Ed Brubaker scowled at his computer screen for a moment, furiously typing up one more rebuttal.
What was wrong with people on the Internet, anyway? He had the respect and envy of his peers, but these anonymous cowards didn't understand how much of himself that he poured into his work.
He turned off the computer angrily and looked up at his custom made Bucky action figure sitting on the top of his bookshelf. Epting had given it to him as a present back in 2007. It was perfect - modeled on Winter Soldier, of course, not the ridiculous sidekick version of the character that people kept trying to give him.
He had donated so many of those to Goodwill. People who gave him crap at cons understood him even less than the anonymous cowards on twitter and CBR.
Normally, the act of stroking tiny Winter Soldier's metal arm calmed Brubaker down. It reminded Brubaker that he had carved out a legacy - as sharply as the custom made knives that Winter Soldier was holding would have, had they been real. It reminded him that nobody, not even anonymous cowards on twitter or CBR forums, could doubt the contributions that he had made to the Captain America mythos. When comic book history was told, his name would stand next to Gruenwald's.
Except his name wouldn't be tainted with any CapWolf or that stupid wannabe Catwoman of a love interest. No, no. His work would be remembered as an adult Captain America story, and the wonderful little spy melodrama he'd created would be recognized as the true genius that it was.
But for some reason, stroking Bucky's arm wasn't working to calm Brubaker down today.
So he slowly placed Winter Solider back on the shelf, between his 2007 and 2008 Eisner Awards. He took off his hat, stripped his clothes and made his way to the shower.
A nice, long shower. That should calm his nerves.
While standing in the shower, he titled his head back and let the warm water run over him, mentally replaying the arguments that those damn anonymous cowards had engaged him in.
He couldn't understand it.
Why didn't more people understand that Winter Soldier was meant to be a tragedy for the ages? Barnes couldn't be a golly-gosh-gee-whiz sidekick anymore. It wasn't the Forties! Brubaker wasn't trying to sell war bonds for fuck's sake!
A tragedy. That's all Barnes' life was ever meant to be, and who the hell did they think they were to tell him that they knew his Bucky better than Brubaker did?
As the warm water pounded on his back, Brubaker closed his eyes and thought of that arc of human pain and suffering that he had crafted so well.
He thought of Bucky, being ripped way from that plane, and warmth began to grow in his groin.
He thought of Bucky, plummeting to the water below, and of Steve, sleeping for years and believing his sidekick to be dead. He closed his eyes and rocked silently on his feet as his mind replayed that gorgeous Epting art.
He thought of Bucky, his beautiful trainwreck, being held down against his will by Soviet guards. All those strong hands holding down that sidekick, as he struggled to get back to the world and man that he'd sworn his allegiance to - all futile, futile sidekick struggles that resulted in worse beatings.
Brubaker could feel himself starting to get hard, and oh, this wasn't an out of the ordinary occurrence. He licked his lips and reached between his legs, allowing himself to remember the agony and confusion that Bucky would have felt as he traveled on that train during the '73 trip to America.
Searching, searching for something that wasn't there, that would not be there for decades yet to come thanks to the sliding time scale, and oh, that made Brubaker's cock ache with need.
He let out a needy hiss as he thought of a brainwashed Bucky trying to kill Steve, and precome coated his palm as he thought about the way Bucky had broken down when he'd had those memories forcibly returned.
"Who the hell is Bucky? echoed in Brubaker's mind and he closed his eyes in pleasure.
"Remember who you are" Steve had said, and Brubaker rocked his hips, thrusting into his palm as he replayed the memory.
His beautiful trainwreck of a broken American tragedy, traveling back to Fort Lehigh - the memory of Bucky sitting there, grieving for what he'd lost was almost enough to send Brubaker over the edge. But it was too early. He needed to relish this, and he had so many wonderful other memories with Winter Soldier to relive.
Prison, for one. The fall of the hero as he had been - an Avenger, because Marvel Editorial wanted to mess with Brubaker's plans. The fools hadn't been able to see that Bucky never should have been an Avenger, because that didn't fit with the world that Brubaker had been building at all.
But yes, a fallen Avenger in prison, first American and then Russian. The Russian prison where he should have died, and the memory of the glorious, glorious "death" he would have given Bucky in the place of his Soviet rebirth was strong enough that Brubaker had to stop touching himself to hold off on the climax that was building.
Because he couldn't yet. He needed to remember his masterpiece. The gorgeous Winter Soldier story that that fool Latour was going to utterly ruin by building Brubaker's Bucky up to new heights, the story that should have ended when Brubaker had left the title.
Because Brubaker had ended it perfectly. He'd ripped away everything that he'd allowed Bucky to build up, he'd completely destroyed the loving and respectful relationship that he'd built up between Natalia and the Winter Soldier, and he'd created the best damn original supervillian since the days of Lee and Kirby.
At the memory of Project Zephyr, Brubaker knew he couldn't hold it back anymore. He allowed his strokes to quicken.
He thought of Bucky driving off into the dark on his bike in the rain and Brubaker's breathing matched the pace of his strokes.
"Who the hell is Bucky?" Natasha had echoed, and at that memory, Brubaker reached his climax.
He sagged against the cold shower stall with the soul-crushing knowledge that nobody would ever appreciate the secret, special relationship that he had with Bucky as much as Brubaker did.