Alice and Bob are talking, and Bob has decided that it's time to come clean. He's going to tell her his dark and terrible secret. This secret could be one or more of any number of unpleasant or shocking or dumbfounding things. Maybe Bob is secretly a crime fighting vigilante, or a spy, or some kind of superbeing in disguise, or The Mole, or maybe he really likes reggae music. Whatever the secret is, it's going to be something that causes Alice to see Bob in an entirely new light, and totally reinterpret much of Bob's behavior.
Bob spills his guts. Alice is surprised, initially, but her surprise does not turn into shock, horror, fear, disbelief, or hatred. Instead, Alice... glomps Bob and commences chewing on his face. The Reveal is apparently a massive turn on for Alice.
People can react in all sorts of odd ways to unexpected news, but The Reveal Prompts Romance stands out as the most positive. Instead of feeling alienated from the person who made The Reveal, they feel closer instead. The reason for this is most likely that such a disclosure immediately creates a sense of intimacy between the two people. The person receiving the disclosure may also feel special and connected to the one disclosing for having been chosen. The more UST Alice and Bob have before The Reveal the more this makes sense, and visa versa.
Most often the set up is the male hero (who is doing the reveal) and female (who is responding with romance) lead of a story, right before or right after the climax. Who initiates the "romance" after the reveal varies, but it's never non-consensual.
Sex is not always involved, nor even necessarily a make-out session, but there's always some sort of "They Do" moment. This trope is one means by which writers may achieve red-string strangulation, or a Last Minute Hookup. A reveal that involves displaying a physiological abnormality may prompt a Freakiness Shame.
This trope may overlap with Gender Reveal, which involves revealing a character's true gender.
See Milholland Relationship Moment for the non-romance variant of this trope. Compare Secret Keeper which is what Bob is trusting Alice to be with The Reveal. Contrast You Make Me Sick, My God, You Are Serious, and I'll Kill You! for less friendly reactions to The Reveal. If The Reveal is a Love Confession, then it's Love Revelation Epiphany.
- There are numerous superheroes who have unmasked themselves to a boyfriend or girlfriend and then immediately made out. Sometimes they do this several times with different people. Heroes on this list include: Batman, Superman
- Spider-Man is actually kind of a subversion:
- When the reveal happened with Mary Jane, it was MJ revealing she actually knew already, not Peter telling her, and it wasn't what sparked them getting together (they had already dated in the past). Being able to open about it did bring them closer and they did get back together shortly after that. MJ made it clear that she saw Peter and Spider-Man as one and the same, and that loving one meant loving the other, and that as much as Peter risking his life as Spider-Man drove her upset with fear, Peter's dedication, selflessness and heroism as Spider-Man are the principal qualities that attract her to him and during their friendship she actually convinced Peter to cancel one of his "Spider-Man no more" and save people.
- Ultimate Spider-Man is also a subversion as well. Mary Jane was the first person Peter told and when he revealed it to her privately, she was under the impression that Peter was going to kiss her and ask her out, which Peter on hearing remark, that she still came up anyway (showing that she wanted a relationship with him). The secret did not prompt the romance as there was already a lot of romantic tension between them but MJ loves Peter being Spider-Man, especially when he takes her web-swinging, and for being able to be part of his cool adventures. However, throughout the series, she made it known that she also wishes that Peter wouldn't risk his life so much and she suffers PTSD after an encounter with Goblin that led to their first break-up (Peter broke up with her the second time over her constantly getting involved in his life when he told her to step back), but their attraction is too strong for either of them to stay away from each other.
- Last Child of Krypton: In the original story, when Shinji finally told Asuka he was Superman, her first reaction was getting angry with him for risking his life to save hers. Her next reaction was tackling him and kissing him anxiously.
- Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: When Asuka finally came clean to Shinji about being Supergirl she said she would like that he was her confidant. He replied he would also like to be more than a friend because he likes her. Asuka admitted she liked him back and they kissed.
- A frequent plot in Miraculous Ladybug fanfiction, to be expected given the show's Two-Person Love Square.
- Daredevil (2015) season 2 ended with Matt Murdock finally coming clean with Karen Page about his secret identity as Daredevil, after having kept her in the dark for the entire season. The scene ends with us only getting the surprised look on Karen's face before she can provide any sort of verbal response. Matt and Karen had dated briefly earlier in season 2, before the strain of Matt's double life caused him to falter in contributing to Frank Castle's trial, and Elektra's influence, temporarily drove them apart. A few fanfic writers have taken the idea that Matt disclosing his secret to Karen ended up causing them to restart their earlier relationshipnote .
- One, called Better - Now, provides a subversion by looking at Karen's thought processes. Karen's first reaction is to passionately kiss Matt, then awkwardly ask him out on a date, but as it turns out, the reveal just complicates her feelings: she's questioning everything she's ever known about Matt, and constantly thinking about the relationship advice Frank Castle gave her in ".380". It isn't until the end of their impromptu date, that Karen comes to terms with Matt's identity, and while she's still mad at him for letting her and Foggy down during the trial, she seems willing to take it slowly and see where it goes from there.
- Another, Do You Mind the Snow?, plays it more straight. Here, Karen takes the news a lot better than Matt is expecting her to take it.
- One, called Redemption, has it where Karen forces Matt to explain himself. It's only after he shows her the various scars he's received from his fights with Nobu and Wilson Fisk that she kisses him, to thank him for the two times he's saved her in his alternate persona.
- The How to Reconcile series details Matt and Karen's reconciliation in a series of snapshots. This includes having to work through Matt's unreliability during the trial, as well as explain why Matt swung from extremes like a pendulum as a result of Elektra.
- Astrid in How to Train Your Dragon. Not directly after the reveal, but halfway back to town Toothless grabs her and she's forced to take a flight with Hiccup and Toothless. By the end of their joyride she's definitely showing a great deal of affection for Hiccup, including a peck on the cheek. Quite the turnaround from contempt/anger/hatred/jealousy.
Films — Live-Action
- Batman (1989) had an exchange like this between Bruce Wayne and Vicki Vale towards the end, when Vale is shown into the Batcave.
- The 1986 Highlander film set one of these up between the secretly-immortal Connor MacLeod and his Love Interest. Made more remarkable by the fact that Connor made his reveal by stabbing himself in the chest.
- Dave in the film version of Kick-Ass does this to Katie. In fact, it's two reveals in one - one should have shocked her, the other angered. As per the trope, neither are her reaction.
Katie: Dave? What the fuck are you doing? Why are you dressed as Kick-Ass?
Dave: Because I am Kick-Ass!
Katie: What are you talking about?
Dave: I'm also not gay!
- Notably this is not the way it plays out in the original comic. Dave tells her that he's not gay, she gets majorly pissed off for being tricked and gets her Scary Black Boyfriend to beat him up. Then she emails him a picture wherein she's giving her boyfriend a blowjob, which Dave both cries over and gets off to. He also doesn't tell her that he's Kick Ass.
- Not Another Teen Movie used this near the end when a girl reveals her wish for a guy to take a dump on her chest. His response is one of shock, disgust and disbelief...that no one has ever taken a dump on her chest.
- As seen in the page quote, this is Lampshaded in Iron Man. Tony of course goes on to avert it spectacularly, because no Secret Identity could survive contact with his massive ego.
- Dragaera: This is essentially how Vlad Taltos got to know Cawti. After learning who she was on their second meeting (their first meeting being an attempt on his life by Cawti), he climbed directly into her bed.
- Smallville: Lois was already attracted to Clark (and also already knew of his Secret Identity), but when he finally tells her he's the Blur she runs up to him and lays a big slobbering kiss on him.
- Friends: In "The One With The Prom Video," Ross had gotten ready to step in when it seemed like her prom date was going to stand her up. The date arrives at the last minute, disappointing Ross. Rachel sees this for the first time on a video played in the present day and, deeply moved, rushes over to Ross and kisses him passionately, beginning their romance in earnest.
- In Jessica Jones (2015): In "AKA It's Called Whiskey," when Jessica Jones and Luke Cage each find out the other is super-strong and tough ,they realize this means they finally have a partner they can cut loose with. This of course means a sexual encounter that literally breaks the bed under them. This is downplayed as they are fuck buddies more than anything, but still...
- Knights of the Old Republic has a variant for the Gay Option. Play female, and Juhani may become attracted to you. Then, it's revealed that Revan (you) were her rescuer and inspiration for picking up a lightsaber in the first place, as well as an infamous Sith Lord who very nearly toppled the Republic. Her quiet crush becomes much more obvious.
- You can do this in Jade Empire if you want to romance Silk Fox. You can start flirting with her immediately after she tacitly reveals that she's the Emperor's daughter in addition to being a kunoichi-esque vigilante. Bear in mind that she tried to kill you during your first meeting.
- Tokimeki Memorial 2 has an inversion: when Kaori Yae finally confess her Dark And Troubled Backstory to the main protagonist (i.e. the player) in her storyline's mandatory Event, it unlocks her full Tokimeki Mode, along with an enormous boost in Love Points, enough to easily get her Love Confession at the end of the game.
- Played straight and then inverted by the final strips of Bite Me! when Claire finally reveals her full backstory to Lucien. Claire has been flirting with him for the entire comic, but Lucien doesn't really reciprocate until after she's done explaining herself. He starts to indicate a hesitant attraction to her... and then she jumps on him.
- In The Descendants, Warrick is forced to reveal his identity as Alloy to his girlfriend by an attacking villain. She instantly kisses him passionately. Later explained as her being greatly relieved that she doesn't have to explain to Warrick how his apparent idol, Alloy has been hitting on her.
- In X-Men: Evolution, the demonic-looking mutant Kurt (during this time in the show, the existence of mutants is still a secret and Kurt hides his appearance with a hologram) is asked to a school dance by normal student Amanda. During the dance, an emergency happens, and when he's torn between pretending to be normal or revealing his powers to her, she reveals to him that she already has an idea of what he's capable of. He gets her to safety, and then turns off his hologram, letting her get a good look at his true self. They become a couple.
- Superman: Doomsday has Superman and Lois Lane in an explicit romantic relationship, yet he still hasn't told her he's Clark Kent. In a twist on the usual dynamic, she knows who he really is, she just wants him to actually admit it to her out loud, viewing it as the last step between the two of them having a fully committed relationship. When he does so at the end of the film, she embraces him with an affectionate kiss and reminds him to give his mother a call.