Disclaimer: I do not own these characters.
AN: I have no idea why Harry has toiletries on the TARDIS when he never really had the chance to collect any of this things. Roll with it.
Summary: The Doctor has a little trouble post-regeneration, and enlists Harry’s help. No, don’t be perverse; it’s completely G-rated. Could be taken as pre-slash, or just fluffy friendship─ the same as most of Harry and the Doctor’s interactions. :D
Although it was hard to tell nowadays, Harry was fairly sure it was bedtime, or close to it; he had taken off his blazer and cravat and was just out the door for a shower when the Doctor came flying around the corner towards him, looking frantic.
“Doctor? What is it?” His shower things were hastily dropped to the floor and his sleepy mind was instantly on alert, glancing around for trouble.
“I need your help, Harry!”
“Of course. What…”
“I just can’t manage it. I’m at a total loss!”
“What is it, Doctor?”
The Doctor flung his arms about wildly for a moment before ruffling his hands through his hair to get himself under control. “This!”
“This, Harry, this!” The Doctor cried, with one of his most frustrated, patronizing looks. “It’s never been this curly before!”
Harry had to hold back a chuckle when he realized what the Doctor meant. “Your hair? You can’t manage… your hair?”
“Help me, Harry!” The Doctor beseeched, still waving his hands as though the universe itself were on fire. “You must know how to keep it in check; yours is just as chaotic!”
“Chaotic?” Harry sniffed. Truth be told, he had always rather liked his hair; he raised a hand and touched it self-consciously.
“I loved it when I first saw it,” the Doctor went on, swinging around the corridor. “But I’ve just tried to brush it, you see, and it… well…”
“Well, there you are, Doctor─ you can’t just brush it.” Now that Harry took the time to look, the Doctor’s hair was indeed disheveled: so fluffed out that each hair stood as its own individual curl. The result was rather like a huge, brown dandelion. “You’ve got to comb it,” he finished, still trying not to laugh.
“These are things you need to tell me, Harry!”
“You didn’t ask!” Harry protested, and couldn’t resist adding, “I never thought it could be any trouble.”
“Maybe not for you,” the Doctor scoffed. “You’ve lived with it your whole life. But imagine going seven-hundred years being at the most wavy, and suddenly, you wake up and you’re all─”
“Teeth and curls?”
The Doctor glared at him, and Harry shrank back a bit, regretting his free speech. Truthfully, though, he was still quite eager to turn in for the night, and growing a bit frustrated at the Doctor preventing this. Typical of the man to think the world moved on his own time.
“I need your help,” the Doctor repeated.
“Well, what do you want me to do about it?” Harry lifted his hands vaguely.
“Show you what?”
“How to comb it!” It was amazing to Harry that, even when asking for help, the Doctor still managed to make those around him feel like complete buffoons. “How to comb it so it doesn’t look like a…”
“Dandelion?” Harry offered.
“Please?” Of course, no one could resist one of the Doctor’s grins. Sighing, Harry bent down and retrieved his toiletries from the floor of the corridor. When he looked up, the Doctor was already bounding down the hall.
Harry followed, finding himself a moment later in a bathroom slightly different from the one near his bedroom─ or, quite possibly, it was the same one, only changed. On the far side was a white wooden vanity with a large mirror and a chair, which the Doctor was sitting in, looking impatiently at Harry’s baffled reflection. “Coming?”
Harry crossed the room in a few hesitant strides, not exactly sure what the Doctor intended for him to do. He unzipped his bag and pulled out his comb, setting the rest of his things down neatly on counter of the vanity.
“Well, eh…” he held up his comb for the Doctor’s inspection. “You need one like this, see? Very wide-toothed. If the teeth are too tightly together, your hair will frizz. Have you got one like this?”
The Doctor rummaged around in one of the vanity’s drawers and pulled out a similar comb. “Good,” Harry said, feeling foolish, but the Doctor interrupted him with an enthusiastic “go on, go on.”
“Eh… like this.” Nearly blushing with self-consciousness, Harry glanced in the mirror and began to run the comb through his hair, working each curl individually. Below him in the chair, the Doctor began to mimic his motions. “Like this,” he repeated to himself. A few minutes later, Harry’s hair was even neater than it had been previously, but the Doctor’s was still a disaster; he hadn’t worked on more than one curl the whole time.
“This is absurdly difficult,” he said finally, slapping his comb down on the counter with a loud click. Harry wanted to agree that something in the room was being absurd and difficult, and that it wasn’t the comb, but he kept his comment to himself. The next thing that happened came as a bit of a surprise: the Doctor swiveled around in his seat and held out his comb to Harry, looking expectant. It was a moment before Harry understood what he meant.
“Oh… you want me to…” The comb being offered to him was waved around a bit. “All… right.” He took it from the Doctor who, with a satisfied expression on his face, turned back around to face the mirror.
“Um… well…” Harry wasn’t entirely sure what to make of the situation he currently found himself in. However, he hadn’t been entirely sure what to make of anything for the past few weeks, and he had always prided himself on being prepared for anything. So, shrugging a bit to himself, he raised the comb to the Doctor’s hair and slowly began to work through it. It was thick and soft and felt a bit like his own, but it was much longer and therefore took a bit more care. He worked cautiously, shaping the curls back together one at a time and laying them gently atop one another.
He was just beginning to relax when he caught a glimpse of their reflection in the mirror, and noticed the Doctor staring intently at his hands as he went. It reminded him of the strangeness of the moment, and made him wish for something to break the silence. That was going to be up to him, of course─ no help from the Doctor─ so he cast about for anything else to say on the subject of hair.
“Well,” he began. “Like I said, Doctor, you’ll never want to brush it, unless you want it big. Always use a comb like this, or just your fingers, if it’s not too bad.” At this, the Doctor raised a hand to his hair and tried it out; Harry wondered if he should do it for him, but decided to demonstrate by brushing his own hair back instead. “And… you won’t want to shower in too hot water,” Harry continued, returning to his work. “It dries it out.” The Doctor made a little sound of acknowledgement, and Harry looked up again; he caught the Doctor’s eyes in the mirror, and the Doctor grinned.
“What else, Harry?”
Harry fumbled around in his mind for his routines. It was a topic he had never given much thought to, having done it all his life, but he supposed the Doctor was right that it must have been somewhat difficult to centuries having straight hair, and then suddenly have curls. “I don’t tend to wash my hair every day,” he thought aloud. “Again, it’s going to dry out easily, and then it gets frizzled. Don’t sleep on it wet either, if you can help it, and dry it by blotting, not rubbing.”
“There’s so much to know!” The Doctor exclaimed. For a moment, Harry thought he was teasing, but then he looked up and saw that the expression on his face was entirely genuine.
Harry couldn’t help it; he grinned. The image that he saw in the mirror of one grown man combing the hair of another was a bit absurd, but it wasn’t making him uncomfortable anymore. Actually, he was feeling rather happy, truth be told. There was, strangely, a slight sense of loneliness as well─ there had been many times in his life when he’d had mostly acquaintances and peers as opposed to real friends, real friends with whom you did silly things like share instructions on combing hair, and this was thrown into sharp relief by the interactions he’d been having on his travels with the Doctor, especially at this moment. The thought of this was somewhat gloomy, yes, but on the other hand, the thought of considering the Doctor a friend was both wonderfully absurd, and exciting. Certainly it would be better to forget how hesitant he’d been to be sociable in the past, and allow himself to form friendships now?
Harry found that once he had started to grin, he could not stop; nor could the Doctor, and the image of the two of them beaming like maniacs at their reflections in the mirror was enough to make Harry laugh.
“Does it look funny?” The Doctor asked, smile fading, bringing his hands up to feel his freshly-managed hair.
“No, no; it looks very nice.” Harry stood back slightly to admire his work; the Doctor’s hair had come under control quite well. The Doctor seemed to approve as well, for he stared at himself a moment, nodded, then whirled around to shake Harry’s hand vigorously in both of his own.
“Thank you, Harry!”
“I hope you didn’t mind.”
“Not at all,” Harry assured him. And honestly, he hadn’t. “Do you think you’ll be able to take it from here?” He teased gently.
“Oh yes, yes.” The Doctor brushed his hands through his hair with confidence. “And if I ever do need help, I know just who to call.”
“I am an expert in chaotic hair, after all.”
“Anything else, Doctor?” Harry was collecting his things; happiness always had a way of making him sleepy, and he was quite content to take a quick shower and then drop into bed.
“No… yes,” the Doctor corrected himself, studying the bottles in Harry’s hands with a critical eye. “I do have one more question. What kind of shampoo should I be using?”