=One Word=

A/N: This is the first fanfiction that I've finished for this fandom, so I'm pretty excited. ^^ It isn't very long, but oh, well.

=X=

Everything important to him was always accompanied by a single word. The very first he could remember was when he'd had his IQ tested in middle school; the moment the teacher uttered the word "genius", Tony Stark knew that the term would always stick with him—and, hey, who wouldn't love that?

At the age of twenty-one, Tony learned that not all life-changing words would be positive ones. His most prominent example of this brought back memories of wide eyes and a disbelieving chant of "no, no, no." The cop gave him a grim frown and an entire recollection of his parents' crash, and when he pressed the man for their status, a single, flat syllable rang in his ears. "Dead."

Not long after that, news arrived regarding his father's company; as Tony expected, it had been passed down to him. This did little to improve his mood, but it was a big moment, nonetheless. ("How much money, again?" "Millions.")

Then, finally, Tony Stark became Iron Man—it was a necessary change, mind you, but a decision he'd still made on his own. As far as memorable words go, "hero" was pretty damn good.

When he was recruited into the Avengers some time later, the word came from not only Nick Fury, but Natasha Romanova, Bruce Banner, Clint Barton, Thor Odinson, and, most importantly (though he wasn't so sure of that, at the time), Steve Rogers. "Hello."

For reasons unfathomable, Steve did not seem to like Tony. (Who didn't like Tony Stark?) This was fine, as far as the iron-clad hero was concerned, because he didn't particularly like Captain, either. The two of them bickered endlessly (turns out Steve isn't too keen on being called "Capsicle", and Tony doesn't appreciate being told what to do), but a certain situation that put them in deadly amounts of danger finally put a new perspective on things. Tony swore the word "truce" had never sounded so fantastic.

Soon enough, him and Capsicle were pretty good friends, believe it or not. And, as usual, in the midst of life being good for a change, Tony had to go and fuck it up. Well, as far as he was concerned, he'd fucked it up; Steve didn't have a clue about the conversation Tony and Pepper had about him. It started out with him complaining to her about certain feelings—such as anxiety, and the like—he had while around the team (actually, not the entire team, just the captain), and ended with a very smug-looking Pepper and the word "love" floating around in his brain.

Perhaps the most horrific incident to ever happen at S.H.I.E.L.D. followed Tony's epiphany. (That epiphany still shocked him a bit. He was in love with Capsicle.) Bruce figured it out. At first, that wasn't so bad—but that was before Bruce told Thor. Tony nearly choked on his breakfast when Thor (loudly) announced to the entire room that "Iron Man is affectionate for the one he calls 'Capsicle.'" Tony had never felt so relieved in his life when he realized Steve was on the other side of the ship at the moment. Or, was. He entered the room a few seconds later, though, judging by the fact he was acting no different than usual, Tony assumed he hadn't heard the thunder god's announcement. Since Thor's mission was apparently to ruin Tony's life, he began to repeat himself. Natasha cut him off with a slap by the time he'd hit the word "for", but half a sentence was enough for Steve to get curious.

"Tell me who it is," was the demand Tony was given later that day in his office. Luckily for him, he managed to turn the tables on the captain with a deal. ("If you tell me who you've got your eye on, I'll admit it.") He meant it as a joke; he was sure Steve didn't think of anyone like that, after Peggy, so he was under the impression he'd be able to get away from this without having to answer. He was not expecting the word "you" to leave Steve's mouth.

Tony didn't know how many months the two of them spent together as a couple, but, by God, if they weren't the best months of his life—and still counting. However, he soon found out that those weren't the best months of his life. At least, he was positive they couldn't beat the ones to come. Because, after he embraces the blonde tightly, checks quickly to make sure they're alone, and gets down on one knee, he realized one word was going to make his life a hell of a lot better.

Tonight, that word was "Yes."