Title: The Fine Art of Basketball
Date: April 19, 2006
Author: Kathy Foote
Summary: Mulder attempts to teach Matthew the fine art of basketball
Category: mild MSR and lite MT
Disclaimer: Unfortunately, these characters are the property of Chris Carter, 1013
Productions, and Twentieth Century Fox. I wish they were mine, but they aren’t.
Archive: Two weeks exclusive with VS13, then anywhere is fine by me
Authors’ note: This story was written for IMTP Virtual Season 13, Sports Special
Thanks: To Emmy, my number one fan, who has begged me to write another story.
To Mom, my wonderful sounding board and proofreader. And last, but definitely not
least, to my inspiration and beta reader, Vickie Moseley.
Feedback is very much appreciated and can be sent to email@example.com.
The Fine Art of Basketball
Mulder and Scully’s Place
Mulder was in the kitchen putting the finishing touches on dinner, since tonight was
his night to cook. He could hear the murmur of Scully as she talked on the phone in
the living room. He could tell she was talking to her Mom, because of the snippets of
conversation he caught. Turning down the heat on their dinner, he slipped from the
kitchen into the other room intending to sneak up on her.
“Ok, Mom, I’ll ask him and let you know. Bye.” She was hanging up the phone,
when a pair of arms snaked around her waist and tightened, pulling her against the
body behind her. Mulder immediately began nibbling on her neck. She tilted her
head slightly giving him better access to her neck.
“Mulder, what about dinner?” she asked in a distracted voice.
“It’s almost ready. I’m just having an appetizer,” he said as he nipped at a tendon in
“Behave,” she countered playfully slapping at his hands still wrapped around her
waist. “Come on, Mulder, I’m hungry.”
“Mmmm, me too,” he growled.
“For _food_,” she stated. Slipping from his grasp, she headed straight for the
Unhappy that his impromptu necking session was cut short, he followed her. “Hey,
what did your Mom want?”
“Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Mom and Tara have some shopping to do on Saturday
and wanted to know if we could watch the kids for a few hours.”
“That’d be great! I really love those kids. What’re we going to do?”
“I thought we’d take them to the park. The weather is supposed to be really nice
this weekend. There’s a real nice park by Mom’s.”
“I know the park. They have a basketball court. Maybe I can bring my ball and play
basketball with Matthew. He asks me every time he sees me when we’re going to
‘It’s settled then. I’ll call Mom back and tell her we’ll be there around 11:00. How’s
“Perfect. Now let’s eat. I got _big_ plans for dessert.”
Saturday turned out to be an exceptional day, blue skies, warm temperatures,
absolutely perfect. Tara had the kids dressed and ready to go when they arrived at
the house. Each was dressed in jeans, t-shirt, and tennis shoes, similar to Mulder
and Scully’s attire. Tara made sure each child had a light jacket, in case they got
The kids were practically bouncing off the walls, so they wasted no time in getting
them into car; Claire in her car seat and Matthew buckled into the seat next to her.
As soon as they pulled away from the curb, the questions started.
“Where are we going, Aunt Dana?” Matthew asked.
“Where goin?” mimicked Claire. She was at the age where she wanted to repeat
everything Matthew said. At least, she tried to repeat what he said. Matthew didn’t
mind mostly, but sometimes it got on his nerves. His Mom said that Claire just
wanted to be like her big brother and that usually made him feel better. He liked
being the “big brother”.
Scully turned in her seat so she could address the kids in the back seat. “Mulder and
I thought we’d go to the park for a while and then maybe ice cream. What do you
think about that?”
At the word “park”, Matthew’s face lit up and at the word “ice cream”, Claire became
“I cream, want I cream,” she shouted.
“We’ll get ice cream later, sweetie, but first we’re going to play at the park. Would
you like that?”
“k,” she said a bit sullenly.
“Uncle Mulder, can we play basketball?” Matthew asked excitedly. “There’s a court
at the park. Please? Aunt Dana and Claire can play too.”
Mulder glanced at Matthew through the rearview mirror. “I think that’s a great idea.
I have my ball in the trunk. I thought you might want to play.”
“Yippee,” Matthew cried out with delight, throwing his arms into the air.
“Peee,” Claire squealed, copying her brother’s arm movement. Her brother’s
excitement was infectious.
Mulder pulled the car into the parking lot adjacent to the basketball court. There
was no one on the court, for which, Mulder was quite grateful. He wasn’t sure what
he would have said to the kids if it had been occupied. He noted that the playground
on the other side of the court was full of small children. The benches that
surrounded the area were filled with watching parents.
Scully unbuckled Claire from her car seat, while Matthew released himself. He leapt
out the door and met Mulder at the back of the car.
“Can I carry the ball, Uncle Mulder? Please?”
“Mulder, I think Claire and I are going to check out the playground while you guys
play.” Scully then knelt to address Claire at her own level. “Hey Claire, you want to
try out the swings?” Claire loved the swings. She could sit in a swing and be pushed
all day long.
At the word ‘swing’, she grabbed her aunt’s hand and began dragging her toward the
playground. Scully had no choice but to follow her.
After the girls were gone, Mulder turned to Matthew. “Matty, I’m going to teach the
fine art of basketball. The first thing you have to learn to do is dribble the ball.”
Matthew looked puzzled at the unfamiliar term, so Mulder explained. “Dribbling is
bouncing the ball with one hand. You have to be able to dribble the ball while
running at the same time.”
He demonstrated the basic dribble. Matthew watched intently. When it was his turn,
he tried to mimic Mulder’s movements. He did pretty well. Matthew was a bit of a
natural athlete; he was pretty good at all the sports he played. Mulder was proud of
him and it was fun teaching him the various sports.
“How’s that, Uncle Mulder?”
“Hey, that’s really good, Matty. You want to try shooting the ball?”
Mulder took the ball and got down on his knees, so he was closer to Matthew’s
height. “You hold the ball in your fingertips,” he explained as he demonstrated the
technique of throwing. “Raise your arms above your head and kind of push the ball
toward the net with your right hand.” He sunk the ball easily.
“All right,” Matty shouted. “Can I try now?”
Mulder handed him the ball. Matthew had a little trouble controlling the ball with one
arm, so Mulder suggested he use both hands to shoot until he got comfortable with
the ball. Each successive shot got closer and closer to the basket, until finally, on his
tenth try, the ball went into the basket.
“Nothing but net,” yelled Mulder. He made a big deal out of the accomplishment by
cheering and giving Matthew a high five.
Claire, who was quite content swinging while Scully pushed, heard the commotion.
“Want down,” she told Scully, “want down now.” Scully rushed to stop the swing
before Claire squirmed right out of it. Once she was free of the swing, she toddled
back to the basketball court, with Scully hurrying along behind her. She knew
someone was having fun and she didn’t want to miss any of it.
Matthew ran up to Scully as soon as she stepped onto the court. “Aunt Dana! Aunt
Dana! Did you see that? I threw the ball in the basket.” he said proudly. “Nothing
but net…right Uncle Mulder?”
Scully gave the child a big hug and told him how proud she was of him.
Claire spied the ball and scooped it up into her arms. “I frow,” she yelled and
proceeded to toss the ball all of 2 feet. Matthew laughed at her attempt, which
didn’t go over well with Claire.
Mulder could see a storm brewing and, wanting to avoid that, he rushed over and
knelt down in front of Claire. “You want me to help you, Claire?” With tears in her
eyes, she nodded her head.
Mulder scooped her up by her arms and placed her on his shoulders. He
maneuvered them close to the basket. Scully, realizing what his plan was, handed
the ball to Claire. She carefully placed the ball over the basket and then released it.
The ball fell through the net and bounced on ground. Everyone broke into cheers,
including Matthew and Claire giggled with delight.
“Again!” she cried. They repeated the exact routine five times, until Mulder placed
Claire on the ground and told her it was Matthew’s turn.
Just as Matthew was preparing to sink another basket, three men in the early
twenties came strolling onto the court. They deposited their shirts on the bench and
waited a few minutes for Mulder and his group to leave. When they showed no signs
of vacating the court, the guys decided to confront them.
“Hey, Pop? Why don’t ‘cha take the little wife and kiddies home? Play time’s over.”
“Listen, fellows, we were here first. The kids really want to play basketball. We
probably won’t be too much longer, if you could just wait a little while. OK?”
Mulder didn’t wait for a response. He returned to instructing Matthew on shooting.
The guys were stunned by what had transpired. The one known as Rick found his
voice first. “No, it’s not ok, _Pop_!” he yelled back. “Now what’re we gonna do?” he
asked the two with him.
“I dunno…leave?” offered Derek.
“Leave? I wanna play b-ball dammit! Let’s just force him off the court.”
“Force him off the court. How do you plan to do that?” asked the third guy
“I don’t know, Brad. Let’s just start playing around them. They’re bound to leave.”
“What about the kids?” asked Derek. “They might get hurt.”
“Then he better leave,” stated Rick, “Come on.”
The three men moved onto the court and started passing the ball around and
shooting baskets. They were purposely throwing the ball close the Mulder’s group,
but careful not to actually hit anyone.
Mulder turned to address the men again. Scully grabbed his arm. “Mulder, what’re
you doing?” She didn’t want any trouble; not with the kids here. Mulder assured
her he had it handled, which of course, worried her even more.
Mulder walked up to the man that seemed to do all the yelling. “Tell you what. I’ve
a proposition for you. I’ll play you’re best player, one on one, 21 points. The winner
gets to keep the court.”
The three men simultaneously burst into laughter.
Mulder looked Rick directly in the eye. “So? What do you say?”
Rick sized him up and figured he could wipe the court with this old guy, so he
agreed. “You’re on, Pop. I’ll even give you the ball first.”
Scully wasn’t so sure about this, but Mulder obviously had a plan. She and the kids
moved to sit on the bench. Derek and Brad moved to stand on the opposite sideline.
Mulder positioned himself just outside of the court, while Rick stood directly in front
of him. Mulder faked to his left, and then ran to the opposite side, right past Rick.
He easily sunk the ball for two points. Scully and the kids cheered from the
Rick was not happy. He snatched the ball and moved to stand just outside the court,
ready to bring the ball in. Mulder situated himself facing his opponent, a few feet off
the line, so he could cover both sides.
“Lucky shot, old man. Last one you’ll get.”
Rick tried a move similar to Mulder. He faked one direction and moved to the other.
Mulder was ready and moved with him. Rick was so sure he would get past Mulder,
he was protecting the ball, dribbling it out in front of him. Mulder easily stole the
ball from him and headed for the net in the reverse direction. Again, Mulder had no
problem making the shot.
Groans could be heard from Rick’s sideline, while cheers rang out from Mulder’s.
The game continued in this manner for about 5 minutes. Mulder was winning and
Rick was getting increasingly frustrated. He had tried all kinds of maneuvers, but
Mulder countered each one. Rick’s buddies had begun to razz him from the
sidelines. Rick did not want to lose, especially to this old guy, so he decided to turn
up the heat a little bit and play more aggressively.
The next time Rick had the ball, when Mulder jumped to block his shot, Rick brought
down his elbow into Mulder’s face, catching him on the left jaw. Mulder stumbled
back, stunned from the blow and Rick scored easily. A chorus of boos was heard
from the Mulder bench. Mulder looked over and saw Scully’s worried look, but he
just gave his head a little shake, indicating he didn’t need any help; he could handle
When they returned to the edge of the court, Mulder confronted him about that last
play. “That was a foul,” he said rubbing his sore jaw.
“That’s called street basketball, old man. Too much for ya? Wanna quit?”
“Not on your life. My ball.” Mulder brought the ball out and worked his way to the
basket. It was more difficult, because Rick kept pushing him and bumping into him.
When Mulder reached up to dunk the ball, Rick was there, fouling him again. He
caught Mulder in the midsection with his shoulder; knocking him to the ground and
causing him to lose the ball. Rick snagged the ball and scored easily.
Again, the sound of boos could be heard from Mulder’s bench. This time, a few were
even heard from the other bench.
Mulder was getting mad. He was beating this guy and it was obvious he didn’t want
to lose, even if it meant cheating. He wasn’t going to lower himself to his level, so
he had better try staying out of his way before he got really hurt. Scully would kill
him if that happened.
Mulder brought the ball out again and charged the net. This time when Rick tried the
same move, Mulder ducked under his arm, swung around and tossed the ball in the
net. The boos were replaced by cheers.
The game went on like this for another 10 minutes; each point taking longer and
longer to make. Finally, the score was 18 to 16, Mulder’s favor. Rick was getting
more irritated by the minute. He’d tried every dirty trick he could think of, but
Mulder kept getting past him.
By this time, Mulder had a swollen jaw, bloodied lip, and a respectable set of bruises.
He was tired of this game and just wanted it to end. It was his ball and he only
needed 3 points to win. Instead of bringing the ball out, he took one step over the
line and shot from there. It was a perfect throw…nothing but net.
“Three points and I win,” Mulder declared.
“No way, man,” Rick yelled, as he got into Mulder’s face. “You cheated.”
Before Mulder can respond to the accusation, Derek and Brad had moved from their
bench to stand beside Mulder.
‘That’s enough, Rick,” Brad said, “You lost fair and square.”
Rick stood there, a foot from Mulder, red-faced from exertion and anger. He looked
ready to attack, but with his friends siding with Mulder, he really didn’t stand a
“Fine! He can have the stupid court.” Rick spun on his heel and started to walk off
the court. He turned back when he realized he was alone. “You guys coming or
“I think I’m gonna hang here a bit,” announced Brad. “I’ll catch ya later, Rick.”
Rick fixed Derek with a glare, waiting on his response.
Derek didn’t really want to stay here, but he wasn’t in the mood to listen to Rick rant
and rave about his loss. ” I think…um…I think I’m just going to head on home,”
stammered Derek. “I’ll see you guys tomorrow.” He took off across the parking lot,
obviously in the direction of his home.
Rick looked stunned. Not only did his buddies side with his adversary, but also now
they didn’t want to hang with him. Hell, Brad even opted to stay here.
“Hmmph! I’m outta here. Have fun with the _kiddies_!”
As soon as Rick had stormed off the court, Mulder turned to Brad. “Thanks for your
help. I really didn’t want to get into a fight with that guy. Playing him in basketball
was physical enough.” He winced as he rubbed his swollen jaw.
Brad said, “No problem, Mister…uh…”
“Mulder. The name’s Mulder.”
“Well, you played a hell of a game, Mr. Mulder. I’m Brad.” He held out his hand.
Mulder rolled his eyes at the use of mister in front of his name. It sounded odd,
even coming from someone half his age. “Nice to meet you and just call me Mulder.
No mister. OK?” He grasped Brad’s outstretched hand and returned the
Scully, seeing the handshake, decided the face-off was over. She wanted to see how
bad Mulder was hurt. She and the kids raced over to him. Scully was immediately
assessing the damage, while the kids were hugging his legs and offering
“That was great, Uncle Mulder. You really whooped that guy. But…why did he keep
hitting you?” asked Matthew.
Before Mulder could answer, Brad stepped in, “Because Rick didn’t play fair.
Basketball isn’t about hitting. It’s about skill and outsmarting your opponent. That’s
what your Uncle Mulder did.”
“Thanks, Brad,” Mulder said, acknowledging the compliment. “By the way, this is
Dana Scully and her niece and nephew, Claire and Matthew. This is Brad.”
Brad nodded at Scully and held out his hand. “Ma’am.”
It was Scully’s turn to roll her eyes. These guys made her feel so old. She caught a
quick glance at Mulder’s smirk, before he removed it from his face. She returned the
handshake and let the “ma’am” thing slide.
“Uncle Mulder was teaching me the fine art of basketball,” Matthew pointed out.
That brought a smile to Brad’s face. He retrieved the neglected ball and handed it to
Matthew. “If you learn to play half as good as your Uncle, you’ll be quite a player.
Why don’t you show me what you’ve learned?” Matthew was all too eager to
For the next hour, the group had a wonderful time playing basketball. When it was
time to go, they invited Brad to get some ice cream with them at the little shop
around the corner. He was honored to be included and accepted the invitation
Later that Afternoon
The kids were pretty tired by the time they returned home. They had had a big day
playing at the park and then topped it all off with a sundae. Claire had fallen asleep
in her car seat and Matthew kept nodding off.
Scully carried Claire into the house. Matthew followed behind and Mulder brought up
the rear. “We’re home,” Scully called out.
Tara came out of the kitchen and took Claire from Scully. “Oh, this is one sleepy
little girl. Did you have fun, sweetie?” Claire nodded her slightly, but that was the
extent of her movements.
She looked over at Matthew, “How about you big boy. Did you have fun?” He too
nodded his head lazily, obviously exhausted from his day’s adventure.
Maggie stepped in from the kitchen and was shocked when she took in Mulder’s
appearance. “Fox! What in the world happened to you?”
Mulder was caught off guard. He had forgotten how he must look. “Oh…well, we
went to the park and I taught Matthew how to play basketball.”
“Basketball?” Maggie asked incredulously. “Looks more like boxing and you were the