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Secret Secret-Keeper

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Static: Mr. Hawkins, I'm glad to see you're okay.
Robert Hawkins: You can drop the act, Virgil.
Static: You know?
Robert 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.

There's usually a given reason for this character to not just tell the hero what they know, from the reasonable to the flimsy. These include them having learnt the information in a questionable way that could force them to reveal their own secrets, circumstances being that revealing their knowledge could actually make things harder for the good guys, they've decided to wait for the hero to eventually tell them themselves, they're aware that the hero specifically doesn't want them to know the info, self-denial that this information is true, there being no good time to bring it up, or even admitting that they have no reason beyond "You Didn't Ask". Regardless, this serves as a good source of drama and comedy, as the hero and those in the loop desperately try to hide the truth from someone who is already perfectly aware of what's going on and is just playing along until the narrative decides to drop an Internal Reveal.

As for how they learnt the secret in the first place, they tend to fall into one of three camps:

  • Purely Accidental: They happened to stumble across it, were unintentionally told, or enough coincidences happened that they connected the dots.
  • Ignored or overlooked third party: They know because they were there from the beginning, and may have even played a role, but no one noticed.
  • Deliberate pursuit of knowledge: They've been actively trying to figure it out and have succeeded.

Sub-Trope of Secret-Keeper. See Also: I Know You Know I Know and Keeping Secrets Sucks. Everybody Knew Already is when everyone is this. Locked Out of the Loop is what those who are openly (so to speak) in on the secret assume of this character, which may lead to a twist, depending on whether the audience knows they know.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • 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.
  • Bleach:
    • Isshin knew Ichigo was a Soul Reaper the whole time because he's the Soul Reaper Ichigo inherited that power from.
    • Ichigo found out from Mayuri that Ikkaku possesses Bankai. Ikkaku has no idea that Ichigo knows.
  • In Bloom Into You, Sayaka is this when it comes to Touko's more vulnerable side. She's fully aware that Touko isn't as confident as she lets on, as well as more specific details about Touko, like her quest to emulate her late sister, but doesn't let on. Touko appreciates that Sayaka's willing to let her seem perfect, just like how she appreciates how she can trust Yuu with her true self. Eventually, after Touko learns the truth about her sister, Sayaka openly reveals how much she knows about Touko.
  • Loki of Boku Girl knows about Mizuki's Gender Bender, but that's because she's the cause of it. As far as Mizuki knows, Loki is a classmate who's seen he's physically female but does not know he started out male.
  • In the original Bubblegum Crisis OVA, Leon McNichol, the Cowboy Cop crossing paths with the Knight Sabers when he's not playing Casanova Wannabe for Priss, becomes her Secret Secret Keeper in the sixth episode when it's revealed he saw her face when the visor of her hardsuit broke during the climactic battle of the previous episode. He never directly reveals his knowledge, but does give Priss a cryptic warning after they both survive an encounter with the Big Bad of the arc.
  • Captain Tsubasa:
    • In the original anime, Sanae accidentally overheard how Yayoi begs Tsubasa to let Misugi's team win since he's about to be operated on and may not be able to play ever after that. Sanae never reveals this knowledge - and it's not needed since it comes out that same day.
    • In both the Shin OAV's and the manga, Hyuuga keeps to himself how he walked into Wakabayashi telling Tsubasa that his recent Jerkass behavior to the Japanese National Team is fake. When Wakabayashi explains his reasons to the team, Hyuga steps in and reveals that he knew it but said nothing out of respect for him and because it fired him up to try his hardest.
  • In Cardcaptor Sakura, Touya eventually determines that Sakura is having magical adventures (due to his ability to sense human souls) and, unlike Tomoyo who confronts her about it in the first episode, he keeps the knowledge entirely to himself, reasoning that Sakura must not want others to know if she is going to such effort to keep it a secret. For her part, Sakura assumes he can’t possibly know despite Kero’s suspicions, since she thinks he’d tease her relentlessly over it.
  • During the Desperate Revival arc of Case Closed, Ran had figured out Conan was Shinichi, but didn't confront him about it because she was waiting for him to tell her. Since Status Quo Is God, she's thrown off once again by the end of the arc and no longer has this role.
  • In Classi9, Bach and Tchaikovsky either discovered Ren's biological sex or guessed her gender, but kept it to themselves for different reasons. Bach couldn't spit it out, whereas Tchaiko decided to stick with Rentarou because Ren made it clear she referred to herself as a man in front of him. He tried to drop subtle hints that he knew with his use of honorifics, but so far it hasn't worked.
  • Code Geass:
    • At least, for a little while, Euphemia qualifies. 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. She takes the secret to the grave after Lelouch accidentally geasses her into becoming Ax-Crazy and then mercy kills her.
    • Shirley is briefly this after she finds a note she had written from before Lelouch erased her memory, and then again when Jeremiah inadvertently deactivates Charles' Geass on her. Again, she takes the secret to the grave after she runs afoul of Rolo.
    • This is downplayed in the Compilation Movie series, where she at least suspects Lelouch might be part of the Black Knights, and only Charles erases her memory. When Jeremiah cancels it this time, he immediately shows up afterwards to warn her not to look into it any further for her own safety, resulting in her encouter with Rolo being avoided. Some time after that should have happened, she encounters C.C instead, and ultimately helps her set up the events of the sequel film without Lelouch originally knowing it.
  • Crossplay Love: Otaku x Punk: Yuzuru figures out right away that Shuumei's crush Hana is actually a boy (though he doesn't know who), and that "Mei" is Shuumei. He keeps both secrets from everyone, partially for his own amusement.
  • Dengeki Daisy is an interesting case, due to the fact that the Secret Secret Keeper is the exact person that the secret is supposed to be kept from in the first place.
  • Digimon:
    • The parents of Izzy Izumi from Digimon Adventure thought that he didn't know he was adopted. In truth, Izzy found out years prior to the story due to overhearing them talk about it. He eventually reveals to them that he already knew he was adopted.
    • Suzie Wong of Digimon Tamers is one. As soon as Henry shows that Terriermon is alive, she admits that she knew it all along.
  • In Fairy Tail, it's revealed that Bickslow knew all along that Loke was really a Celestial Spirit, thanks to his Aura Vision.
  • Sugi of Girl Friends (2006) is the first, and probably only, one to figure out Mari and Akko's Secret Relationship. She occasionally teases them subtly about it, making them worry about how much she knows, and in the last chapter helps the two have some alone time together, after being surprised that she's still the only one amongst their circle of friends who figured out that the two are a couple.
  • In Hana-Kimi, earlier on, Sano found out that Mizuki was a girl but didn't tell her and helped her to cover her tracks.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Stardust Crusaders: Jotaro and Joseph were aware that Avdol was Faking the Dead and later told Kakyoin about it but not Polnareff since they figured he would blab about it in front of their enemies.
    • Steel Ball Run: Johnny discovered Hot Pants was a woman while checking her injuries, but choose to keep quiet afterwards.
  • I Think Our Son Is Gay: The premise of the series is a mother who suspects her teenage son, Hiroki, is probably gay. She's perfectly fine with it, but realizes Hiroki would rather hide it, so has opted to keep quiet and let him come out to her when he's ready.
  • Kaiju Girl Caramelise has Arata Minami eventually figure out that Kuroe Akaishi and Harugon are one and the same, deciding not to bring it up to respect her privacy. When Harugon is severely injured in a Behemoth Battle with her long-lost sister, Arata reveals that he knew her secret by jumping into the river and climbing onto her back to give her encouraging words and enable her Heroic Second Wind.
  • Karen, Ishigami, and Kashiwagi from Kaguya-sama: Love Is War all find out about Kaguya and Shirogane's Secret Relationship on their own. Kashiwagi is upgraded to being proper Secret-Keeper a few chapters after finding out, Kaguya suspects that Ishigami knows but never brings it up with him until she and Shirogane decide to go public, and absolutely no one is aware that Karen knows. Spin-Off series We Want to Talk About Kaguya also adds in Karen's best friend Erika to the list.
  • Maria no Danzai: Akihiro Yuda was sitting outside Kowase's house when Maria kidnapped him, having intended to kill him with his own hands at the time. After she killed Kowase, Yuda followed Maria to her cabin and broke in while she was gone, upon which he learned that they both wanted to kill Okaya and his gang. He kept everything a secret and shadowed Maria to assist her until she reveals herself to Yuda after he kills Iijima.
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, Negi trains with Kaede in the mountains for the day. He departs the next morning, thinking that Kaede is still asleep, unaware that she's watching (in his defense, though, with Kaede it can be hard to tell). She shrugs it off and later shows up in Kyoto when Yue calls for help. After the incident is resolved, Negi explains things to her and the others. We never find out if Kaede mentioned that she already knew.
  • One Piece:
    • In the Arlong arc, it turns out that Genzo and the rest of the village knew about Nami's quest to buy back their village. Despite being angry with Nami for allying with Arlong, Genzo refused to believe that Nami had betrayed her hometown for her mother's murderer, and got Nojiko, the only one who knew, to spill the beans. Afterward, he decided to ask everyone else who knew to keep quiet about it, so that Nami would be able to give up and flee if her quest got too difficult. Genzo only reveals the truth when Nezumi arrives to confiscate Nami's stash, and he yells that she's using the money to save her village.
    • Only three members of the Straw Hat pirates know of Zoro's attempted Heroic Sacrifice during the Thriller Bark storyline: Brook, who witnessed it; Sanji, who knew he was planning it then heard the details later from witnesses; and Robin, who used her powers to eavesdrop when Sanji got the details. Zoro himself only knows Brook is aware. The other two have kept quiet (and sworn the other witnesses to secrecy) because they all know Luffy would be devastated that Zoro would come so close to giving up his life for his sake.
    • In the Dressrosa arc, the citizens knew all along that the "fairies" of their country are actually dwarves, and that Kyros and Scarlett got together and had Rebecca. They nonetheless pretend not to know, out of respect for them. When it seems Luffy has kidnapped Rebecca, he was actually taking her to her father, the citizens weren't fooled and used the opportunity to pretend to go after Luffy, thus preventing Fujitora from dropping the rubble he kept afloat on top of Luffy.
    • In Law's flashback, during Corazon/Donquixote Rocinante's death scene, it's revealed Law knew all along that Rocinante was a marine spy. Rocinante kept it a secret from him because he knew Law hated the World Government and its employees for what they did to his country, but by the time he officially revealed it to Law, Law had already decided he didn't care, as he had come to love Rocinante as another parental figure thanks to the compassion the man had shown him during their pursuit to find a cure for Law's disease.
  • In Phantom Thief Jeanne, Miyako kept her knowledge of Maron's secret until she is ready to tell her.
  • Pretty Cure
    • 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.
    • Healin' Good♡Pretty Cure has the Cures' families and friends discover their identities during the final battle. The girls are exhausted afterwards, so they decide to keep it secret...while thanking them for what they did in their own way.
  • In Pretty Sammy, it turns out her whole class knew Sasami was Pretty Sammy and were just being polite about not letting on.
  • Rebuild World: Shizuka, then Elena and Sara figure out that Akira is a Differently Powered Individual known as an Old World Connector but don’t mention it to anyone, even him. If it was known publicly, They Would Cut You Up and he could end up as a Brain in a Jar from attempts to reverse-engineer his organic wireless Brain/Computer Interface.
  • In Reincarnated as the Piggy Duke: This Time I'm Gonna Tell Her How I Feel!, Slowe's servant Charlotte is secretly the princess of a recently-destroyed kingdom. She fears that knowledge of her identity could spark a war and endanger Slowe and his family, and so continues to pose as a commoner; however, when Slowe found her and rescued her from slavers, Spirits had already told him all of this; he continues to keep her secret, and doesn't even inform her until she tries to throw everything away to save him and others.
  • 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. A couple of other single episode only characters figure it out: Asai Tsutomu, an old friend of Minako's who figured out she was Sailor Venus when he saw Venus use Minako's special volleyball move and did hint at least he knew to her, and Saori who had a crush on Mamoru till she overheard him call Sailor Moon "Usako" and gave up on him without explaining why.
  • 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 committed suicide
    • Souma found out that Sakurako killed his ex-lover Terashima
    • The old maid and Katsuragi know that Sakurako's mother abused Souma.
  • For the first few episodes of Sonic X, Chris and his grandfather were this for the Sonic characters. Then the butler reveals he worked it out ages ago, from which point they try to at least let the other people in the house in on the secret: Chris tries to tell his mother but she reminds oblivious, though telling the cleaner does work out, with her ending up fussing enormously over Cream and playing a substitute mother figure role.
  • Much of the humor in Spill it, Cocktail Knights! comes from the fact that Sora doesn't know that her male best friend Riku knows that she isn't a boy, and for that matter, is the magical girl he has a crush on.
  • In SPY×FAMILY, due to her telepathy, Anya is the only one who knows Loid is a spy and Yor a hitwoman. She keeps quiet because of her own instructions to keep her powers secret. Fortunately, she thinks having a spy and assassin as her parents is awesome.
  • Touka Aizuki of Suki × Suki can turn invisible to everyone except her crush Ryoutaro. Despite the fact that Touka's main use of her power is hovering close to him and embracing invisibility's Power Perversion Potential, Ryoutaro's kept quiet to spare her the embarrassment of knowing he's witnessed everything she's done or said while invisible.
  • In The Summer You Were There, Shizuku reluctantly goes along with her classmate Kaori's proposal to enter a pretend relationship so that Shizuku can write a novel about it, partly because she hates herself for bullying her classmate Ruri in elementary school and believes she can only hurt others. As Shizuku finds herself enjoying her aquarium date, she is overwhelmed with guilt and confesses her secret to Kaori. Kaori accepts the news calmly, then reveals she already knew about it, since the two were in school together the year Shizuku bullied Ruri(who turns out to be friends with Kaori), and Kaori heard rumors.
  • In Tamamo-chan’s a Fox!, fox spirit and divine messenger Tamamo uses magic to take human form and attend high school. However, except for adults, her disguise is less "human form" and more "Beast Man". Because her ability to continue attending school is dependent on her identity not being found out, the classmates who know, which is all of them, don't let on that they know. Tamamo is oblivious even as people leave offerings to her in her shoe locker or pray to her.
  • In Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee, one of Lag's first assignments as a Letter Bee involves delivering a letter from a man named Vincent Alcott to his mother, in which Vincent lies about being a successful author. Lag has a dilemma over whether he's doing the right thing by delivering a letter full of lies, but while defeating a Gaichuu at the end of the delivery, his Shindan shows the heart inside the letter, revealing that Vincent told the lies so that his mother wouldn't worry. However, it turns out that Vincent was such a Bad Liar that his mother knew already, even without Lag's Shindan.
  • In Tiger & 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.
  • In Tokyo Ghoul, Kaneki's best friend Hide. In the anime it's explained that he overheard the truth while Playing Possum.
  • 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.
  • Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle: Fugil is surprised to find out that the emperor of Arcadia knew about his secret identity as the hero who defeated the prior Holy Arcadia Empire and saved the family branch that they both belong to. This is deconstructed because the emperor took his loyalty to the family for granted and kept his identity a secret to make him a trump card, leaving him blindsided when Fugil turns against him for his crimes against humanity.
  • An occult otaku character in the Vampire Princess Miyu TV series is 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 Yu-Gi-Oh! (first anime series), Anzu manages to figure out that her mysterious rescuer was Dark Yugi (due to noticing an injury on his hand that the regular Yugi shared, and later seeing him in action), but didn't tell Yugi about it.

    Comic Books 
  • Astro City: Andy Merton's girlfriend, Esme, already knew he and Hank were G-Dog before he told her. As she points out, it wasn't difficult to figure out considering they all live together, and every time Andy and Hank disappear G-Dog shows up soon after...
  • Batman:
    • It is sometimes suggested Batman has supporting characters who know, or strongly suspect, his secret identity, and that Batman knows they know, but that no good would come from any of them actually speaking about it openly.
    • At the end of Batman: No Man's Land, Bruce Wayne takes off his mask in front of Commissioner 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."
    • At the end of Batman: Year One, an (unmasked) figure who Gordon realizes is the mysterious Batman out of costume, has just saved his infant son and hands him to Gordon. Gordon makes a comment about not being able to see anything without his (at the time knocked-off) glasses. No one who can be a street cop has eyesight that bad. In this case justified because Batman is wanted by the authorities, so both of them know it's better for Gordon to have an excuse not to recognize Bruce Wayne.
    • Previously in the story, Gordon and his partner, Sarah Essen questioned Bruce about his possibly being Batman. Clearly, the super-wealthy guy who watched his parents get murdered and recently returned to town at the same time as the rise of a new vigilante might be on any detective's short list.
    • In an early issue of DC Rebirth, Batman goes to Kate Kane (Batwoman) to ask for her help in training a new generation of heroes. When she asks why her, Batman unmasks to reveal he's her cousin, Bruce Wayne. To his shock, Kate just laughs that she's been waiting a year and a half for Bruce to finally say it.
    • In Birds of Prey, Barbara Gordon reveals to her father, Commissioner Gordon, that she used to be Batgirl and is now Oracle. It turned out that he had already known about the former, but not the latter.
    • In Injustice: Gods Among Us, Gordon goes to see Barbara and asks where Batman is. When she tries to play dumb, he snaps at her "I know, all right? I've always known, I just played my part and let you and Bruce do what needed to be done."
      Barbara: When did you...
      Gordon: The first night you went out in the costume with Dick Grayson.
      Barbara: How...
      Gordon: Because I'm a detective, dammit!
    • Robin (1993): Tim "Robin" Drake figured Batman and Robin out at age eight or nine by recognizing Dick Grayson's acrobatics (he saw the Graysons' last show), and said nothing to anyone for several years, until he grew concerned with Batman's self-destructive behavior in the wake of Jason Todd's death, which he knew meant Robin's death.
    • Tim also tends to be one for a lot of superheroes he interacts with, if only in the beginning of their relationship. Due to a combination of his detective skills and connections, he's often inclined to deducing the secret identities of other heroes, including Wildcat, Superman, and the Flash, without them telling him themselves.
    • In The New 52, Two-Face reveals that he knows that Bruce Wayne is Batman, but never outed him, and has actually been convincing himself not to kill Bruce.
    • In Milk Wars, it's revealed that Rebecca Paige, mother of Violet Paige (Mother Panic) also knows that Bruce Wayne is Batman. It's not explained how she knows (she has weird knowledge often), but she also ends up telling Violet herself.
    • Pre-Flashpoint reboot, the Riddler also had figured out Batman's secret after taking a dip in a Lazarus Pit. Batman ultimately convinced him to repress it because if Ra's Al-Ghul found out that he knew and that he was using the Pit, he'd kill him. Ra's is the father of one of Batman's main love interests and his son's grandfather so he has a personal stake in no one finding out who Batman is as it wouldn't be hard to connect the dots back to him.
    • Post-Flashpoint, it was revealed that Joe Chill knows that Bruce Wayne is Batman. Remorseful over what he did to the Waynes, Chill never told anyone and spent most of his free time penning a letter of apology to Bruce (he's illiterate). After Bruce learns that he knows, Bruce saves Chill’s life and stays by his side as he passes away from illness.
  • Booster Gold's entire thing is playing up that he's a fool so that he can correct anomalies in the time stream. The fact that most people see him as an idiotic Glory Hound is what keeps him from being killed in his crib by evil time travellers. However, it is later revealed that Batman has known for quite some time that Booster is more important than he lets on, as the pictures the Joker took of Barbara Gordon in The Killing Joke show Booster trying to save Barbara Gordon. Batman doesn't tell Booster that he knows until Booster is as old as he is in the pictures. After he reveals to Booster that he knows, he offers Booster his friendship and becomes a normal Secret-Keeper.
  • In Fawcett Comics' rules for Captain Marvel writers, it comments that Billy's boss, Sterling Morris, may actually know that Billy is Captain Marvel, but if so, he never mentions it or else convinces himself it can't be true.
  • 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. The Netflix show has Ben's role filled by Karen Page, but Matt tells her the secret of his own volition and despite the fact that she could easily have gone public, she doesn't.
    • Later, in Brian Michael Bendis' The Pulse, Urich revealed to Peter Parker that he had deduced his secret identity of Spider-Man.
    • Daredevil learns Spider-Man's secret identity when he meets Peter for the first time in The Death of Jean DeWolff, since he recognizes Peter's heartbeat (and Aunt May used a Full-Name Ultimatum, so Matt learned his name too). He only reveals this to Spider-Man in order to stop the enraged superhero letting mob justice lynch the guy who killed Spider-Man's friend, police captain Jean DeWolff.
  • The Disney Mouse and Duck Comics have two for Paperinik (Donald Duck's superhero/antihero secret identity). The first is Mickey, who has known Paperinik's identity for a while (and never fell for his many ruses to throw off whoever else deduced it) and never told anyone until some particular circumstances made him finally fall for them (unless he made that quip to throw off everyone else). The other is Gyro, who in Paperinik New Adventures is implied to have deduced Paperinik's secret identity... And, not trusting himself, wiped out his own memory every time it happened, without telling to anyone.note 
  • 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.
    • After said Cosmic Retcon, Hunter Zolomon was the sole person to remember Wally was the Flash, likely because of his weird relationship with the timestream. He never told anyone besides Ashley.
  • Green Lantern: Late in Ron Marz' run, Radu reveals to Kyle Rayner that he figured out he was Green Lantern long ago.
  • Icon: The penultimate issue has Raquel's grandmother reveal to her granddaughter that she figured out Raquel was Rocket without telling her.
  • Mighty Avengers: Hank Pym reveals that his unwillingness to lead the Avengers stems from him having accidentally discovered that Iron Man was Tony Stark long before it was public knowledge, making him feel inadequate as The Smart Guy.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Mary Jane Watson. During Tom DeFalco's initial run on the book, it was revealed in The Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #257 that Mary Jane knew Peter's secret for years. Parallel Lives reveals she's known since pretty much the beginning, having seen Peter leave his bedroom window as Spider-Man on the night of Uncle Ben's death.
      MJ: You don't have to make up another one of your phony excuses, Peter! Not now—! I know the truth! The REAL truth!
      Peter: What are you talking about?
      MJ: I've known your secret for years! Up until today, I always thought I could cope with it if I ever had to experience it firsthand — but I can't! I can't—! I just can't cope with the fact that Peter Parker is secretly Spider-Man!
    • Aunt May is eventually revealed to have known for years, though she was in denial. Aunt May let Peter know the truth shortly before she died during The Clone Saga ("Peter, what is it like to fly?"). Then it turned out that was a "genetically-altered actress"...
    • It's occasionally implied that Robbie Robertson figured out Spider-Man's identity a long time ago. If he acknowledged it, then he would be obligated to tell J. Jonah Jameson that Peter Parker was selling pictures of himself. Robbie vehemently denies that he had known when Peter unmasks in the Civil War arc.
    • Captain George Stacy knew Spidey's secret as well. When he was mortally wounded during a fight between the web-slinger and Dr. Octopus, he revealed his knowledge of Peter's dual identity before he died in the hero's arms.
    • Max Modell of Horizon Labs once teased Peter during a supervillain attack by asking if he was rushing off to take pictures for the Bugle. Pete said yes, then remembered he didn't do that any more, so Max suggested he was going to contact Parker Industries employee Spider-Man. As he went off to change, Peter reflected that maybe working with a genius in both identities was a bad idea...
    • In Superior Spider-Man (2018), Max tells Otto that he's received an anonymous email containing proof that "Professor Elliot Tolliver" was Doctor Octopus, but that he'd figured out ages ago that "Tolliver" was San Francisco's Spider-Man and used a surreptitious DNA test to discover that he was really Otto Octavius, but as a strong believer in second chances had kept quiet to see whether Otto earned one (he did).
    • This is parodied in Spider-Girl, where one of May Parker's classmates thinks he's a secret keeper for Spider-Girl, but came to the conclusion that May's best friend Courtney was the superhero.
    • Played very darkly with the supervillain Carl King/The Thousand. Carl was one of Peter's high school bullies who discovered Peter was Spider-Man, but he kept it secret so he could gain Peter's powers for himself. When his attempt failed and transformed him into a Transhuman Abomination, he still kept it a secret, only this time with the intent to Kill and Replace Peter.
  • Spider-Man 2099: Gabriel figures out that Miguel is the new Spider-Man right away because his superhero suit is actually an old Day of the Dead costume he wore the last time he and Gabriel went to Mexico. However, instead of telling Miguel that he knows, he plays Stealth Mentor for a while by trying to convey the Comes Great Responsibility mindset he learned from his girlfriend Kasey to Miguel who is a Corrupt Corporate Executive.
  • Superman:
    • Batman heavily suspects that Perry White, a crack investigative reporter before leading the Daily Planet, is too observant to have not noticed Clark Kent was Superman. White just appreciates the good work and opts never to bring it up.
    • Likewise Clark's best friend Jimmy Olsen in some versions is aware of his coworker's superhero work. When Superman reveals himself as Clark Kent in 2020, Jimmy claims he'd known for some time.
      Jimmy: I used to think there were only two people in the world who called me "Jim." Then I realized it was only one.
    • In All-Star Superman, the in-comic situation leaves it ambiguous whether Jimmy knows, but Grant Morrison said in an article on the topic that he does, and just keeps it quiet because he trusts that Superman has a good reason for wanting it secret. The comic also flips the usual dynamic in that Lois does not know, and in fact assumes that Superman is putting her on when he attempts to tell her.
    • DCeased: Jimmy stumbles on Superman and Lois kissing and asks, horrified, what Clark is going to think. After letting Supes spend a few seconds in consternation about how to handle this, he laughs and reveals that he's known for years, because, among other things, every photographer draws on his work when he gets bored. He just said nothing because he figured Supes had enough on his plate.
    • Pre-Crisis Lois Lane figured it out ages ago but could never prove it (not that she was ever shy about voicing her suspicions, mind you), and for years it was practically a full-time job for Clark/Superman to convince her she was wrong. Ditto for Pre-Crisis Lana Lang.
    • Also, the first reaction of Booster Gold is to yell out Clark's name in public, relating that being from the 25th century, he's known all along the secret identities of every major hero and keeping quiet.
    • In Superboy (1949) #90, Pete Ross discovers Superboy's identity by accident during a camping trick, and he decides to keep it to himself.
    • In the Pre-Crisis universe, Linda Lee Danvers' childhood crush Dick Malverne knew she was Supergirl all along. In Young Love he confessed on his deathbed he always loved her and he knew of her secret identity.
      Supergirl: Mr. Malverne? You asked to see me...?
      Dick: Hey-Hey... Linda Lee... I wanted to see you one more time... You sure look pretty.
      Supergirl: You... You know —?
      Dick: I always knew, Linda.
    • In the very beginning of The Strange Revenge of Lena Luthor, Lena finally finds out what her old friend Linda Danvers is Supergirl, but she chooses to keep quiet about it.
    • Comet the Super-Horse knew of Supergirl's existence, as well as her secret identity, since her arrival in Earth; but he kept Kara's secrets to himself for years before finally meeting her in "The Super-Steed of Steel".
    • Supergirl (1984): In the final scene, when Kara is about to leave Earth, Ethan reveals he figured out she was "Linda Lee".
  • Superman & Batman: Generations:
    • James Gordon confides to Bruce in Generations II that he always knew that Bruce was Batman.
      James Gordon: Wouldn't be much of a cop if I hadn't been able to figure that one out, would I? My oldest friend is gunned down by a robber...and nineteen years later, just about the time his son comes into his inheritance...the Batman makes his first appearance in Gotham City.
    • It's established in this continuity that Superman and Batman first met as children when Superboy came to the rescue of a young Bruce Wayne after the latter was kidnapped by the Ultra-Humanite and his thugs. During Superboy's scuffle with the criminals, Bruce manages to undo his bonds and helps the Boy of Steel in the battle by cobbling together a costume and dubbing himself the Flying Fox. Superboy uses his X-ray vision to see that the Flying Fox is actually Bruce in disguise, but he doesn't let Bruce know that he's aware they're the same person.
  • In Top 10: The Forty Niners, Captain Zaran Orval assigns Steelgauntlet to lead a major vampire mob arrest because he knows Steelgauntlet is secretly a robot. It's clear Steelgauntlet didn't know he'd been figured out when the conversation started; he kept up the charade while they were speaking privately.
  • Transformers: More than Meets the Eye has Ratchet know Ultra Magnus is Minimus Ambus, and likewise the identities of the previous Magnus armor wearers. Despite devices designed to hide the truth even from a medical examination, they'd hardly fool an old hand like Ratchet, but he kept it a secret from their benefit.
  • In Ultimate Spider-Man, bully and Flash Thompson's friend Kenny "Kong" 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 the truth is that Peter caught on and took the hit, even forcing tears, to prove him wrong. Despite that, Kenny 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. He implies that he assumed everybody knew and it was just one of those things you aren't supposed to discuss directly.
    "What do you want me to say? Should we have a code? Should I just throw up my hands and say 'Oh, if only Spider-Man were here...'!?"
  • 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. She later decides not to blab once they find out that the reason Peter's Spider-Man is because of his tragic past.
  • The Unbelievable Gwenpool deconstructs this as Gwen, a girl from the real world who is a big comic fan, knows the identity of just about everyone. However, when trying to save Batroc the Leaper's team from the female Thor, she blurts out Thor's real name and is forced to Verbal Backspace before she gets her head smashed in. It gets worse later when Gwen's evil future version gleefully explains how this knowledge could (and in her opinion should) be exploited for personal gain and horrify present-day Gwen with the implications.
  • Usagi Yojimbo: Usagi knows that Jotaro is really his son and not his rival Kenichi's, but says nothing to avoid destroying the kid's future. Meanwhile, Jotaro also knows that Usagi is his father, but doesn't say anything as he doesn't want Usagi to feel responsible for raising him and abandon his warrior pilgrimage. They only realize the other knows in the non-canon Bad Future Senso arc, where Jotaro calls a dying Usagi "father" and he's shocked that Jotaro knew.
  • Played with in Young Justice as Anita comes home and stunned to find her father Donald (a member of a special intelligence agency) in her room with her Empress costume. Donald relates he's known for some time about his daughter's secret life and is proud of her. He even introduced her to Young Justice in hopes she'd join the team. Anita asks if Donald's partner, Ishido Maad, also knew and Ishido replies "me and your father have no secrets." As soon as Anita is out of the room, Ishido screams at Donald about how he possibly could have kept his daughter's identity a secret from Ishido all this time.

    Fan Works 
  • A Fandom-Specific Plot for Case Closed are stories where Ran figures out that Conan is Shinichi without letting him know about it. Examples include The right words and Bittersweet Deduction.
  • One Fandom-Specific Plot of Good Omens (2019) is that Crowley and Aziraphale's minor miracles get noticed by the humans around them, but they leave them be.
    • In A Touch of the Sight, Aziraphale quietly rearranges reality to get fresh chocolate cherry scones right when he wants them. The baker finds herself making an unscheduled batch of chocolate cherry scones using perfect cherries she couldn't find in months, and deduces that Mr. Fell will come in the second she's done.
    • Since Crowley and Aziraphale regularly dine at the Ritz without making reservations beforehand, a few fics (like Code Angel) show that the staff knows when they're coming just by the inexplicable empty table. In A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, since Crowley and Aziraphale sober up by returning the alcohol to the bottles, the kitchen now knows to re-cork the empty bottles, or else they'll find their recycling bin full of wine.
  • Ernie, owner of the first Local Hangout in the series (Morphin' through Zeo), is often portrayed like this. The way all his best customers wear colour-coded outfits and constantly vanish and reappear without explanation, you'd hope he suspected something... Word of God for Power Rangers doesn't state that he actually knew, but of course, it can go either way in fanfic.
  • Advice and Trust: Rei figured out that Shinji and Asuka were engaged in a Secret Relationship, but she kept it to herself for a while since she understood their motives to hide it from everyone.
  • In After the Fall, an Alternate Universe where Weredad exposed Chat Noir's secret identity to Papillion, Adrien eventually becomes this to all of the other Miraculi holders.
  • Anyone:
    • Aizawa believes that Nedzu knows who stole Hanabata's car from the UA parking lot. The thing is, if he's right, then that means that Nedzu knows that the one who commited the theft is Shouto, which in turn means that Nedzu is aware of Shouto's criminal activities.
    • It's all but stated that Hawks has figured out that Dabi and Shouto are siblings, but he never brings up the subject nor is it clearly confirmed in text.
    • Katsuki realizes that Izuku is connected to Anyone after Sir Nighteye comes looking for him, but since he has no means of contacting Izuku this means that Izuku doesn't know that Katsuki knows.
  • In Avenger of Steel, Kitty Pryde and Rogue meet Clark Kent while on a mission to Japan and mistake him for a mutant. By the time the mission is over, they have both realised that Clark is Superman, but Kitty hasn't explicitly told him that she knows.
  • In Baby, Won’t You Please Come Home, Moira has taken on this role, as she is to date the only person aware that Malcolm Merlyn is alive and that he is Thea’s father. She is also secretly aware of Oliver’s identity as the Arrow and that he has taken Thea into his confidence.
  • Happens several times in Back To Us. Alya figures out Nino and Marinette's identities due to Something Only They Would Say, and it is revealed that Felix has known Adrien and Camille's identities all along and that Gabriel Agreste and Daniel Trace knew Adrien's identity all along. All of them decide to keep quiet for various personal reasons.
  • In The Beast Of Gusu, Lan Xichen is initially this to Wei Wuxian, with Jiang Fengmian having let him in advance to the lectures, so the Lan Sect Leader would be prepared to have a wolf shifter in their territory for the upcoming year. Lan Xichen reveals he knows after Wei Wuxian runs away following an embarrassing near loss of control.
  • Becoming Lífþrasir: Apparently, Fishlegs figured out that Hiccup and Cattongue were the same person at some point and kept it to himself, as Astrid discovers when she herself pieces things together. He also insists that Astrid also keep quiet about this revelation until Hiccup is ready to reveal himself.
  • BNHA: the Thunder Rolls: Billy seems to be aware of All Might's condition and other issues. When he's complimenting Izuku for showing more compassion, patience, courage and competence under fire than the last ten Pro Heroes he'd seen that week combined, his smile gets a bit sad when Izuku asks if that includes All Might, and says that he gets a pass.
  • In The Bridge (MLP) has several examples.
    • Monster X was completely unaware of his Superpowered Evil Side, Kaizer Ghidorah, as he mentally blacked out whenever the change happened. His old war buddy, Gigan, however has known for over a century, having witnessed one of Kaizer's rampages, and has been keeping an eye out to try and ensure Kaizer doesn't return again.
    • Destroyah didn't know the precise reason why, but she had long deduced Xenilla wasn't seriously trying to win the kaiju war against Godzilla's faction and in fact didn't want his brother dead. She just didn't feel it necessary to say anything.
    • Flash Sentry had figured out Sunset Shimmer wasn't human long before the events of the first Equestria Girls movie. He didn't know precisely what she was, but knew she meant no harm and loved her regardless, only losing his feelings when she turned into a rude bully.
  • Agent Gregg from A Certain Mythic Archmage has figured out that Taylor is Solomon, but keeps the secret because he knows that she is a true hero and figures that she needs all the help she can get - and, even if he were to reveal the truth, he has no actual proof.
  • The Child of Love: After getting together Shinji and Asuka spent a while pretending they were still fighting. Misato knew what they were really doing but she pretended she was clueless.
    Asuka: I...I don't know why I'm telling you all don't know anything...
    Misato: Do you think I'm blind, Asuka?
    Asuka: [sobbing a little] Huh?
    Misato: Wait a minute here. My two roommates acting like lovers from one month to another... I'd have to be deaf and blind to not notice that. And I saw you two kissing in the car last week, remember? I bet that you forgot about the rear-view mirror. And what about the many times when I surprised you two? You were so embarrassed... and I also know that sometimes you've slept together in your bed. I'm not stupid, you know.
  • In The Concubine Mo Chronicles, it's implied that Nie Huaisang has figured out Mo Xuanyu's true identity as Wei Wuxian.
  • Crazy Irken and ? (Invader Zim-based crossover fic anthology by D_rissing and nightmaster000. note ): It's revealed in the fourth chapter that Zita knew that Zim was an alien from the minute he first walked into class on his first day, but never said anything because she didn't want to be ostracized as crazy like Dib. Also, because she doesn't see Earth as worth being saved from Zim conquering it when most Humans Are Morons who are slowly turning the planet into a dystopia anyway.
  • Crimson and Emerald:
    • The fact that Kiyome is a vigilante is known by the Midoriyas, the Commission, and All for One. All of them have their own reasons for keeping this secret.
    • Melissa is aware that All Might is her biological father, but hasn't told her dad that she knows.
  • In The Cutting Edge, the time-displaced Laurel of course knows that Oliver is the Hood from the beginning, but he doesn't know that she knows at first. Batman also deduces the Green Arrow's real identity when he comes to Starling.
  • In "The Devil and His Urchin", Azrael is aware that Trixie Espinoza is Lucifer's daughter before even Lucifer himself, as God had her keep an eye on Trixie to hide her from the attention of the Silver City, to the extent that she was forbidden to even tell Lucifer about Trixie's existence until he found out about her on his own.
  • Dirty Little Secrets: Todoroki knew that Shinso brainwashed Mineta.
  • Dodged a Beetle has Marinette secretly pass the Earrings to her new friend Lila shortly after her disastrous debut against Stoneheart. While Lila is unaware that her new friend was the former Ladybug, Tikki naturally knows, and makes clear to Marinette that she considers her to be a potential liability.
  • Doing It Right This Time: Ritsuko has figured out what Shinji –and maybe Asuka and Rei- are time-travellers but she has kept it to herself.
  • In Don't Poke The Golden Goose, Jimmy Olsen learns Superman's identity. Then he discovers that Perry White knows, as do most of the other reporters (except Lois). White insists that everyone take on this role because Clark Kent is a good reporter, having a superhero in town allows for steady news stories, and he respects Clark's need to have a break from crime-fighting.
  • A Dovahkiin Spreads His Wings: Ned Stark was paranoid about anyone learning Jon Snow actually was his half-Targaryen nephew by his sister Lyanna and claimed the boy as his bastard son. It managed to fool the whole Seven Kingdoms except for the spymaster Varys (who's interested in a Targaryen restoration with Jon as claimant to the throne) and ser Barristan Selmy (who's keeping quiet out of fondness towards Jon's birth father Rhaegar).
  • In En Tempus Veritas, as in canon, Lana learns Clark’s secret and Lionel is the only one who knows that she knows. However, this version of events takes this twist even further to the point that Clark never learns that Lana knows his secret before the ‘illusion’ ends and he returns to reality.
  • Fair is Foul has Cameron reveal that John's future self actually told her that Kyle Reese is his father, leaving Sarah and Derek disturbed that John gave away his greatest secret to a Terminator even though the John they know hasn't done it himself. John in turn is frustrated that they're judging him for a decision he hasn't made yet even as he argues that this should be proof that Cameron can be trusted.
  • Fate Ends: Yue Qingyuan was far too familiar with Shen Qingqiu to not realize he had been replaced by some impersonator after his qi deviation, but couldn't bring himself to acknowledge it out loud because he would have effectively accepted his beloved's demise. It's only when Harry comes clean that he admits he was aware all this time.
  • Fate/VRAINS sees Akira Zaizen reveal that he knew all along that his sister Aoi had Blue Angel as her Online Alias. He just didn't feel any need to reveal this until he felt it necessary to restrict their online access following an encounter with Julius B. Harwey almost ended in disaster for Aoi and Hakuno.
    Akira: Come on. You think I got to be Security Manager for show?
  • For the Glory of Irk: It turns out that Professor Membrane and his wife Moira have known the truth about Zim being an alien all along, due to his old Paper-Thin Disguise. However, they acknowledged he wasn't really a threat, and therefore not only left him alone but sought to talk Dib out of his obsessive pursuit of him before he ruined himself with it.
  • Forged Destiny: At the end of Book Six, Chapter 5, after revealing what a Reaper is to Jaune, Ruby ends the chapter tearfully confessing that she is aware that Jaune is lying about his Class. The following chapter has her explain that she's actually had her suspicions since Book One. She'd hoped that Jaune would tell her eventually, but she ended up forcing the issue in an attempted breaking of the Mutual Masquerade due to being worried about the current mission and outright needing him to use blacksmith abilities to help her.
  • A Frozen Supervillain: Plagg senses Nooroo's presence enough times to deduce that Gabriel is Hawk Moth; however, he's unable to tell Adrien the Awful Truth. So he sabotages the heating system in order to render Gabriel absolutely miserable while inside his lair, an action that ends up nearly killing the supervillain.
  • God of War: Chains of the Heart: Thrúd and Skjöldr make it a point to try and keep their relationship a secret from Sif, but it's revealed in Chapter 32 that she's already well aware. The two are nowhere near as subtle as they'd like to believe they are, and Thrúd's mother finds their attempts amusing.
  • A somewhat complicated version in Guardian Angels. Laurel (as the Black Canary) learns that Oliver is the Hood and Diggle is his partner (which they know), but they don't know that she's the Black Canary. As such, whenever she's the Black Canary she can act like she knows who they are; but as Laurel she has to act as if she doesn't know.
  • Guiding Light (AuroraRose2081): Dolores knows about Bruno in the walls, and every day she cleans away the handfuls of salt he throws away. This time is even more significant because everyone in Encanto believes him to be Mirabel's kidnapper so she keeping his secret means there's more to Mirabel's disappearance.
  • In Harry Potter and the Mystic Force, Draco Malfoy recognises "James Bourne" as Harry Potter in disguise from his flying style, but keeps his knowledge secret for a while until Voldemort's plans reach a point where he decides to warn Harry about them.
  • Hero Chat: Chloé deduced everyone's identities pretty quickly (she figured out Adrien because he's her childhood friend, Marinette didn't take much more effort, and once you've figured her out then the other heroes are just a case of matching them to the rather small category of "people who Marinette trusts enough to give a Miraculous"). She tells Alix because she needs someone to talk to about how unbelievably stupid everyone else is. There's a Glamour that keeps people from making the most obvious connections, but even considering that, everyone is really bad at hiding their identities from each other. For example: Adrien and Chat Noir are both rich, blond, with emotionally distant fathers and a mother who disappeared about a year ago. No one notices, even when directly comparing them. At several points, Chloé runs interference by giving (false) excuses for why all the heroes have suspiciously similar experiences, but eventually she gives up and convinces Ladybug to let her do an identity reveal. Ladybug agrees only on the condition that someone figures out everyone's identities... unaware, of course, that Chloé already figured them all out months ago.
  • I'm Nobody: It's implied on multiple occasions that Edna Mode knows about the other worlds, as she makes vague references to having seen stuff in her long life (so vague that they don't even qualify as Noodle Incidents) and notes that Axel, Roxas and Xion are "from the same place". The narration always makes sure to point out some of her stranger comments.
  • In Pursuit of a Single Ideal: Both Shirou and Miyu know that the true identity of the Black Archer card is Shirou himself (or an alternate version of him), but for their own personal reasons thay never talk about it, and therefore don't know that the other knows.
  • Infinity Crisis:
    • Cat Grant of Earth-38 reveals that she's known Kara is Supergirl for years and never brought it up as she recognises the importance of keeping her identity secret.
    • Clark Kent of Earth-51 has known that General Swanwick wasn't human since they met because he noticed that Swanwick's heart was on the wrong side of his body (guessing that Swanwick is a shapeshifter who doesn't bother with internal details like that when he thinks he doesn't have to), but kept the secret as he reasoned it wasn't his to expose.
  • Juleka vs. the Forces of the Universe opens with Juleka accidentally witnessing Ladybug detransforming. The next day, she witnesses Adrien transforming. Later chapters have her learning other secret identities, either through further accidents or by putting the pieces together.
  • Several of them in Kara of Rokyn:
    • Kara is certain that Van-Zee and Ak-Var are the heroes Nightwing and Flamebird, but she keeps her suspicions to herself:
      "Kids," said Van, and both subsided for the moment. Kara studied his jaw for a second. She was pretty sure that he was Nightwing, the Batman of Kandor, and that his friend Ak-Var, who was married to Van's niece, was Flamebird. Both of them had helped bring down the Zoners in her last adventure. But she'd had a secret identity, too, and there was one cardinal rule among super-heroes: don't pry.
    • Both Lois and Jimmy figured out Superman's secret identity at some point, but they chose to not let on.
  • Kimberly T's Gargoyles:
    • When the Manhattan Clan visit the gargoyles of New Orleans, Lexington becomes part of a mated trio with Rebecca and Robert; the two were old friends and attempted to mate in the past, but Robert was so gay that it was impossible for him to be aroused by a female even if they were friendly. When Rebecca is preparing for their mating ceremony, her rookery sister Isabel reveals that she happened to be in a tree when Rebecca and Robert went off to try and mate solo in the past, and never told anyone because it was already embarrassing enough for all concerned parties.
    • On a more serious note, only Xanatos and Matt are aware that Puck is almost certainly the father of Philip Marsden, the father of Bethany Marsden, the daughter of the Xanatos family's new nanny Anne (who is basically guaranteed to get together with Matt based on her daughter's True Sight prophecies). Xanatos has done enough research to satisfy him that Puck was banished from Phil's life in some way that prevents him from ever acknowledging the relationship, and asks Matt not to tell anyone else because he doubts the gargoyles could keep such a secret and he's worried that openly acknowledging the relationship would have some negative effect on Owen.
  • Played with in A Lady's Scout (and the Salt within her Soul). As part of a plan to expose Lila while punishing her Fair-Weather Friends for abandoning her, Marinette gives the former temporary heroes gifts implying that she knows their secret identities. These double as 'parting gifts' signaling that the recipient won't be becoming that hero again. Everyone remains unaware that she's Ladybug, but grow convinced that she's been secretly working as a 'talent scout' for the superheroine.
  • Last Child of Krypton: Kaji knew about Shinji being Superman long before meeting him.
  • A Man of Iron: Late into the second book, A Crack of Thunder, it's revealed that the entire population of Iron Pointe has known that Tony is Iron Man and Jon is Centurion pretty much the entire time. They've all just kept quiet about it due to their loyalty to the Starks.
  • The Many Dates of Danny Fenton: Even for the dates who DON'T realize that Danny knows about their double lives, he still keeps quiet.
  • Mischief In Musutafu and Other Such Tales: Inko figured out pretty quickly that her new boyfriend is a villain because of the many inconsistencies about him, but he is so obviously smitten with her that she married him anyway. She only reveals to him that he knows over fourteen years later.
  • In The New Teacher, Peter Parker starts working as a teacher at the Xavier Institute and until chapter 40 (after Peter is forced to use his powers during the Brotherhood’s latest attack on the school), only a few X-Men know that he’s Spider-Man, to the extent that they even keep that knowledge from the rest of the team. Wolverine knew Peter's identity from the beginning, Shadowcat learns when she walks in on Peter changing out of his costume after Spider-Man helped stop a riot at the school, Rogue suddenly recalls some of the personal information she absorbed from Spider-Man in Contest Of Champions II after spending time with Peter, and Wind Dancer’s awareness of wind allowed her to overhear the Green Goblin refer to Spider-Man by name when the Sinister Six take some of the students hostage.
  • Not the intended use (Zantetsuken Reverse): Soma knows that Arikado is Dracula's son Alucard, and he tells Julius that he knows, but asks him not to mention it. Soma also never tells Arikado that he knows. Meanwhile he tells Mina that he knows a big secret about Arikado that he's not supposed to, but he won't tell her because that's Arikado's personal business.
  • In Part of the Night, it's revealed that the other Major Crimes detectives knew all along that Gordon was lying when he claimed Batman killed Harvey Dent. They said nothing because they correctly assumed that Gordon and Batman had come up with that cover story to ensure that Dent's case against the Gotham mafia didn't get thrown out. Stephens ultimately confirmed this was exactly what was going on from talking to Ramirez after Gordon made her resign in disgrace for her role in Rachel's death.
  • Personality Conflicts: During Final Frontier, Trevor Park (and possibly Ernie Townsend, who was also there) figure out that Detective Jerome Stone had figured out the identities of the Power Rangers some time back (which he confirms), but none of the Rangers know (yet) that he knows.
  • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: Xvital admits that she left her intended husband because his mother had discovered she was a thief, and persuaded her into running off and leaving him before the wedding because he'd hate her if he found out. When Xvital and Tizoc reunite, Tizoc reveals he'd known about her being a thief practically from the beginning and didn't care, he still loved her and wanted to marry her. Then he proposes again, and she says yes.
  • Powers of Invisibility puts Juleka in this role, after she sees Marinette and Adrien transforming during the Evillustrator attack in Chapter 5, with it stating that she was already 90% sure it was them anyway. The following few chapters have numerous moments where Juleka privately snarks about just how bad the two's inexplicably successful attempts to hide their identities are, including from each other. She becomes a regular Secret Keeper to Adrien in Chapter 11, and to Marinette in Chapter 15, and both times Juleka is greatly amused to tell them she figured them out months ago. On a side note, the two of them don't actually connect the dots regarding each other until Juleka forces the issue in Chapter 23, despite knowing about their mutual friendship with her.
  • Chrom in Pretender knows Robin's true origins, that he's Plegian and Validar's son, long before Robin himself finds out in the hopes that keeping him out of the loop will help him stay away from the darkness of his past.
  • Raise Your Voice Against Liars: Chat Noir overhears Dragonica/Kagami muttering to themselves about how they don't want to fail Ladybug "again", causing him to realize their Secret Identity. He keeps this to himself so that they don't lose their Miraculous.
  • Rapture Falls: Dr. Tenenbaum knew Atlas's secret long before Atlas himself knew he even had one, due to his memory loss. Atlas had forgotten that he was an ADAM-created split personality of Frank Fontaine who pulled a Split-Personality Takeover, but Tenenbaum knew Atlas was one of Fontaine's personas (after all, she was the one who helped Jack break free of him) and quickly figured out that Atlas genuinely didn't know of his previous identity.
  • After Miss Bustier in Reevaluate and Reassessment accidentally discovers that Marinette and Adrien are Ladybug and Chat Noir, she decides to discretely help them out, such as keeping Lila away from them and giving them both assignments that act as the perfect alibi in order to transform and fight during akuma attacks.
  • Subverted in The Rigel Black Chronicles, where Hermione confronts Harry to tell him that she's known for months that he's a girl. He's both amused by her mistake, and concerned that she dug that far; the truth is that he's Arcturus Black, and has switched places with his cousin Harriett Potter so that she can attend Hogwarts despite being half-blood and he can attend the American Institute of Magic despite Sirius' objections to sending him overseas.
  • In The Same Moon Shines, Lan Qiren figured out that Tang Lijuan followed Lan Wangji to Lotus Pier when she up and vanished shortly before Lan Wangji joined the Jiang Sect. He never told anyone, content to allow his sister-in-law live freely with his nephew.
  • The Secret Biography of Donald Duck: Webby and the triplets learn about all of Donald's secret adventures by reading the titular book. Later, Violet and Lena are brought into the loop, as they all keep mum while trying to figure out the best way to properly confront him about it.
  • In The Secret Return of Alex Mack, after Terawatt remains in her silver morph the entire time she's rescuing Harry and his friends, Hermione realises that she was probably in the country already in her civilian identity for unrelated reasons, and that it would therefore be possible to identify her by checking airport records. After reflecting on how much she owes Terawatt, though, she resolves to tamper with those records and cover Alex's tracks.
  • In The Seven Misfortunes of Lady Fortune, Madame Zhou states that she knew Marinette's identity since the day she was rescued, because she was wearing her costume at the time.
  • In the fic Shattered Ikuko Tsukino becomes this for her daughter upon realizing that Usagi is Sailor Moon.
  • Snapshots:
    • Callie and Marie serve as this for Marina being an Octoling, keeping the secret once they realize that she isn't a spy, but a military defector who just wants to live freely on the surface. Marie only reveals her knowledge, and the fact that she and Callie were the ones who assaulted her two years prior, when trying to figure out how to help her cousin heal from the effects of the hypno-shades.
    • On a lighter note, Marie immediately picks up that Pearl has a crush on Marina, but never brings it up directly beyond alerting the duo about the relationship clause in the Inkopolis News contract.
  • Social Networking has the popular kids discover Danny's secret and refuse to allow Paulina to use the information as blackmail, as well as coming to a Heel Realization that they have all been terrible to the person they consider a hero.
  • Son Gohan The Destroyer: By following the gossip among the gods, King Kai realizes that Son Gohan has become Beerus' successor. Knowing that Goku was deeply hurt by the 'death' of his son in the Cell Games, he decides not to tell him that Gohan is actually training to become the new God of Destruction, believing that information would only hurt him more.
  • In Subtlety, the entire town of Amity Park (barring Danny's parents) know Danny Phantom is Danny Fenton and except for Danny and his friends, and everyone knows that everyone knows. They just let him pretend and act like they don't see him use his powers or transform, even when he does things like turning intangible in the middle of the cafeteria.
  • Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: During the Parasite arc both Rei Ayanami and Misato Katsuragi figured out Asuka was Supergirl. Misato because the Parasite barged into his apartment demanding to know where Asuka was and later he was defeated and fought by Supergirl, and Rei because she fought the Parasite alongside Supergirl and noticed their similar appearances.
  • In Teaching Lessons, Gabriel Agreste figured out that Adrien was Chat Noir the instant he saw his ring, but has kept quiet to avoid alienating him and taking away something he truly enjoys. He internally snarks about how obvious Adrien is to anyone who knows what to look for and gives him subtle advice towards wooing Ladybug. Once Adrien brings Marinette home for a date, Gabriel instantly recognizes her earrings and deduces she is Ladybug and that they unmasked to each other offscreen.
  • Their Bond: The fact that Queen Zelda was sexually abused by Ganondorf for several years is supposed to be a closely guarded secret of Zelda and Link's. When her court puts Zelda on trial for treason after finding a deceased soldier's account of the abuse in his diary, Zelda realizes that her "secret" is not so secret after all. In fact, at least ten people, including of Zelda's closest companions and several guards, know of it. Everyone just keeps mum about it.
  • Three-Point Shot: The third motive turns everyone who uses the confessional into one, as they become privy to another student's secret, as arranged by Monokuma. Angie takes her knowledge of Shuichi's secret to the grave with her, though she openly expresses her disgust with him.
  • There's No Rule That Says A Wolf Can't Be A Jedi: To someone with a wolf's nose, it's quite obvious that Anakin and Padme are married. However, Swift's archaeological research has revealed that Jedi in times past didn't forbid it, with the reasons for the current rules still being under investigation, and he chooses not to say anything. Until the Jedi Council are going to arrest Senator Palpatine as a Sith, and Swift knows that Anakin really needs to be with his wife right now and ensure her safety.
  • The Two Seers: Dolores figures out that her uncle and cousin were living in the walls and ends up becoming a secret provider for the both of them. When Camilo has a run in with Mirabel, Dolores refuses to say anything about it to him.
  • Played for Horror in Watch Me Burn: Adrien learns that Marinette is Ladybug and, as in "Cat Blanc", hides this from her while starting to date her. He also ramps up his harassment of Ladybug as Chat Noir, purely for his own amusement, intending to string her along for as long as possible before revealing the truth.
  • What Do You Call a Bug's Parents? has Tom and Sabine having known their daughter is Marinette for a month before she tries to sneak to be a hero while sick, at which point they make it clear to her they know and substitute for her until she recovers fully.
  • In the Witchblade/My Little Pony: Equestria Girls crossover fic The Witchblade EqG: Mystery Murder Files, Pinkie Pie is the next-to-last person in the group to learn that Sunset is Witchblade, but she admits she'd suspected her girlfriend was the heroine since the beginning. It was the only explanation for Sunset surviving an injury that should have killed her, even in her usual Super Mode, as well as knowing Pinkie was going to be the victim of a follow-up attack. Everything else she noticed in the weeks afterward was just additional confirmation.
    The Witchblade: I know I’ve said this before, but I feel it’s worth repeating. The pink one is scarily perceptive.

    Film — Animated 
  • Cinderella III: A Twist in Time: Although Anastasia finding Fairy Godmother's wand pushed Lady Tremaine to seek revenge on Cinderella, there is a possibility that she's known about Fairy Godmother's involvement for quite some time, as it may have been the only conclusion Tremaine could draw on how Cinderella was able to attend the ball, and also retain the second glass slipper in the first film.
  • In Encanto, Dolores (whose gift is Super-Hearing) reveals at the end of the film during "All Of You" that she had been aware all along that Bruno still lived in the Casita after his disappearance, hiding in the walls. This revelation got subtle foreshadowing beforehand, most notably in "We Don't Talk About Bruno".
  • In the direct-to-video Superman: Doomsday, Superman's refusal to reveal his civilian identity to Lois is putting a strain in their relationship. After his "death", she pays a visit to Martha Kent and reveals that, despite Clark's cover story of being out of the country, she already figured it out. He finally does tell her in the end.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Amen, Nazi Protagonist Kurt Gerstein and his wife might be an example of this, as they believe their maid Mrs Hinze may be Jewish, but do not relay their suspicions to the authorities or to Hinze herself.
  • Brokeback Mountain: After Jack and Ennis fall in love while spending the summer herding sheep, they part ways for four years. When they meet again after marrying women and having children, they passionately kiss, which is witnessed by Ennis' then-wife Alma, who keeps it to herself even as he and Jack enter a secret long-distance relationship. After Ennis and Alma divorce, she confronts him and gives another example of how she always knew he and Jack were an item: When they went away on their "fishing trips," Ennis would say upon returning that they ate all the fish they caught. Since Alma and their two daughters love fish, one time she left a note in his tacklebox reminding him to bring some back for them. But when he returned, not only did he not have any fish, but the note was exactly where she left it.
  • Captain America: Civil War introduced the MCU's version of Spider-Man by showing that Tony Stark had already learned his secret identity.
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy:
    • In Batman Begins Lucius Fox puts together Batman's identity due to the suspicious parallels between Batman's equipment and the devices Bruce Wayne has ordered up for his own amusement. Downplayed, as he very quickly shifts to simply Secret-Keeper by telling Bruce that he's smart enough to figure out what Bruce is up to and is okay with supplying him if Bruce doesn't outright tell him what he's doing, because that way he wouldn't have to lie.
    • In The Dark Knight Rises, GCPD Officer John Blake deduced the identity of Batman many years ago, and never let on that he knew until Commissioner Gordon was hospitalised by Bane, at which point he took it upon himself to convince Bruce Wayne to come out of retirement.
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • Man of Steel seems to feature this, as Clark spends a good amount of time demonstrating his feats of strength during his youth in Smallville (at one point lifting a bus full of kids out of a lake to save some of his classmates). One could only assume that the citizens (or at the very least Pete Ross, his childhood friend) were able to connect the dots that he is, in fact, the alien that goes on to confront Zod.
    • In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Lex Luthor has known about Superman and Batman's real identities for some time, which allows him to stir up trouble for both without either suspecting it. When he reveals this knowledge to one and then the other, he's openly gloating about it.
  • Equilibrium: Preston spends the film trying to prevent anyone from finding out that he's a sense offender, especially his Creepy Child son, who is a true believer in the laws enforcing emotionlessness. In the end, his son reveals that not only has he known about Preston's sense offenses, but both the son and daughter have been sense offenders since their mother died.
  • In Gattaca, the hero Vincent Freeman steals (or rather, buys) 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, merely by the fact that he holds his wang with the wrong hand! but he looks the other way because he himself has an "inferior," natural-born child.
  • In Inglorious Basterds it's heavily implied that Colonel Landa knows that "Emmanuelle" is really a Jewish woman named Shoshana whose family he'd killed a few years previously posing as a gentile cinema owner. He doesn't rat her out to any of the other Nazis around him nor to any of his superiors.
  • Towards the end of Jojo Rabbit, Captain Klezendorf more or less tells Jojo that he knew all along that his mother was a member of the German Resistance against the Nazis but he never ratted her out and it doesn't seem that she knew either.
  • Jason Scott's father in Power Rangers (2017). One of Zordon's rules is that the rangers can never reveal their identities. After Jason rescues his dad (who has spent most of the movie being disappointed in Jason), Mr. Scott takes a clipping of the Rangers saving the day and places it on the fridge where he used to keep clippings about Jason's football career, smiling to himself before walking away.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Spider-Man Trilogy: In Spider-Man 2 It's implied Aunt May realized Peter was Spider-Man after he saved her from Doc Ock during their fight at the bank. She never directly confronts him about it, but later in the film she talks him out of his 10-Minute Retirement, and in the third film she advises him not to seek vengeance against Sandman, claiming that "Spider-Man" doesn't kill people.
      • It's implied Robbie Robertson also knows, given his meaningful look to Peter when he says Spider-Man was on the scene and his sorrow over Spider-Man's mask when the garbageman gives Jameson his costume.
      • Likewise, when Mary Jane learns his secret, her reaction is not, "Jesus Christ you mean that was you I had that upside-down kiss with?!" but a low-key, "You finally told me," implying that at the very least she had strong suspicions.
    • The Amazing Spider-Man Series: The Amazing Spider-Man implied that Aunt May knew Peter was Spider-Man but didn't tell him. By the time of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, it's pretty obvious that she knows, though he doesn't seem to think she does.
  • Stardust: The entire crew knew:
    Old Pirate: It's alright, Captain. We always knew you were a whoopsy.
  • Star Wars:
    • In Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan rather nonchalantly reveals his knowledge of Anakin and Padmé's secret marriage when he correctly guesses that Anakin is the father of her unborn child. In the novelization, Obi-Wan has a line about how he and Anakin "...Pretend I don't know."
    • The Prequel Trilogy reveals that R2-D2 has been one, being the only hero by the time of the Sequel Trilogy that remembers the events from the first two trilogies. C-3PO remembered until getting his memory erased at the end of Revenge of the Sith.
    • In the Sequel Trilogy, Leia figured out very quickly that Rey is Emperor Palpatine's granddaughter, but chose not to say anything because it's a burden she knew all too well.
  • In What a Girl Wants, Harry is a lord running for political office when he discovers Daphne, the daughter he never knew of. He had been under the impression Daphne's mother, Libby, had left on her own and never told him about the child. Libby responds that it was Harry's disapproving family that drove her to never tell him about Daphne. In the film's climax, Harry tells the press that he's turning down office as he wants to be with his daughter. Alistair, the father of Harry's fiancee, is outraged and during an argument, reveals that he knew all along Libby was pregnant and kept it quiet so Harry wouldn't "throw his life away for her." Outraged that he was denied the chance to be a good father, Harry punches Alistair in the face and dumps his fiancée (who was also working to keep Daphne away) before flying to America.

  • The Beginning After the End:
    • There are quite a few characters who are secretly aware that Arthur is the reincarnated King Grey without him knowing. Most of these are Asuras such as Sylvia, Kezess, Mordain, and Agrona (the last of whom being the one responsible for his reincarnation in the first place). Rinia is also aware of his true identity due to being a Seer, having experienced many visions of him before she even met him. In addition, after being partially freed from the Legacy's control, Tessia becomes aware of Arthur's past life as Grey as she is able to view the Legacy's memories of having lived alongside him, but does not hold it against him for keeping it secret from her.
    • During Arthur's time living among the Alacryans, he conceals his true identity from them by going under the name of his past self, Grey. Only Seris, who took an interest in him during the war and recognized his description, is aware of who he is really is and becomes his Anonymous Benefactor during that time. Arthur is not even aware of Seris's backing of him until he meets with her shortly before the Victoriad.
  • In the Bigtime novella "Fandemic", it's mentioned that that superhero fangirl Piper Perez had figured out the secret identities of most of the heroes in town, but never felt the need to talk about it to anyone else. At least until the hero she used to date in civvies got captured by an ubervillain, at which point she starts calling their personal cell numbers and approaching them in their day jobs to get backup for a rescue mission.
  • The Black Witch Chronicles: Commander Kam Vin is aware that Elloren has a great deal of magical power from the moment of her sabotaged wandtesting, but doesn't tell anyone else about this, let alone the Locked Out of the Loop Ren herself.
  • The final Captive Prince book has The Reveal that Laurent himself always knew that Damen, the foreign slave who's become Laurent's trusted friend and lover, is the enemy Prince Damianos, who killed Laurent's older brother in battle years ago.
  • In A Certain Magical Index, Touma loses his memories at the end of the first book and keeps it a secret from everyone. Misaki, Seria and (by implication) Motoharu all figure it out on their own but don't reveal this to him.
  • The Daevabad Trilogy: Ali's friends Lubayd and Aqisa keep the secret of his marid-inflicted Making a Splash powers for five years, unknown to him. When he's shocked to realize they know, Lubayd points out that they've seen him summon an oasis in his sleep and stay underwater for hours.
  • Daisy Jones & The Six: Karen and Graham of The Six start dating during the band's first tour, but at Karen's insistence they keep it secret from the rest of the band. While being interviewed for the book 40 years later Eddie Loving, the guitarist, admits he spotted them having sex in the studio bathroom but decided not to tell them or anyone else.
  • 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."
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Ebenezar McCoy is Harry's second teacher and mentor in Wizarding magic. Harry came to him after Harry killed his first teacher in self-defence. Ebenezar is also Harry's maternal grandfather, who didn't know about Harry until the trial and took him in to save Harry from a death sentence.
    • Donnar Vadderung is CEO of MonOc Securities, a mercenary group, and spymaster, who helps protect people from magical threats if they have enough money. He is also an alias for a much older being. He is Odin and Santa Claus. He knows hundreds if not thousands of details people would rather not be known. For instance, that above secret of Ebenezar McCoy's is known to Donnar, as is Harry's daughter by Susan, which he knew of even before Harry. He also knows where the kidnapped child is likely located.
    • Thomas Raith is an White Court vampire, a psychic predator that feeds on lust, who starts off as a friendly enemy to Harry. He pops up every so often and helps Harry or asks Harry for help out despite the fact that wizards and vampires are at war. This is because Thomas knows they are half-siblings by Harry's mother.
    • Molly Carpenter, Harry's apprentice, unwillingly becomes Winter Lady of the Fae at the end of Cold Days, an event she and Harry spend several books concealing from her highly religious parents. At the end of Battle Ground, her father Michael quite casually reveals that they'd figured this out some time ago, and don't have a problem with it; they were just giving their daughter time to confide in them when she was ready.
  • Forbidden: Kit is revealed towards the end to have known about his older siblings’ relationship, but kept quiet for the sake of keeping the family together. This is foreshadowed a couple times earlier in the book.
  • Harry Potter:
    • In Prisoner of Azkaban, Hermione manages to figure out Lupin was a werewolf, but kept it to herself, until she came to believe that Lupin was an accomplice to Sirius Black. The person is impressed with her because another person set the students up to see if they would figure out this as well.
    • Two years later, in Order of the Phoenix, Harry learns that his neighbor, the Crazy Cat Lady Mrs. Figg, has known all along that he's a wizard — in fact, she's actually a Squib herself, who's been assigned to help keep watch over him his entire life.
    • Harry knew for about a year that Neville’s parents were in an asylum before any of his friends found out. Neville didn’t know he knew either. He accidentally found out in Dumbledore's office who then swore him to secrecy.
  • Kirby (Light Novel) has Kirby accidentally hiding he's from a different world from the rest of Team Kirby, both from fear of their reactions and interruptions whenever he does work up the courage. After finally explaining in the end, it turns out the others had pieced it together from discrepancies in his story, his complete ignorance of the unmissable monster attacks, and the fact that Doctor summoned him with bell that calls heroes from other worlds.
  • Early on in The Lord of the Rings, Frodo assumes that only Sam and Gandalf know about the Ring, but Merry reveals that he'd already known about it for a long time, and that he, Sam and Pippin had been keeping the secret safe among themselves. As a result, the journey to Bree includes Merry and Pippin.
  • In Loyal Enemies, half-elf Hraik is the only person to figure out that Shelena's a werewolf without witnessing her abilities or even hearing about them. He keeps it to himself, as he likes her and doesn't want to see her lynched. She doesn't realize that until he alludes to it in one of his songs.
  • The Parasol Protectorate: In Heartless, Alexia decides to reveal her status as a preternatural to Ivy Tunstell, only to be surprised when Ivy reveals that she had figured it out some time ago but felt no need to mention it.
  • In Relativity, Police Captain (later Superintendent) Aaron Brooks works very closely with Sara Wolff, because she runs a group home and any runaway or abused children tend to end up in her facility. He also works closely with the Dark Flame, because she's a superhero who specializes in rescuing children. It doesn't take him long to figure out that they are the same person.
  • Safehold: Not until book 2, By Schism Rent Asunder, does Ridiculously Human Robot Merlin find out that the late King Haahrahld, as well as Archbishop Maikel, are both aware of the true history of Safehold as a Lost Colony under the thumb of a Path of Inspiration, and that they correctly suspect him of being the second of two known gambits to overthrow the Church of God Awaiting.
  • In The Shattered Kingdoms, Jachid and his mother have been keeping the source of Meiran's illness secret from her, but in reality, she has known it for a long time. She understood why they didn't want to tell her, but still expected them to eventually trust her enough to do so. They didn't, and she left. When they meet again, Meiran is unwilling to clue Jachid in on her plan, which confuses and upsets him — he doesn't realise that its because she knows about his own lack of openness.
  • Tortall Universe: In the first half of the Song of the Lioness quartet, a notable number of people keep Alanna's true gender a secret. The only one who she doesn't know about is Myles, who figures it out after she finds Lightning and saves Jonathan from the Sweating Sickness in the first book.
  • 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.
  • Will in Scarlet: The ending reveals that Mark Brewer, the Sheriff of Nottingham, knows the true identity of Robin Hood's companion Will Scarlet due to a confession from a tortured member of the Merry Men. Will is unaware that Brewer knows about the confession, and wrongfully assumes his identity is safe. However, Brewer doesn't tell anyone due to his former friendship with Will, which also keeps him from posting a reward for Will's death or capture.
  • In Worm, in Extermination 8.8, Tattletale confesses to Taylor that she's known that Taylor was an undercover hero since before they met, and never told anyone.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrowverse:
    • Arrow:
      • Laurel learns that Oliver is the Arrow from Slade as an attempt at his inticrate his revenge plan, but she keeps it to herself for a few episodes until.
      • In late season 2, Moira reveals she knew Oliver's secret all the way back in season one, but kept it to herself to what he was doing, pride for who he became and Plausible Deniability.
    • Batwoman (2019): Faced with Kate Kane and Luke Fox's Blatant Lies about what their real estate business has to do with the villain of the week, Mary Hamilton-Kane works out that her stepsister is Batwoman at the end of "Drink Me". She's a bit hurt that Kate felt she couldn't be trusted with this, but lets her stepsister know that if she does have any big secrets, Kate can reveal them to her when she's ready. Kate doesn't, so Mary ends up forcing the issue several episodes later.
    • In the fifth season finale of The Flash (2014), Captain Singh surprises Barry and Joe by announcing that he's being promoted to Chief of Police and makes Joe his replacement.
      Singh: And if things get dicey, you'll have plenty of help. [to Barry] Isn't that right, Flash?
      Barry: I... I'm not...
      Singh: Oh, come on, Barry. I'm a detective too.
    • Supergirl (2015):
      • Kara learns in the first episode that the DEO has known since she was a kid that she's a Kryptonian and Superman's cousin. She also learns that James Olsen has known for some time, as Clark had confided him and even told him to watch after her.
      • Maggie also knew when she picked up on Alex's growing concern about Supergirl disappearing, a feeling she's known to have for her sister Kara.
      • An episode has Alex kidnapped and Kara getting a message saying she's Supergirl. It turns out to be a former high school classmate who once saw Kara use her powers to save a bus and figured out the truth. He's now using it to try and force Kara to free his father from prison.
      • In a crossover with The Flash (2014), Cat Grant surprises Kara by revealing she knows Barry is the Flash after he left to go back to his Earth.
      • Also in the final scene of the Season 2 finale, as Kara races out of a room, Cat smirks "go get 'em, Supergirl," revealing she's known for some time.
      • In a flashback episode, a teenaged Kara and Alex investigate the death of a mutual high school friend. After his killer is caught, they go over the photographs the guy made and find out taken months earlier of Kara flying at night. They realize the boy knew about Kara's identity but kept it quiet because he liked her.
      • Tracking a fugitive Lex Luthor, Kara finds a secret room of photos of her and realizes Lex has known for some time who she is.
      • In the Season 4 finale, after being shot, Lex shows Lena evidence of Kara being Supergirl and mocks her on how just about everyone else in Kara's inner circle knew but her. Lena meets the group later, acting like she doesn't know but clearly angered at how she was kept out of the loop on this.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy's friend from Los Angeles Billy figured out that she was the Slayer but didn't tell her until they meet again in Sunnydale. Unfortunately he was also a traitor who was about to hand her over to Spike.
  • Dead Man's Gun: In "The Imposter", Angela shoots Joe Tate, and Leo asks if she heard their conversation — where he revealed he was an imposter, and she denies it. But later, after Leo leaves town, Angela seeks him out with a wagon for "Sunshine's Emporium" revealing that she did hear and has opened a store for both of them.
  • In Drop Dead Diva, model Deb is reborn into the body of husky lawyer Jane. Deb finds herself bonding to Jane's quirky mother Elaine and doing her best to become a better daughter than the one Elaine knows. In the fifth season while dying of cancer, Elaine reveals she always somehow knew Deb wasn't really Jane but still loves her like a true daughter.
  • In Dynasty (2017), Fallon has been having a years-long on/off affair with the family's driver, Michael. She keeps it quiet, convinced her father Blake won't approve of her dating "below her station." But when Fallon is kidnapped, Blake reveals to Michael that he's known about the two of them for years but doesn't mind as he knows Michael is a better man than most Fallon has been with and made her happy.
  • A variation in the series finale of Elementary. Watson had helped Holmes fake his own murder to put corrupt CEO Reichenbach in prison. Two years later, Holmes returns to New York to aid Watson on a case. She suggests they go to their old friend, Detective (now Captain) Marcus Bell. When Holmes says Bell thinks he's dead, Watson sighs "about that..." It turns out Watson just couldn't stand watching Bell and Captain Gregson both blaming themselves for Holmes' murder so, without his knowledge, told them both Holmes was alive. Upon meeting him again, Bell punches Holmes for putting them through all that with "I've been waiting two years to do that."
  • A Running Gag in The Flash (1990) is that whenever Barry reveals his Secret Identity to somebody, they aren't the least bit surprised. They always knew in the back of their minds it was him. He just happened to confirm it.
  • Friends: Partway through the fifth season Rachel accidentally discovers that Chandler and Monica are secretly dating when she overhears them on the phone. They're unaware that she knows anything until several episodes later in "The One Where Everybody Finds Out".
  • In Good Trouble, Alice spends the entire first season afraid to come out to her strictly religious parents. She's finally pushed in the season finale to call them up as her ex (who they know as just a friend) has gotten married to another woman. They ask if she's okay about it as "you loved her." Alice is stunned but happy to realize her parents have known all along she was gay and are fine with it as they knew she had to come to terms with it on her own.
  • In Grimm, it takes about a season and a half for Nick to find out Captain Renard knows he's a Grimm.
  • In Knight Squad, Ciara is the Princess of Astoria whose father refuses to let her become a knight. Ciara uses a magical ring to disguise herself to be a knight in training. At first, only friend Arc knows but eventually teammates Prudence and Warwick find out. In the series finale, Ciara finally reveals herself to the entire kingdom and dares her father to punish her. To her shock, the king replies "how can I punish you when I've known the entire time?" He kept quiet because he was secretly proud of his daughter doing this and didn't want to spoil it. He also reveals he knew all along Arc wasn't really from a noble family but ignored it because he was helping Ciara.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: In the finale of Season One, Elrond discovers or at least suspects Halbrand's true identity as Sauron and that Galadriel herself knows it, but he decides to not confront her about it and behaves like nothing happened.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Daredevil (2015):
      • In the Season 1 finale, Foggy finds Matt venting off steam on a punching bag at Fogwell's Gym. Matt is surprised that Foggy found him here because he's never told Foggy about the gym.
        Matt Murdock: How'd you know I was here?
        Foggy Nelson: Known about your outlet for a while. I didn't say anything because I thought it had something to do with your dad. Now I know better. Thought you'd be out punching people in the head, or whatever you do.
      • Father Lantom easily figures out that Matt was "the Devil of Hell's Kitchen" from their confessionals, but doesn't say anything until Matt is about to reveal the secret.
        Father Lantom: Yes, Matthew, I'm not an idiot. I have a pretty good idea who you are and what you do. How you do it, that's something else entirely.
      • There's plenty of scenes throughout Season 2 where it's strongly implied that Karen Page had suspicions that Matt was Daredevil, but she didn't put together two and two until he outright reveals it to her at the end of the season, owing to Matt being blind.
      • While he never says it out loud, it's pretty clear that Frank Castle figures out Matt's secret identity as Daredevil during their interactions at the hospital and during the trial, but he doesn't say a word about it because he just doesn't care about Matt's secret identity. Even if he didn't figure it out then, he definitely would've figured it out by seeing Matt sans-helmet through his rifle scope during the Season 2 finale.
    • In The Defenders (2017), it's heavily implied that Misty Knight figures out Matt is Daredevil on her own. Given that when Matt tries to provide evasive answers in her attempt to question him following Stick's death, she says "That's cute, but, cut the shit. Because we both know you're not just a lawyer in all this, you're something more."
    • Iron Fist (2017): When Joy reveals to Ward that she's secretly gathered a dossier of dirt to blackmail the Rand board of directors to get themselves back into the company, she reveals that she's known about Ward's drug addiction for a long time, but didn't say anything about it because it didn't seem to impact Ward's ability to work.
    • The first season finale of Ms. Marvel (2022) has the gang startled to discover that Zoe Zimmer has known all along about Kamala's powers and kept quiet to return Kamala saving her life in the first episode.
  • Power Rangers:
    • On Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers and Power Rangers Zeo, Word of God is that Ernie knows who the Rangers are and keeps quiet out of appreciation for how much they've helped the world. He doesn't always hide it well (using terms like Dragonzord and Dinozord before we ever hear any other civilian use it and over-the-top pretending to believe Jason when the latter states-during episode 1x10 'Happy Birthday Zack' that the rumor he heard was that they were aliens). Also, he often gives the Rangers items-usually food/drinks-on the house as his quiet way of saying 'thanks'. He seemingly doesn't do it often enough to make them suspicious-there's a bit in a Power Rangers Zeo episode where Ernie's shown taking payment from some of the Rangers, or at least, he's at their table, talking to them, with money in his hand. Asking or allowing Jason and the other Rangers to stay at the Youth Center past closing or to watch the place while he does a supply run (or Jason to do the supply run in an episode) was likely explained away by the Rangers as Ernie being able to trust them to do so because he's known them long enough to know what they're like.
    • Power Rangers Lost Galaxy: Once or twice, Commander Stanton and Terra Venture's ruling council are hinted to know who the Lost Galaxy Rangers are. At the very least, High Councilor Renier pointedly cut off any questioning of where Mike had been when he suddenly reappeared after having been gone since the second episode, and had been treated as KIA. Keep in mind that he is among the senior crew, along with two others who often, in their eyes, frequently disappear from their stations far too comfortably for any other military setting.
  • 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. note 
    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]
  • In Smallville, Chloe plays this for the second half of the fourth season.
    • Lois is one of these from the Season 9 finale until episode five of Season 10. During a good portion of Season 10 (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. (Which becomes particularly funny in Patriot where, as below, it becomes pretty clear that the others are just screwing with her. Just look at the smirk on Tess's face when Lois covers for Clark's absence to her... his Mission Control. It is possible that either Tess didn't know that Lois was in on the joke, or she was protecting her own secret, but given that this is Tess, it's quite likely that she's just enjoying Lois's attempts.)
    • Lois does this earlier with when she finds out Oliver Queen is Green Arrow and tries to keep his secret...from Clark and Chloe. At some points it looks like all three are just screwing with her.
    • Lionel Luthor was one also, having the knowledge both of Clark's abilities and his birth name due to exposure to a Kryptonian artifact. In one episode, he goes out of his way to acquire surveillance footage showing Clark using his abilities (and his watching it without a hint of surprise and with a promise to keep Clark's secret safe serves to inform the audience of his knowledge). He only becomes a standard Secret-Keeper after he is trapped in an elevator with Clark's mother, and Clark is forced to rather blatantly use his abilities to save them both.
  • In the final season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Odo keeps his life-threatening disease a secret from Kira so that she won't be distracted from their mission against the Dominion. Kira is aware of the disease, but lets Odo believe it's a secret to let him keep his dignity.
  • A key part of Suits is Mike hiding the fact he's not really a lawyer from others. Harvey and Donna know from the start and over the course of the series Jessica, Rachel and Louis all find out (as do a couple brief characters). When Mike is finally exposed, Benjamin, the low-level researcher and IT tech at the firm, surprises him by revealing he'd always known for a unique reason: Mike was the only "Harvard grad" who never talked down to Benjamin or rubbed having a law degree in the guy's face.
  • Super Sentai:
    • 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.
    • Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger has Yuko and Rika Fukui, sister and niece respectively of Nobuharu Udo, aka Kyoryu Blue. Rika figured it out in an early episode where she got caught in a Monster of the Week's trap, while Yuko was kept oblivious for a short time until she hears Kyoryu Blue make the same speech Nobuharu had earlier. While Rika openly accepts her uncle's role as a superhero, Yuko decides to keep the information to herself, instead insisting on calling him "That Blue Guy".
    • Yuko takes it a step further, as all the Kyoryugers except Nobuharu know that she knows (making them Secret Secret Secret Keepers). Near the end of the series when she's been recruited to become the new Kyoryu Cyan, Nobuharu quickly tries to come up with an explanation, Yuko interrupts by finally revealing that she knew...and then Nobuharu sees the embarrassed looks on the other Rangers' faces and realizes he was the only one who didn't know.
  • In the third season finale of Teen Wolf, it's revealed that Danny knows that Ethan's a werewolf.
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Sarah and John decide not to tell Derek Reese that his brother Kyle was John's father. In the first season finale Derek reveals he worked it out for himself shortly after meeting up with them due to the resemblance between Kyle and John, and because he knew Sarah was Kyle's type.
  • The Wheel of Time (2021): When Moiraine masks their Bond, Lan immediately runs up to her room to check on her, only to find her in a nightgown. He disapproves of her masking their Bond for any reason, and they casually argue over it, with her suggesting he should go and use this moment of privacy. He ignores this and tell Moiraine to be back the next morning and give her his love, causing Moiraine to smirk, showing that Lan knows of her clandestine relationship with Siuan.
  • In one episode of Zorro (1957), 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.

  • In Goddess Creation System after Xiaxi leaves the Wang Pu house she happens to be picked up by the crown prince, where she goes by a new name. They've met before, but he doesn't recognize her and instead tries to find out who she is: No mere commoner could possibly be as well educated as she is. Before long, he figures out that she's the servant of the Wang Pu family, but keeps quiet about it and doesn't even tell her he knows.

  • Red Panda Adventures:
    • There are signs as early as his first appearance that the Red Panda's butler, Weston, knows more about the double life his boss leads than he lets on. Weston does things like make sure the Red Panda and Kit have newspapers with the latest superhero or murder related headlines, justifying it by saying he's simply noticed his master's and Kit's preferences. However, when Kit collapses from exhaustion in the manor while still in full Flying Squirrel costume, Weston is not only unsurprised but covers for her with the rest of the staff. From that moment on he's an open and invaluable ally.
    • In the chronological Grand Finale, "The Final Problem", the Mad Monkey reveals he's known the secret identities of the Red Panda and Flying Squirrel for years. The reason he never acted on that knowledge was he simply didn't care about their secret identities. He's the Red Panda's self proclaimed arch-nemesis, not the arch-nemesis of one of the city's wealthiest men.

    Tabletop Games 
  • One Night Ultimate Werewolf has numerous roles that can learn someone else's role without that other player finding out. Some have the non-villagers reveal themselves to that role (Minion, Renfield). Others have the role look at someone else's card (Seer, Robber, Witch).

    Video Games 
  • Avencast: Rise of the Mage has Gorlin, who knows the backstories of the player, the Arch-Enemy, the Big Bad, and all the conflicts between. He sees no reason to divulge anything until the absolute last minute.
  • Batman: The Telltale Series: John Doe is revealed to have known that Bruce Wayne was Batman for some time, as shown in Episode 4 of The Enemy Within simply caused he saw Bruce in a hurry upon seeing the bat-signal.
  • I Was a Teenage Exocolonist: Getting close to Cal triggers a Secret Pet Plot in which the pet is eventually discovered by the colony's autorities thanks to Gigantic Adults, Tiny Babies applying to its species. During the discovery scene, Flulu, who is both the protagonist's strict mother and Cal's boss, turns out to have known of the pet all along and tolerated it for the time it proved to not be dangerous.
  • Archmagus Rubus, in Queen at Arms, figures out early in their acquaintance that Marcus is female. However, he only tells her he's known all along if his romance path is pursued; otherwise, he doesn't mention having made the discovery.
  • Near the end of Octodad: Dadliest Catch, it's revealed that Stacy has always been aware that her father is really an octopus masquerading as a human. Played with in that Stacy didn't even know this was a secret; she just never mentioned it because it was so blatantly obvious that this was the case that she assumed Everybody Knew Already.
  • There's a journal entry in Red Dead Redemption 2 in which Arthur says he knows fellow gang member Bill is living with some sort of secret about himself. He doesn't know what exactly the secret is but he respects Bill's privacy and doesn't believe it's his place to prod. The game itself heavily implies said secret is that he's gay but there are other people in the gang who have their suspicions as well.
  • In Super Mario Sunshine, Bowser tricked his son into believing that Princess Peach was his mom so that he'll help kidnap her. In the ending, Bowser Jr. reveals that he knew all along that Peach wasn't his mom and he'll continue scheming with his father so that he'll one day defeat Mario.
  • If you choose to play as a girl/other in South Park: The Fractured but Whole, Wendy reveals to your character that she knew the entire time during South Park: The Stick of Truth, but kept quiet about it because she believed you wanted to be mysterious, and wanted to respect that.
  • Spider-Man (Insomniac):
    • Spider-Man (PS4):
      • In the final boss battle, Doc Ock addresses Spider-Man as "Parker", revealing that he's either slowly figured out, or always known, that Peter is Spider-Man and not just his gadget guy. Peter is absolutely furious when he realizes the implications that Octavius had done all his evil deeds knowing full well his lab assistant is Spider-Man, and his hopes of getting through to his former mentor are shattered.
      • Aunt May reveals at the very end that she's known Peter was Spider-Man for quite some time by telling him "I want to see my nephew". Unlike the comics she isn't in denial about it and is proud of Peter helping people, and kept it a secret so he wouldn't worry about it (which makes many earlier scenes in the game much more heartwarming). It's a cold comfort for Peter however, as she's on her deathbed.
      • In the "Hidden Backpack" side quest, Peter finds the backpack holding Matt Murdock's business card, who gave it to Spider-Man one day in case he ever needed a lawyer. Peter is perplexed at how a blind guy knew who he was.
    • Marvel's Spider-Man 2: In The Stinger, Doc Ock isn't willing to tell Norman Osborn who either of the Spider-Men are.
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: After The Reveal that the Player Character has been a brainwashed Darth Revan all along, most of your crew takes the news pretty hard — except for Jolee Bindo (if he has already been recruited). When confronted, Jolee admits to having immediately recognized your face when you first met him on Kashyyyk (he has, after all, met you before during the Mandalorian Wars) but decided that keeping his mouth shut was the least harmful thing to do at that point.

    Visual Novels 
  • Kindred Spirits on the Roof:
    • Yuna Toomi, the protagonist, acts as a "Yuri Cupid" who clandestinely helps lesbian couples get together for the sake of two ghosts (or "kindred spirits") who want to consummate their relationship; for example, she creates a distraction to allow Seina Maki to place a love letter in her senpai and crush Miki Aihara's bag. That said, Yuna generally doesn't let on that she knows about the couples unless they tell her about it; she doesn't even meet Seina until an extra scene that takes place after the main story ends.
    • The broadcasting club consists of three members- Umi Ichiki, Sasa Futano and Nena Miyama. The former two are in love with each other, and the latter is aware of it, but doesn't say anything outright and lets the relationship take its course.
    • Toward the end of the game, it is revealed that Yuna's friend Fuji Ano knows about the fact that Yuna can see the kindred spirits. Ano can faintly see but not hear the spirits, and was aware that Yuna was conversing with them at a few points.
  • Melody:
    • When the protagonist and Melody finally tell Hank about their relationship, Hank tells them that he already knows, because several musicians and their respective managers have tried concealing their romantic involvements from him before.
    • Tim knows about the protagonist's and Isabella's relationship as soon as he hears them having sex in his house. However, it isn't until the High School Sweetheart Ending that he lets on that he knows.
  • In Shall We Date?: Ninja Shadow, some characters will find out on their own that the Player Character Saori is a girl playing a Sweet Polly Oliver role and keep that to themselves, but the amount of characters who figure it out before Saori reveals the secret depends on the route:
    • Eduard will always realize Saori's secret and keep mum, thinking that she has good reasons to pretend that she's a guy. (She does.) He'll only spill it out towards the very end.
    • Makoto finds out in his own route and some others (i.e., Kagura's and Yuzuki's), depending on the circumstances, and doesn't reveal it unless confronted.
    • Hijikata realizes this fairly early in his route but keeps his trap shut because not only he thinks she's doing it for really important reasons, but he wants her to trust him enough to tell him herself. Later, Hijikata's best friend Okita explains that he also put two and two together, and finally the deal's upgraded to "Everybody Knew Already" levels since all the guys (save for Shintaro) came to similar conclusions, and aren't surprised at all when she officially explains it.

  • In Bob and George, George's two roommates know that he's a superhero because George likes to talk to himself in their thinly-walled apartment. They just don't tell him because they find his excuses entertaining.
  • 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.
    • Also related to Nanase is how many people knew of her lesbianism before she properly came out. Of her seven friends, she goes a long time thinking only two know she's gay. Susan was with her when she realized she was gay, and her reaction to that (activating her fairy doll spell to speak to Elliot and, far as Susan was aware, dropping unconscious) scared Susan, who blabbed it to the two other friends present (Justin & Ellen). Sarah and Grace happened to overhear a conversation during Grace's birthday party. Ultimately, only Tedd (her cousin) remained completely oblivious until Nanase was actually out.
    • Similarly, quite a few people figure out that Rhoda and Catalina are a couple, largely due to them both doing an awful job at concealing it. Rhoda actually gets somewhat upset when Diane and Lucy both tell her that they knew about it since the main reason she'd been hiding it was out of concern for how they'd react.
  • In Khaos Komix, Charlie dates Jamie despite concerns from Tom about how he'll react if he finds out her secret. As it turns out, when Charlie finally breaks down and confesses, Jamie reveals that he learned the truth from her mother (who was under the impression that Jamie knew), and he actually suspected something was up from the moment they met.
  • Non-Supers example: Haley and Roy from The Order of the Stick have both caught on that Belkar is only faking his alignment shift away from Chaotic Evil, but have agreed not to call him out for it, preferring how he acts now — which becomes an inversion at times, when he really shows signs of character development, but is promptly ignored because everyone thinks he's faking.
  • In Rain (2010), several of Emily's close friends find out about her pregnancy (which she's hiding from everyone at school except Rain, since St. Hallvard High is a Catholic school where she could be expelled for having premarital sexnote ) well before the point at which the progress of said pregnancy forces her to tell the rest of the school. Maria overheard Emily telling Rain about her pregnancy at the latter's New Year's party, while Gavin and Rudy found out when Ky (who Emily hadn't been keeping her pregnancy a secret from, since they go to a different school, and who hadn't known that Emily was trying to keep it a secret from everyone else at her school) told them.
  • In Schwarz Kreuz, Nigel has figured Nick's secret "ages ago", but pretended not to, since Nick didn't want him to know.
  • At the end of Issue 14 of Spinnerette, it's made fairly clear from Buzz's expression as he's made to wait outside Sahira's apartment (until her Power Copying wears off) that he knows she was the six-armed woman who had shown up to a fire a few minutes before. A comment at the beginning of the same chapter may also have been testing the waters as to Heather's superheroing, but this is far less clear.

    Western Animation 
  • Big Hero 6: The Series: The finale of Season 1 reveals that Professor Granville was aware of the team's extracurricular activities.
  • Danny Phantom: Danny's sister Jazz found out his secret halfway into the first season, and decided not to confront him about it because she believed that Danny would tell her when he was ready. In the meantime, she would help cover for his actions from their parents and teachers by backing up his excuses, to his mild confusion, as well as lines like "You go... somewhere I can't see you and get help!" Danny eventually realizes she knows in Season 2, when she sends him a message through time via the Ghost Zone. She becomes a Sixth Ranger from that point forwards, albeit to the initial annoyance of the others due to her overexuberance over finally being included.
  • DC Animated Universe:
    • Batman: The Animated Series:
      • Bruce Wayne figured out Batgirl was Barbara Gordon at an indeterminate point, but didn't tell her until revealing his own identity. That he also kept this a secret from Dick Grayson was the last straw that convinced Dick to leave Batman and become Nightwing.
      • Barbara also later attempts to come out as Batgirl to her father, Commissioner Gordon. Before she can state it outright, he heavily implies that he already knows, is proud of her, and doesn't want to "officially" know.
    • Superman: The Animated Series: Lana Lang surprised Superman by revealing that she knew who he was. It helps that in the Superhero Origin premiere, they are childhood friends and Clark confided in her about the weird things that were happening to him as his powers began activating, and then she saw him save a family from a burning van without getting so much as a blister. Honestly, it would be surprising if she didn't connect the dots between "superpowered childhood friend" to "new superhero in the city said friend just moved to".
    • Batman Beyond:
      • Implied in "Unmasked". When Terry unmasks himself to reassure a kid he's rescuing, Cobra later tracks the kid down and checks his memories for Batman's true identity. The resulting image is Batman with the head of the kid's action figure, which Terry takes to mean that the kid didn't see his face well and subconsciously replaced the image. As proof, he walks over to the kid's soccer game and mentions to Maxine that he sees the kid everyday, and he hasn't figured it out. The last shot, however, is the kid looking back and giving a knowing smile, implying that he does know but kept it secret.
      • It's been revealed in the comic adaptation that Dana Tan knew about Terry being Batman before he revealed it.
      • Word of God indicated that Bruce knew for a long time that Terry is his genetic son long before Terry figured it out for himself.
      • In the early episodes, it was implied that Barbara Gordon already knew that Terry was the new Batman before finally acknowledging it by meeting with Bruce in the Batcave. (Of course, he's the obvious suspect for anyone who knows that Bruce was the original Batman.)
    • Virgil's dad Robert in Static Shock only consciously invokes the trope in the interim between his capture by the villains and his first conversation with Static, as it's then that he reveals that he knows the truth. (There aren't many reasons to kidnap a middle-aged counselor and sometimes community leader.) Cue the page quote.
    • Justice League:
      • In "Starcrossed", events transpire which require the members of the League who have civilian identities to reveal them to one another. The Flash hems and haws, until Batman, like it ain't no thang, shows why even in the TV-PG world of JL he's still the gosh-darn Batman:
        Flash: Hold on, what about the whole "secret identity" thing? I mean, I trust you guys, but I'm not sure I'm ready to...
        Batman: [jabs a finger in Flash's chest] Wally West... [jerks a thumb at Superman] Clark Kent... [pulls off his own mask] Bruce Wayne.
        Flash: Show-off.
      • In the Unlimited episode "Ultimatum", Amanda Waller reveals that she's always known Batman's identity when she angrily calls him "rich boy".
  • DC Super Hero Girls (2019): The episode "#BreakingNews" has Lois Lane set out to discover the identities of the titular hero team, and within the span of a scene transition, she's essentially figured them out already. Jess (aka Green Lantern) tips the rest of the girls off, so they do their best to put her off the trail, only for their Bad "Bad Acting" to serve as confirmation. However, Lois decides not to submit her story to the news after dwelling on the matter and realizing the harm it could cause them, keeping her knowledge to herself. Of course, she doesn't tell our heroines this, so they end the episode believing that she didn't run the story because they successfully tricked her.
  • Glitch Techs: Miko's younger sister Lexi serves as this, having witnessed their parents get system restored in the first episode and keeping records some of her sister's Glitch Tech activity since then. Miko regularly allowing her Chocobo-expy Ally to wander their shared bedroom and being a terrible liar who keeps alluding to her real job probably didn't help. She becomes a regular Secret-Keeper in episode nine, when she uses her knowledge as blackmail to get Miko's help.
  • Several episodes of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) hint at He-Man's mother, Queen Marlena, 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.
    Prince Adam: I was wondering, when Skeletor had us all chained up, why did you free me instead of one of the others?
    Queen Marlena: Because you are my son, Adam. I didn't have time to free everyone. And I had a... feeling you would know what to do.
    Prince Adam: Mother, ah...
    Queen Marlena: Adam, a mother always knows her own son. And what he is capable of doing.
  • 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.
  • In Invincible (2021), towards the end of the first season, Mark reveals that he's Invincible to Amber, hoping that it would fix their rapidly deteriorating relationship, or at least begin fixing things between them. It doesn't work. She figured it out a long time ago and admits that she felt offended by him constantly lying about his activities instead of telling her the truth. Mark using the reveal as a final gambit only serves to annoy Amber even more, so she dumps him regardless. Likewise, in the season finale, they quickly piece together that Omni-Man is his father.
  • In the Grand Finale of Littlest Pet Shop (2012), Blythe's father Roger reveals that he knew of her ability to talk to animals since day one, because her mom had the same power. He was just waiting until she was comfortable with telling him herself.
  • Miraculous Ladybug:
    • In "Cat Blanc", Adrien catches Ladybug leaving his room after dropping off a present from Marinette, and manages to put two and two together. However, as Ladybug forebade the two of them from knowing each other's identities, he can't exactly admit that he knows, so he decides to just pretend that he's suddenly fallen in love with Marinette (which is just fine by her). Of course, this event causes a chain reaction that results in the destruction of Paris and the deaths of everyone in it save Adrien/Cat Blanc himself, and has to be undone with time travel, so by the end of the episode he no longer knows/never finds out in the first place.
    • In "Wishmaker", Luka finds out Ladybug and Cat Noir's secret identities thanks to the titular villain's power. However, because he used his Second Chance ability as Viperion to keep them from being revealed to Shadow Moth (and everyone else in Paris), neither Marinette nor Adrien remembers being unmasked. However, his usage of Second Chance causes Ladybug to suspect that one or both of them were unmasked, and asks Luka about it after taking back his Miraculous, but he lies and tells her that neither of them were. In "Ephemeral", Ladybug is forced to send Luka a message that would make no sense if Luka did not know Marinette was Ladybug, so she may have picked up on the deception, but most of the events of that episode were time-reversed themselves.
  • Zick's mother Greta is this in Monster Allergy. It's less that she stumbled across his secret at any point, and more that his ability to see and talk to supernatural beings is actually hereditary. She feigned ignorance and never pressed him too hard about any of the odd occurrences around the house. At least until halfway through the first season, when she learns that he used his powers to get into a situation that could have easily killed him, though they don't have an actual talk about her reasoning for another two episodes.
    Zick: You can see [the ghosts]!?
    Greta: Of course, I can see them! They're my parents!
  • Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur (2023): It's implied at the end of the first episode that Mimi instantly figured out Lunella was Moon Girl, and throughout the first season she subtly helps her granddaughter's superhero career. The season one finale episodes reveal Mimi knew from the beginning because she was one of the two scientists who built the portal Devil came from and was the original "Moon Girl" that Lunella named her superhero alter ego after.
  • My Adventures with Superman: In the fifth episode, "My Adventures with Mad Science", Jimmy cuts off Clark's long and awkward build-up to revealing his secret identity by telling him that he already knows his best friend is Superman. It turns out he knew about Clark's abilities since the first day they met in college, when Clark tried to pass off ripping a door handle in half as being a result of loose screws. As such, when Superman showed up, Jimmy immediately knew it was his roommate. He just never said anything over the years because he figured it was a sensitive topic, and was willing to wait for Clark to explain things. However, he is offended that Clark seemingly told Lois, the coworker they've both known for only a few weeks, before him.
  • The Owl House:
    • It's heavily implied that Willow has already realized that Amity has a crush on Luz by the end of "Wing it Like Witches".
    • It's implied over the course of "Thanks to Them" (and confirmed in "For the Future") that Gus is aware that Hunter is a Grimwalker as a result of digging into Belos' memories in "King's Tide". He identifies with a character implied to be secretly aware that one of his crewmen is a clone, he specifically introduces the crewman in question as a clone apparently to give Hunter someone to relate to, and he doesn't react when Luz accidentally lets it slip.
  • In the Ready Jet Go! episode "Moon Circus", Carrot overhears from the kitchen that Jet is planning a surprise party for him. Carrot then has to keep the secret that he knows about the surprise party, but ends up telling Jet anyway.
  • 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 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.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala's Secret Relationship is the worst-kept secret in the galaxy. The only other people who are supposed to know are R2-D2, C-3PO, some of Padmé's handmaidens and guards, and implicitly Captain Rex. The people who are implied or outright stated to know, but aren't technically supposed to, include Obi-Wan Kenobi ("I hope you at least told Padmé I said hello."), Ahsoka Tano, Yoda, Bail Organa, and Palpatine.
  • Total Drama Pahkitew Island: After Sammy impersonates Amy to avoid elimination, she assumes only Jasmine knows about the Twin Switch. Turns out Chris figured them out as soon as it happened, but did nothing other than hint at it repeatedly to Sammy to make her squirm. Scarlett also knew, but assumed everyone else did as well and were just playing dumb.
  • Transformers: Prime: According to the tie-in book, Transformers: The Covenant of Primus, Alpha Trion was aware that Orion Pax was the reincarnation of "Thirteen", the last of the thirteen original Primes, long before he regained his memories and retook his original name: Optimus Prime. That being said, after regaining his Past-Life Memories there is no indication that Optimus was aware that Alpha Trion knew who he was, though considering that in this continuity, Alpha Trion is also a member of the Thirteen (which is why he knew who Orion Pax was), it's entirely possible he suspected as much.
  • In TRON: Uprising, Able (the boss at Beck's garage) seems to be awfully tolerant of Beck's frequent absences and strange explanations for those absences, as well as quick to scold Zed when he expresses frustration with "The Renegade's" antics. In "Grounded", he finally lets Beck know he knows: "What I have to say, I hoped I'd never have to say. So here goes. How did you become the Renegade?"
  • The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald: In the final video "The Monster O'McDonaldland Loch", Birdie encounters the titular monster and is implored by him to keep his existence a secret. Near the end of the video, Ronald reveals to Birdie that he knew about her encounter with the monster when he asks her to get his help in combating a robotic version of the monster built by an evil inventor named Stiles.
    Ronald: I know how to keep a secret, too.
  • In X-Men: Evolution, Amanda Sefton briefly 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. Later, during an emergency where Kurt is reluctant to use his powers because Amanda would figure out the truth, she reveals she knows about him, and then just becomes a regular Secret-Keeper for the existence of the mutants until the Masquerade is broken.
  • Young Justice (2010):
    • Played with. Instead of a civilian keeping the superhero's secret, Robin knows Artemis' civilian identity (specifically, that she's from a family of supervillains) but doesn't let her know. He did almost bring it up when she was suspected of being The Mole, however. Also, since she doesn't know his identity, he Trolled her a bit when she transferred to his school.
      Dick Grayson: [taking a selfie with her in their school uniforms] We'll laugh about this someday.
      [camera flash blinds Artemis; when she blinks, he's gone]
      Artemis: Who was that?
    • Superboy to Miss Martian. He knew she was a white Martian before they even became a couple, but he decided to let her tell him when she was ready.
    • During a Justice League meeting, Wonder Woman comments that nobody knew about Captain Marvel's real age, only for Batman to calmly announce that he did. Cap is visibly surprised by this. (Word of God says Batman knew everybody in the League's identity, even if they didn't volunteer the information.)
    • Dick is supposed to keep his identity a secret from his friends, at Batman's insistence, but shared the truth with his best friend, Wally; as a result, Wally knows that Batman is Bruce Wayne, and playfully teases the information in "Image".


Video Example(s):


Jimmy Olsen

Just as Clark is about to reveal to Jimmy that he's Superman, Jimmy quickly tells him that he'd already figured out his secret identity ever since they first met but chose not to confront Clark about it until he was ready.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (27 votes)

Example of:

Main / SecretSecretKeeper

Media sources: