Word Count: 3,066 (because I don’t know how to control myself)
Warnings: Language, FLUFF, teeeeeensy bit of angst (like, if you squint)
Plot/Prompt: Bucky’s settling into the tower well enough, but his hair has become a little unruly. The reader offers to help him cut it and realizes a little too late how close this will put her to the man she loves.
A/N: (I NEED TO LEARN HOW TO WRITE SUMMARIES???) This is just something that popped into my head other day and I had to explore it. I had to include the gif at the end too, I mean just LOOK at it. Please let me know what y’all think, I’d love some feedback! and If you’d like to be tagged in any of my future fics, let me know!
This doesn’t have a Beta, so if you see any typos or mistakes, feel free to let me know! (but be kind, please :)
For weeks now, the tower had been all abuzz with talk of how Bucky was beginning to settle in. He had gotten his own quarters in the tower, had settled into a workout regimen every morning at 5 am sharp, he had unpacked completely and hell he even had his own cabinet in the kitchen full of mugs and food that was off limits to anyone else.
But there were many ways that he was having trouble settling in as well. Movie nights could be particularly trying, too many people piled into one room. He would come sometimes, bless him, despite his discomfort but most nights ended up with him high-tailing it out of there when it became too much. Working out in the gym could be particularly trying as well. Some days he could get through his whole routine without any problems. Others, his heart would beat just a little too fast and send his arm into panic mode. The last time that had happened, he had stormed back to his room after snapping a barbell in half. He would never admit that it was only when you were there that he found it so damn hard to focus.
He was warm enough with mostly everyone, obviously being the closest to Steve, but even with his best friend, he could be closed off when the pain was bad enough. Bucky and Sam seemed to get on well enough, Sam being the one who spoke the most in the relationship. He would crack jokes and pester the ever living shit out of his new friend, but you could occasionally catch the brunette smiling under his long locks. Natasha mostly kept her distance, afraid that this early on in his recovery that she would only make things worse with the memories of how they knew each other in another life. Clint, of course, stayed by her side so he wasn’t around him much either. It seemed that Bucky liked you well enough, neither going out of his way to being overly kind or overly antagonistic towards you. He was just there, sometimes seeming like he wanted to blend into the background. And, god help you, all you wanted was to hold him and tell him everything would be ok and that you cared.
The only presence that was anything close to unwelcome for the man out of time was Tony Stark.
After their encounter in Siberia and the discovery of the Starks’ true fate, their friendship was nothing short of strained. They each stayed in their own lane so to speak, and didn’t go out of their way to cause any trouble for the other - but you could tell the tension was there. Hell, how could you not? The air all but changed when the two were in a room together and almost it made you want to get out as fast as you could.
Something else that had become very apparent to you in the several weeks since he moved in, was that you were hopelessly infatuated with James Buchanan Barnes. Everything about him had bewitched you and you were completely and utterly helpless when Bucky was involved. You were enamored with the way he walked, with the interesting way he spoke - a unique blend of modern and 40’s lingo. You found it beyond endearing how a man of his stature could seem so powerful in one moment, then completely puppy like the next, and how your heart would skip a beat when his signature boyish smirk would grace his beautiful features. You were at his mercy, and you wanted to be by him at all times.
But that just wasn’t realistic.
Steve was Bucky’s safety net, not you. All you could do was offer a helping hand and wait off to the side, giving the object of your affection all the space he needed to heal. And heal he did! Aside from a few select incidents - being the movie nights and gym accidents - Bucky had made remarkable progress.
There was one subject, however, that seemed to particularly get under Bucky’s skin.
“So when are you going to cut that mane of yours?” You didn’t bother looking up as you rolled your eyes at Tony’s question, knowing he damn well knew this was not something to just shove in Bucky’s face.
Sure, Bucky’s hair had grown a little unruly - well, ok more than a little - but it was an incredibly sensitive subject for him. Some days he couldn’t even bring himself to brush it, let alone cut it. It had grown so long that it reached beyond his collar bones and could now be tied into a full-fledged ponytail. It was obvious that his hair was a great source of stress for him, that you could tell from the split ends and the knots. When the memories of Hydra reared their ugly head, Bucky’s hand immediately shot up to pull at his impossibly long locks before yanking painfully. He would tear at the offending locks as if the disheveled mop reminded him too much of the weapon he had become rather than the man he had been before. Casting your eyes to the man in question, you found him across from you, his jaw clenched and mug gripped tightly in his right hand.
“Tony, seriously?” Steve snapped from where he sat beside his best friend.
“What? It’s an honest question.”
“I like it long,” Bucky mumbled into his coffee, not bothering to look at the pestering genius. Even you could tell that wasn’t the whole truth. Tony didn’t seem satisfied with his answer.
“You know, I could set you up with my stylist. She does a magnificent job, can even trim up your scruff for you too. And she isn’t bad on the eyes, either, soldier.” You would be lying if you said your jaw didn’t clench at Tony’s bait, your fingers damn near breaking your glass.
“No. I don’t want any high profile stylist messing with my hair.” You could almost hear the I don’t want the attention that was no doubt on the tip of his tongue as he glared at Stark.
“I could take you to my barber, Buck. He only uses shears and a straight razor. And his shop is straight out of old Brooklyn. It’s just like the shops we used to go to, sometimes I feel like I’m back hom-back in the 40’s again.” Steve offered with a smile. Bucky relaxed visibly at the offer, but not enough.
“Look, man, I appreciate it but…This isn’t the forties anymore,” He sighed as he ran his metal fingers through his greasy locks, the joints snagging some of the knots making him hiss. “Besides, I…I don’t want to hurt anyone.”
Oh, this poor, beautiful soul. You had noticed how he tensed at the mention of a straight blade, but you hadn’t realized why. Even when talking about his own comfort - he didn’t want to take that chance that he could put anyone in danger.
And just when you thought his heart couldn’t get any more beautiful.
“I could do it.” Had you said that aloud?
“What?” And just like that, you were looking at three confused pairs of eyes.
“I, uh, I could help. I’ve cut hair before. Used to do my mom’s and sister’s hair all the time. You wouldn’t even have to leave the tower.” God Y/N, shut up! He obviously doesn’t want to be bothered, just stop -
“Could you really?” Two endless blue eyes stared back at you, a small smile lighting up that handsome face that made your heart shutter so.
“Yeah, if you want.” You were merely rewarded with a nod and a smile that reached all the way to his eyes. A smile that made him look 5 years younger. A smile that made his eyes crinkle in that way that you had only seen from the pictures Steve had shown you of a Bucky so long ago.
“Last time I try being nice.” Tony sniffled as he left the room in a huff, earning chuckles from the three of you that remained.
By the time you had gathered everything to do Bucky’s hair, you were shaking. What the hell had you gotten yourself into? All you wanted to do was help the man you loved but now all you could think of was how close you would be to him.
You had sent him to shower and wash his hair, giving you time to grab everything you needed and to calm your nerves. Plus, you knew that if you had to wash Bucky’s hair before cutting it you would’ve passed out. Cutting his hair was one thing, but washing it - could you be trusted to do something so intimate with him without imploding?
Was it just you, or was he taking forever? Had he changed his mind? Maybe he had run off to Tony’s stylist, the promise of eye candy worth of a Stark more enticing than your measly offer? Maybe he would never talk to you again!
A sudden loud knock echoed through the room, breaking you from your thoughts. Steeling yourself for what was to come, you made your way over to the door. And there he was. Bucky Barnes, filling out your entire doorway with his shy eyes cast down at his feet, and in his hands….was a box from your favorite pizza place.
“I uh…I thought I would bring…uh, heh. It’s your favorite.” He stuttered as he stepped in, shoving the pizza into your hands before rubbing awkwardly at the back of his neck. You had no idea he even knew your favorite restaurant, let alone your favorite pizza. But he had gotten it right! Right down to the most obscure toppings!
“Not that I don’t appreciate it, but what-”
“It’s my way of saying thanks.” He interrupted, fingers tugging at his outrageously long locks.
“You really don’t have to do that.” You offered with a smile as you set the box down on your coffee table.
“Well, neither do you.” He damn near whispered as you lead him over to the stool you had swiped from the kitchen. “I could always just -”
“Go see Steve’s barber? Or Tony’s girl?” You chuckled, ignoring the jealousy that crept its way into your heart. “This isn’t about anyone else, Buck. It’s whatever you’re comfortable with. And if that means having a friend cut your hair, then I’m more than happy to fit the bill.”
You were gifted with a warm smile as you gently tugged at Bucky’s shirt, encouraging him to remove it lest the hair get caught all in it. Silently, he pulled it over his head and - oh sweet lord that was a lot of man. You tried not to stare, you really did. But, how could you not when all that skin was on display for you?! If it weren’t for the sobering thought that this was, in fact, your friend, your friend in need no less, you never would’ve taken your eyes off of him.
“So how short do you want it?” You asked quietly as you turned your attention to running your fingers through his wet locks. You were so caught up in the feeling that you missed the way he sighed and leaned into your touch. Without a word, Bucky raised his hand to gesture to his chin, indicating his desired length. You nodded as you reached for your shears, putting a gentle hand on his right shoulder. “Are you sure you don’t want it any shorter? You know, you don’t want to go back to the hair you had before?”
“Honestly Y/N, that Bucky is gone. I don’t want to keep pretending to be him, especially with what it would do to Steve. Besides…I’ve gotten used to longer hair.” He gave a sad smile as he ran his thick fingers through his hair, leaning back when you advanced.
You could hear him gulp at your question and almost stopped out of fright. Was this ok? Was he having second thoughts? But then he gave a weak smile and a quiet chuckle.
“Please, make me look somewhat human again.” He joked, deep blue eyes finding yours.
“You’ve got it, Buck.”
It was deathly silent as you made the first cut, the snip echoing loud and clear. Bucky immediately tensed under your hand as he watched the hair flutter down to land on his knees.
“Yeah, just…I can’t remember that last time I had a haircut.” He mumbled as he stared at the hair laying in his lap.
“Do you want me to stop?”
The silence pursued as you cut away, trimming off the dead ends and ridding Bucky of about three inches. As you finished, you abandoned your scissors off to the side before handing him a hand mirror and doing your best to fluff his hair. Little remnants of snipped hair fell from his locks as it settled into place with the help of your fingers and you could see Bucky’s face lift in the mirror. You were incredibly proud of your work as you examined him, his once semi-matted hair laying calmly, falling just so around his face. The split ends were gone, and the clean cut gave a new life to Bucky’s hair, and it even lightened your brooding soldier a bit. And when a blinding smile erupted onto his face, you fell in love all over again.
“Do you like it?” You pressed as you walked out in front of him. Your rambling persisted as you continued to pluck at his new do, shifting it so it would lay correctly on his head. “I think it looks good, not too short, but I don’t know. I hope it’s ok, I -”
Your words died in your throat as two strong arms circled your waist and pulled you into a tight hug. You were sure Bucky could hear your heart beating wildly in your chest as his head pressed to your stomach, but if he could he didn’t seem to care.
“Thank you.” He whispered, and if you didn’t know any better you could swear you heard tears in his voice. You couldn’t find the words to respond, so you settled for wrapping your arms around him as well as he tugged you closer. It was only when your legs gave out and you were forced to straddle Bucky’s lap that he pulled his head from you to look into your eyes. “Really, thank you. You have no idea what this means to me.”
Bucky couldn’t remember the last time anyone had touched his hair in a way that wasn’t meant to overpower him. Countless fists had knotted in his hair before, yanking with a terrible force as The Winter Soldier would be driven to his knees or strapped into some damn machine. But your fingers…your fingers had carded through his soft hair in a way that he couldn’t recall ever feeling. You had brushed the knots from his wet hair as you revered the beauty of it, getting lost in the sheen and the way it had framed his face. It hadn’t escaped him how you hummed as his locks drug between your fingers and it had sent full chills all the way up his spine.
Now he had you here, legs on either side of his lap, your arms lazily draped over his shoulders as his hands loosely clasped at your hips. And when he looked up into your eyes with his own deep gaze, everything within him shattered. With blinding speed, he shot forward, his own fingers lacing in your hair as his chapped lips pressed against yours. An excited squeal forced its way past your lips as you rocked with the shock of the kiss, not hesitating even a moment to melt into him. Immediately, your fingers sought out his hair, your nails scraping gently against his scalp. The sensation shook Bucky to his very core, and when he sighed against your lips, you deepened the kiss. Strong hands tightened around your hips and tugged you ever closer as you kissed each other until your lungs stung.
When you pulled away from each other, the first thing you noticed was how swollen Bucky’s lips were from kissing you. Absentmindedly, you drew your lip between your teeth. The soldier below you groaned at the sight before resting his forehead against yours.
“Man, I should’ve asked you to cut my hair ages ago.” He huffed out, a small smirk painted across his perfect lips. Your giggle caught you off guard as you swatted his left shoulder before laying your head against Bucky’s chest.
“And to think, you could’ve seen Tony’s girl instead.”
“Let Stark keep her. I’ve got my own girl.” He winked before dropping another kiss to you forehead and pulling you into another tight embrace. It was that moment that you realized Bucky was still covered in hair, and incredibly, incredibly shirtless.
“Um, Buck? You’re kind of covered in hair.” Glancing down, the soldier pulled away just enough to get a good look at himself.
“Well then, how about I take another shower, then we can see about joining the others for movie night?” Your heart nearly soared at the question and you resituated yourself so that you could really look at him.
“Bucky, are you sure? You don’t have to, not if it makes you uncomfortable.” You leveled as you placed your hand against his chest. Well, that was a sensation you wouldn’t mind getting used to.
“And miss out on spending more time with you? Y/N, you seriously underestimate how intoxicating you are.”
That night, Bucky made it farther through movie night than ever before. He managed to make it through almost the whole movie, only needed to duck out 30 minutes before the end of the movie, but tonight was different. Tonight, he had you. And when you both returned to your room, you had a movie night of your own with popcorn, cuddles, and the pizza Bucky had gifted you. One that ended in you drifting off in Bucky’s arms with his fingers running gently through your hair, and for the first time in a very long time, James Buchanan Barnes felt safe. He felt like he was home.