This is going to be Au, no zombies people. I'm not sure how long this will be or where I'm going yet. But I'm hoping you enjoy the ride.
Daryl and Carol are younger in this then in the show. It works better for what I want to happen. They might appear a little OOC at times, but I'm going to try to keep them in character.

I do not own any of the characters from TWD. Just my plot line and story.

Chapter 1: Life Affirming

That was what started it. That one quote. Reading was always an escape for her. That night she was so scared to go to bed. Ed had imagined some new transgression against him. For which she still not sure. The beating she got, was the only thing she was ever sure of. Doesn't matter really now.

Carol had tossed and turned all night, she just gave up on the sleep. She got out of bed and padded down the hall. Setting there Carol decided to start on the book Michonne had suggested. The only friend of hers still left standing after Ed had ran everyone else off. That book, it changed it all. It held that quote. That quote spoke to her in way no one else had when trying to talk to her about her situation and life.

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."

Seems silly that a quote could be so profound to someone setting on there couch at 1:23 a.m. But it was. Carol read that quote a dozen times. Each time thinking about all the times Michonne herself would try to talk to her about Carol's wants, her dreams, about Ed. She always pushed the conversation aside. Laughing it off. Carol avoided the facts, just avoided it all.

She set and thought about what Ed had put her through that night, thought of the things he said to me. She hadn't died. She was alive, but she wasn't living. She was going to escape this hell and live.

First thing in the morning she was calling Michonne to tell her what a good read that was…

Carol felt herself tense as she heard him making his way down stairs. She shouldn't have to be scared of him just from hearing him walking. The rage she felt bubble up in her was new. She had never had such a reaction to him like that.

"Bitch, you better have my food ready to go. Running late, Morris called said he needed me there late tonight."

"Okay, do you want me to have something prepared for you when you get home or are you eating out with Morris?" Carols voice was soft and low.

"Didn't you hear me bitch? I just told you not to wait up on me. I don't want to see your dumbass when I get here. You better be in bed or I'll have to teach that same lesson again tonight like last night."

As he spun around Carol felt jer eyes cut to him "No. No need for that. What I learnt last night is still fresh in my mind."

"Hmmph, well you best mind what I said…"

Michonne showed up just as Eds car pulled around the block. Just like she asked. Carol was so nervous she felt like she was going to puke but she had to do this. If she didn't he was going to kill her before it was all said and done with.

"Hey" Michonne called up to me her hand moving to ghost over the bruise on Carol's cheek. All she could do was nod. She didn't ask what it was. They both quit pretending a long time ago. Instead of like she use to do and hide it she let Michonne really see the damage. She wasn't running from this.

"Yeah, thanks for coming over. I know you had work." Shifting her eyes to ground.

"You sounded…different. I was worried of course I would come over." She laughed and she glanced at me. "What's going on Carol?"

There was that sharp knowing gaze I'd come to know. Michonne never played around and was more blunt then Carol liked sometimes but she meant well.

"I'm leaving him." Carol's own words and they felt like a gun shot in her ears, feeling herself tense. But the smile that broke across her face immediately pulled Carol back reality. She was doing this.

Carol and Michonne spent the rest of the day working things out. More so then that she finally felt like she was breathing and not counting her last breaths. Carol was excited but scared at the same time of what was out there now. She still wanted things but was scared that Ed would always be there even in her mind like he was even now. His vile words whispering hateful things.