This was all Nick Fury's fault. The whole thing, every bit of it, was 18638% fury's fault.
Okay, maybe that was exaggerating slightly, but his hair, oh God, what had they done to his hair?
If they were going to be technical, Fury hadn't even been there, but he had insisted on it, something about teamwork, and Cap - Tony did call him Steve, they were friends now, really, but when he was being all businessy it was Cap - had agreed. Tony called bullshit, they worked well as a team and were working on their differences, but what with Fury's one-eyed glare and Cap looking hot enough to fluster even him, he had relented.
So maybe it was Hill's fault. She was meant to be watching them, but (and this was a direct quote) 'what could possible go wrong at a barbers?'
Tony had entered the usual hairdresser salon with the usual swagger, accompanied by the usual crowd: a living legend who was nearly 100 and still super hot, two assassins, two genetically enhanced teenagers, a God, a genetically enhanced nerd and a scrawny nerd who occasionally became a huge rage monster. Steve had even convinced Bucky to come alone, so it was a real party.
Tony wondered what it said about his life that this was a completely normal outing.
They were welcomed by Amy, the receptionist, who look like she knew that she wasn't paid enough for this, especially when an overwhelmed Bucky demanded to know all of the possible styles. She reeled them off, allowing a grin to seep through her bored exterior as Bucky's eyes got wider and wider, before finally losing it when Bucky turned to Steve and said in a wondering voice, "What do they all mean?"
Steve shrugged, looking a little overwhelmed himself, and Tony mentally cursed his instincts as he resisted the protective urge to shelter Steve from the dangerous world of hairstyles. Honestly,the guy could handle 3D films and WiFi and robot armies; a short back and sides was no big deal.
"Ask someone else, buddy," Steve offered, clapping Bucky on the shoulder, and Tony felt a surge of pride and warmth surge through him when Bucky turned to him next (hell yes, he was finally trusted). It was immediately stamped out as Steve shook his head, saying, "Don't ask Tony, he'll make fun of you. Ask Bruce."
While Tony was busy making indignant squeaks in Steve's general direction, Bruce shook his head vigorously, and Clint looked at Steve in wonder. "Have you seen Bruce's hair? He hasn't had a cut in years, I'll bet."
"The other guy doesn't like it," Bruce muttered, "and besides, I like my hair. So, if you don't mind, I'm gonna sit this one out."
"Much as I enjoy this Midgardian custom of physically removing bodily parts to prove strength, I wil not partake of it," Thor boomed, his majestic mane flowing behind him, "I will 'sit it out' with our mighty friend Bruce." He thumped Bruce on the back with enough force to nearly knock him over, causing a flash of alarm on everyone's face as they instinctively prepared for a Hulk-out.
"Well," Amy broke in, popping gum obnoxiously, "that's two down." She rounded in on Natasha, giving her an appraising look as she asked, "Do you want a more fun cut? Because we can," she moved over to show Natasha exactly what they could do, and found herself in an armlock within seconds.
"If you come near me I will cut you with the scissors," Natasha promised, releasing the poor girl and moving to stand by Bruce and Thor, glaring dangerously in the direction of anyone that cared to look at her.
"So," Tony broke in loudly, "I know what I want, it's just you guys left. Peter?"
"Please," Steve began earnestly to Amy, "please cut his hair. I don't think he's ever had a haircut in his life. It looks like a birds nest!"
"Hey, that's the style! Right Pietro?" Pietro nodded, looking ready to take off if anyone came near his hair. Knowing him, he'd be halfway across America before they'd even noticed he was gone.
"No, you're having a haircut," Wanda announced, staring her brother down, "if I have to do it myself." Pietro's eyes widened comically, and he raised a hand to his hair as though afraid that Wanda had somehow already hacked at his hair with scissors.
"So, is anyone going to actually tell me what they want?" Amy asked, "not that I really care, if you take long enough it won't be my shift anymore and someone else can deal with you."
"Uh, military style, I guess?" Steve questioned, brushing a hand over his hair which was growing out slightly.
Tony sighed, grateful that at least the floppy hair over his forehead wouldn't be there anymore, tempting him to try running his hand through Steve's hair just to see if it was as soft as it looks. His mouth, however, had other ideas,as he found himself saying, "No! Don't do that, it looks really - uh -" if he told Captain America his hair was cute he would never get over the mortification, "good! It looks really good like it is, just have a trim, leave the - um - leave the floppy bit." He finally managed to shut his mouth, slightly too late, as Steve was looking at him as though wondering if this was really Tony.
"Alright then," Steve nodded, "what he said." Amy seemed more relieved that she could finally pass him off to someone else than that Tony had just rescued the nation from the terrifying prospect of Steve's 'floppy bit' being cut off. She then turned to Peter, who was checking his reflection in the window out.
"A trim, I suppose," he shrugged unhappily, "but," and here he looked up sharply, "leave it long enough to gel."
"You'd better," agreed Natasha, "otherwise he'll have nothing to do with the hundred bottles of gel he's got in his room." Peter muttered something about spies, while Clint looked thoughtful. "No," she directed at him, "gel can not be used as lube, and you're not going to try."
The look of disappointment on Clint's face only lasted for a second, before he grinned up at Amy and said, "Just fuck me up."
"My hair. Just fuck me up. It'll be great, Fury'll be so pissed."
Amy seemed to be considering hugging Clint as she exclaimed, "I've always wanted someone to say that! Come on, come on," she introduced Clint to another barber, who looked worryingly excited about the prospect of being allowed to fuck up someone's hair.
Tony groaned, wondering what the hell his team was going to look like when this was all done, and why the hell he was in a team with these idiots anyway, when the door opened and two people walked in.
"Did we miss the party?" Sam grinned, while Vision looked about himself in wonder.
"What," Tony asked, rubbing a hand over his face and wondering about how rude it would be to ask for a large alcoholic drink, "are you two doing here?"
"I wanted to see this human bonding ritual," Vision explained.
Sam's only answer was "Do you reckon I can get wings shaved into the sides of my hair?"
"No!" Tony replied, at the same time as Amy said, "yeah, sure," and led Sam off.
"What's the weirdest thing you can get?" Bucky asked suddenly.
"Someone once asked for a pink, green and purple Mohican, that was pretty weird," revealed Amy, returning from where she had palmed Sam off onto someone else.
"Good. I'll get....what you just said." It wasn't until Bucky was also with a hairdresser that Tony realised what was happening.
"No, no, you can't let him get that, Steve will blame me, I don't even know how but he will blame me, come on!" Amy just smirked and moved on.
"We can dye your hair, you know," she told Pietro, "it doesn't have to stay grey."
"I like it!" Pietro complained, looking insulted.
"Forget about twelve minutes older, you look twelve years older than me," Wanda muttered, rolling her eyes in a way that led Tony to believe that this was an old argument between them.
"But it works with Quicksilver!"
"I don't know, Quickorange has a nice ring to it," Tony mused, laughing at Pietro's horrified expression, before mirroring it as he wondered how bad Pietro would look with orange hair.
"You can't have two members with orange hair, it would be embarrassing," winked Amy, gesturing to where Clint was having his hair done.
"Next time, I'm making you dye your hair," Tony promised to Quicksilver, "I'm not having another old man on the team, at least Steve and Bucky have the decency to look young.
Pietro leaned over and whispered something in Wanda's ear, who shook her head pointedly.
"And you," Tony pointed at her, figuring he may as well go the whole way, "you should get a goatee like mine. It would suit you!"
Wanda looked at Pietro and nodded. Tony found himself thinking that he had made a huge mistake.
"I'll just get my usual. It looks expensive, it gives my face a regal look," Tony announced, ignoring Pietro and Wanda's giggles, and also the whoosh of air he felt by his ear as he was led to the sink, figuring it was just the wind.
Fury lived up to his name.
To be fair, most of them looked ridiculous. Steve still had the 'floppy bit', which, it turned out, was the main reason Fury had wanted them to get haircuts. Peter and Pietro still looked like a small animal had died on their head, Clint's hair was a bright, luminous orange, and Bucky looked like a punk who had been dunked in paint. By the time he saw the wings in Sam's head, Fury was so done that he just praised Natasha, Bruce, Thor and Wanda for not joining in with the 'antics of the rest of the team', and left. He didn't even mention the fact that Tony was wearing a hat. He probably didn't want to know.
"Tony," Steve began, and he sounded a mixture of angry and disappointed which made Tony want to apologize for every mistake that he had ever made, and then kiss him, "what did you tell Bucky that would look like?"
"See, I told you!" Tony exploded, gesticulating wildly enough to nearly hit Wanda, "I told you he'd blame me, I was nothing to do with this, I said nothing, how the hell did you think this was my fault?"
"Steve," Bucky said placatingly, "it was nothing to do with Tony. I got this," he motioned to whatever the hell his hair had become, "because all I could think of was how much it would piss off HYDRA. I got the choice, Steve, I was so happy about that, and all I wanted to do was piss of HYDRA."
"I think joining us did that for you," Steve replied dryly, but he smiled apologetically at Tony, raising an eyebrow at the hat that was still firmly on his head. "So, what happened to you?"
Tony shook his head, backing away, but before he could turn and flat out run - which, let's face it, would still not be enough to escape Steve - he felt the cap being pulled off his head.
"Oh, Tony," Steve sighed exasperatedly, taking in Ton'y bright purple hair, but he was smiling fondly, at least.
"It wasn't me!" Tony promised, "Those two punks," Pietro and Wanda were giggling in a corner, leaving no doubt as to who it could have been, and Clint hi-fived them, "put hair dye in my shampoo!" Steve stared for a moment at the room in general, raising his eyes to the ceiling, before giving up and laughing.
"I'm glad my predicament amuses you," Tony said haughtily, trying to find one last shred of dignity, "no-one will want to be seen in public with me anymore, I hope you know that, my life is ruined, I'm going to be a hermit, at least until this hair dye fades, I -"
Steve was staring seriously into Tony's eyes, although there was still a faint hint of a smirk on his lips. "I want to be seen with you," he admitted, "I always want to be seen with you."
Before Steve could regret what he had just implied, Tony grabbed his hand, leading him out on what was hopefully a date, and the fact that Steve squeezed his hand did seem to suggest that. Somewhere along the way Steve dropped Tony's cap, but purple hair be damned, he was going on a date with Captain America, and, even better, with Steve Rogers.
As they were leaving the building, Fury called after them, "For your next team-building exercise, you're hosting a party!"
Tony distracted himself from thoughts of murdering Fury by debating which thank-you card he should get him for paving the grounds for him and Steve to date, when he was jerked back into reality by Steve muttering in his ear, "I'll bring the box of wasps."
Never had Tony been so happy to have given a national icon a tumblr as that moment.