Last time in Just Talking: Harry's Hogwarts Mission

"Nevertheless, you simply cannot tell something like this to other students, even if they are Slytherins. Somebody will forget to be careful, they will whisper or talk about this mission in a room or hallway where portraits hang around. In Hogwarts there is always a risk that other students or a teacher overhears them, then somebody else hears about the story, they talk with somebody else, and just like that, the portraits pick upon it and blab to Albus. Everything could be ruined and not only your life would be endangered. The portraits and ghosts report directly to the Headmaster of Hogwarts, for Salazar´s sake! You want us to win this war as quietly as possible, with as few innocent casualties as possible; I do understand that, even if you did not say anything. So stealth and staying in the shadows is the way we must operate."

Harry looked at Voldemort's face while he spoke, worrying his bottom lip, but then he bowed his head, thoroughly chastised. "Yes sir, I'll be careful."

~...~

After a moment Harry had another idea, so he looked up again and asked quietly, "Marvolo?"

"Yes?"

"Uhm, couldn't I just – well, I recently read something. Couldn't I put my friends or all Slytherins under a Geas or something like that?" Harry asked hopefully.

Voldemort quirked a questioning eyebrow and made a gesture for Harry to continue.

"I know it is possible to control secrets this way," Harry explained, "the other person cannot talk about the secret to anyone that doesn't already know of it. We, I mean Severus and I, did something similar before telling the twins, Remus, Luna, Cory, Blaise and Pansy about my and Hedwig's true self, Potter Manor, and why I was willing to cooperate with you; or later why Neville Longbottom is really Cory LeStrange. I also made the LeStrangers and the other Death Eaters visiting my manor swear on their magic not to give the location or existence of Potter Manor away without my consent."

Voldemort narrowed his eyes in thought. "Well, yes, of course. Which definition of a Geas did you read?"

Harry replied promptly, "A Geas is a either a voluntary vow to keep information hidden, or a curse, an obligation placed forcefully upon a person to not be able to speak about certain information. They will be unable to utter the forbidden words. They will be punished if they try, like feel a stab of pain or cough and choke, depending on the wishes of the caster."

"That is correct," Voldemort agreed, before pointing out, "Now consider that the people you mentioned all made their vows voluntary, which is a tremendous difference to cursing someone or a large number of people or a certain room with such a Geas. You have to have a very good grasp on the Mind Arts to get it right to guard a complex secret and not just a word, like a certain name or a location. Do you remember how I did that to protect you before you and your friends were presented at that first Death Eater meeting?"

Harry nodded."Yes, sir."

"However," Voldemort said, "I believe it is important that you train yourself to analyze and compartmentalize such information handling better and, as I already pointed out, to train your friends to work on a need to know basis. Don't misunderstand me; I do not doubt your abilities or power. In time you will learn how to cast such spells very precisely, same as Oblivate and Imperius. Severus and Bella tell me that your abilities to Occlude, or to use Imperius and Oblivate are really good for a sixteen year old, and I agree, especially after you allowed me into your mind several times during this summer."

Hearing this, Harry couldn't repress a proud smile breaking all over his face. Voldemort's lips quirked for a moment into an answering smile, it was simply impossible to resist a beaming Harry.

Then he turned serious again and cautioned the younger wizard, "Harry, you should not depend too much upon magic to solve every problem or situation. Sometimes good old fashioned caution, cunning and secrecy are just as good or even better. You hid yourself behind a perfect mask by acting and keeping information to yourself for years, fooling everybody. And do you think Severus would be where he is today without his paranoia, his spying and misleading skills? Or that he or you would still be alive, for that matter?"

Seeing the thoughtful expression and the frown on the younger man's brow, he added, "Your parents are dead because they trusted in Albus, a friend and the protective power of the Fidelius charm."

Harry flinched, he cleared his throat. This was a sobering thought.

Voldemort paced back and forth a minute, before he stopped in front of Harry again, addressing his main concern. "I must say I am rather apprehensive about you young people keeping everything from this summer a secret. It does not matter if you all are quite adept at Occlumency, and if all your friends or the whole of Slytherin house were under a Geas – if you or any two students in the know were talking in the Great Hall, or a hallway or a classroom about this summer, what you did and know, or our possible trip to Paris, without casting adequate protection, like Muffliato and other anti-eavesdropping or silencing spells – that is enough for a portrait or a ghost to pick up a few words and tell Albus potentially dangerous information. This could lead to suspicion and questions that we do not need at all. Be especially wary in the Defence classroom, because I'm absolutely sure that Albus will check on the portraits in there regularly. He shall observe Lucius and try to discover his hidden agenda."

Harry looked surprised and contrite at the Dark Lord, he had not really thought about viewing the matter from this point of view before, but it made a lot of sense. "OK, thank you Marvolo, you're right of course. I'll tell everyone to consider this and to be really careful. Are Severus' rooms or the Slytherin common room and their dormitories safe?"

Voldemort nodded, "Yes. You can speak freely in Severus' office or his private quarters if he allows that and until now the Slytherin quarters have been safe. The few portraits down there are only loyal to Salazar Slytherin, his heir and the current Slytherin Head of House. The Bloody Baron is loyal to our house too, of course. Best ask Severus again after he has had time to check the dungeons for any new or exchanged portraits right before the start of term."

Harry grinned relieved. "Ok, I'll remember." His head was whirling with all that he had to keep track of, but he enjoyed their intense talks today nevertheless. What a difference to the Headmasters' half-truths and double meaning hints that were so often dropped like breadcrumbs to a pet!

~ TBC ~

AN-1: Thank you all so much for your patience. I don't have any good excuses for the long wait or this shortest ever chapter, sorry, just the usual RL often hindering my muse and I did – and still do - need to work with Mykkila09 on the next few RDA chapters. Thanks again for reading, reviewing and adding my (and Mykkila09's ) work to your Alerts or Favourites. More is coming soon.

AN-2: I am so terribly excited to finally experience the new, final Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows film after watching so many clips, like the trio climbing out of the lake after jumping of the dragon where Harry tells them that You-Know-Who knows what they are doing. Watching the London premiere on July 7th was so fabulous and emotional, and just now I'm following the NY premiere, hear the fans screaming like mad, but can't see much. On July 13th, Wednesday evening its time, my family and I got tickets, yeah! Great to live in Germany, we get to see HP 7.2 before the US. Bet you there across the pond are now sooo jealous… *wink*

OMG! Just now they said on MTV live-stream Severus Snape won in the MTV World Cup and Alan Rickman got a big silver goblet as prize…like the GOF! I voted for Snape, of course ;-)