This is a translation of an older fic of mine, El mundo nunca sabrá, written right after Deathly Hallows first came out.

Many thanks to DocWordsmith for beta-reading! Any remaining mistakes are mine.

There are things the world will never know.

Many quills around the globe will write about their accomplishments, their crimes, their triumphs, their defeats. They will write about their great power, about their knowledge of ancient arts and long-forgotten magic. They will write about a war, a duel and a continent split in two, they will write of light and shadows. They will write of the most terrible confrontation ever seen between two wizards, they will detail the spells, the curses, the sheer power that seemed to shake the ground to its core and overwhelmed every witness. They will write, too, of his glory, and his fall.

But no one will write of an endless summer afternoon, no one will describe the soft song of the brook flowing at their feet. No one will detail the glimmer of sunshine on the water or the grass swaying with the breeze; no one will narrate their first encounter. No one will know their story.

There are things the world will never know.

An uncomfortable, awkward first encounter. A boy still in his teenage years, who had yet to learn how to control his body despite mastering ancient magic in ways few of his old teachers could have dreamt of. A foreign boy, who mispronounces half the words, whose accent muddles his every speech. The unknown nephew of a famed historian that came running away from a distant land.

The other boy: older, taller, the former child prodigy that had to abandon all of his dreams, the brilliant young man condemned to be left behind, whose ambition was weighed down by tragedy.

Under his aunt's benevolent smile, he approached the young man and clumsily introduced himself, mispronouncing everything but his own name. The young man greeted him with awkward formality, hanging from him like a grown-up's suit he had yet to get used to. Both of them stared at one another for a moment and then looked away. They both wanted to get away as soon as possible and forget this meeting forever more.

Fate, alas, had different plans.

A second meeting at dusk, the last rays of sunlight bathing the rows of gravestones of marble and stone. The sun set ablaze the young man's hair, making it resemble the glowing wings of a phoenix. The young man with clenched fists, cursing through gritted teeth the duty that had befallen him, barely holding back tears: tears of grief, anger, frustration.

"I can't handle her, mother, I just can't, how could you leave us like this, how will we go on without you? I can't handle it, and it isn't fair, it isn't fair that I have to–"

He fell abruptly silent when he saw the boy with fair hair and strange accent wandering among the gravestones. Their gazes met, and a flash of understanding brought them together for a moment. The boy – because in his eyes, he was a mere boy – didn't gape at him in horror, didn't seem disgusted because he wanted to avoid this duty. Instead, he seemed to understand what it was like to feel ambition burning inside without the chance to answer its call. The boy understood – like no one else seemed to have ever understood him.

The boy with hair like sunshine was the first one to know his secret, and perhaps that was why he was the first person to learn his. A bond brought them together that afternoon, a bond that neither the years nor curses, neither wars nor deaths could ever sever. The young redhead had found someone who understood him, who knew of the dark side that no one else saw, that no one else would ever see again. No one would ever know him as well as that boy did, to no one else would he ever feel as close as he did to the nephew of one of his neighbors on that summer afternoon among the gravestones.

There are things the world will never know.

A quest, a passion turning into an obsession that formed a bond stronger than blood or friendship, a shared thirst for knowledge, an ambition dreamt by both of them in unison.

Endless conversations, heated debates that stretched from morning to dusk, owls poking the windows to carry their replies, because not even in the middle of the night did their minds stop grinding and scheming, and every little thing one of them came up with, the other had to know at once. Two child prodigies, two great talents, two brilliant minds striking up spoken and written combats, in duels both of wands and intellect. Plans hatched in the middle of the night by candlelight, extraordinary goals carefully designed hand in hand.

Oh, how many staggering triumphs, how many overwhelming victories and glorious successes they accomplished that summer, if only in their imagination! Born from the fervor of their youth, of their convictions, a new regime in which they, the revolutionaries, the liberators of the wizarding community would achieve immortality.

He still remembers the sound of his voice, the passion in his gestures, the spark in his blue eyes when he spoke of all they would achieve. And even though his body has now turned decrepit, even though his muscles no longer respond like they used to, even though his hair and skin have lost all color, he still remembers as though it were yesterday how his blood burned when he heard him speak, how his heart leapt knowing that he had found an equal, someone he could achieve his dreams with and share the triumph, someone who understood him like no one else ever had.

There are things the world will never know.

A dark, terrible night, devoid of moon or stars, when all of their dreams came crashing down like a castle of cards, when all their hopes were shattered. Because of the foolhardiness of that brat, who had dared to meddle in their plans; because of the young redhead's failure to prevent the disaster; because of the temper of the boy with golden hair and deadly spells; and because of a girl that had found herself in the wrong place at the worst time.

No one will ever know the horror he felt when her corpse fell at his feet, her vacant eyes staring at him, lifeless; no one will know of the tears that rolled down his face as he ran away from his worst crime, as he cut across the countryside to get away from that house, from that dead girl, away from the terrible guilt eating him inside. No one will ever know that he stopped midway because he felt fire burning in his throat right before his stomach turned out all he had ingested, no one will ever know of those endless minutes he remained on his hands and knees shaking from head to toe in horror.

No one will ever know of the nightmares that would haunt his nights, where sometimes, he saw that poor crazy girl drop dead; sometimes, he saw her youngest brother let out a broken cry, but more often than not he saw the young redhead, with his bright blue eyes, where he'd seen himself reflected so many times, now dull and lifeless.

There are things the world will never know.

Future generations will know of his crimes, will know the atrocities he committed in his zeal to fulfill his dreams, to establish a new regime where wizards and witches would finally be free. History books will speak of those years of terror, of the dark fortress he built to imprison those who opposed him. They will speak of a continent torn apart by war and death.

And they will also speak of the end of an age, when the two greatest wizards of their time faced each other in a combat that would feed epic tales for decades. Their duel would be narrated in the form of an epic poem, each spell, each curse noted down; it would be described tirelessly how each strike of their fight destroyed everything in its way.

What no one will ever say, what no one will ever know, was that the man with hair like phoenix feathers –whose youth had faded long, long ago– after disarming his opponent halted for a moment, his wand raised, his body tense. His rival, fallen at his feet with his only weapon out of his reach, waited for a final blow that would never come. In lieu of a curse, a trembling whisper reached his ears:

"Who was it? I beg of you, tell me: was it you? Was it you who cast the spell that killed her?"

In his blue eyes fear shone for the first time, fear that not even the darkest magic could provoke.

"Please, tell me: Was it you?" His voice broke with a barely contained sob. "Or was it me?"

What no one will ever know, either, was that on that day he performed the only act of mercy of his entire life.

"It was me. I cast the spell that killed her." And then: "I am sorry."

Perhaps it was because of their old friendship, or because he didn't wish to become a killer, but he spared his life. Or perhaps, perhaps it was that one act of mercy what saved him.

No one will ever know, not even the red-haired man, that he didn't know who had killed the girl that night, nor that he lied so he wouldn't see the suffering in those blue eyes.

There are things the world will never know.

Much will be told of their feats and accomplishments, of their duel; much will be said, even, of the ideals they had once shared.

But there are things that will never be known. The world will never know of endless summer afternoons under the blistering sun, of the brook murmuring at their feet, of the red glimmer the sun sparked in his copper hair. No one will ever know of stifled laughter behind heavy, dusty books; of long strolls through the graveyard; of conversations in low voices and secrets whispered in the night, secrets they would never repeat to anyone else.

The world will never know how beyond a shared quest that would become an obsession, beyond their plans for the wizarding world hatched in unison, there was something more. There was camaraderie, an amused smile, an affectionate embrace, words of comfort; there was companionship and trust like they would never share with anyone ever again. The world will never know that they weren't brought together only by ambition, their dreams and their fight against death, but they were bonded also by fondness, fondness that no one would see or comprehend, and a friendship that the sands of time would not bury.

A friendship that he, one of the most terrible and cruelest wizards of all time, has not forgotten. A friendship that will be the reason why, when his succeeding Dark Lord comes to pry from him one last secret, he will remain silent. He will remain silent because his heart is weighed down by regret, and with his last breath he will try to prevent others from repeating the same cruelties he committed… but he will also remain silent so nothing disturbs the resting place of the only friend he's ever had.

There are things the world will never know.