Hi! This chapter, and the next ones, have just been revised (THANK YOU SO MUCH  FOR BETA-READING IT, ENDILWEN!!!). Any mistake that you can find is due to my stupid fixation with writing in english, but in my head Snape and Hermione speak in English... (hey, no, I don't really hear voices...) Thank you to all of you who offered to beta-read. I really needed help, I was not sure I could handle it properly.

Last but NOT LEAST, REVIEW, PLEASE!!! : - ))

* * *

Hermione woke up, startled. Next to her, Crookshanks eased his way back to his former position, as he had been forced to move when Hermione awoke. She looked at the ginger furry ball and caressed the hairy thing slowly with her fingers. She smiled when she heard the cat purr, but the images in her dreams wiped the smile from her face almost immediately.

Lately, she couldn't stop dreaming about being assaulted by Death Eaters. Well, yes; no doubt the attacks had increased in the last few months, but what made her think of herself as being one of their next targets…? Perhaps being close to Harry Potter, The Boy Who Lived. Tired, but too terrified to try and sleep again, she picked up a book from her shelf, a Muggle choice she was sure no one in Hogwarts would ever understand: Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'. She then muttered "Lumos", and began to read.

* * *

"Severus" Dumbledore greeted gravely as he walked into the room

"And so? How was the meeting?"

Snape's face twitched.

"Unluckily, Headmaster, Voldemort seems to know someone is betraying him. He administers limited information, and is extremely careful that no one gets the whole idea of his plans. There was nothing significant today, besides the remarkable absence of Mr. Crabble and Mr. Goyle. And, of course, Lucius Malfoy wasn't there, either"

"Severus, are you sure of your choice? You can still go far away from Voldemort once and for all. Your safety is my top priority."

Maybe it is, to you, Dumbledore. But it isn't likely to be so for the rest of the Wizarding  world.

"No, Dumbledore. What I am doing seems the only right thing to do, given the circumstances. Given..."- well, he thought, everything he had done- "And now, if you don't mind, I would like to retire and rest a for a while."

"Of course" whispered the Headmaster, helping him out of the office. He couldn't supress a sad look, knowing what the man was up against right now. Memories of other meetings, other nights... He shook his head, just wishing Fawkes' tears would heal more than one kind of wounds.

* * *

He was too tired.

He saw a light approaching and he just wished it would go away. He was too tired to take points from Gyiffindor, even with the very limited amount of humour he could find inside himself.

The light dissapeared, and he just preferred to think it was old Filch. He walked his way to his dungeons and muttered the spells that let him in. He would have loved to wave his wand and cast 'Obliviate' on himself, but it would only be counterproductive. In spite of the hour, he forced himself to take a shower. He wouldn't sleep tonight, anyway. He hardly slept at all, forget the thought of Morpheus blessings coming to visit him after a meeting.

Water didn't help much. He scrubbed but he didn't feel cleaner. He tried specially hard on the Dark Mark. Useless. It had been there for nearly 15 years. It would not disappear now.

Avoiding the memories assaulting him, he poured himself a glass of wine. He just wished he had something stronger on hand, but the risks of his everyday life prevented him from indulging in alcohol. He drank half the bottle and decided it was enough. He picked up a book, but then put it down. Trying to escape the images of Aurors shrieking out of fear that threatened to fill his mind, 'Hamlet' did not seem a sensible choice.