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Loves Secrecy

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Dr. Julian Bashir: You gave me answers, all right, but they were all different. What I want to know is of all the stories you told me, which ones were true and which ones weren't?
Garak: My dear Doctor, they were all true.
Bashir: Even the lies?
Garak: Especially the lies.

A character who really loves to keep secrets from others, but rather than keep these secrets quietly they delight in telling others they know something and won't tell. Depending on the context, this trait may be seen as either extremely irritating (when you need some really important information) or extremely endearing (when the "secret" turns out to be some really cool surprise).

A subtrope of It Amused Me, and often overlaps with Delighting in Riddles and Teasing from Behind the Language Barrier. We Would Have Told You, But... and Figure It Out Yourself may sometimes serve as formal excuses for this, but the said character's reactions would still betray this motive.

In Real Life, children often tend to be this, especially when they go through a phase of fascination with codes, mysteries, ciphers, etc. Adults, on the contrary, usually indulge in this only when speaking about Christmas/birthday presents and other surprises. An adult who behaves like this in everyday life can be either annoying or endearingly quirky.


Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • C. C. from Code Geass loves to withhold information, only telling people enough to make them wonder.
  • It's hard to tell when Nona from Death Parade is being honest and when she's lying. She shares many secrets with many different characters, but any time she reveals information, her story seems to change a little. She often contradicts herself, she'll lie to her employees with a cheerful grin, and she enjoys using vague aphorisms to get out of explaining things properly.
  • The self-proclaimed "mysterious priest" Xellos from Slayers; his catchphrase is "Sore wa himitsu desu", literally "That is a secret".

    Comic Strips 
  • In a Calvin and Hobbes arc where Calvin wants to be a tiger, he reads from a book that tigers are secretive. Hobbes then claims to know many secrets and refuses to tell any to Calvin, which drives him crazy. Eventually Hobbes tells Calvin one of his "secrets", which is that his parents bought him at the flea market for a nickel.

    Fan Fiction 

    Literature 
  • Mikuru from Haruhi Suzumiya is a time traveler who has to keep some information secret, therefore she has a mental censor prompting her to say "Classified information" every time she is about to reveal something she shouldn't. However, sometimes she says "Classified Information" in a playful/teasing way.
  • Sherlock Holmes likes to keep most of his conclusions secret, up until The Reveal; this trait was passed on to many other fictional detectives.
  • Raffles, who is basically an Evil Counterpart to Holmes, likewise tends to keep his sidekick/chronicler in the dark; this usually tends to bite him in the ass.
  • Hercule Poirot also tends to be this.
  • Emmie Reese, the main character's wife from The Harry Reese Mysteries series by Robert Bruce Stewart. She simply loves all sorts of pranks, surprises, and schemes, and keeps many secrets from her husband. She will only speak clearly when she absolutely has to; otherwise she almost always speaks in riddles.
  • In Mercedes Lackey's works, this is a trademark of cats
    • When Karal, the focus character of the Mage Storms trilogy, gets a Spirit Advisor in the form of an angelic cat, a horse-shaped Companion quickly volunteers to join him too, on the pretext that a cat might not give him a straight answer. The cat does present himself as The Needless, unlike Companions with their living, mortal bodies, but the Companion later reveals that he does in fact sleep and steals food from the kitchens.
    • In Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, cats are this with humans but irrepressible gossips with each other, meaning anyone who Speaks Fluent Animal — as many of the series' protagonists do — can learn a lot by listening in.

    Live-Action TV 
  • River Song from Doctor Who is also a time traveler who has to keep information from the Doctor to avoid time paradoxes. She really likes to tease him by saying "Spoilers!"
  • Elim Garak of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is a Consummate Liar who delights in befuddling other characters by dribbling out just enough information that he can then make fun of their attempts to guess the truth. We do eventually learn some solid details of his backstory despite him, though, namely that he is a disgraced former operative of the Obsidian Order (the Cardassian equivalent to the KGB) and the illegitimate son of its then-head Enabran Tain. Still, after a particularly good trolling session at Worf's expense, he remarks:
    Garak: Lying is a skill like any other, and if you want to maintain a level of excellence you have to practice constantly.
    Worf: Practice on someone else.
    Garak: Mr. Worf, you're no fun at all.

    Video Games 
  • The Overwatch community ended up playing a drawn-out ARG in the leadup to the release of Sombra, with many of the clues originating from the character herself. These included ciphers, dead ends, fake website, red herrings, and a months-long countdown; all peppered with teasing hints and encouragements in Spanish. When she was finally introduced in the Infiltration short, Sombra was shown to be exactly as much of a troll in-universe as her teasing during the ARG indicated her to be.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Agatha Christie could have had a touch of this. She was extremely secretive all her life; once in her child years, when she was asked why she didn't tell her mother something, she replied: "I donít care for parting with information". Her play, The Mousetrap, is the only detective work at the end of which the viewers are specifically asked not to reveal the ending to others...which is really telling something.

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