Harry was recounting the stilted conversation over dinner, as he lay listening to Ron's beam-vibrating snores in their shared bedroom. While there was little expectation of being told anything, he found the most irksome thing to be the continual shudders and expressions of fear whenever the name 'Voldemort' was uttered. They listened to everything Dumbledore said. Why not this as well? But no! Everyone seemed to be competing with each other as far as the extent of the display of their fear went.

Sirius said the name. Lupin did too. Bill did as well. The first two were likely to have faced Voldemort before, but Bill wasn't. Yet he wasn't stupidly scared into following the learned response that the rest of those who were kids at the time used. And of their generation, Sirius and Lupin seemed to be aberrations.

The question plagued him a lot. And in the entire house, the only one who seemed willing to give him any information at all was Sirius, yet he was muzzled by his new jailers. Well, so long as it was in private, nobody else had any fucking business as far as what he asked him, and what Sirius told him.

Decision made, Harry wasted no time at all.

Sirius was sleeping like the dead in his room. He was not too pleased to be woken, but seeing Harry's confused frown, he woke up to see what his pup wanted.

"Padfoot?" asked Harry without preamble. "Why is everyone so afraid of the name? Only you and Lupin say it at all."

"You woke me up for this?" grumbled Sirius, before blinking blearily and opening his eyes wider. "Oh, well, last time around, he had put up something called the Taboo. Anytime his name was said, Death Eater squads would appear."

"Even if someone said something like "Long Live Lord Voldemort or something?"" asked Harry quickly.

"No. They were not all marked, but the intention was supporting Voldemort wasn't it?"

"So, how do you and Lupin say it?"

"Well," Sirius started, fearing this part. "We used to trap them and kill most of the Death Eaters. It stuck, sort of."

"That's brilliant!" Harry replied.

This was certainly not what Sirius had expected in response.

"How is that brilliant?"

"Tell me, what else can the Taboo do? How does it work?"

"It is attached to a runic scheme see? And it has to be widespread. The Taboo was just a warning and locating spell, kind of. It told the controllers that the word was said and where. And there had to be some sort of intent thing to, as I told."

"So can one tie, I don't know, switching spells or something to it?"

"In theory, yes, one could. However, it would take severe power. You know, depending on what was being switched, the mass of it and what it was being switched with and everything."

"Did it work through anti-portkey spells?"


"And can Portkeys be made with the co-ordinates one could get from the Taboo?"


"Can a Rune stone be used to perform any spell without the wand?"


"Can a Rune stone required to perform one specific task be turned into a portkey?"


"Can it have something like a Portkey attached to it physically?"


"Can it have two functions? Suppose there is self-destruction function with it? Does it need to come into contact with the thing being switched?"

"Yes. The maximum per stone is three. It needs reasonable contact. You know bones can be transplanted if the stone is touched to the body part where the new bone is to be transplanted. It is better than Skele-Grow for adults."

Harry's frown had long since turned into a grin. Sirius looked at his godson, and for a moment was going to order James to tell him what the prank was, before he caught himself. Or maybe he had to stop himself from begging Lily to not hurt him or whoever else had just angered her.


"How long does it take to set the Taboo up?"

"I don't know. I've never done it."

"Do you know how?"

"It is powerful magic because of its effects. Plus it has the ability to be used for dark purposes. Of course it would be available in the Black library."

"If I asked you, could you do it?"

"Depends," Sirius temporised. "I need to know what to do with it."

"Well, let's just say that somebody uses the M-word."


"And this someone, dependent on the intent, gets hit by a Rune Stone that..."

Harry described his idea, and Sirius blanched, then laughed. Strictly speaking, this was the sort of thing he would have done, if he had just thought of it.

"So for how long will it stay that way?"

"One minute?" pondered Harry.

"You think they would take the hint in a minute?"

"Well, too long and it would give the game away."

"That's right," Sirius agreed. "I think we can still do it for ninety seconds."

"Alright," agreed Harry.

"We will start working on it in the morning," Sirius promised.

Four days later, the scheme was ready.

"It's a pity we can't test it on anyone."

"Kreacher, maybe?" asked Sirius.


"Alright," allowed Padfoot with a sigh. "We will just wait and watch. It will happen anyway."

So the two powered the scheme and activated it.

Barely seconds later, they had to run out of the room as the location and warning scheme started pinging repeatedly, at more than ten per minute. They had tested that before, of course, so they knew it worked. So this was a test for the about two thousand people they knew would use the word with that intent. The two thousand premade stones and the associated Portkeys flew off their holders like hot cakes.

The two madmen grinned in unison. Two hours later, they were opening the next consignment of two thousand stones and portkeys.

The next morning, the shrill scream of Molly Weasley woke the whole house. She was standing over the body of Kreacher. It was bulging and was oozing a thick brown liquid from every orifice.

Kreacher was bleeding mud.

It was brutal.

The Daily Prophet never came that day. Nor the next or on the days after it, for some months.

It was Kingsley Shacklebolt who was the bearer of news.

"The world, as we knew it and wanted to arrest, is dead."

Nobody saw the looks of horror on the two faces, as he described what had happened in each case, including the descriptions of the dead bodies of several people of all ages including Voldemort.

Nobody could find out why Sirius Black and Harry Potter never spoke again.