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Static: Mr. Hawkins, I'm glad to see you're okay.

Mr. Hawkins: You can drop the act, Virgil.

Static: You know?

Mr. Hawkins: Wasn't hard to figure out. Why else kidnap me to get to Static? And maybe, maybe in the back of my mind, I've always known.


We all know about Secret Keepers: One or two people that The Hero trusts enough to tell about his superpowers. However, there are also "secret" Secret Keepers who figured out the character's secret on their own, and instead of confronting the hero about the secret, decide to keep things quiet. They then almost always take it upon themselves to help the hero secretly from the sidelines by creating distractions to allow the character to slip away to change unnoticed, letting the hero know about dangers or problems that need the hero's attention, and so on.

If a reason why they don't just tell the hero, "I know," is given, it's usually pretty flimsy.

Sub-Trope of Secret Keeper. See Also: I Know You Know I Know

Examples of Secret Secret Keeper include:

Anime

  • An occult Otaku character in the Vampire Princess Miyu TV series is an an asymmetric Secret Keeper. However, at the end of the first episode, he confronts Miyu, and she frightens and deceives him into walking off a roof to his death, because he asked her to make him a vampire and started going on about being above the normal people -- Miyu found this an offensive misunderstanding of the role of vampires in the setting -- both making him Sacrificial Lamb to further establish the series' dark tone, and helping to establish Miyu's role as a Dark Magical Girl in the early series.
  • In Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne, Miyako kept her knowledge of Maron's secret until she is ready to tell her.
  • In Tokyo Mew Mew, Ichigo worries on a regular basis about people discovering her secret, and on many an occasion, her worry works her up enough to almost let it slip. However, Aoyama Masaya, the one person that she wanted never to find out because she was sure he'd reject her, figured out her identity on his own and is perfectly fine with it. This is the point where they become without a doubt an Official Couple. Unknown to the both of them, he has some not-quite-normal qualities himself.
  • Honoka's grandmother, Sanae, in Futari wa Pretty Cure. It's unclear just how much of the secret she knows, though. She seems to enjoy being mysterious about it.
  • Daisuke Suwa, the male lead of Bitter Virgin, knows of the traumatic events in Hinako's past. However, Hinako, who told it to a "priest", whom she couldn't see, has no idea of his knowledge.
  • Euphemia for Lelouch in Code Geass; at least, for a little while. She's the first person to figure out Zero's true identity, but keeps this to herself until the two are able to meet privately.
    • Shirley is briefly this after she finds her note to herself from before Lelouch erased her memory, and then again when Jeremiah inadvertently deactivates Charles' Geass on her.
  • There are several of those in Sakura Gari, and they all guard extremely creepy secrets:
    • Sakurako, as a child, witnessed Katsuragi and Souma killed her mother, whom everyone thought she commited suicide
    • Souma found out that Sakurako killed his ex-lover Terashima
    • The old maid and Katsuragi know that Sakurako's mother abused Souma.
  • Near the end of Sailor Moon R, it is heavily implied that Usagi's friend Naru had figured out Sailor Moon's secret identity on her own when she tells Usagi to be careful before confronting the season's Big Bad. However, they never actually confirm this directly, and then appear to Retcon this bit of character development in future seasons.
  • During the Desperate Revival arc of Detective Conan, Ran had figured out Conan was Shinichi, but didn't confront him about it because she was waiting for him to tell her. As you would expect, she's thrown off once again by the end of the arc and no longer has this role.
  • In Tiger and Bunny, Vigilante Man Lunatic/Justice Yuri Petrov knows Wild Tiger/Kotetsu T. Kaburagi's secret identity and decides to keep it to himself. Despite the antagonistic relationship between them, this actually works out for Kotetsu, as Maverick doesn't mindwipe Yuri like he does most of Kotetsu's other Secret Keepers when he Unpersons the hero. It isn't made clear as to whether or not he is able to discover Kotetsu's identity himself, or if he simply has access to the information due to his aforementioned position.
  • For the first few episodes of Sonic X, Chris and his Grandfather were this for the Sonic characters. Then came just one subversion after another as Tanaka the butler reveals he worked it out ages ago, Chris TRIED to tell his mother but she is quite frankly being mind numbingly clueless about it and they realize that they're upsetting the cleaner so much by trying to keep it quiet that they let her in on the secret - and she ends up fussing enormously over Cream and playing a substitute mother figure.
  • In Fairy Tail, it's revealed that Bickslow knew all along that Loke was really a Celestial Spirit, thanks to his Aura Vision.
    • Also at the end of the Edolas arc Lisanna, who had spent years impersonating her dead counterpart learns that Edolas Eflman and Mirajane knew all along that she really wasn't their sister.
  • Digimon Adventures: just before the climax Izzy's parents confess to him that he's adopted. (they kept it secret because they were afraid he would stop loving them) But Izzy then confesses to them that he already knew because he'd overheard them talking about it one night. He kept the fact he knew secret because as far as he was concerned his folks were terrific and it didn't matter to him at all he was adopted.

Comic Books

  • In Pre Crisis Superboy, Pete Ross is Clark Kent's Secret Secret Keeper. Later, his son discovers Superman's secret identity and, not knowing his father knows, doesn't discuss it with him.
  • Iris West, the wife of the second Flash, for a year after they got married (it turned out he talked in his sleep...); she didn't mention it because it seemed so important to him that it be a secret.
    • Ashley Zolomon becomes this for Wally West, the third Flash, after a Cosmic Retcon that caused everyone to forget his secret identity (previously it had been openly known, before that knowledge caused his wife Linda to be attacked). This gains special significance because Ashley's estranged husband-turned-supervillain was the one who attacked Linda in the first place.
      • What makes the above example interesting is that the character doesn't put two and two together on their own. To whit: during the Rogue War storyline, Zoom (Ashley's ex-hubby) speeds her to Wally's house, the one place he knows she'll be safe during the titular citywide clash, while declaring to her that Linda (who's there at the time) is the Flash's wife. Later, at the end of the story, Ashley's writing up a profile on the Flash, pauses when she gets to the section about the hero's real name, then deliberately writes "Unknown." Hence, she knows Wally is the Flash, and Linda knows that Ashley knows--but neither of them tells Wally himself.
  • In Spider-Man, both Mary Jane and Aunt May were eventually revealed to have been secret secret keepers for years (with Aunt May largely in denial), though this was not known to the reader.
  • In Ultimate Spider-Man, bully and Flash Thompson's friend Kenny McFarlane was convinced Peter Parker was Spider-Man when his personality change occurred after he was bitten by a genetically-altered spider (Kenny stepped on the spider after that). He was "proven wrong" when Kenny kicked Peter to demonstrate his reflexes, but Peter caught on and took the hit, even forcing tears. Despite that, he still believed Peter was Spider-Man and kept it to himself until their classmate Liz Allan's mutant powers manifested, at which point he let Peter know that he knew.
  • In Marvel Adventures Spider-Man Emma Frost and one of her friends find out that Peter's Spider-Man due to Emma's psychic powers. Cue Peter Parker Held Hostage where she psychically manipulates a group of thugs to assault Peter's high school. She later decides not to blab once they find out that the reason Peter's Spider-Man is because of his tragic past.
  • In a classic Frank Miller Daredevil arc, Daily Bugle reporter Ben Urich discovered Daredevil's secret identity of Matt Murdock, and considered reporting it. He ultimately decided that New York needed Daredevil more than he needed a Pulitzer. This subplot was also featured in the movie.
    • Later, in Brian Michael Bendis' Pulse, Urich revealed to Peter Parker that he had deduced his secret identity of Spider-Man.
  • It is sometimes suggested (but never outright stated) that DC Comics' two most prominent heroes have supporting characters who know, or strongly suspect, the hero's secret identity. It's implied that they know, and that the heroes know they know, but that no good would come from any of them actually speaking about it openly:
    • Comissioner Gordon, a skilled veteran detective, for Batman.
      • At the end of Batman: No Man's Land, Bruce takes off his mask in front of Gordon to regain his trust. Gordon refuses to look at him and says "If I wanted to know, I could have discovered it ten years ago. And for all you know, I did. But that's not the point."
    • Perry White, a crack investigative reporter, for Superman.
  • In Spider Girl, one of May Parker's classmates thinks he's a secret keeper for Spider-Girl, but he picked the wrong girl!

Film

  • In the film Gattaca, the hero Vincent Freeman steals the identity of another man in order to avoid the inevitable genetic discrimination that would bar him from his dream mission of flying to Saturn's moon, Titan. He forges urine samples, blood tests, and physical exams for years when a surprise exam reveals that the resident doctor has known he was a "borrowed ladder" all along, but he looks the other way because he himself has an "inferior," natural-born child.

Literature

  • The Deryni Duncan McLain continued the secret begun by his grandparents: his mother Vera was the fraternal twin sister of Alaric Morgan's mother Alyce deCorwyn. In 1121 he thinks only himself, Alaric and King Kelson know this, so he's shocked when a stranger who looks like Saint Camber greets him on the road to Coroth with the words, "Hail, Duncan of Corwyn."
  • Vorkosigan Saga: It is revealed in his parting words to Miles, after announcing his retirement in Brothers in Arms, that Ky Tung has figured out who Admiral Naismith really is. Bel Thorne also reveals in Mirror Dance that it's known for some time too.
  • In Harry Potter, Hermione manages to figure out Lupin was a werewolf, but kept it to herself, until she came to the belief that Lupin was an accomplice to Sirius Black.

Live Action TV

  • In Mahou Sentai Magiranger, Yuka Yamazaki, the love interest of red ranger Kai, starts the series as his crush before getting her own crush on Magired a few episodes in. During The Movie that takes place a little more than halfway through the series, she figures out that Kai and Magired are one and the same, but never admits it to him over the course of the rest of the show. She simply makes occasional vague jokes, turns on the flirting a bit more, and quietly prays for his safety in the more dangerous battles.
    • Tensou Sentai Goseiger has Nozomu Amachi as the team's official Secret Keeper, with his father, Professor Amachi, seemingly oblivious to the fact that Alata and his friends are Gosei Angels. Towards the end of the series, however, when Eri must use her Magic Music to heal Nozomu's injuries, Amachi reveals that he has known for some time who the Goseigers really are.
  • In Smallville Chloe plays this for the second half of the fourth season.
    • Lois is one of these from the season nine finale until episode five of season 10. During a good portion of season ten (even after he finds out that she knows) there's a hilarious level of Lois trying to hide Clark's identity from characters who already know it, like Chloe and Tess.
  • In the finale of The Secret World of Alex Mack, Alex learns that the truck driver who doused her all those years ago actually knew who she was, but never said a word.

 Alex Mack: You knew, didn't you? You knew this whole time that it was me, but you didn't say anything because you knew I didn't want you to.

Dave Watt: Yeah.

Alex: Thanks.

Dave: You're welcome. (Alex gives Dave a hug in gratitude)

    • Dave is actually lying. He didn't know the whole time: there was an earlier A Day in the Limelight episode where Dave manages to figure it out but decides to keep the secret.

 Dave: [watching from a distance] Don't worry, Alex. Your secret is safe with me.

  • In one episode of Disney's Zorro, Diego is waylaid by a Zorro impersonator. When he defeats and unmasks the impostor, he discovers it's his father, Alejandro, who admits he's known the truth about his son's secret identity for a long time - and just stopped him from making a terrible mistake.

Video Games

  • In Batman: Arkham City, Hugo Strange learns Batman's identity by profiling him. Despite threatening to reveal it should Bats intervene in his plans, he never does so and dies without explaining why.
    • Not quite- near the end of the game its revealed that he revealed it to Ra's Al Ghul. Batman knew that Ra's Al Ghul knew his Secret Identity and has known for some time, but its only in this game that Hugo Strange was the source of that info. So, since he gave the identity to Batman's most powerful enemy, he probably doesn't really count as such. As to why he never told the world, there are likely a number of reasons, but in the Interview tapes you can hear him using his knowledge to mess with Catwoman, Penguin and especially Riddler, albeit in different ways. Its likely he just enjoyed the power that secret knowledge gave him.

Web Comics

  • Non-Supers example: Haley and Roy from Order of the Stick have both caught on that Belkar is only faking his alignment shift away from Psychotic Evil, but have agreed not to call him out for it, preferring how he acts now.
  • From El Goonish Shive, Nanase's mother knows quite a bit about Nanase's magical ability, but doesn't want this knowledge to become known, even going so far as to have a government agent convince Nanase to continue keeping magic a secret from her family.
  • Girl Genius had this expanded to the point where one character finds himself Locked Out of the Loop when the secret that never was discussed is finally disclosed.

Western Animation

  • Danny Phantom: Danny's sister Jazz kept her knowledge of his powers secret from him for a while, and believed that Danny would tell her when he was ready. This led to such lines as "You go... somewhere I can't see you and get help!"
  • Juniper Lee's brother Dennis knows of the magical world all along.
    • Until "Sealed With a Fist", he hadn't believed it or known about his sister's role.
  • In Hey Arnold!, Brainy stalks Helga whenever she goes, and thus knows all of her secrets. However, Helga doesn't seem to realize it, despite talking openly about her secret love in front of him. Nevertheless, Helga keeps punching him in the face. Running Gag much?
    • It's been implied once or twice that he may or may not think she's actually talking about him.
  • Greta, Zick's mother, is this in Monster Allergy when she doesn't tell Zick that she can see monsters also until she is ready to.
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man, it's become increasingly obvious over the second season that Captain George Stacy knows that Peter is Spider-Man and is covering for both identities when necessary. A borderline case of Secret Secret Keeper as Peter has by now been given more hints than he needed to figure that out for himself, but neither of them have gone so far as to say it outright.
  • Subverted with Candace from Phineas and Ferb... sort of...

  "MOOOOOOOOOOM!!!"

    • Actually, the boys don't even realize there's a secret that requires keeping.
  • In X-Men: Evolution, Amanda Sefton sees Kurt with his image inducer turned off and using his teleporting powers once. This increases her interest in him and she tries to pursue him romantically. She later admits she knows about him, and then just becomes a regular Secret Keeper for the existence of the mutants until The Masquerade is broken.
  • Virgil's dad at the end of Static Shock.
  • Queen Marlena in He Man and The Masters of The Universe. Several episodes of the 80s cartoon hint at her knowing Prince Adam is He-Man but she never quite comes out and says it. On at least two occasions she has deliberately put her son in a position where he can help people as He-Man.
  • Twist to the formula in Young Justice. Instead of a civilian keeping the superhero's secret, Artemis has her superhero teammate, Robin, keeping the fact that her immediate family is all supervillains and that she's not really related to Green Arrow secret. This does not, however, stop him from trolling her with the knowledge. Artemis is actually terrified of what everyone will think of her if her secret comes out, so its pretty cool of Robin that he's known all along but has trusted her completely from the beginning.
    • Red Arrow knows that she isn't who she claims to be, but has let her know this and says that though he doen't trust her, he does trust Batman and Green Arrow (who obviously know everything, possibly so do the rest of the League) and won't tell the team.
  • In Batman the Animated Series, Barbara Gordon attempts to come out to her father as Batgirl. Before she can state it outright, he heavily implies that he already knows, is proud of her, and doesn't want to "officially" know.
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