I do not own Neon Genesis Evangelion or the rights to anything associated with it. Gainax created this world, I just play in it.

I do however own any and all original characters that appear within this story.

Long Way Home

The steadily strengthening light of the morning sun slowly lit the dim recesses of the sparse, clinical bedroom, but it offered no warmth to it's lone occupant. A woman, dressed in a set of light blue hospital scrubs, sat on the bed with her legs drawn up close to her chest and her back against the wall. She clutched her blankets around her desperately as if she could use them to warm the chill that seemed to permeate her very soul. Her sad, fatigue ravaged eyes stared unfocused across the room as her body shook and her mind reeled from the nightmare that had awakened her.

She was lonely and she was scared, her mind clouded by medication to the point that she hardly knew who she was, let alone where she was. She couldn't remember how long she had been here or when she last saw her friends. She didn't like it here. She didn't like the abusive doctor with the hard, cold eyes, or his trio of pitiless assistants. She didn't like the needles and the pills they forced on her. She didn't want to stay here any more.

"When are you gonna take me home Shinji?" she tearfully asked the empty room.

Chapter One:

"In an apparent suicide, prominent psychologist Dr. Hiroshi Nakamura was found dead in his cell this morning at the Tokyo 2 central detention centre. Until recently Dr. Nakamura was the Chief of Psychology at the Hayashida Institute. He was arrested early last week under allegations that he was abusing some of the patients under his careā€¦"

Dr. Kenji Yoshida ran a hand through his thinning hair as he muted the sound on the small television in his office and set the remote down on his desk. He didn't need to hear the report again because he had already heard it three times and he knew what it said. More importantly he knew what it didn't say. There were hushed whispers that Dr. Nakamura had been a high ranking member of the SEELE organization and it just so happened that every one of the patients he had mistreated were survivors of the attack against NERV's headquarters, five years earlier. Through those unfortunate victims he was exacting his personal revenge against that organization for the prevention of Third Impact, and along with it, Instrumentality.

Dr. Yoshida was one of the most respected psychologists in Japan and had once held the position of Chief of Psychology at the Hayashida Institute before taking a teaching position at Tokyo University. When Nakamura had been arrested, the Prime Minister himself had requested that Yoshida examine Nakamura's victims and see to their treatment. The Prime Minister had reluctantly confirmed for Yoshida that the whispered rumours about Nakamura were true.

Apparently the government was still feeling the sting of the previous administration's manipulation by SEELE and was willing to do whatever it took to look after NERV associated personnel. The instructions that the previous government had given to the army for that attack were nothing short of extermination orders and hundreds had paid for the transgressions of a few. Innocent men and women had been slaughtered even when they posed no threat and were trying to surrender. The government was still having a very hard time washing away the blood that stained its hands, a task that may well prove impossible.

Yoshida hadn't really known Nakamura very well, but during what little contact he did have with him he found him to be a supremely arrogant man who seemed to think of himself to be above everyone else. He always acted as if he held some great knowledge that placed him in a different class than the rest of humanity. It had turned out that he indeed was in a different class. Not many people wanted to destroy all life on earth in a divine attempt to end mankind's suffering. He had been largely responsible for crafting SEELE's intricate manipulations of the government and the UN.

The police investigation had found that the now deceased doctor had been subjecting his patients from NERV to hallucinogenic drug therapy, designed to make their existing conditions worse. They suffered from hallucinations and nightmares that progressively worsened their conditions, and at least one patient had died of a heart attack when his body could no longer handle the anxiety or the cocktail of drugs Nakamura was feeding him.

When Yoshida had taken over there were still four patients at the institute who had been under Nakamura's care, if it could be called that. Three of them had been lucky in a way because Nakamura had largely ignored them so that he could concentrate on tormenting the fourth patient, and their cases had already been passed on to other well respected therapists.

Police interviews with three of the staff members who had willingly cooperated with Nakamura stated that along with the drugs, he had engaged in forms of verbal abuse that impacted the patient's sense of self worth and that he had also been very 'hands on' with the fourth patient. They were adamant that he hadn't gone so far as to rape her, but there was no proof either way. Medical tests had found no evidence of it, but that didn't mean that it hadn't happened at all, only that if it had, it hadn't been recent. The three accomplices had acted as the buffer that kept Nakamura's activities secret from the rest of the staff. Those three were now sitting in prison cells of their own. He wasn't a vindictive man, but he hoped their incarceration was very long and very unpleasant.

Yoshida slipped on his reading glasses and picked up the fourth patient's file again. It had been a rough five years for her. She had spent almost three years in a coma before she finally awakened and was admitted to Hayashida shortly afterward. It was thought that she had been admitted under false pretences by Nakamura himself who had seen her in the hospital when he was there on other business.

The cocktail of drugs that he had been giving her had been enough to leave her in poor physical shape all on their own, regardless of her previous condition, and she was currently in the medical wing of the institute undergoing treatment to detoxify her body. He glanced at the photos he had inserted in her file to document the condition she was in when he took over her care. She was pale and thin, her features drawn, and her eyes were ringed with dark circles due to a lack of sleep and had a sad and haunted look about them. She was physically weak and probably had been ever since she had awakened. Nakamura had denied her the physical therapy that would have let her regain her strength from the atrophy of three years in a coma.

Nakamura had chosen the medications carefully, snaring his patient in a Catch 22 situation. Not only had they promoted the psychological effects he desired to see by making her nightmares worse, but they had also turned her into an addict. The mental effects of the drugs were horrific enough for her on their own, but her body craved them now and like any other drug addict she would do almost anything to get it. Nakamura hadn't failed to take advantage of that when it amused him to do so.

The drugs had also affected her ability to eat properly, they were hard on the stomach and along with other side effects, they made it hard for her to keep anything down. She had lost weight and didn't get much sleep due to her recurring nightmares. They couldn't sedate her because the sedatives conflicted with the mixture of drugs already in her system. She had the look and demeanour of someone was heavily under the influence of narcotics. Her movements were often lethargic and uncoordinated, which had resulted in a recent fall that had left her with a very badly broken left wrist, and her eyes were glassy and often unfocused. She was a mess and it was going to take a long time just to get her right physically, let alone mentally.

Yoshida found himself taking this case personally because he was already familiar with the patient. He had first met her twenty years earlier when she was only fourteen years old. Misato Katsuragi was the sole survivor of the Katsuragi Expedition to Antarctica and he was one of the doctors who had attended to her during the two years after her rescue, a period of time where she spoke not a single word. As soon as she was able to do so, she had stopped taking therapy and Yoshida had no doubt that she had spent most of the years since then fighting off nightmares of what she had experienced during Second Impact. Those memories would have only gotten worse under Nakamura's special brand of care.

Nakamura's notes described her as having nightmares and hallucinations that brought about episodes of depression with near catatonia, along with periods of manic behaviour, both of which required medication to alleviate. It was a diagnosis that had served to cover his activities because there was some truth to it, even if he was the cause of it. His reputation and position as Chief of Psychology had put him in a position beyond the scrutiny of most and it wasn't until one of his lackeys grew a conscience that his misdeeds had been uncovered.

Half of the file in Yoshida's hand, the true file on Misato Katsuragi, had been delivered to him by the police after they raided Nakamura's home and seized his computer and paper files, and it was very detailed and concise. It contained notes on the drugs and their dosages and transcripts of his so called therapy sessions with her.

However, Yoshida could not and would not take any of it as truth until he could verify it for himself. He wouldn't base his treatment program solely on what a vindictive ass like Nakamura had documented. There was simply no way to trust the information until it could be verified. He wanted to have her medical files as well, but someone in the hospital's administration had a case of the jitters and was reluctant to give them up since she was a former member of NERV.

A knock on his office door brought him out of his thoughts. "Come in," he said as he closed the file and slid it aside.

A tall, white haired man in a doctor's white coat and with a stethoscope hanging around his neck, walked in carrying a file folder and two cups of tea. Dr. Manobu Nozaki was the Senior Attending Physician at the institute and he was an old friend

"I thought you could use a little break Kenji," Nozaki said.

Yoshida gestured for him to have a seat in front of the desk. "That's what makes you such a good doctor, you can anticipate the needs of your patients."

"Speaking of patients," Nozaki began as he handed Yoshida the folder. "I have her medical file from the time she was in the coma."

"How did you manage that?" Yoshida asked. "I've been getting nowhere with the hospital administration for a week."

Nozaki grinned. "The Health Minister is an old golfing partner of mine and he was glad to apply a little pressure for us. She was evacuated to the hospital here in Tokyo 2 after the attack on NERV with a gunshot wound to the chest and she had almost bled to death. They nearly lost her three times, twice on the operating table and once in the ICU. They didn't give her much of a chance to survive or to come out of the coma when she did. She was emotionally distraught after she woke up and that's where Nakamura stepped in."

"I haven't seen her yet today," Yoshida admitted. "How is she?"

"Not good," Nozaki frowned. "She didn't have a good night and her withdrawal symptoms are getting worse. The residual levels of the medications he was giving her are dangerously high and it is very difficult to wean her off of them without undue suffering. I had hoped to cut the dosages down gradually until we can cut it off completely, but, when combined with how much is already in her system, the levels will be far too high. I have to cut it down in bigger steps and she is suffering for it. And as you know we can't sedate her because the drugs will conflict."

Yoshida shook his head sadly. "She doesn't sleep well, she can barely eat, and the mix of drugs she was subjected to is hard to get her off of. She suffers from horrible nightmares and bouts of depression. The bastard must have planned it this way. Even though he's now dead, she continues to suffer and will for some time."

"She has been a little calmer since you suggested we move her to a bed where she could be closer to the windows," Nozaki told him. "She spends a lot of time looking outside like she's waiting for someone. The nurses have heard her say the name Shinji several times."

Yoshida nodded. "A friend of mine at the police department said he would try to find out who he is. I know that he must be someone from her time at NERV and he must have meant a great deal to her. The drugs have her so messed up right now that she has very few moments of clarity. She will sit there for hours, unfocused and unresponsive, almost like she's in a coma again, or she'll just keep repeating the same thing almost like it's her mantra. When she's down she fears that this Shinji is either dead or has left her and she gets very upset. When she's up she talks about him coming back to her and saving her and she gets very hopeful and optimistic. I fear that the longer this goes on, the more she's likely to believe that he's not coming, for whatever reason, and her condition will deteriorate."

"What if your friend can't find anything out?" Nozaki asked. "We both know how hard it is to get any information about anything or anyone who was associated with NERV."

"Then I will go to the government and demand some answers," Yoshida said with conviction. "The Prime Minister asked me to look into what has happened here and he should be prepared to supply the information I need to do so and help Nakamura's victims."

"You really are taking this case personally, aren't you?"

"It may not be very professional of me, but yes, I am," Yoshida confirmed. "I treated her when she was a teenager and I always felt that I wasn't able to do enough for her. She witnessed and survived Second Impact. That should have been enough, but she nearly died trying to prevent a Third Impact, and her reward is to be abused and mistreated by someone like Nakamura for her trouble. I will do whatever I have to in order to help her."

In the medical ward, in a room that overlooked the well manicured and maintained front entrance to the institute, Misato Katsuragi, former Head of Operations for NERV, sat on her bed, leaning against the window frame as she basked in the midday sun. The warmth felt good and soothed her aching body, if only slightly. Any relief she could get was highly welcomed.

She was barely coherent, her clarity of mind coming and going as if on a whim. In her rare clear moments, one of which she was in the midst of, she knew it was withdrawal from the drugs Dr. Nakamura had forced her to take that was making her feel so terrible. The rest of the time she was barely aware of things around her. She would zone out for hours, totally unaware of the passage of time.

She had one bit of behaviour that was constant no matter what state of coherency she was in. She spent a lot of her time looking out of the windows waiting for her Shinji-kun. Her champion. Her Angel Slayer. Her Knight in shining, purple armour. He would be an adult now, if he was still alive. He had to be, it was the only thing that kept her from giving up. It was the last shred of hope she had to cling to. She had been waiting for a long time, hoping that he would come back to her, that he would take her home and look after her. That he would hold her in his arms, chase away her pain and ease her crushing loneliness, and tell her that everything was going to be okay.

She hoped he would tell her that he loved her.

She felt her eyelids begin to feel heavy and knew that soon she would have to leave the warmth of the window and lay down. She didn't want to. She would welcome sleep, she wanted to sleep, but the nightmares just wouldn't leave her alone. Dr. Nozaki had assured her that when they were finally able to flush the drugs out of her system she would start to get better and Dr. Yoshida assured her that she could overcome the nightmares. She wasn't so sure.

Here in the hospital she couldn't drink herself stupid to keep the nightmares away like she used to, and even if she could it would only make her condition worse. Besides, she doubted that even she could drink enough beer to drown the nightmares the drugs had given her. She felt so alone and she didn't think she could win this fight without someone to lean on.

She started to cry as she lay down on her bed. "Where are you Shinji-kun? You haven't forgotten about me have you?" The mere suggestion was enough to break her heart as she drifted off into a new nightmare.

Thank's for reading. Reviews are welcomed and greatly appreciated. I really enjoy the feedback.