fighting but fire was yellow and orange so it seemed fitting at the time. “And what exactly do you have in mind Miss Blaze?” He asked sarcastically though he had already been planning to switch the colors and surprise you for about a week or so.
You glanced at Barry for reassurance that he’d back you up before you answered Cisco’s question. After receiving a confirmation nod from the speedster, you continued. “I was thinking like a dark blue or black maybe. That way I can actually have a chance to sneak up on the bad guys rather than them spotting me a mile away…”
Barry gave you a subtle thumbs up and you couldn’t hold in your smile.
Barry was undoubtedly cute. Not only was he cute, he also had a heart of gold which seemed to make him the whole package to you. If you had to pick out one flaw he had, it would probably have to be his lack of experience and luck in the love department.
You had been there through Iris, Linda and Patty and while they were all nice girls, you couldn’t help but wish that it was you in their place. You’d watch Barry fall for them only to have to hold himself back in order to protect them and his identity meanwhile the voice in the back of your head kept saying he wouldn’t have to hide himself from me.
Barry was so oblivious to all your attempts at flirting and you assumed that meant that he didn’t think of you that way, which was definitely disheartening. At one point you went on a few dates with a boy name Christian just to try and get over that hopeless crush on Barry. (You had no such luck with Christian though seeing as, while he was cute and smart, he seemed to think he was better than everyone and was extremely too full of himself).
You and Barry had both experienced the whole becoming a hero thing together and it really made things much easier since you could rely on someone who knew what you were going through. But spending so much time with Barry only made you fall faster and harder, which you were unsure whether it was a curse or a blessing.
From the beginning, Barry had caught your eye but he treated you like a sister rather than a potential lover which quickly alerted you that he wasn’t interested.
“I’ll work on it.” Cisco muttered, snapping you out of your daydream and back into the Cortex.
“Thanks, boo.” You smiled.
Ten minutes later, all the tests were done and you were free to have some time to yourself.
Somehow, time to yourself still managed to turn into protecting Central City.
On your way back to your apartment, you noticed two or three fire trucks headed in the opposite direction and anything to do with fire automatically involved you.
You dashed after them while also trying to stay conspicuous so that no one made the connection that you were Blaze since she would turn up at the scene in only minutes.
Their destination was a two floor old Victorian home that was overcome with flames. Your heart nearly stopped and you had no time to spare.
Wasting time wrestling with your suit was now out of the question but you still couldn’t have people recognize you so you reached into your bag and pulled out your mask before sneaking in through a window in the backyard.
The team would totally kill you right now if they were aware of your unsupervised, impromptu mission but you weren’t sure if there was anyone left in the house and you sure as hell wouldn’t walk away when you knew that you could help the situation.
The house wasn’t yet completely engulfed in flames but it was beyond the point of being able to put them out. So your next best option was to navigate through and look for anyone who was trapped or hurt.
First floor, clear.
The second floor was a different story though. Hiding in the bathroom, you found a young girl, who couldn’t have been older than seven, clutching a puppy to her chest to protect it from the raging flames.
“C'mere, sweetie.” She jerked up when she heard you but her sobs only seemed to worsen. “C'mon I’m gonna get you outta here and back to your parents. You’re gonna be okay, I promise.” And you never broke your promises.
As if on cue, you felt a gust of wind behind you and turned to see the Flash.
“Get them out of here.” You ordered, leading the girl and her dog towards Barry while skillfully keeping the flames away from her. She didn’t appear to be harmed or burned in anyway, just a bit scared and shaken up but that was understandable.
Barry quickly took the girl into his arms and sped her outside to safety where she could be examined by an expert. Meanwhile, you double checked the remaining rooms and thankfully found them all empty.
After he made sure the little girl and her dog was safe, Barry sped back to you so that he could snag you and run to a safe place–meaning a place that involved much less fire as well as no one to question a half uniformed hero.
Barry gave you no warning as he lifted you up off your feet and ran all the way back to the West household and normally you would’ve yelled at him for the lack of alert but exhaustion was hitting you much quicker than expected and you felt yourself slump against his solid chest.
He gently laid you on his bed before he tugged your mask off and sat down beside you. And, in typical Barry fashion, he had to begin the intro to his lecture.
“I know you’re on the verge of passing out but just know that I am not letting you off the hook for any of this, Blaze. No chance in hell.”
Barry’s heart was racing.
As soon as Cisco had alerted him about a fire on Plymouth Ave, he knew that you’d be there to fix it. It was like you had a sixth sense when it came to fire and you were always able to detect them so he knew you’d be there. What he didn’t expect was to find you only wearing your mask and not your entire body suit. The suit protected you from the heat and the possibility of being burned by the flames surrounding you.
Sure, Barry could be reckless sometimes but you were the responsible one and he’d never expected for you to disregard your own well-being for the sake of protecting your identity and saving a civilian.
He sat and the desk located in the corner of his bedroom, finishing up some crime scene documentation from earlier that day while you napped on his bed.
He had a whole spiel planned out about how reckless you were and everything that could’ve gone wrong but he was so tired.
While his training was before yours, it lasted longer than he was used to combined with his tiring day at work and the whole fire fiasco, it was safe to say he was exhausted.
You took up a small portion of his full size bed so he had no doubt that he could slip into bed without waking you but he hesitated because he didn’t want to make you uncomfortable by sleeping with you.
You two had napped together before but that was usually at your house after a movie or TV marathon night and you had a queen sized bed so it wasn’t as awkward.
Finally Barry decided to just slip in beside you and recharge, after all he did today he definitely needed it.
On the cusp of sleep, Barry was jostled when he felt you roll closer toward him, curling up against his side. He made no attempt to move you as he too relaxed and fell into a much needed rest. After all, he wasn’t one to turn down a good cuddle.
When you finally awoke, your sense of smell was overtaken with a musky scent and you felt like you were tied down.
Snapping out of the hazy dream you’d been having, you relaxed to see that it was just Barry’s arm that had been weighing you down.
Somehow, he had ended up in bed with you and being the cuddler he is he had ended up nearly lying on top of you while he snored in your ear. Barry Allen was definitely a graceful sleeper to say the least…not.
His hair went in every direction possible while he even had a bit of drool escaping the corner of his mouth. And for some strange reason you found all these qualities endearing and thought that this must be what it’s like to wake up with Barry Allen every day.
A few more moments passed before you decided to escape his grip and maybe check the news for an update about the fire. But as you tried to twist from his grip, he only tightened his hold as he drifted back into consciousness.
His eyes fluttered open and his grip instantly released when he realized what he was doing. He could feel the blush burning his cheeks but thankfully the room was too dim with his curtains closed for you to get a clear sight of it.
“Morning.” You smiled. That nap felt rejuvenating and waking up with Barry only seemed to encourage your good mood further.
You stretched out across his bed before sitting up and waiting for the inevitable rant. You knew it was coming.
“How’re you feelin?” He questioned, attempting to discreetly wipe his mouth and fix up his hair a bit.
“Better,” You sighed, snuggled a bit deeper into his fluffy comforter than you secretly wanted to steal. “’M still a bit tired but that’s a given.”
“We need to talk about that incident still, y/n.”
There it is. You sighed. Time for a Barry Allen lecture.
“Why wouldn’t you call me at least? You know I’d drop everything to come help you.”
“I know, Bare.” You didn’t doubt that Barry would’ve been there but you didn’t have any time to waste. “But you–”
“You didn’t even have your suit on!” He exclaimed in frustration. “You’re always so quick to protect me and chide me for being careless but it seems like you have a double standard when applying those things to you.” His anger and frustration became more apparent throughout his rant which only fueled your anger as well.
“I didn’t have time, Barry!” You defended yourself, skootching away from him so that there was a significant amount of space between you and him. “That would only have wasted time I didn’t have because I needed to be fast enough to go search that house for anyone possibly trapped and rescue them if I did find anyone before the burned to death or died of smoke inhalation. If I wasn’t quick then that girl would’ve died and that would always be on my conscience.”
That was like the final straw for Barry. He knew all the positives and negatives of being a hero and he didn’t need you reminding that neither of you could save everyone. “But you could’ve died and I can’t risk losing you too. My entire life has consisted of eventually losing nearly everyone that I have ever loved in one way or another and the thought of not being able to see you everyday makes my heart physically hurt. Put yourself in my shoes and imagine if I was the one who ran into a location with only my mask to protect me, without any backup or knowledge of what I was about to face. Imagine how angry and betrayed that would make you feel because I didn’t trust you enough to include you in a mission?”
His words stung and gave you a whole new view of the situation. He was scared and worried and he had ever right to be. It was time to admit defeat.
“Bare,” You sighed, reaching out to rest your hand on his bicep. “I trust you with my life and I’m sorry that I didn’t call you and I know that if it was you who didn’t call me you’d be facing hell rather than just a stern talking to.” He was genuinely the most down to earth and selfless person that you had ever met yet he had dealt with so much pain in his life that he in no way deserved. You didn’t want to be able to add to the list of things that caused him stress or pain. “Barry, you mean so much to me and I know that I can be controlling or hotheaded at times–pun absolutely intended–but you are really the only one who can actually tolerate me and I owe you immensely for that.”
You paused for a moment to gather your thoughts as to where you wanted to take this apology next but when Barry skooted to be right beside you (nearly knocking you off the bed in doing so but that’s besides the point), your train of thought derailed the moment his arm snaked around your shoulders to pull you even closer to him. Even the smallest of gestures from Barry had such a spellbinding affect on you.
“Nobody has to put up with you, y/n. We love you.” He sighed into your ear seeing as your head was resting against his chest. “You might be hard headed and when you set your mind to something, you follow that through and make sure it gets finished. We all love you and we’re all here for you. I have been by your side since all this superhero business started and I plan on sticking with you till we call it quits. The only thing that could keep me from you is getting trapped on a different Earth and even then I’d be fighting my way back to you.”
You heart swelled at his proclamation. As if you needed anymore of a reason to be in love with Barry, he basically professes his devotion to you without even possessing any sort romantic feelings towards you. God, his future wife will be the most cherished women to ever walk the Earth.
“I think that these feelings have been stirring inside me lately and I just can’t keep them contained anymore because I feel like I’m going to burst.” He continued and his words nearly caused your heart to stop from both exhilaration and dreading for what could possibly follow those words. “Every time we’re up against a new meta, I find myself more concerned about keeping you safe and making sure you make it out of the fight unscathed rather than focusing on the best way to actually take them down.” Barry released a deep sigh as you twisted around to see him, wanting to make sure that you weren’t reading this situation wrong. “I guess that what I’m trying to say is that I think I’d like the chance to be the one who took you home at night or after training, or be able to take you out to dinner once a week so that we can just relax and be ourselves without having to hide anything. Seeing you with that Charlie or Chis–whatever the hell his name was–about a month ago maddened me and I was clueless as to why until Cisco suggested that I might be jealous and that’s when I realized that he was right. I wanted to be the one who got to kiss you every morning and every night before bed. I wanted to be yours and I want you to be mine.”
The air in the room felt thick as you processed everything Barry just said. He liked you. He actually liked you and wanted everything that you had been craving with him for months. This had to be a dream. Nothing this perfect happened outside of Disney movies or cheesy romance books that always had a happy ending (when happy endings rarely happened in real life from your experience).
“I understand if you don’t feel the same.” Barry spoke up after minutes of silence had his heart pounding since he couldn’t read your perception of his proclamation. Iris had warned him that this might have been a bad idea… “I just needed to get this off my chest so that there weren’t any secrets between us. I can’t stand the thought of something creating a irreparable rift between us.”
“No!” You choked out, astonished that this conversation was real and that your feelings were mutual. “No, that’s not it at all, Barry. Earnestly, I have felt this way for almost as long as I have know you–however short or long you may consider that to be–and I’m just shocked that you feel the same way.”
A moment of silence floated about the room as you and Barry just gazed into each others eyes, as cheesy as it may be. Finally, he broke out into a grin and you couldn’t help but follow. The grins eventually turned into giggles which then turned into a giant bear hug from the one and only Barry Allen.
“So does that mean there’s and us now?” He whispered in your ear, his breath tickling your ear which only furthered your giggles while Barry practically lied on top of you on his bed.
“Barry Allen,” You began your declaration. “I’d be honored if there was an us.”
When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, my track record isn’t the greatest. Last year, I resolved to get to work on time, but it’s hard not to hit snooze when you’ve been binge-watching Jane the Virgin until 3 a.m. The year before that was supposed to be the year of healthy eating, but then Big Belly Burger added deep-fried-mac-and-cheese-stuffed cheeseburgers to their lineup and you know I couldn’t say no to that! So when the ball dropped on 2016, I didn’t let the champagne bubbles go to my head. I kept my goal for this year a little more grounded. They say that charity is good for the soul, so I signed up to help out at an after-school program for underprivileged youth. Kids love me. How hard could it be?
Turns out, very. Now, I’m new at the whole “superhero” thing, but I think Vibe has already found his nemesis: a particularly malicious fifth-grader we’ll call “Joffrey 2.0.” From the moment I set foot in the building, this kid had it in for me – basketballs were thrown at my head, glue was left on my chair, and gum was stuck in my hair. This kid would give the Trickster a run for his money! At chow time, I decided to whip up a batch of Abuela Ramon’s Slap Yo Mama chili (patent pending). I threw the top secret ingredients into a vat and set it on the stove to simmer. My downfall was stepping away to help a girl with her homework. In the five minutes it took to explain how to solve for x, Joffrey 2.0 snuck into the kitchen and plugged in every electrical appliance there was, which overloaded the system and plunged the building into darkness.
I was not going to let my tactical error destroy dinner! The chili was out – it still needed to cook but without power it was getting chilly (no pun intended). I sent out an SOS to my boy Barry and he arrived within seconds with a towering stack of Coast City pies. The kids went wild – both because they were getting a pizza party and because it was hand-delivered by The Flash! While Barry kept them preoccupied, I ventured to the basement to try and reboot the power. Little did I know that Joffrey 2.0 was shadowing me. I think he intended to lock me in, but when I opened the breaker and begin working my Cisco magic, his intellectual curiosity got the better of him. He was fascinated by the concept of protons, electrons, and currents – there was a definite spark that went off in him (pun intended!) and it was all I could do to keep up with his onslaught of questions. Joffrey 2.0 (who, come to think of it, looked more like a Stark) was thrilled when I let him flip the switch and the power surged back to life. Back upstairs, he was hardly impressed by the Flash’s speed – he even told me, somewhat embarrassed, that he thought I was the real hero of the night!
This looks a bit complicated, but wow does it look incredible! Just take it a step at a time and you’ll have a heavenly main dish in no time!
1 pound 93% lean beef
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
½ cup 2% milk
6 tablespoons ketchup, divided
1 tablespoon Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 large egg
1 tablespoon brown sugar
8 ounces mild cheddar cheese, shredded
1 pound bacon, uncooked
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl combine beef, bread crumbs and milk. Pouring milk directly over bread crumbs. Add 2 tablespoons ketchup, Worcestershire and steak seasoning. Set aside.
In a small bowl, crack egg and beat it slightly. This helps prevent overworking the meat while combining, resulting in a tougher meatloaf. Add egg to large bowl with meat mixture. Combine well with hands, do not overwork the meat mixture.
Gentle press meatloaf into bowl and divide in half. Place first half into 7x10” baking dish and form into a flat meatloaf Gently press the center in to create a rim around the outside of the meatloaf. Add shredded cheese into the center of the meatloaf.
Form remaining half of meatloaf in the bowl into a size similar to the meatloaf in the pan. Set op top and press the sides together to seal in the cheese. Form into a loaf shape about 1½ - 2” tall. You may notice cracks in the loaf. Run your hands under warm water and then across the meatloaf to smooth the cracks out. Set meatloaf aside.
In a small bowl combine 4 tablespoons ketchup and 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Mix well with a fork. Apply glaze evenly all over your meatloaf (except the bottom).
Arrange bacon slices over the top of the meatloaf. Start by wrapping a piece of bacon across the front side and a second piece of bacon across the back side. Arrange remaining bacon over the top. Tuck the ends of the bacon under the meatloaf (this prevents curling).
Place meatloaf in the oven and bake until bacon is crispy, about 1 hour.
Remove from oven. Allow to rest uncovered for 20 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
Recipe of the Day: Trisha’s Cheese-Stuffed Burgers Your go-to cheeseburger may be blanketed with a slice, but Trisha’s cheese-stuffed patties make for the juiciest burgers yet. One bite of the oozing melted cheese core later, you’ll rethink the composition of your burger forever.