Doug and Carol fan-fiction. Carol got Tatiana and Tag broke up with her so she moved away with her. Three years later, she comes back to have her funeral/memorial service before taking her to Russia. It's 1998 now and a lot has changed, including Doug. Will Carol and Doug rekindle their fire that had gone out long ago, while trying to keep the flame alive in Carol that holds her together?

Carol got off the plane, her heart beating fast, waiting at the gate for a face she hadn't seen in three years. Her palms were sweaty and she was nervous. Her life had changed when she moved to California three years ago, and she hadn't kept in touch. On one hand she regretted it, but on the other hand it was the best three years that she'd ever spent with anyone. And that special someone had kept her busy, so much that she hadn't had any time at all to visit, and barely call once a week.

Three years ago, Carol adopted a little girl from Russia...Tatiana. She smiled, thinking of her. She was the sweetest little girl anyone would ever know. She lit up Carol's life instantly, from the moment she met her. But Tag, her fiancé at the time, didn't want the little girl and when the adoption went through, he left her. "If you care more about some dying girl than you do your fiancé, then I can see exactly how this marriage will go," he had said to her one night before he walked out of her apartment and out of her life forever. She had been so heart-broken, not knowing if she could keep on with life, but one look at Tatiana's smiling face, and Carol had instantly warmed up and became happy again. She'd taken her into her arms and hugged her till her heart's content. She decided that she wanted Tatiana to have a happy life, so they moved to California, spending the last three years there where Carol, while working quite a bit, had focused all her time and energy on the safety and well-being of that little girl.

Tatiana had passed away a week ago. They'd been home, Tatiana with an infection, when she'd gotten tired and went to sleep. She never woke up from her nap. Carol had spent all of her time, instead of grieving, getting everything ready. She hadn't slept at all. Her face was pale, more so than usual and her eyes had dark circles surrounding them, making her look like death on two legs. And instead of being impatient that her ride was late, she was relieved. She had time to herself. She sat down in a nearby chair, her thoughts wandering around every which way. She even began wondering if the casket...the white casket that held her baby girls body in it, had arrived. She smacked her head. "Stop it," she whispered to herself in a whimper, rubbing her temples. She could feel a lump in her throat as she began to think about all of the 'what if's'. She had to make herself believe that the casket was here, at the parlor where the memorial would be with family and friends, or she'd go insane. She had to believe that the casket would stay there until the funeral was over, when she'd then go to Russia to bury Tatiana beside her birth parents.

Carol bowed her head, her grief growing like a cancer as tears began brimming in her eyes, her thoughts not able to stop thinking about her little girl. "But she's not your little girl," an ugly voice in her head said. "You just wanted a child so much that you pretended she was yours, when in fact, she never was." But she'd treated her as such ever since she adopted her. Carol ignored her ugly voice, her body slouched over in her chair as she tried to get a grip on reality. Tatiana was her little girl, and always would be, no matter how she was born, no matter what anybody said, Tatiana was hers. Except now she was gone, living in heaven. Carol only had the memories of the past three years, including pictures and drawings of how they spent their time together and as much as she didn't want to, she had to say goodbye. That's why she was here, as well as getting in touch again with her family in friends. She began chewing her lip, nervously, her palms growing clammy and her stomach tying in knots. How could they forgive her for leaving? Would they even come? She began shifting and re-shifting her feet, getting anxious and wishing someone, anyone, would come.

Helen had been watching off in the distance. She noticed how much her daughter had changed, and wanted to give her a moment. She hadn't seen her baby girl in three years. Back then, Carol had been so lively, her long hair always cared for, her face so full of life—but now all of that seemed drained from her, as if she had been the one sick, not Tatiana. Carol's curls were long and wavy, pulled back which exposed her pale face. It broke Helen's heart to see her daughter this distraught, and she almost wanted to leave her alone, but she walked slowly over. Carol's face had a lost expression, Helen saw, as she got closer. She looked into her eyes, Carol off in another world, and also saw that her daughter's eyes were haunted by pain, and, as good as Carol had been in the past at hiding it, it wouldn't go over that well this time.

"Carol?" Helen finally asked, cautiously.

Carol was surprised to hear her name called, especially by that soft of a voice. She looked up and in the eyes of the owner of that voice, who'd bent down to look her in the eyes. "Mama?" she said softly, her eyes red from where she'd been crying. Helen could tell by hearing and seeing her daughter that she was trying not to get attached to anyone again, so Helen took the first move, taking Carol into her arms, hugging her and rubbing her back.

"I've missed you Carol," Helen cajoled, pulling away from her daughter and looking at her. She didn't even have to know Tatiana was dead as she looked in her daughter's eyes once more, seeing behind the grief and pain, emptiness.

"I've missed you too, mama," Carol whispered, looking at her mother and biting her bottom lip. She felt a lump in her throat and pushed her mother away gently, going over to the baggage claim and getting her bags. Her mother joined her a moment later after recovering from that out-of-character behavior from her daughter. Carol decided to get right down to 'business', not wanting to show how weak she really was. She took a deep breath. "Did you inform everyone about the memorial service?"

"Yes, yes I did," Helen informed Carol, hearing in her voice and seeing in the way she walked that she wanted to talk business rather than emotions. "Uncle Michel, uncle Ted and Mark's going to be there, as well as Haleh, Lydia, Conni, Lily and Chuny. Susan said she'd try to be there, but she's been busy with uh, with some things," she said, skipping that she'd been taking care of her niece for the past few years, knowing that may depress Carol much further. "And uh...and Doug said he'd come, too," she finished, a bit coldly but constricted. Helen had never really liked Doug at all, especially after what he'd done to her daughter years ago. She shifted her feet. Carol looked over at her mother with a frigid stare.

"He took care of her, he deserves to come," Carol bluntly stated as they finally got to the ground level and headed out of the airport.

"I know." Helen blinked in surprise at how her daughter acted. "I just..."

"You don't like him, I know." Carol's voice was sharp this time, wanting to drop this conversation. "But it doesn't matter." Her voice was much more sensitive now. "This is about Tatiana, and celebrating her life not you and how you feel."

Helen looked down, and for the first time in her life, was utterly speechless.

So that's the first chapter. Tell me what you think. All reviews are greatly appreciated.