The land sloped off into the distance, rolling into gentle mountainsides that kissed the horizon. Red-orange light poured down upon it from the darkening sky and a river snaked its way across the earth like blood through veins.
Through her thin white shirt, Scully could feel the heat burning her into skin and for the hundred and fourteenth time that day, she wiped her forehead with the back of her hand.
"Mulder?" she prompted her companion gently, glancing over at him. "How much longer are we going to do this?" She gestured out the front window of their car and ran her tongue across her lips.
For five days now, they had been driving through the countryside on the trail of…something. She wasn't quite sure what. Mulder hadn't yet given her the in-depth explanation that she really needed to understand what they were doing.
She sighed. Yet again, she had followed her partner blindly into unforeseeable circumstances that had the potential to either lead them on a wild goose chase after aliens and conspiracies or into danger. Next time, she told herself, she'd get more information before agreeing to anything. Inwardly, she knew she wouldn't.
Mulder tore his eyes off the barely visible dirt road to look at her for a moment. "I don't know," he told her simply, before letting his attention return to driving. "It could be a few hours, it could be a day or two or it could be longer," he added vaguely.
Rolling her eyes, Scully reached for the almost empty water bottle at her feet. Taking a mouthful, she swallowed down the dirty taste in her mouth, recapped the bottle and dropped it back on the floor. "And when were you planning on informing me of this?" she asked.
"I did. On the way to the airport."
Thinking back, Scully did recall him saying something along those lines. "Sure. Fine. Whatever." She slumped back in her seat, defeated. Out of the corner of her eyes, she saw Mulder smirk.
"How about this, Scully," he went on. "If we don't find anything in forty eight hours, we'll turn back." His smirk faded into a gentle smile as he readjusted his grip on the steering wheel.
Scully narrowed her eyes at him in disbelief and rubbed at the bridge of her nose with the thumb and index finger of her left hand. "Really?"
"Really," Mulder agreed.
Sighing, Scully nodded slowly. "Sure, Mulder," she told him. "Whatever you say." Turning her head slightly, she stared out the window once more to watch the scenery blur past. When they finally gave up on this thing, one thing was sure, if not the fact that they'd done all this for nothing.
It was going to be a long trip home.