Secret Lives?

~I understand. You've got... a life.~

Not curiosity. Pain.

She remembered who she was, how she became the Secret...

...but even then, she couldn't return to that life.

She was cut off from it, from being an ordinary teenager. And now, even after we went public with her... nothing. No-one's got in touch to ask about their missing - or dead - daughter.

Why? She won't talk about her past - but her past hasn't come back to haunt her.

Her... human identity.

Okay. Okay. Lay out the facts, and see what can be deduced from them.

What we can learn.


'Say hi to the Abyss for me, sis.'

I see the other kids out there.

They have lives. Other lives. People they can return to. Homes where they can be safe.

'Are you even human?'

I... I was, once... I think...

I had an ordinary life - a big brother,parents, friends... everything other kids had.

A home. A life.

And then I lost it all.

And I never understood what I'd lost until I remembered it.

That bastard.



'Officially, she's dead.'


'You have no idea what she is, what she's /truly/ capable of.'


It comes back to /him/ again.

A supervillain almost as enigmatic as Secr- *Suzie* - herself.

Superhuman strength, speed and reflexes. Access to high-level, but not state of the art, technology. Claimed to have a special relationship with machinery - given he reprogrammed the Red Tornado, more truth than boast. A metahuman - source of powers unknown.

'A sacrifice was required. You fitted the bill.'

We know that at the very least, his crimes included assault and murder. Both Suzie and Harm confirmed that.

He murdered his sister.



A sacrifice, he claimed.

Suzie was the sacrifice.

What - or who - she was sacrificed to, and what... what he gained /from/ that sacrifice, assuming it worked, we don't know.

We don't know what happened next, either.

What we do know is that sometime later, Secret had become a prisoner at the DEO's facilities.

And they had marked her for cancellation.


They... they imprisoned me.

Because... I don't know. I don't understand.

Because /they/ were scared? Afraid of me?

Because they wanted me for... for something else?

I don't know.

They held me. But I could escape.

Cracks, flaws in their containment - I could leak out.

And... And it seemed - I never had a reason to ask, to wonder why I could do this. It was as easy as breathing...

It was what I knew.

I was a prisoner.

I wasn't solid, not like the scientists outside. For a while, I wondered if that was why they'd captured me.

Then I saw the other kids' prisons.

I realised - I realised that was why they had sealed me away behind glass.

I couldn't escape through glass.

And they didn't want any of us to escape. Any of us.


It isn't unknown for a human to become a metahuman after death - Deadman and the Spectre are the standard references for this.

But did Suzie die?

Officially, she's dead. But she isn't a ghost.

She isn't composed of ectoplasm (for want of a better word); her body is composed entirely of gas - a gas she appears to have complete control over.

Her composition makes her insubstantial to almost any attack - apart from magic and energy attacks. However, she can be affected by anything that would affect a typical gas - imprisoned in airtight containers, for example.

Which makes me wonder. How were the DEO able to recapture her? An electrical discharge would be enough to stun her...

Calm. Calm.

Suzie's conscious control over her body enables her to take any size, any form - but they require effort to maintain. Her normal form doesn't.

She seems to need no food, water or air. She /does/ apparently need to sleep.

She is able to sense whether or not someone nearby has died - an ability I find myself hoping she never has to use. She is able to possess other people and use their abilities.

I don't think she realises what that means, yet.

If she'd used that against Steph...

She can 'bounce' people through herself, keeping them just shy of it. She can smoke jump - teleport herself over short distances, as long as there's no barrier.

And she can draw people into the Abyss.

~The Abyss... Hell... has frozen over.~

I looked back through the Batcave's files on the so-called 'Day of Judgment'. If I understood what happened... During the fight to free the Spectre, Hell froze over.


That Suzie felt it... that she literally iced up...

I think I understand why Bruce gets so uneasy around the supernatural.

Is she dead?

If so... did she come back to life?

I'm not sure which answers would worry me more.


The boys freed me, covered up for me.

And for the 'first' time, I could see the world.

I wanted... I wanted to be alone. Wanted quiet, peace...

Somewhere where I wouldn't be hurt again.

A home.

I drifted. I watched the other kids playing, laughing...

And I...

I /wanted/ that. But I couldn't.

I... I didn't have it.

The DEO was all I'd known, before the boys had freed me. And that hadn't really been home.

So I followed the boys.

I watched them, followed them, my... my anchors? Anchors, yes... to this world. Learned about them. Watched them as they went into action.

They wanted to keep their ordinary lives secret, to have a grounding in the world.

Well, Bart /didn't/. Or didn't understand why he needed one.

But Robin did.

Hmph. Apart from that Spoiler. Telling herself he /wanted/ her to find out...

It's /his/ secret. She couldn't trust that?

He deserves someone /better/ than that...

And Kon didn't have a secret life. Like me, all he'd known was a facility. But they were - had become - his friends... and he had friends outside it.

Why... Why didn't I?

Because I was a secret to the DEO. Explore. Investigate. Study. Comprehend.

Not a person, a /secret/.

We /all/ were.

They didn't want us to escape. They didn't want us to meet.

I'd never known them. But I knew they were there.

Trapped. Caught. Like I'd been.

But the boys had freed me...

I visited the cave they hung out at. Maybe they'd be there.

They weren't. Reddy was.

And I realised, as we talked about the boys... if I could get them to help me... could get them to help me free the others.

I had to stay secret so /they/ couldn't find me. Stay out of sight, stay hidden... stay away from a life.

They didn't have to. Wouldn't have to.

But there was something... Something I had to take care of first...

Which was how I met Cassie.

And my brother.

Although I didn't know it then.



It would be easy enough to work out who she was.

Elder son called Billy or William, recently vanished or deceased. Younger daughter, also vanished or deceased. Probably North American. Parents could be of vastly different appearances - their known children don't look that similar (one or both could be adopted). Suburban, at least - both children were well educated. Still researching into whether he stole or bought his equipment - either seems possible. Possibly a criminal record on the son, although given his skill, I doubt it.

Her dislike of water, given she couldn't remember why she disliked it, may suggest that water played a big part in a major trauma, or her 'death'.

Still lacks 'nonspecific' memories - blank on a number of general knowledge areas. 'Specific' memories - memories relating to her life and 'death' - have returned, extent unknown. Major details have returned, at the very least.

After we went public... I half-expected someone to comment on Secret's similarity to their missing daughter. They didn't, which suggests that: they didn't make the connection, for whatever reason, they chose not to come forward, one or both are deceased, one or both are no longer present in the country, or one or both are in jail.

APES and the DEO know of her, and at the very least suspect what she actually is.

How much of that is speculation, and how much based on fact...

'The longer she's around, the more she'll come to believe she's human.'

Harm is out there somewhere. Back from the dead.

And now undead.


He came back.

He. Came. Back.

Someone killed him. Someone caught up with him, all the pain and hurt he'd made us feel, and turned it back on him.

How do I know?

I /know/.

And when the Abyss froze over... he found a way out.


/I/ was his way out - and he didn't even realise it.

Siblings love each other. Protect each other. Tease each other.

He killed me. He /killed/ me.

And now he's out there, waiting 'til he can 'prove' himself against us.

But since he's dead, they can't stop him.

I can.

I'm already dead. What can he do to me?

And then... /then/, he goes /back/. Gets sent back into the Abyss.

For good, this time.

And it will have been waiting a /long/ time for him. He may think he escaped... no, Billy, it's not that simple.

It wants you back. Sacrificing me wasn't enough. It wants you. And it will have you.


Can she grow up?

She was aged during 'Sins of Youth', but that /was/ by magic - something she can be affected by.

But can she grow up?

And what would that mean, for a girl who might change shape because she /believed/ she was aging?

We never asked ourselves that when we learned about Kon, because it never occurred to us - any of us - that she might /not/ age.

But if she died...

How long will she live?

I'm contradicting myself. Is she alive or dead?

/Alive/. I cannot - will not - believe that she is dead, that she's gone beyond humanity.

She's alive.

Even if she died... she's made, shaped, a life for herself. Working with us...

...even Lobo likes her. Something I thought I'd never say. Lobo likes someone.

We've become her surrogate family...

...and I ask myself why she doesn't go back to her first family.

Ask if she /has/ gone back.

I haven't asked her. She wants to keep that secret, and all I can do is hope she'll open up one day.

Hah. What am I talking about? Me, with my /own/ secrets? I can't tell them who I am, who Tim Drake is... even though Bruce told Steph. I have to create another face for them - Alvin. Tim is a secret I still have to keep... I /want/ to, but...

Does Suzie want to keep her secret? Or does she believe she /has/ to?

Has she gone back?

Will this be all there is of her life? Working with other superbeings? Watching as they go back to their lives, while she's left watching outside?

I'm... I'm a little envious. She'll never have to deal with the complications of trying to keep two different identities, two different lives, apart. Selfish...

But... but, sometimes...

~And you promise you'll be there for me, Robin, always?~


...I wish she could have a life outside of us. Not an ordinary life - our lives aren't ordinary. Dressing up in a cape and tights to fight crime? Hardly normal.

But a life that lets her live with, interact with, other people, normal people... yeah, I wish... that she could have /that/.

Why can't she?

I could blame it on her powers - she has to concentrate to keep solid form, and it can be distracting when the person you're talking to dissolves into smoke. I could... I can't.

Because unlike any of us, excepting Lobo, she has nowhere to go back to. Nowhere to reach out to. No solid base... apart from the Justice Cave.

And Lobo doesn't exactly qualify as socialised, either...

They can interact with ordinary people temporarily... but that's it. They /can/. Not they have to - they /can/.

We do interact with ordinary people, even Kon. We have lives we can go back to after the adventure is over. Lobo and Suzie /don't/. It's what they know - the adventures, solo or with friends. They never have 'downtime' outside them. Never have to deal with an ordinary life.

Jealous? Yeah. But sad 'bout it, too.

Speaking of jealousy...

....her crush on me.

I was the one who led the others to rescue her. I promised her I'd always be there for her, when she was hurt, alone.

I can try to explain it to myself - but the feeling's there, no matter what I say.

She /trusts/ me.

And she doesn't - present tense - believe I should trust Steph. That Steph isn't worthy of my trust.

But I wonder if her anger's better directed at /Bruce/, instead of Steph, for telling Steph my identity thanks to his own damn pride...

She trusts me. Trusts my reasons for keeping secrets.

I have to trust /hers/. Let her reveal them in her own time.

Trust her. Trust the Secret.

No matter how much they distrust what she can do... it's what she /can/ do.

It's not who she is. Or was.

Only she really knows who she is, and what she can do.

And that's something I understand far too well.

After what Bruce did... I realised he was the same.

But Suzie won't betray others' secrets. It's not who she is.

She knows what she is. Does even she know /who/ she is?

I don't know.

And I don't know if she knows, either.


What now?

What happens now?

Suzie or Secret?

Which one?

So much I want. So much I want back.


I never /realised/, and then... then he killed me.

I didn't realise what I had, till he took it from me.

My memory, my name... my /life/.

He took it.

I had a new life - and he tried to take that from me, too.

No more.

He will /not/ take them. Any of them.

If I don't have them, what do I have left?

My secrets. Nothing else.

My secrets.

And I don't want that.

To be alone again. Empty. A ghost.

The Secret, who no-one can ever know.

Wasn't that what I wanted?

/Isn't/ it what I want?

But... my friends...

Doesn't having a friend mean you know them?

Know who they are, the person they are?

It's what I have left. It's what they won't take from me.

Reveal who I am, and have it taken from me.

Keep myself secret, and have my friends taken from me.

Secret or Suzie?

Which do I choose?

Who am I?




Copyright 2001 Imran Inayat.