His partner's laughter echos in his memory. There's nothing out there that you can't find here.

He smiles, watching light and shadow play over the stream, acknowledging the surface truth of those words. Even the solitude and quiet isn't so very hard to find in a city that bears that designation more for the fact of it's mayor than for it's size. More exists out here, but he knows that it's not need drawing him.

He doesn't make the trip for what he can find. He makes it for what he lets himself be. Here, away from work and friends and strangers and streets, he leaves the well-beaten path and pulls off his shirt. The music is subtle and shifting, not the driving beats of dance clubs and pop songs. He closes his eyes, listens, and lets it seep into his muscles.

It pulls at something that otherwise only surfaces in moments of extreme pain. Here, instead of hurting, it sings and shines. Tears of joy run down his face as he flows around stones and trees, through the stream and back again. The beautiful, fragile strength of the world wraps around him and holds him up. Feet planted firmly on the ground, he flies.

The sun has fallen farther than he'd hoped by the time the dance stops.

Lips and face still turned upward, he picks up his things and swallows the water he'd set aside. The forest beckons him forward, it's slow and steady heartbeat thrumming in his own veins. The promise of a clear night and a full moon gives him all the incentive he needs to jog forward and reach that clearing anyways.