I hope people enjoy, in any case.
Disclaimer: Nobody in this fic belongs to me, and I'm not trying to make money off it. Honest.
I Hear The Rotors Still
"I need to talk to the leader of the X-Men."
The man outside of the gate was old, and small, and wore glasses. He had a look that was at both sides worried and apologetic. And he'd just said...
A shiver went up Storm's spine. He knew.
She carefully gave the ball she'd gone to retrieve to Artie, cautioned him back, and walked up to the man. When she gazed at him evenly through the bars, he looked uncomfortable.
Good. Right. Get him off balance. "I'm sorry, but I'm not sure what you're talking about. This is a school."
He blinked owlishly at her through the glasses. "I know. I do know. But it's more than that. I know that too. Please. You have to listen to me. Xavier... I know what he has here."
Don't show panic. You are not worried. You are the calm at the centre of the storm. "I really don't know what you're talking about."
"There's going to be a war. I have information that could help." He stared at her earnestly through the bars and she felt cold inside.
"Oh? I'm not sure what that has to do with the X-Men, but I assure you in any case that I can't help you."
"Yes you can! Look, we really don't have time for this."
"And I say again; I cannot help you. I don't know what you--"
And the confused, apologetic look darkened ever so slightly into something harder. "I want to help! I know... I'm old, and I've always been content to live peacefully away from all of this. But I've seen war. I've seen it, and it's cold and terrible and I... I have to help." He paused, out of breath, and leaned against the gate's bars, coughing.
Despite herself, Storm felt a stab of sympathy. The look on his face had been... as though something haunted had been dragged forward. "Look, I'm sorry--"
He looked up at her again, and his face was resolved and focussed. "No, I don't need any help. I'm not that old."
She blinked. "Well--"
"And I really don't need another denial, either."
"Professor Xavier is--"
"Not out at a conference. You really don't think that's going to fool someone, do you?"
Storm hesitated. Suddenly, she had a feeling that there was something here she might have missed.
"Thank you. I'd appreciate a cup of coffee and a seat. Perhaps we could sit in the parlour while we wait for the Professor to get out of his class?"
Her mouth shut with a snap. Behind her, Artie gave a squeal of delight. "You can see in the future!" he said.
When her expression softened into understanding, his dissolved back into that of mild apology.
"I'm sorry." He said. "I know that was rude."
Storm shook her head. "I was rude. Please, if you'd like to give me some details the professor won't be long. Mr...?"
The coffee was hot and strong, and the parlour was warm and comfortable. The old man settled back into his chair with a sigh and took a sip.
Storm set herself down next to him. "I apologise for before. I didn't realise."
The smile took years off his face. "That's fine, really. You couldn't be expected to."
"So you're a precog?"
He chuckled. "Am I? They never had a word like that back in my day, you know. It was just something I could do."
She smiled in return. "May I ask which war you were in, or does that show your age too much?"
"Not at all." A shake of his head. "I'm not ashamed of not being young anymore."
"A healthy attitude."
"I like to think so." He paused and she could see him going back. "It was the Korean war. Before Vietnam, not as well publicised, just as terrible."
"All war is terrible."
"It is. And I was so young, so naïve..." He sipped his beverage and looked contemplative. "That was when I first developed my power, you know. Of course I didn't think of it like that, but that was the time."
"You used it all through the war?"
"A little more later on. At first... I heard the rotors."
"I was stationed at a mobile hospital. The injured were flown in on choppers and... I knew. Before it was even possible to hear them coming in, I heard the rotors, the chop, chop, chop of the copters, and I had everyone on standby." He smiled ruefully. "They all just thought that I had amazing hearing. Didn't explain how I always seemed to know what people wanted before they knew it, of course, but I think they were just grateful to have someone that competent. They were good people. They were all good people there."
"It must give you such mixed feelings. To have made friends against such a terrible backdrop."
"The memories are strange. Hard." He sighed. "When I got home after, I went back to everyday world and just tried to bury the bad times. Went back to my comfortable little world and lived a comfortable little life. Heard all the fuss about mutants as it started up, and thought, 'Hmm, guess that's me'. I didn't try to advertise it. I was content."
"But you're here now..."
"I'm here now. I'm here because..." He took a deep breath and gently put down his tea. "I'm here because some of the memories... No one should have those memories. Children. Children shouldn't have those memories. It isn't right, and if I can help, I should. The things I've been seeing lately... My talent's been growing since those first years. I see far ahead, I hear the future. I hear..." His face was mask of gentle despair. "I hear the rotors. I hear them again, and there's so many."
"And you want them to stop." Engrossed in the story, Storm jumped as Professor Xavier gently rolled into the room. "I share your sentiments. I'm glad you came, Mr O'Reilly."
The old man smiled. "Radar," He said. "Way back then... they used to call me Radar."
And the Professor nodded, and they began to discuss the future.