So, at the end of the X-3 novelization, we are treated to a brief introduction of Gambit as a new recruit. It's a short section, but the author manages to paint a lovely (if decidedly vague) image of him. Hence, ones imagination is permitted to wander with regards to appearance and personality. A word to the wise? NEVER allow my imagination to wander. Stuff like this happens.
See these eyes so red
Red like the jungle burning bright
Those who feel me near
Pull the blinds and change their minds…
-"Cat People (Putting Out The Fire)", by David Bowie
Addictions are funny things. Rather like women, actually. Give in to them, indulge them, listen when they call, and they'll generally leave well enough alone. Ignore them, deny them, pretend they don't exist, and they'll make your life a living hell. Logan knows this. It's especially clear to him right now as he stalks along the Institute grounds looking for a private place to enjoy the cigar he promised Ororo that he wouldn't smoke. However noble the intention might have been, withdrawal has a funny way of twisting things around in peoples' heads. Justification becomes easy. Irritability becomes reason enough to go back on a promise. Discomfort becomes an acceptable excuse to slink about the rear of the mansion in the dark of night with a thick cigar tucked in to a shirt pocket and anticipation thick on the brain.
Logan can taste the Cuban already, can feel it between his lips. He's acutely aware of the sweet sense of satisfaction that will roll over him as he takes that first puff. Before that, however, comes the matter of finding a safe spot to enjoy it.
He spots a tree about fifteen yards ahead, growing tall and sturdy right up against the mansion. Wedged between the building and the tree seems as good a place to hide as any, what with the bushes there offering some faint cover should he need to dash. He positions himself there and is about to light up his illicit prize when a foul scent assaults his nose.
Logan might enjoy his cigars (perhaps a bit much for his own good, but that's what a healing factor is for), but there's little that offends him more than the smell of nicotine-laced death sticks. He sniffs at the air trying to ascertain the source of the odor, and is promptly directed upwards to the branches of the tree.
Intruder, Logan thinks to himself. With memories of the military raid on the mansion a few short months ago still fresh in his mind, it's more out of instinct than anything that he releases his claws. There is a rustling noise from the branches above him, and he figures that whoever is up there is likely shifting their weight. Suddenly, the hot glow of a lit cigarette tip becomes visible.
"Put 'em away, Wolverine. I'm not lookin' for trouble."
Logan knows that voice. Tinted by the South with a vaguely French bent, it belongs to one of the newer arrivals at Xavier's. He racks his brain for a name, but is only able to attach a nom de guerre (Beast's term, not his) to the distinctive speech.
"Gambit." He says tersely. The kid's smile is audible even through the dark. For hardly being eighteen, he has more brass than anyone twice his age ought to.
It's then that Logan comes to a startling revelation. This section of the mansion is actually the girls' dormitory, and the branch that Gambit's voice is coming from is right by . . .
"You have three seconds to get your ass down here and tell me a damn good story about what you're doing outside Rogue's window."
Logan delivers these words with a cool menace, punctuating the 'damn' with a particular viciousness. He's barely finished his tirade when there's a barely audible thud on the ground right next to him. It's Gambit, who greets Logan with a self assured smirk as he comes out of a cat-like crouch, cigarette still in hand.
"Guess this'd be the wrong time t'say that I was enjoyin' the view, huh?"
Logan's eyes narrow as his hands form tightly-balled fists. He absently wonders if this kid is trying to get killed.
"Start talking, Gumbo." The title comes out with surprising naturalness, taking on the tone of a grave insult despite the word's relative innocuousness. Gambit seems unaffected, choosing to draw out a moment of silence between Logan's demand and his response by taking a generous drag. He looks almost pensive before finally speaking.
"If I say I wasn't watchin' the girl, you're gonna run them claws through me for bein' a liar. If I say I was, you'll do it for bein' a creep." He chortles softly to himself, flicking his cigarette and freeing loose ash from its tip. "Doesn't give me much incentive t'answer either way."
Logan inhales sharply as his brain starts providing him with numerous increasingly violent images of what he could potentially do to this twerp. The older man doesn't respond right away, taking the pause in the conversation as an opportunity to scrutinize the kid in front of him. Gambit is taller than Logan (though that's not very difficult to achieve), probably just over six feet tall and not weighing much over 140 pounds. He's scrawny to an almost sickly degree, looking every bit like the archetypal awkward teen. Looks, however, can be deceiving. Logan has seen him at work in the Danger Room and knows that Gambit moves as though he had been liquid in another life. When he finally speaks, his words are short and measured.
"Leave her alone."
Gambit lets out a short spurt of easy laughter.
"You sayin' that because she's got a boyfriend or 'cause you don't like me?"
Logan says nothing, allowing his glower to speak for him. The fact that the kid has managed to hit the mark on both counts only serves to stoke the ire that he has started nursing. He takes a deep breath to collect himself before opening his mouth again.
"Listen kid, Bobby's been good to her. He--"
Gambit snorts at this.
"Bobby's been makin' time with the Kitty-Cat for, what, three months now? That's not bein' good to her in my book." He takes another quick pull at his cigarette before meeting Logan's gaze again. "She deserves better."
"And I suppose you think you're it."
The dangerous cast to Logan's voice is ignored as the teen shrugs and looks back up towards the window.
Gambit takes another draw at his cancer stick in the silence before dropping the butt and grounding it out with the toe of his well-worn sneaker. Logan watches him do this, and while his attention is on the dirt at his feet he can't help but notice a collection of scattered cigarette remains. They all bear the same distinctive seal on the filter.
The kid's been doing this for a while.
His fists tighten further and Logan decides that he really doesn't like the images that are now running through his head. His eyes narrow even further (if that's even possible at this point) as he takes one last good look at Gambit's painfully angular face.
"I catch you out here again, and I'll--"
Gambit waves him off with a carelessness that makes Logan want to break things.
"Pain. Lots of pain. I gotcha." The kid starts to leave, but only makes it a couple feet before tossing a Cheshire smile over his shoulder. "You won't catch me."
And with that he's disappeared, leaving Logan muttering vague threats and in dire need of the cigar he came out with in the first place.