Harry Potter was just finishing up his last report for the week and was excited to finally be able to go home on time for the first time he got the position of head Aurora, when his best mate, colleague, and fellow troublemaker Ron Weasley walked into his office with a grin that should have been setting off every warning alarm in the building. It was a grin that would not be uncommon if it were on one of the Weasley twins, but on Ron it meant something big was going down and his friend was somehow in the middle of it all and benefiting from the wreckage. Harry quickly put his work aside with a few mumbled spells to keep his paperwork from being damaged in any way before turning narrowed eyes on his oldest friend and asking in a voice that rang with accusation, "What are you up to?"
Ron snorted as he had a seat on the edge of his desk and said, "Not to worry mate, you'll be right pleased with what I'm about to tell you, no doubt. I've got some big news and since you're my best mate I wanted to be the one to fill you in."
Harry felt suddenly even more suspicious of that evil grin spreading a crossed his best friends face and his voice was low and even, a sure sign he was about to lose his temper, when he asked, "What is it?"
Ron paled a bit at the tone of voice Harry had used, knowing from experience that it was a sure sign of trouble he quickly cut to the chase and said, "Malfoy Senior finally croaked, now Malfoy is suppose to inherit everything from daddy dearest, but apparently some clause in the old pureblood rules say he has to pay off any debts before he can inherit any of the Malfoy properties, he's already got all the bank accounts and family heirlooms, but apparently he really wants to inherit all the family lands."
Harry rubbed his temples, his friend had only been in his office a minute and he was already giving him a headache. He took a few calming breaths, because it really wouldn't do to ruin a lifelong friendship by yelling at said friend, and asked in as calm a voice as he could manage, "What does that have to do with me or even for that matter you?"
Ron grinned and said, "Because Malfoy owes us at least a couple life debts."
Harry felt his anger dissipate as the realization struck. Ron, seeing his friends change of expression quickly cut to the chase, "He's already been to see Neville and Hermione, and neither would tell me exactly what he said, but they both revoked his debt. I figure he's working smallest to biggest so he'll likely go to Luna, then Seamus and Dean, then Me, than you. Just thought I would give you the heads up, so you can think about what you want to get from the ferret."
Ron grinned as he said the last bit, and standing he headed for the door. Harry frowned and asked, "So you're going to revoke his debt? I thought you hated him?"
Ron frowned and said, "Well yeah I hate the git, but even if he was broke, ugly, and a muggleborn, I still would find some way he could pay back the debt, because even I don't hate the ferret enough to hold a life debt over his head."
Harry frowned and asked, "What do you mean?"
Ron frowned and said, "You're coming to our place for dinner tonight, right? I'll have Hermione explain life debts and the effect they can have on magic and all that hogwash, then once you've figure out just how much the ferret owes you, you can help me figure out how much money I can get out of the ferret."
Harry quickly forgot about his paperwork as he and his best mate headed down to the floo, it had been far too long since they last talked and Ron was in a good mood. When they finally got to Ron and Hermione's flat, Harry was anxious to hear Hermione's explanation of Life debts, he knew a little bit about them but he always got the impression that they weren't a big deal. Ron told his wife what they were talking about and Hermione smiled and said, "Ron why don't you go pick up some take away while I explain to Harry everything he needs to know about life debts."
Ron groaned but quickly did as his wife bid him, once he had stepped through the flames Hermione turned on her teacher mode and explained, "As you know, Life Debts are acquired when one person saves another person's life. The person being saved then owes the one doing the saving a life debt, and the bigger the threat to the saviors safety the bigger the debt owed."
Harry frowned and asked, "A life debt's a life debt. How can it be bigger or smaller?"
Hermione smiled and said, "Well you see, life debts are a type of magic, and magic always wants to balance out. Say you saved my life by pushing me out of the way of a moving truck and there was no risk to your safety but you still managed to save me, I would owe you a life debt but it would be rather small. I might feel the need to repay it, but I wouldn't be compelled to do anything I wouldn't normally do just to pay it back. In that case I might just lone you my notes for a class I knew you were struggling in, or help you with a bit of spell work you didn't understand but I had a firm grasp on. Now a bigger life debt would be if you risked your own life, or the life of those closest to you, by saving my life. In that case even just one life debt of that size would affect my very magic. I would feel compelled to do anything and everything you wanted me to do until the magic finally deemed the debt paid. Now those two cases weren't so sever because I am your friend and I have never threatened your life personally, if I had been your enemy or if I had been someone who had tried to hex you, and you had saved my life, even at the risk of losing your own life, then the debt for that would be so large that I would not be able to overcome it on my own and my magic would need you to verbally revoke the debt, such is the case with Malfoy."
Harry had blinked and stared in wide-eyed surprise until Ron arrived. As they sat down at the table and started dishing out the different courses, Harry asked, "So what did you ask Malfoy for in return for revoking the life debt?"
Hermione grinned and said, "Draco Malfoy is now a proud member of SPEW and has donated a small sum to help for the legal team that is working to free house elves from abusive environments, he even signed several forms stating that he will give the Malfoy house elves at least one day, of their choosing, off, and will pay them for their surfaces."
Harry laughed at that and Ron said, "Hermione, the man owed you an even bigger life debt than he owes me, you could have gotten at least a hundred galleons out of him."
Hermione rolled her eyes and said, "Honestly Ron, not everything is about money. Besides, having Draco's signature has boosted the number of SPEW supporters tenfold."