Title: Atonement
Part: Prologue. I'm thinking it'll be about five parts. I have the first part almost written and I think it'll be ready to post by tomorrow night... work allowing.
Author: Edie
Summary: Hermione has all but forgotten her world and it seems that only one person remembers her.
Rating: R, for later chapters.
Disclaimer: Do I own? No, I think not. Do I wish I did? I think so.

Prologue: To Call Down Evil Upon

The night was cold. From underneath the security of his borrowed Invisibility Cloak, the man shifted his weight and blew a puff of air out in defiance of the weather. He was small, stooped, and almost completely unnoticeable, a trait that had gotten him far in life. He almost did not need the Cloak but Master had insisted. Master always insisted. "This one is smart," he'd say, "She'll catch you."

It was almost three am and the man's feet were growing tired. He thought to himself irritably that he was getting too old for this; that he should be home with his wife complaining about the aches in his joints in front of a particularly warm and cozy fire. But Master paid him well and he was not in a position to quibble. Master would listen to his complaints and find weakness and the man could not afford to be without a job.

It was almost three am and she would be along soon. Sighing, he stared at the apartment building across the street, a four storied affair that was so unremarkable as to be downright drab. It was nothing like Master's home and the man couldn't figure out why anything to do with it should interest him. But the man did not bother to debate that for long either. It was not his place.

It had been ten months and he knew almost everything about her, probably more than he ever bothered to learn about his own wife. He liked to think he was the best money could buy; that there was nothing and no one he could not track. He had suggested that to Master once and only once, only to be laughed at and ridiculed. Could he possibly have thought he was Master's first choice? The man took a moment to remind himself once again that he was well paid for his pains.

At three fifteen a taxicab pulled up in front of the building and, after a few moments during which the occupant of the taxi had obviously spent paying for her fare, the door opened and she got out, just as he had known she would. It had been the same for the whole entire time he had spent watching her. Same shift at the all night diner a ten minute taxi ride away. Every day she would leave her flat at exactly 6:05 pm and every morning she would return at 3:15. He thought to himself scornfully that she was too easy. No challenge for the likes of him.

Once he had been inside of her flat. He had tried to Apparate in, sure it would please Master, only to discover that the bloody chit had put up some kind of ward all around her flat. But he was not the best for a lack of resourcefulness and had simply entered it the Muggle way: he had pried open a window she had left cracked and wandered easily in.

Her flat had been dull and poorly decorated. He thought the whole thing was beneath Master and so had dug deeper. In her bedroom, he had discovered a trunk full of tattered Daily Prophets and a stack of letters almost entirely unread, except for one from a Ronald Weasley that had been poured over almost to complete ruination. At the very bottom, she had hidden pictures of her friends… of Weasley and his sister, Potter, and a smiling girl the man did not recognize.

He had thought Master would be pleased with details of the trunk but he hadn't been. The man shuddered thinking on his anger; on the rants about invading her privacy and being too daft to know when to leave well enough alone. The man had been confused. Was following her not an invasion of her privacy in and of itself? He had been too wise, of course, to voice that opinion to Master. Too wise and too scared, for every one in the wizarding world knew that his master had been very close to You-Know-Who. The man did not know how Master had evaded the Dementor's Kiss at the end of the War and secretly thought that he had perhaps bribed the Ministry.

Master was not to be trusted and every one knew that as well.

Master liked to know other things about the girl, however, and those were easy to observe. She had no friends as far as he could discern and could almost always be found holed up inside of her flat. The shades were almost always drawn but once or twice she had forgotten and he had been able to observe her sitting in what he remembered to be the living room, wrapped up in a quilt and doing nothing but staring.

The man thought to himself that the girl was pathetic; that spying on some Muggle was pathetic but, well… he had already realized how lucrative his job was.

Tonight was important, Master had told him. The anniversary of the death of her mother or some such. From the shadows of the alley, he could tell that the girl was affected. She seemed more tired than usual tonight and had trouble getting her key into the door properly. That afternoon she had left earlier and he had followed her to a cemetery some distance away from her flat. She had cried in front of the tombstone for an hour before quietly leaving for that dingy diner she spent so much time at. Had tripped near the gate on the way out.

Pathetic.

The Muggle was below his Master, that much he knew. Would never actually say it of course because things like that simply were not said anymore. The War might have ended four years ago but people still listened. It would not do to talk.

The girl entered her building after a moment's agitation and he sighed. Counted to one hundred underneath his breath before moving to stand in the alley directly below her window. He pulled the Cloak tighter to himself, wishing it was the sort that provided warmth, and prepared himself for a long evening of staring at her blinds.

There were things Master wanted to know and he was certainly the best man to deliver that information.