This story came from a line in zArkham's "Harry Potter and the Rejected Path" which mentions a contract signed by seventh year students – all of whom are adults in the wizarding world. Neville's ancestry comes from Clell65619's "Harry Potter and the Marriage Contracts." The pairings are my own, although I admit being influenced by having read a large number of fanfics as well as dis-agreeing with some of Ms. Rowling's ideas. This is seventh year, Voldemort is dead. Most definitely non-canon.

Nonetheless, Harry Potter and the associated characters are the property of J.K. Rowling; this was written for my own amusement, and no financial benefits have been offered me, nor will any be accepted by me.

The Seventh Year Contract

"Mister Longbottom, Mister Potter."

Harry and Neville stopped, the scrum of students eddying around them as they entered in the great hall. They exchanged a look, then waited silently for Albus Dumbledore to continue.

Minerva McGonagall watched from a few paces away, a dis-approving look on her face. "Albus is meddling again and no good will come from this. Again," she thought.

"You and," Dumbledore looked briefly at the girls around Neville and Harry. "And the ladies here neglected to return your contracts."

"No, we didn't," Neville said. Harry nodded in agreement.

"I did not receive them," Dumbledore replied.

"You shouldn't have," Harry observed. "Our letters were addressed to the Deputy Headmistress." In the background, McGonagall groaned to herself.

Dumbledore ignored the implied rebuke. "In addition, there is no way that I can allow you separate quarters. It would be bad for house unity."

Hermione held out her hand, palm up. "Pay up," she said. Susan and Hannah passed over a galleon each. Ginny smirked.

"She's going to be impossible," Neville commented.

"No, she's not," Ginny commented. "Books and chocolate work every time. You should try it, Neville."

Dumbledore ploughed ahead, cluelessly. "So if you'd just sign your contracts, we can be done with it." He turned to Ginny. "Ginevra, Luna, you can take your seats, this doesn't affect you."

"Pay up," Hermione said again as she held out her hand. Grumbles accompanied the exchange of more galleons.

"You really should do something about their gambling habits," Harry told Neville as Draco wandered over.

"I've got that covered," Neville replied. "Pay up, you blond ponce," he told Draco.

"Dammit," Draco muttered as he handed Neville ten galleons. "I should have known better." Daphne snickered.

"See, Harry? It's all in how you cover your bets. Thanks to Draco, I'm ahead six galleons. I told you to bet with him, but no, the Boy Who Lived knows all."

"I seem to recall Harry collecting twenty galleons from you this summer," Daphne observed. Hermione and Ginny snickered, Daphne laughed outright. Neville muttered something about sneaky Slytherins.

"So how was the rest of your summer, Daphne?" asked Ginny.

"Very enjoyable," she replied. "Yours?"

Ginny grinned and glanced at Hermione. "Noisy. Very noisy." Hermione blushed, Daphne and Ginny snickered.

Draco raised an eyebrow, Hermione's blush deepened, and Daphne coloured. "That's as predictable as the Cannons losing," he observed.

Harry snickered in response. "They're both bookworms and it's..."

"Harold James Potter …"

"Draco Abraxas Malfoy …"

"Wow, all three names. You guys are in for it," Neville said.

"They've been in it for weeks," Susan said. Hermione and Daphne went scarlet. Ginny, Hannah and Neville laughed; Luna levelled a stare at all three of the boys that did not bode well for the future.

By now Dumbledore was confused and getting angry. These students were ignoring him, the great Albus Dumbledore. "What are you talking about?" he thundered.

"Not that it's any of your business, headmaster, but we were discussing the summer," Harry answered.

"And gambling," Neville added. "Well, settling bets, anyhow. I thought that, at least, would be obvious."

McGonagall gave up and buried her face in her hands. "This is shaping up to be a complete disaster."

Luna went over to McGonagall and patted her on the back. "It's not that bad, Professor," she said soothingly. "As disasters go, this isn't all that bad. Yet."

McGonagall lifted her head and looked at Luna. "You're your mother's child, aren't you?" she asked.

"Yes, I am, Professor."

"That, at least, explains a number of things."

Luna looked straight into McGonagall's eyes. "It does, doesn't it?" She tilted her head toward Dumbledore. "He hasn't figured it out, has he?"

"I tried to tell him, but he won't listen." She looked at Luna. "It was all a show, wasn't it?"

Luna nodded. "Since the Triwizard Tournament. Here. We tried, at the Ministry."

"I know." McGonagall patted Luna's back. "You did your best. Sirius wasn't your fault, any of you."

"We know, Professor," Luna replied. "We know who is to blame. Some of them have been dealt with, the others will be," she added in a flat tone.

"Luna ..."

"It will be all right in the end, Professor."

"You have ..."

"Yes."

McGonagall sighed. "Meet me in my office after the meal," she told Luna. "Presuming I'm still employed," she added, glancing at Dumbledore. "That doesn't look promising at this point." She decided to distance herself from the impending debacle, and walked toward the alcove where the first year students were gathered.

"The Deputy Headmistress has all of the necessary parchmentwork," Harry told Dumbledore.

"I haven't seen it," Dumbledore snarled.

"There is no reason for you to see it, headmaster," said Neville quietly. "After all, you've shuffled most of your responsibilities onto Professor McGonagall for years. Why change now?"

"Wow, a Vernon Four," Draco noted as Dumbledore's face went from pink-tinged to puce.

"Nahh," Harry responded. "That's a three and a half. Four is puce with an eye tic."

Draco nodded. "I stand corrected. Thank you."

"It's nothing, Draco, I've had years more experience in Vernon-watching."

"GINEVRA MOLLY WEASLEY!" The shouted name came from the doorway, followed by Ron, striding angrily toward the group. Several things occurred shortly thereafter.

"Oh, bloody hell," muttered Draco.

"Godsdammit, it was going so well," Neville said to Draco.

"Bugger, it's the idiot," said Harry Potter, not so sotto voce.

Six pairs of female eyes snapped angrily at Ron. Ginny's wand slid into her hand, with just the tip showing betwixt her thumb and fore-finger.

Draco frowned briefly, then silently cast a Malfoy family spell at Ron.

"Where the hell have you been, Ginny?" Ron yelled somewhat less loudly. "I haven't seen you since the day after we got back." He paused briefly. Neville's wand tip barely showed, followed by a muttered "Compulso veritas."

Draco raised an eyebrow. "This bears some thought." He caught Neville's eye, then looked down at his hand, quirking his eyebrow again. Neville smiled. It wasn't a pleasant smile. Draco grinned hugely. Harry missed all of it, his complexion was tinging toward pink.

"And when I finally find you," Ron continued, his volume increaszing as his complexion went Weasley red, "You're with two snakes, the squib, a pair of loser duffers, the cheater, the bookworm, and Looney."

"MISTER WEASLEY," Dumbledore roared angrily. He'd been ignored by all and sundry, now the Weasley boy was interrupting him. His complexion darkened a couple of shades.

"Sod off, Dumbledore," Weasley sneered. "You're a has-been anyhow."

"That has to be a four-and-a-half, Potter," Draco commented. Dumbledore's right eye was twitching with a tic, a blood vessel was throbbing on his left temple.

"Five," Harry responded.

"Gentlemen, I disagree," Neville stated.

Harry and Draco stared at him. "Why?" they both chorused.

"Because I'm a better anatomist," Neville replied. "That's not an artery, that's a vein. He's at a Vernon Eight."

"Wow," the two boys chorused again.

Harry turned to Draco. "Ten galleons he blows it, Draco."

"Twenty on Neville doing it," Draco countered.

Harry glanced at Dumbledore, then Ronald. "Done. Neville's an amateur, Weasley's a pro."

Dumbledore's complexion darkened several shades. "WHAT ARE YOU TWO TALKING ABOUT?"

Neville looked at Dumbledore cooly, then drawled "They're making a bet, Dumbles. Must you interfere with gentlemen gambling, along with everything else you meddle with?"

Dumbledore turned almost black. A strangled sound came from his mouth, his eyes began to bulge.

"Pffft," Neville sounded comtemptuouly. "The Russians have a term for people like you, Dumbles. Nekulturny." He half-turned toward Draco and Harry. "That means just what it sounds like, 'Without Culture.' Fits Dumbles like a glove."

Dumbledore made another strangled sound and collapsed, blood bursting from his eyes, nose, and ears.

"Well, fuck," Harry said as he handed Draco twenty galleons. "Weasley, you're worthless, and you cost me twenty galleons. Piss off."

"I'm worthless?" Ron shouted. "You're fucking that mudblood bookworm slut, you cheater! Probably Loony and the two Hufflesluts, too. Even you won't stoop to fucking a snake."

Harry's eyes narrowed to slits, his wand fell into his hand. Then he stepped back a pace as the Bloody Baron appeared in front of the three men. Wands had appeared in the hands of the six women.

"Lord Potter-Black," the Baron hissed in an urgent manner. "I suggest you, Lord Longbottom, and Lord Malfoy inform the Headmistress of her change in status. Immediately." He looked over his shoulder at the six women, who had surrounded the Weasel. "Gentlemen," he said in a somewhat desperate tone, "as a warrior of some reknown, I know the value of a strategic retreat." He looked over at the group of women. The Grey Lady had materialized next to Luna. "Mother of God!" the Baron exclaimed, albeit in an almost whisper. He signed himself with the Cross. "Now, gentlemen. NOW!"

Harry and Draco stood as if paralyzed. Neville grabbed their arms. "Come on, you two." He looked at the Baron. "M'lord Baron, we'd be pleased if you, the Friar, and Sir Nicholas would join us."

"Please, William," hissed Sir Nicholas. "SHE's here. Let us find the Headmistress."

"Indeed," the Baron replied. "With, as it were, all due haste."

When they were halfway to the alcove, Peeves popped in next to the Baron. "M'lord ..."

"We know, Peeves," said Sir Nicholas. "Come with us."

"Oh, thank you," Peeves babbled. "SHE's here. SHE's angry."

"They're ALL angry, Peeves," the Baron hissed. "Make haste, gentlemen."

Weasley's voice carried across the hall. " ... and the damn 'Claws probably have to look it up."

Peeves' head rotated in a half-circle, then snapped back. "M'lords," he wailed, "MYRTLE has joined HER and the little Moon girl."

The group broke into a flat-out run. The remaining males in the hall began to group together, behind the girls and the two ghosts, on the side away from the rest of the women. Peeves wrenched open the door to the alcove and they spilled inside as the door slammed shut.

McGonagall raised both eyebrows. "I presume there is a reason for this, gentlemen?"

"Ron," Neville stated.

"What on earth has Mister Weasley done now?"

The Baron nodded to Peeves, who opened the door, just in time to hear Ron continue his monologue. " ... not good for a damn thing but fucking. Except the snake sluts, they aren't good for even that."

"Really!"

"Mistress," Peeves pleaded, "SHE's there. And little Myrtle. And the Moon girl. And ..." he trailed off. "Angry. They're all angry."

"Oh, dear," McGonagall said in a quiet voice. "Helena is upset? And Myrtle?"

"Headmistress, they passed 'upset' long ago," Neville said.

"Homicidal rage is much closer," Draco added.

"And that's an understatement," Harry finished.

"Minerva," the Baron started, "let us take the children somewhere safe. They don't need to see this. I don't want to see this, and I've sacked cities."

"Oh, dear," McGonagall repeated herself. "Children, go with these gentlemen and the ghosts. They'll explain when you get there." She quirked an eyebrow at the Baron.

"Slytherin," said Harry. "It's the safest place."

"I concur," stated the Baron.

"Come with us," Neville said as Draco began to lead them out of the alcove. As the door closed they heard McGonagall.

"MISTER WEASLEY! EXACTLY WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?"