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He rests quietly for a few minutes, eyes closed, breathing steady, hands folded, but there is nothing peaceful or relaxed about him.  Strain is written in every line of his body, the hard set of his shoulders and hips -- the hard bulge at his groin.  Eventually, he sighs and succumbs to the inevitable, bringing a hand down to cup himself through the fabric of his pajamas. 

Just a hand, just there, warm, gripping.  He squeezes gently, rubs a palm across his swelling length.  Even this pleasure is almost too much.  He can allow himself this, if he keeps it fast, keeps it simple.  He tries not to plan, tries not to let the images and fantasies come up behind his eyes.  He wants this over with quickly.  But he has let himself go too long without, and his body's cravings are no longer easy. 

He moves his hand away from his erection, unbuttoning the front of his nightclothes and slipping a hand inside.  He teases one hardening nipple, rubbing it with a fingertip then pinching it fiercely.  Almost more erotic than the direct genital touch had been; surely he can allow himself this much, at least?  He releases the pressure, rubs again gently, then takes his hand out of his clothes, rubs it through the cloth.  The rough rasp of wool is like the bite of cold air on his skin, pleasurable past bearing.  His other hand clenches helplessly in the sheets as his hips twist.  He forces himself to move the hand back to his groin, wrap it around his erect penis.  He needs this to be over soon, he needs to finish before his mind wanders too far.  He moves his hand on his cock as if speed and ferocity alone could save him.

His right gives his nipple one last savage pinch, gasping at the shock it sends racing to his groin.  He leaves the nipple and brings his hand to his mouth, pets his lips with the pads of his first two fingers.  Kisses and mouths the fingers before sucking them in, just to the first knuckle, just teasing himself with the taste of his own skin.  Slips them out between his lips, rubbing the wetness across the skin of his mouth.  He wraps his tongue around his fingers, easing them in and out to match the rhythm of the hand on his cock.  He's pulling hard on his cock now, painfully tight, fisting the head and pumping his hand.  His hand is wet with pre-ejaculate, smoothing its motion, reducing the friction until it's almost a tease.  He squeezes harder, rubbing a callused thumb over the leaking head, rubbing at the slit.  Sucking just as tightly on his fingers, as if to convince himself that the pressure of his hand on his cock is the pressure of a mouth, as if the fingers in his mouth were. . .

How long, how many years now since he lost the ability to deny the symbolism of this act?  He remembers being a young man, taking a woman's freezing fingers between his lips and feeling intense pleasure at their pressure on his tongue.  He didn't understand, then-- he wonders, did she?  Certainly she did by the last time they met, when he was ten years wiser and she ten years more cynical.  He saw the secret, mocking knowledge in her eyes whenever she looked at him.  Even as he took her fingers in his mouth again, even as he took her, he could not hide from her knowledge of him.  He can no longer hide from his knowledge of himself.

The fingers in his mouth, thrusting in and out, in and out, until he can feel them on the back of his tongue, threatening the soft palate of his throat.  He swallows around them, taking them as deep as he dares, hips thrusting to drive his cock into his hand.  The pressure on his cock is becoming painful, but still it is not enough.  He needs. . . he needs. . .

A slick finger traced down behind his sac, teasing his hole.  His leaking cock abandoned, he wets his fingers with pre-come and slips one, two, three inside himself, moaning and arching into the contact.  He doesn't do this often-- he doesn't like to think that he does this often, but his body opens to the pressure of his hands with the ease of long practice.  The ache, the burn of being stretched is negligible beside the pleasure of penetration and he reaches, searches, finds the place inside himself that will finally drive him over the edge. 

He remembers clearly the first time he did this.  The hospital, after she had escaped him, his body a knot of pain, his mind a welter of confusion and betrayal.  The ice in his heart, the bullet in his back, the woman who had left and the man who had stayed.  The man at his bedside, day after day, a constant presence and a constant reminder of all they would never say to one another, all they could never have.  Bathroom fixtures for the home they would never share.  Something inside him had broken; he knew it was his last hope of sanity.  In desperation and despair, he had turned to this.  He fucked himself until he bled and climaxed with one name on his lips: "Ray, Ray, Ray. . . "

Now he sobs around the fingers in his mouth, pushing them deeper to choke off any possible words.  Best not to think, best never to think, about what he actually wants.  Just give himself over to the brutal force of it.  The pressure in his ass, in his throat, the helpless writhe of his hips, trying to bring his ignored cock into contact with something, anything, to bring him release.  But this consuming pleasure is more important than orgasm. It drives him from himself, far past the point where he needs to think, to worry, to dream or to fear. 

So he fucks himself ruthlessly, using his mouth and his ass, finding a rhythm and keeping it while the world melts around him, while his muscles burn and his cock leaks on his stomach.  And when he finally comes, it's like it's ripped out of the depths of him.  It starts from the pit of his stomach and swells to meet the edges of his skin until his whole body dissolves with it, fear and love and identity all consumed by its destroying power.  He feels it leaving his body in great spurts, almost like the tears that burst suddenly from his eyes. 

Spent, he sags back, one arm covering his face and the other cupping his softening genitals, waiting for the moment to pass.  Always, in the wake of it, he feels vaguely ashamed.  But in the face of such deep physical satisfaction, it's next to impossible to sustain any negative emotion.  Except for loneliness.  The loneliness is always there, a lover whose interest never diminishes, to whom he may occasionally be unfaithful, but, to whom he knows he will always return.

He needs to get out of Inuvik.  He needs work.