Disclaimer: The world of Harry Potter is J. K. Rowling's. I just like playing in it. grins

"A Series of Misguided Steps"

Harry stood looking down into the common room to be sure Ron was no where around. It was embarrasing enough not having done it before, but to ask Ron about it, he imagined it would get back to Fred and George, or worse, Ginny.

Satisfied that the redhead was absent, Harry spotted the only person around he felt safe enough to ask for help. Neville. Quickly he made his way down the stairs, two at a time, and walked past his younger housemates to stand next to his fellow seventh year as he sat in an armchair fumbling with a pocket in his trousers.

"Uh, Neville..." he began as his friend looked up at him, "could you come upstairs with me, I er, need help with something."

With a puzzled look on his face, Neville nodded in reply and followed Harry upstairs and into the boys lavatory. "What exactly are you needing help with Harry?" Neville asked the moment they entered.

Harry took the few steps left before he reached a sink on which sat a muggle disposable razor and can of shaving cream. "I've, uh, never shaved before and thought you might be able to talk me through this," he replied, picking up the razor and looking at it with obvious trepedation.

"I'm not sure I'll be much help," Neville replied with a shrug, "I haven't shaved yet either." Harry set the razor down and turned to him, the look on his face causing Neville to laugh. "What? You think I need to?"

Laughing, Harry shook his head. "No, I just assumed you had, since, well..." he pointed to Neville's bare face.

"Why not ask Ron? He's been shaving all year."

"I feel ridiculous asking him, especially since, well..." Harry's face pinkened slightly, "I'd just rather not."

"Alright," he shrugged. "Well, I'm not as qualified a help, but hey, it can't be that hard, can it," Neville quickly added, picking up the razor and shaving cream. "I mean, it's not like Potions; at least we won't blow anything up if we make a mistake."

"Good point." Harry smiled, feeling more at ease with Neville's confidence. "Hand me the cream."

Handing over the can of shaving cream, Neville watched as Harry pumped a large amount into his palm and then proceeded to lather it on his face. After rincing his hands, Harry held out his hand for the razor.

"Okay, where should I start?"

"I dunno. Are you going to shave your upper lip?"

Harry stood looking at his white foamy reflection in the mirror, tilting his chin up as he looked at his upper lip. "I didn't think about that."

Neville peered in the mirror for a moment or two before looking directly at Harry again. "Might as well. It might look different if you don't."

Shrugging, Harry held the razor up and started to gently run it from just below his nose down towards his lip. After each stroke he tapped the razor on the side of the sink, Neville standing quietly beside him as he worked.

Finishing with his upperlip, Harry paused and smiled. "That wasn't so bad. Feels a bit weird."

Neville chuckled, "Well you are running a sharp blade over your skin, it isn't suppose to feel like a kiss on the cheek."

With a chuckle in reply, Harry turned his face slightly and began to shave the right side of his face, pulling the razor down in the direction of the hair growth.


The lavatory door swung open and Dean walked in, making his way to the urinal, not paying any attention to his friends activity.

Harry had jumped with the noise and the razor in his hand had slid down his cheek with such speed he froze, waiting for the blood to start pouring at any moment. His heart was pounding in his chest as Neville whistled. "Lucky you are. I was sure you had skinned yourself," his friend remarked after several moments had past and no blood had appeared.

"Yeah," he replied shakily before lifting the razor to his face again. As he did Dean had walked up to the sink beside them to wash his hands. It didn't take long for him to notice how Neville was finding Harry's shaving to be a spectator sport.

"Am I missing something?" he asked, drying his hands.

"Nah, it's just Harry's first shave."

Dean's mouth opened in a silent 'aah' before suddenly joining the effort. "No mate," he shook his head, "You're going about it all wrong. You have to go against the growth, you get a closer shave that way."

"But won't that hurt?" Neville asked.

Dean shook his head. "Not if you hold the razor at the right angle." He held his hand out to Harry who rinsed it and handed it over. "See, you have to keep the handle angled closer to your face. Most tend to hold it nearly perpendicular and that's when you'll get cut," he said, demonstrating the proper technique.

Harry shrugged and took the razor back as Dean held it out to him encouragingly. "Alright."

As he finished the right side of his face, Neville and Dean stood watching, eerily silent. When he thought he was halfway through, Harry rinsed the razor again. "Well?"

"The sideburns," Dean stated, lifting his hand to point at the one closest to him on Harry's face. "They're uneven, you should trim them."

"With this?"

"Yeah. Start here and just do a little at a time," Dean replied, demonstrating with an imaginary razor how Harry was to start at the bottom of the sideburn and make small little upward passes with the razor.

Turning his head a bit again, Harry lifted the razor and began doing as instructed, finding that it did indeed work, though the three stood, unknowingly holding their breath as he worked.

"Wha's going on?"

All three jumped, the razor in Harry's hand slipping again as the they turned to find Seamus in the doorway looking at them like he had interrupted some secret initiation. This is turning out to be more stressful than it's worth, he thought.

"Harry's first shave," Neville and Dean replied in unison.

"Oh bloody hell," Harry moaned as he looked in the mirror, drawing the other boys' attention. The slip of the razor had taken a good inch off of his sideburn... past the top of his ear. "I look like an idiot."

Seamus joined the other boys crowded around the mirror and shook his head. "Awful luck mate."

Harry glared at the mirror.

"Why you shaving anyway? I don't remember you looking like you needed one."

Harry blushed a bit at Seamus' question. "I'm spending the day with Ginny in Hogsmeade today. I thought I'd make sure I looked my best."

"Ah," Seamus grinned devilishly as Harry threw the razor into the sink. "But no need to get upset mate, I know a spell to fix that up."

Dean looked at Seamus like he was nutters. "Fix that? How? Paste a fake sideburn on?"

"Maybe you'd look alright if you shaved the other side to match," Neville suggested, trying to be some what of a help.

"No, you twit, I know a spell to grow hair. I'll just aim for where the sideburn should be," Seamus replied, a little urked that his friend had such little faith in his judgement.

"MATCH!" Harry practically shouted at Neville, not hearing Seamus' reply, "Are you serious?"

"Yes," Seamus and Neville replied, looking at each other the second they did so. It was then Harry forgot about Neville's solution and remembered Seamus had offered one, but he missed the details as to what.

Without giving his friend a chance to ask what he was intending to do, Seamus had his wand out and aimed for the side of Harry's face. "Now hold still, I don't want to grow hair out of your ear."

"Grow hair? Are you sure that's a good..." he didn't have time to finish his question as Seamus had muttered a few words and a thick patch of black hair had sprouted where his sideburn had once been. "Oh." Reaching up, he noticed it was a bit thick and as his fingers felt it, he realized it was still growing.

"Um, Seamus," Dean asked, his eyes growing wider as the patch of black hair spread down Harry's chin and grew out to about the length of a short beard, "is it suppose to do that?"

Neville just stood there gaping.

Scratching the back of his neck, Seamus turned a few shades of crimson. "Well, er... no."

By this time, Harry's face was going from pink to deep red. "Ruddy brilliant! I look like a wooly beast!"

"You can just shave it off," Neville said timidly, his statement being meet with a glare.

"Right mate," Dean chimed in.

"Not like that," Seamus snorted, earning him a look fit to kill from Harry. "I mean, not with cream," he quickly added upon sight of Harry's reaction. "You need gel, it conditions better and leaves your skin softer."

Dean's face was almost comical as it spun around to met Seamus'. "You shave?"

He rubbed his face, "I don't stay smooth naturally."

"Fine," Harry said, tired of this prolonged ordeal. "Who has shaving gel?"

"Here," Seamus said, transfiguring the can of cream into one of gel. "We need to wipe off that cream first."

His eyes still filled with daggers, Harry pushed through his friends to the towel rack, snapped one off, and quickly rubbed his face clean. Returning to the sink, he drapped the towel over the edge and grabbed the can of shaving gel. "Let's just get this over with."

Seamus was looking at the unshaved side of Harry's face as he did and as Harry proceeded to put a thick layer of it on, he commented, "Are you sure you need to shave? I mean, I really didn't see a difference."

Dean popped him on the back of the head, causing the boy to rub the spot as he voiced his discomfort. "Shut it, Seamus."

Nicely lathered, Harry started at the bottom of where his sideburn should be and started to shave off, layer by layer, the thick patch of hair. It was taking a while, but it was working, and as he went to take another pass...

"Hey, Harry?"

"Colin, bugger off, and take that damn camera with you," Seamus snapped as Harry's hand jerked at the greeting. This time he had managed to clip his ear, blood slowly but surely beginning to flow.

"OH FOR MERLIN'S SAKE!" The four boys froze as Harry screamed and threw the razor yet again. "I just wanted to shave. Shave! Is that too much to ask?" he cried, grabbing the towel and holding it against the cut now dripping with blood.

"Er, sorry Harry. I just wanted to ask you about taking pictures at next week's game," Colin replied sheepishly. Neville was standing there, lips clamped shut as he shook his head back and forth violently in an effort to tell Colin to shut up, that now was not a good time.

Dean watched as Harry pulled the towel down and saw that the blood hadn't stopped flowing yet. "That looks like a nasty cut. It might need a healing charm."

"I can try and stop the blood flow," Neville said, offering his help. Harry nodded and Neville pulled his wand out, muttering a few words and Harry felt the cut, and most of his cheek, go numb suddenly. "It's a form of freezing charm that helps clot the blood."

"At least I don't feel the sting anymore," Harry almost laughed. Rinsing off the razor and lifting it to his face, he added, "Now to just get this done and over with before something else happens." Setting the razor on the gelled patch of hair yet to be shaved, he found the razor couldn't penetrate it. "What the..." He tapped the razor on the patch of now solidified hair and gel.

"Good one Neville, you froze the side of his face and everything on it," Seamus retorted, getting another pop on the back of the head from Dean the moment it passed his lips.

Colin stood behind them, looking at their reflections in the mirror, his mouth gaping open silently.

Neville tried to warm it so Harry could continue, but found the charms he knew to be the wrong ones to counter his first spell. "I'm sorry, Harry."

By now, Harry was looking like a man on the edge. He was noticably frustrated, tired, and not to mention, ready to chuck it all and just walk around Hogsmeade looking like some strange science experiment. "I know," he replied, thinking of a possible solution. Carefully, he worked his fingernails under the edge of the frozen mass under his chin.

"Ah, good idea Harry, pull it off," Dean exclaimed, as Colin lifted his camera and had it shoved back down by Seamus' hand.

A few tugs later and he had managed to pull only about a third of an inch up. Sighing, he dropped his hands. "It's no use."

Seamus pushed Neville aside and stood right beside Harry. "Let's give it a try," he said, getting an exasperated nod from Harry before gripping the gel mass in one hand while the other gripped his friend's chin. "Here... we... go," he said, yanking it off in one swift motion, eliciting a heart wrenching cry from Harry as he did.

"BLOODY HELL! THAT FUCKING HURT!" he screamed, the echoes reverberating off the stone walls several seconds afterwards. As tears welled in his eyes, Harry yanked the frozen, hairy patch from his friend's hand and grimaced at the visible hair roots.

"Well, I guess you'll never wax," Dean remarked, trying miserably to keep the amused grin off his face.

As Harry as about to retort, Colin stammered, "Um, Harry... your ear is turning blue."

"WHAT?" Harry looked in the mirror and found that his ear was actually well past blue and now bordering on violet.

"The spell," Neville stated sadly, "It 'll take twelve hours to wear off."

"Twelve? Twelve?" Harry repeated, turning to Neville, "We're leaving for Hogsmeade in two!"

Neville looked fit to crawl under the door to escape as Seamus again pushed Colin's camera laden hand down.

"That's it!" Harry cried, grabbing the bloody towel and rubbing the remaining gel off of the left side of his face. "I give!"

"What about the aftershave?" Seamus asked without thinking, causing both Dean and Harry to pop him on the back of the head, distracting all of them from the lavatory door opening.

Calmly, Ron walked up to the sink beside them, causing the five to freeze and watch his movements in strange silence. Pulling his wand out of his pocket, Ron held it near his left ear and muttering a charm, slowly moving it down his cheek, under his chin, and up to the other ear, then repeating the charm, passed his wand over his upper lip. Finishing, he rubbed his stubble free face, nodding with satisfaction before turning to find his friends looking at him oddly. "What?"

"You just... shaved," Dean replied in near awe.

"Yeah, and what are you bunch doing?" Ron looked at Colin and his camera, "Making a documentary?" Then his eyes caught sight of Harry, the right side of his face reddened and his ear a deep violet with a small patch of dried blood on it. "Oy, Harry, what happened to you? A fight?"

"Shaving," he replied, barely above a whisper.

Ron stepped closer and looked his face over. Spying the left side of his face, Ron raised his wand. "Missed a spot," he said matter of factly before casting the same charm on Harry's left cheek and chin. Pleased with his work, Ron gave his best friend a nod and a smile before pocketing his wand and stepping back out of the lavatory.

Colin suddenly lifted his camera and snapped a shot of the incredulous look on Harry's face as Dean, Seamus, and Neville nervously eyed each other. The moment the flash died, Harry stormed out, the door slamming behind him.

Dean leaned towards Seamus, "We need to ask Ron about that charm."