Author:  becki, aka Kuwabara no Miko aka Tia Noto Yoko

Series:  Gundam W

Genre:  Romance

Duo and Wufei?  And not involved in a three-way with Heero?  And utterly convincing?

Kuwabara no Miko's "Time" is a sweet and emotionally involving tale of a Duo-Wufei romance.  Wufei rescues a suicidal Duo from the clutches of OZ forces, patches him up physically and emotionally, and admits his own unspoken love for Duo.  In doing so, Wufei releases his own emotional barriers that have kept him apart from human contact for so long.  The story uses the familar "hurt-comfort" plot structure, but the depth of characterization and exploration of emotions keep it from seeming formulaic.

The story is told entirely from Wufei's perspective.  Much of it takes
place within the confines of the small cabin Wufei has found for Duo to
recuperate from his injuries.  This allows for an intense focus on the two
characters, as the outer world is sealed away, with only occasional
mention of the other Gundam pilots or exterior events taking place without them.  At first Duo is bitter and angry at having been saved from his impromptu act of suicide, but he soon accepts his renewed chance of life and and his rescuer.  As he grows more attached to Wufei, the two unmask their personas of jester and pursuer of justice and allow themselves to show their true selves and feelings.

In this growing dyad, there is an unspoken third presence--Heero.  He has brutally rejected Duo before the start of the story, causing Duo's
uncharacteristic depression and attempted self-destruction.  Wufei is both jealous of and angry at Heero for throwing away Duo's love, a love he feels he can never win for himself. Duo wrestles with his feelings for
Heero, which are still very strong, and his newly-found affection for
Wufei.  Eventually Duo makes his choice, though he still has strong
feelings for the other youth, with whom he manages a sort of reconciliation. However, there are enough loose ends for a sequel,
currently in progress, and some heavy hints that Wufei's baleful analysis
of Heero as an "unfeeling bastard" are not entirely accurate.

This is not an action-packed story.  Nothing "happens" besides the small
actions that make up the daily routine in Wufei and Duo's cabin.  The
interest comes in watching the two boys reveal themselves:  in arguments and mock-scuffles, in the acts of kindness they do for each other, in discussions of love and their painful past histories, and in one memorable scene, a bout with a large bottle of Scotch.  Each day is another chink in the armor they have created for themselves.  Wufei learns how to smile, eventually becoming able to show his love for Duo overtly.  Duo regains self-confidence badly shattered by Heero's coldness, and is finally able to forgive himself for his "stupidity" in loving Heero, freeing himself to understand who he truly wants to be with.

This story is especially nice for novice Gundam Wing fans, as little
background is needed to understand the story.  Any needed information is either unobtrusively supplied and picked up in context, or is revealed in dialogue which furthers the story.  Both Wufei's and Duo's canonical
backgrounds are gone into, but without info-dumping, and at appropriate
emotional points.  Wufei's account of his wife's death is one of the most
poignant scenes in the story.

The author tinkers a bit with the characterization of Wufei for story
purposes, making him more personally engaging and self-analyzing than he comes across in the series.  His normally abrasive personality appears early on in a confrontation with Duo, but quickly fades out and never reappears as he nurses Duo back to health.  Duo's cocksure teasing keeps him closer to canon, as does his wavering between self-doubt and excessive selfconfidence.  Like Duo, I appreciated seeing "behind the mask" of Wufei's persona, and the changes in character work well for the fanfic.   Given the two premises, that Wufei is projecting a cold facade to protect himself and that he loves Duo, the story falls into place easily.

Ultimately, "Time" is a rhapsodic, starry-eyed Romance, and should be
appreciated as such.  I love this story.  It was my introduction to Gundam Wing fanfiction, and holds up very well for me over a year after I first read it.  It's an intriguing, tender look at a less-common couple, beautifully written, and even now I tear up at the ending.  Fans of romance should not miss this story.
~Theresa Ann Wymer  twymer@efn.org

READ THE STORY "TIME" in the Aestheticism Fanfic Archive.