Disclaimer: Nope . . . I still don't own Harry Potter.
Note: This story, like most stories do, did not pop, fully-formed, into my head one day. It actually started out as a joke between my brother and me when he was making a joke about what Remus would put on his answering machine to scare me - one of the many fangirls who is obsessed with our favorite werewolf - away. Then, we began to come up with what other characters would put on their answering machines (some of them being included in this fic). Then, I began to flesh out the idea more and created a story for it to go on (Hermione's obsession with her NEWT results) and . . . ta, da - Answering Machines was born. Enjoy!
Hermione was frantic, she had paced the house, moaning until she had driven her parents to insanity, paced her room, murmuring under her breath in worried tones (and sounding quite a bit like Kreacher), until she had driven her cat, Crookshanks to insanity, and paced around and around the block until the neighbors had called the police to report a prowler.
So, here she was in her room again, pacing, with no one to drive to insanity except herself. For she had to know. She must know her NEWT results soon or she would go insane! That is, if she hadn't already. Her parents, although they were Muggles, had tried to reassure her that she was the brightest witch they had ever met (which didn't exactly raise her spirits because her parents hadn't met many witches or wizards), and said that she would get top grades. But how could she know until she got them? And then it would be too late . . . what if she got all Ts and was only fit to work as a dishwasher at the Leaky Cauldron? That is, if she wasn't too dumb to do that!
"I have to stop this," she murmured to herself. Then, one thought occurred to her - call her friends. They had been with her at school and could easily reassure her that she would get straight Os.
Harry first, she decided. Harry had just moved to Grimmauld Place after finishing his seventh and final year at Hogwarts and had been ecstatic about leaving his Muggle relatives, the Dursleys. Hermione quickly took her phone off her desk and called her best friend. The phone rang one . . . two . . . three . . . four times and then the answering machine picked up.
Hermione sighed and listened to it. It said: Hello, you have reached the Boy-Who-Lived, the Chosen One, and Harry Potter. If you would like to speak to the Boy-Who-Lived, press 1, if you would like to speak to the Chosen One, press 2, and if you would like to speak to Harry Potter, just leave a message after the beep. Beep, no that wasn't really the beep, I just felt like saying beep, but seriously, I'm probably out saving the wizarding world or something, so just. . . Here, it ended with a beep and Hermione left a quick reply, saying that she really needed his reassurance on her NEWT results and to change his answering machine message.
However, if she thought that it would get any better with Ron, she was sadly mistaken, for his was . . . for lack of a better word - stupid. For when Hermione called the phone rang, the answering machine picked up as usual, and it said: HEY, YOU'VE REACHED RON WEASLEY AT HIS APARTMENT! I HOPE THAT YOU CAN HEAR ME, WHOEVER YOU ARE, AND THAT YOU PLEASE LEAVE A MESSAGE AFTER THE BEEP. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT! It ended then and Hermione was so disgusted, that she just hung up, calling Ginny at the Burrow (where Mr. Weasley had insisted on installing a telephone in everyone's room), instead.
Ginny seemed to be out as well, for her answering machine picked up (Mr. Weasley had found these extremely fascinating), and it said: Hello, you've reached Ginny Weasley. Harry? Harry, is that you? If it's you, Harry, please leave a message of your undying love for me on here. Please? I love you, Harry! I LOVE YOU! I am OBSESSED with Harry James Potter! In fact, sometimes, when you stayed at the Burrow or at Grimmauld Place, I crept into your room and watched you sleep. Oh! You look REALLY sexy sleeping naked, Harry, you know that? Beep, here it ended to Hermione's undying gratitude. She was very, very angry at Ginny's message, Harry was hers, hers! No one else's but hers! Harry would never, ever be Ginny's! Then, just out of spite, she called Ginny back and left a message with words that no Hermione in her right mind would ever say.
Once she hung up, she realized that that was the end of her list of close friends, so she decided to try Fred and George at their shop - Weasleys Wizard Wheezes, where they stayed in a flat above the busy joke shop. I must be going insane, she thought, if she was calling Fred and George of all people. However, their answering machine picked up as well, but it didn't really say anything, instead the message was a cacophony of sounds that sounded as if they came from Fred and George's Wildfire Whiz-Bang Fireworks and numerous other pranks of theirs. Hermione didn't even leave a message, instead she hung up, massaging her ears to try and get life back into them. This called for desperate measures, she thought to herself, taking out her address book, opening to the first page of her neat handwriting, and beginning to call all of those who were witches and wizards.
Luna Lovegood? Hello, Dad and I have gone out looking for Crumple-Horned Snorcacks and other mysterious creatures. If you would like to join us, please call us at the Railview Hotel and they'll pass the message on if they know where we are, but they probably won't as Snorcacks are very elusive creatures. Nope, definitely not Loony Lovegood. Why had the thought even occurred to her? The girl believed in Blibbering Humdingers or whatever they were called for goodness sakes!
Neville Longbottom? You have reached Augusta Longbottom and her grandson, Neville. Neville and I are out at the moment, so please leave a message after the tone and we will try to get back to you as soon as we can. Hermione was sickened by this. Neville still lived with his grandmother, even when he had been offered a large scholarship to the Roseleaf University - a university for very talented Herbologists? That woman had an iron grip on Neville, there was no doubt about it and Hermione pitied the chubby boy.
Remus Lupin? Hello, you have reached Remus Lupin. If it's the full moon, then I'll be out at the moment, baying at the moon and everything, but you're welcome to come and talk to me, then if you feel like being a werewolf, too. Sorry, I'm being a bit sarcastic now, it's right near the full moon, so . . . why the hell am I talking to an answering machine? OK, just leave your message if you feel like talking to a crazy person such as myself. The message ended then and Hermione left her former DADA professor a message, saying that she did not think he was crazy and ended it there. If he was really annoyed because it was near the full moon, then she wouldn't want to bother him with a trivial matter such as NEWT scores.
Nymphadora Tonks? Why in the world had she included Tonks's first name? Wotcher, whoever's calling. This is Tonks, soon to be wife of Remus Lupin, he just doesn't realize it yet, the idiot man. I hope that's you calling Remus so you know what I think of you, Remi. Because I love you, I don't care about your lycanthropy, I care about YOU! Oh, look at me, getting all mushy, well, whoever this is leave a message. Hermione hung up, disgusted. How many strange relationships would she find out in the course of this calling? She belonged with Harry and that was all there needed to be.
Draco Malfoy? Hello, if you're that Mudblood Granger calling, then please leave a message, because I l-. . . . Hermione hung up, shaking. One: why did she have Draco's name in her address book and two: he loved her?! The world was getting stranger every day.
Severus Snape? Hermione realized her mistake the second she saw the name and went to the next name. Why had she put the names of her enemies in here? she thought, riffling through the book furiously.
Sirius Black? Oh, wait, he was dead, she remembered as she called him in his room at Grimmauld Place and heard the phone not ring at all. She was definitely going crazy, she decided, calling people that didn't even exist anymore and that she didn't even remember putting in her phone book.
Then, she decided to call some people that she was very close to and that she knew were alive: Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. As she called, their answering machine picked up . . . yet again. This answering machine business was really starting to annoy her, she decided as theirs said: Hello, you have reached the Burrow with Arthur Weasley, Molly Weasley, Bill Weasley, Charlie Weasley, Percy Weasley, Fred and George Weasley, Ron Weasley, and Ginny Weasley, and, yes, I do like being repetitive, please leave a message after the beep thingy - the ingenious things that these Muggles come up with! The message then ended and Hermione hung up, deciding that she had already contacted the Weasleys in the Weasley family that she was close to, but even they had betrayed her. OK, maybe she was overreacting just a bit, but someone must understand!
Rubeus Hagrid? Hello, yeh've reached Hagrid and Fang. If yer lookin' fer Harry, Ron, or Hermione, then try them, though they do hang out here quite a lot. If yer lookin' fer Fluffy, Aragog, or Norbert. . . . Here he sniffled. Then they don' really have phones, but no one really wants ter talk to them, they're so misunderstood. . . . A sob. So, just leave your message after the sound of the beep.
Hermione was counting on her last two names to help her out. Minerva McGonagall, she tried half-heartedly and the message on the answering machine took nearly all the heart out of her. You have reached the Hogwarts Deputy Headmistress. I am sorry I cannot take your call, at the moment, I am distributing OWL and NEWT results to all those students who took them. Please leave your message at the sound of the tone. Hermione sighed and hung up, she must have done absolutely horribly!
Hermione only tried the last name: Albus Dumbledore, for lack of something better to do. However, she didn't really expect the old headmaster to pick up, despite magical phones being installed at Hogwarts, he was probably busy with school business, or eating Muggle sweets - most likely lemon-drops - as was his wont. Therefore, she was somewhat surprised when Dumbledore's serene voice said, "Yes, Miss Granger?" and she actually yelped as if the phone had become a hotplate.
"How'd you know it was me?" she asked.
"Caller ID, the ingenious things these Muggles come up with, eh?" Dumbledore asked and Hermione could nearly see his eyes twinkling over the phone. "Don't worry, I looked over all the students' NEWTs before they were sent off, just in case of certain biased teachers." Hermione knew exactly who he meant, Professor Snape had been wanting to fail Harry since he first stepped in the doors of the Potions classroom.
"Um . . . thanks, Professor," she said, knowing of Dumbledore's tendency to seem to read people's minds, which she now knew came from quick bursts of Legilimency. She herself had become particularly skilled in classes with Dumbledore along with Harry and Ron over her seventh year, much to Harry's resentment, as he had never been able to master the basics.
"You are very welcome, Miss Granger. I must say, you were one of the brightest students ever to enter Hogwarts and I wish you luck in any of your future endeavors."
"Thanks," Hermione said, actually blushing under the headmaster's praise.
"Not at all, dear girl, and if I am correct, which I usually am, then your results will probably be arriving now, if you factor in the speed of the owl and the time they were sent off . . . yes, I was never particularly skilled at Arithmancy, but I believe I am correct."
At this moment, Hermione saw a large barn owl soaring toward her open bedroom window. "Oh!" she gasped.
"Oh?" questioned the headmaster.
"Yes, Professor, they're coming, thank you so much," Hermione said earnestly and quickly hung up, just in time for the owl soaring onto her desk.
With trembling fingers, she undid the straps binding the envelope to the owl's leg. Once she did, the owl soared off and Hermione moaned, breaking the Hogwarts crest and opening it. She gazed, open-mouthed, upon her scores. She had gotten an O in all of her classes! SEVEN Os? For a second, she continued to gape at the paper as if it were a heavenly emissary and then, she screamed, a long, high-pitched scream.
Mr. and Mrs. Granger burst into the room when they heard their daughter screaming. "What is it? What's wrong?" they asked.
Hermione tore her gaze off her results for a moment, then breathed, "I got straight Os!" before collapsing onto the bed in a dead faint.