It turned out that tip #3 hadn't really been necessary to point out, because for some reason Steve's entire body betrayed him the moment Bucky opened the door to his apartment.
Upon arriving at the red brick building matching the address Bucky had provided, Steve discovered Bucky actually lived above the bakery he had bought the delicious rainbow cupcakes from. Steve recognized the unique logo, a Russian fairytale-style fox eating what looked to be a bun above the red cursive swoop of the name, Kolobok Bakery. It was a neat little place, the illustration and font interesting yet traditional, but thankfully not in that creepy way that old Grimm stories tended to be. It had a classic yet slightly curious quality to it, and while Steve hadn't given much thought to where Bucky lived, above a place like this seemed like a perfect fit.
Look at him, already gathering intel. Natasha would be so proud.
Steve was escorted up the steps by the smell of delicious baked goods, the yeasty scent of warm bread making his mouth water slightly, but all that excess saliva dried up the instant Steve knocked and Bucky answered the door.
When asked, Steve had told him to dress comfortably but somewhat nicely, and Bucky had apparently taken that advice to heart. He was in a long sleeved knit sweater comprised of zig-zagging stripes in mixed shades of deep, rusty orange, a navy blue tone trimming the collar and adding diamonds and dashes into the pattern of the material. He had a soft looking pair of dark grey slacks on to complete the outfit, and while the whole thing together should have looked ridiculous, it did not.
It did not at all.
"I… You. Are." Steve swallowed. "Beautiful."
Bucky's cheeks turned a soft pink then as he tucked his hair behind one ear almost bashfully, the dark locks hanging free down to his chin and looking oh so smooth and shiny today. It was a decided contrast from the stubble that still graced his cheeks and chin, and Steve wanted to reach out and touch, to let his fingers whisper through that silky softness and rasp over Bucky's ever present 5 o'clock shadow, before replacing his fingers with his own cheek, his lips, to note the change in sensation in all possible ways.
Steve almost tipped over when Bucky reached out to feather his fingertips down the length of Steve's bicep and arm, his bashfulness being replaced with that sexy smirk Steve was so familiar with these days.
"Hello, Steve," he greeted, like a civilized person. Steve was still busy trying to coax his tongue to unstick from the roof of his mouth. "You look very lovely as well. I like the cashmere," he complimented, his fingers playing gently through the material of Steve's own sweater.
"Soft." Steve replied, slightly nonsensically. He had reverted to one word sentences apparently.
The look on Bucky's face was nothing short of precious though, as Steve stood there like an idiot, so he supposed he hadn't minded too much.
"Are those for me?" Bucky questioned, thankfully moving the conversation along since Steve was still attempting to move up at least one more notch on the evolutionary scale. He had been mildly ok with his caveman status, but that bodily contact had slipped him back down to tadpole levels, similar to when Bucky had kissed his cheek earlier in the week. (Steve had had to stop trying to analyze that particular moment because it just hurt his brain in the end, like one of those magic eye images where he couldn't see what the hidden picture was. He did admittedly replay it in his mind quite regularly still, but only to see if he had missed any crucial clues, of course. He had made very little progress so far. He would have to keep trying.)
Steve nodded and stuck his flower-holding hand out, his face falling when he realized what he had done. "Oh." As his white knuckled grip released the blooms all the stems flopped over, the flowers no longer able to stand upright. Steve had broken them all in his death grip of hatred. Fuck.
Bucky accepted the flowers as if he had just won the Miss America crown, gracefully and beautifully, sticking his nose into them and inhaling like some sort of Bambi-esque forest sprite.
"Thank you Steve, they're perfect," he smiled softly, his eyes crinkling slightly at the corners. Steve couldn't look away. "Let's get these in some water, hmm?" he suggested, completely ignoring the destruction Steve had rained down on them.
He grabbed Steve's hand and hauled him into the apartment, guiding him to a stool at the small kitchen breakfast bar before he began pulling things out of cupboards. A round, low glass vase was soon being filled up with water and then the flowers, Bucky expertly trimming the stems with a pair of kitchen shears above the breaks so they sat low in the shallow vase. Bucky worked in silence and Steve didn't offer anything in the way of conversation, but the quiet was surprisingly comfortable. Steve was able to look his fill at both Bucky and his home, which was decidedly masculine but warm. There was a wall to wall bookcase lined with both books and knick-knacks, tchotchkes, as Steve's mom would have said, and they were mixed in amongst the books in an eclectic fashion, the titles around them varying by both language and topic. The black leather sofa was softened by the faux-fur throw draped over it, and the exposed brick accent walls didn't seem harsh thanks to the soft lighting being cast around in warm shades by accent and floor lamps.
It was slightly rugged but cozy, and Steve was instantly endeared by it. It fit Bucky just as well as the bakery downstairs had, that sense that everything here was placed just so according to his preference. Steve didn't have a hard time believing the space had adapted to the man, though, rather than the other way around.
It was only fitting the world would bend to please Bucky.
Steve had excellent taste in enemies, after all.
The enemy in question was just placing the last bloom in the vase, his craftsmanship having created a low dome of flowers that looked modern yet rustic, matching the space perfectly. Once again, world-bending.
Bucky had obviously caught Steve staring, as the crinkles around his eyes only deepened when Steve finally met his gaze, but he didn't seem put off by it, only tossing the cut ends into a green bin under the sink (Bucky composted; more important intel) before washing his hands and drying them with a kitchen towel. The towel had roosters on it. (Important? Possibly.)
"Let me grab my coat and we'll go," Bucky smiled, heading for the bedroom.
Not wanting to forget anything, Steve pulled out his little notebook and pen, hastily scrawling a note for his future self while Bucky was out of sight.
He stared down at the words he had written in serious thought.
Bucky likes cocks?
Hopefully by the end of the night Steve would be able to find out.