It was all Hermione could do to not hex herself into unconsciousness. It started the summer after sixth year, one month before her eighteenth birthday and less than two months before the start of seventh year. At first she was tired all the time, and not just that but physically exhausted, restless, anxious. After a week of this she began to feel sore all over and stretched out as though her skin was too small to fit her frame. After two weeks of this, the real pain started and it got worse, fast. She had nightmares and such pain in her bones she imagined that they were made of wood under the assault of sand paper, one by one being ground into a fine powder.
The day before her birthday her mother finally gave in and took her to the hospital. After hours of blood tests, x-rays, and painful biopsies there were no answers. Hermione was kept overnight for observation and sleep tests and in the morning there were only more questions, more pain and no answers. The only thing the doctors could come up with was a bad reaction to a late growth spurt. It was ridiculous of course and Hermione's mother made sure they knew it. She was released on her birthday and an odd group was waiting for her when she got home.
She stood in the doorway blinking several times before stepping inside. Convinced that her sleepless nights were finally getting the better of her, she ignored seeing her professors in her living room and climbed the stairs for a hot shower and fresh clothes. When she came back down and saw that her professors were still in her living room staring at her expectantly, she began to worry.
"What's wrong? Are the boys okay? Has something happened?"
"No need to get frantic, Ms. Granger. The only reason for our visit is your own welfare." Professor Dumbledore assured her.
"How are you faring, Dear?" Professor McGonagall asked.
"Everything hurts, Professor. Literally everything, all the time. Even my teeth hurt!" She moaned.
"Teeth! Now that's something I know something about! Let's have a look, love." Hermione's father jumped up at the opportunity to ease his daughter's pain.
"I don't mean to be rude, but this matter is out of your expertise, and out of your hands." There was a loud smack as Professor McGonagall hit Professor Snape in the chest. "I said I don't mean to be rude!" He said in disbelief.
"Now Professors, we must remember that even though we are not on school grounds we must act appropriately in front of our students."
"Of course, Head Master, our apologies."
Professor Dumbledore turned to Hermione. "It pains me to tell you dear that it must get worse before things can get better."
"Do you know what's happening to me, Professor?"
"Yes and no. I'm afraid there's never been anyone quite like you."
"I don't understand, Professor."
Professor McGonagall turned to Hermione's mother. "It seems that during your pregnancy with Hermione, a wizard impersonated your doctor and performed…experiments."
"What? What kind of experiments, and how do you know?"
"These experiments were of a genetic nature. A ministry worker who had been investigating this wizard discovered notes and records, very detailed records, accounts of his experiments. There were names, dates, everything. A full account of the atrocities."
"That's just ridiculous! Absurd!"
"I assure you, Mr. Granger, it is the truth." Snape said.
"Hermione," Dumbledore took her hand. "The wizard's records name your mother specifically. He combined genes of magical creatures with your mothers. This doesn't affect her at all, but as you were a fetus and your genetic make-up was not yet determined, well... you can imagine."
"I'm sorry Professor, I really can't" Hermione said in disbelief. "What was done to me?"
"Within you are the genes of a sphinx, a lammasu, and a vampire. The wizard's notes were very clear about how selective he was about the genes he combined with your mothers. Only the strongest vampire, the fiercest sphinx, and the noblest lammasu."
"Is that supposed to comfort me?" Hermione cried.
"Why me?" Her mother sobbed.
Professor McGonagall put her arms around the woman. "In his notes it was clear that he chose you for your intellect."
"Chose me? You mean, he watched me? He knew me?"
"Yes," Snape spoke up. "We strongly believe this could have been someone you knew possibly very well."
"How would I not have noticed?"
"You must keep in mind, there are many ways to confuse a person or pose as someone else in our world. Even ways to make a person forget."
"Why is it affecting me just now? Why not as a baby?"
"We believe that the magical properties of the experiment make this a sort of coming of age situation."
"What does this mean for me?" Hermione asked, suddenly afraid.
"That's the no part of whether we understand what's happening. As I said, there's never been a case like this. Though it's true your mother was not the only one experimented on, the experiments were never exactly the same, the genes used in each one completely different. I haven't the slightest clue what's in store for you. For that reason, I request, respectfully of course, that you come back to Hogwarts with us now instead of with the rest of the students. I would personally like to watch over your condition."
"No, absolutely not! My daughter will stay here where it's safe!"
"Again, Sir, I don't mean to offend but it is quite clear that she wasn't safe to begin with here."
"Professor Snape! That was quite uncalled for!" McGonagall snapped. "I assure you, Mr. Granger, we believe this best, for her safety and for yours. There is no telling what is left to come and I fear you are not equipped to properly or safely deal with the situation."
"They're right, Mum, Dad, who knows what will happen. I could get sick and make you sick, I could go mental and hurt you... I don't want to risk it. I love you too much." Hermione turned to Dumbledore. "I'll go with you."
Dumbledore nodded. "Very wise of you. It's best to get started straight away. Who knows what tonight could bring for you. Best to have Madam Pomfrey around just in case."