There's a picture on the mantel above the fireplace. The students who travel in and out of Professor Dumbledore's office take no notice of it, but even if they did, they wouldn't see the truth. If they looked at it, they would see the picture of an old house, with a small pond beside it, and trees coloured with the colours of autumn around it. They would see a winding path up to the white front porch, with a swing to the right, and an overturned bucket on the left. They would see the screen door, with chipped paint on the handle.

Because of the charms, they wouldn't see the smiling face of a brunette girl, clinging to her father like he was going to disappear at any moment. They wouldn't see the brunette boy, holding his father's hand. They wouldn't see the redheaded girl, standing upright beside her mother, her arms around her mother's waist. They wouldn't see Albus Dumbledore; they wouldn't see Minerva McGonagall; and they most certainly would not see their children, holding on to them.

Because of the secrets, the students would not see the gazes being held a little too long between Professor McGonagall and Professor Dumbledore. They wouldn't see the rings, wearing a place for themselves in their skin, nor the tan line encircling their fingers. They wouldn't notice the strangeness in a Headmaster linking arms with his Deputy and escorting her to every meal of the day. They wouldn't notice the accidental brushes of their arms. They wouldn't notice the unnecessary meetings in the Headmaster's office.

Because of the professors' enemies, the students wouldn't meet the bubbly young eight year old girl, who believed everyone was her friend. They wouldn't meet the shy ten year old boy, who sought comfort not only in books, but in handfuls of candy and muggle inventions. They wouldn't fall in love with the redheaded sixteen year old, who wasn't interested in any conversation unless it started with, "Did you see the Quidditch game last Saturday?"

Instead, they saw an old man, who sought refuge in being a bachelor. They saw an unhappy spinster, whose life was to make sure they were following the rules and learning something in class. They saw two professors who spent so much time together because of his involvement in the war, and her running his school for him. They saw a professor, who spent so much time with her career, she didn't have time for a family. They saw another professor, who was too involved in the betterment of their world, to have a family.

Instead, they saw an old house, with a white porch. They saw an old path leading to the porch that had an upturned bucket on the left, and a swing on the right. They saw a pond surrounded by trees with the colours of autumn. They saw an old house that Professor Dumbledore spent a summer at, quite some time ago.

They didn't see the McGonagall family cottage.