A/N: I've just started watching this show (I know, I'm pretty late in the game), and I've fallen madly in love with Doug and Carol (give me a couple with a history and I'm pretty much bound to ship them). I'm a few episodes into season two, but the episode 'Make of Two Hearts' with Titiana brought this idea into focus. It's really just a drabble from Doug's perspective, set just after that episode.

Disclaimer: I own nothing related to ER, or Doug and Carol.

He'd only ever really taken the time to learn one Russian word.


He'd taken special care to memorize it perfectly, being careful of the soft ending sound. He'd learned how to write it; all the curves and straight lines and the ebb and flow of the letters together.

He listened to the hustle and bustle of Carol's mother; she flung her words out left and right, and if he wasn't careful he landed himself in the middle of a harsh stream of syllables and breaths that he couldn't make heads nor tails of.

Carol sometimes murmured the occasional curse under her breath, or some phrase her mother had taught her. He'd look at her from the corner of his eye, watching the way her eyebrows would clench together as her lips moved quietly; if he listens hard enough, he can still hear the brush of her lips as she mouths foreign words.

It was only in the darkness of the bedroom that he used the foreign word. In the soft moments between waking and dreaming, he'd use his careful knowledge of the single Russian word. His finger was his pencil; he traced the lines and curves of the letters carefully into her skin- into her shoulders, her sides, her stomach, her neck. Once, he even traced it over her lips.

He didn't know if she knew what he traced; she didn't ask, and he didn't tell. He was too much of a coward to say the words aloud or in the daylight; so in the quiet embrace of her bedroom, he wrote the word into her skin over and over again, wishing he could imprint it there. Tattoo it over her heart, her lungs, her stomach.

He wanted her to know what he was trying to say when he inevitably screwed this up, because he knew he would. He wanted her to know she was important; she was special. He wanted her to know she was different.

He'd only ever taken the time to learn one Russian word.

He'd only ever taken the time to learn the word for love.