A/N: The idea for this story came to me when I was going back through the series. For a couple of episodes right in a row, there was a lot of very romantic content. It started with "Too Many Tonys," which supplied the majority of the kissing in the first season, even if it was from a fake Tony. The very next episode was "Get Me To Mecca On Time," and I recalled as I watched it that someone wrote a story mentioning the fact that it was the first time Jeannie told Tony she loved him. Ironically, the very next episode, "The Richest Astronaut in the World" had the first time Tony ever told Jeannie that he loved her. As if that wasn't enough, the very next episode, "Is There an Extra Genie in the House", Tony shows an extraordinary amount of concern over the fact that Roger has overworked Jeannie.

I've already told my story about "Too Many Tonys," so this fanfiction is an attempt to combine the romance of the following three episodes and show how they connect.

kellylover

What's in a Word?: The Fear of Circumlocution

Captain Anthony Nelson was pacing his living room floor. It was past 2:00 in the morning and Jeannie still wasn't home. He had loaned her to Roger, after she practically begged to "help" his friend, despite his better judgment, and now was thoroughly concerned.

That day when he went to work Tony had taken Jeannie, secured in her bottle, with him, and when it was quitting time, he had handed it over. He fixed himself a sandwich for dinner and watched some television while he ate. Then he went upstairs to his study and began to work on some charts, enjoying the quiet time to himself. He figured on waiting up for Jeannie. She'd be home by midnight at the very latest, he reasoned. When the time reached 12:30, he really wasn't all that worried. Jeannie could take care of herself. By then, he had started to read a book on the living room couch. But at 1:00 Tony started to get worried. At 1:30 he started phoning Roger, only to be greeted by a busy signal. At 2:00 he began to pace, and at 2:15 he began muttering to himself. Unable to stand it any longer, Tony finally called out.

"Jeannie!" he said into the empty room. That was enough to do it.

The next thing he knew, Tony was in Roger's kitchen. In front of him stood Jeannie, and behind her was a pile of dirty dishes.

"Jeannie!" he softly exclaimed.

"Hello, Master," she tiredly said.

"What has Roger been doing to you?" he asked, closing the gap between them and taking hold of her. He felt her relax as if she was tempted to collapse in his arms.

"I – I have been very busy, Master," she admitted. Tony looked around at the mess, his anger building up within him.

After taking a deep breath he said, "Where's Roger?"

"He is in the living room, Master, with Dr. Bellows' niece."

Tony smiled a tight smile and said, "Jeannie, I want you to go home."

"But Master," she argued, "what will Captain Healey think when he discovers I am gone?"

"Don't you worry about him, Jeannie. I'll stay here and take care of that."

"But Master," she said, looking for all the world like a lost child, "can I not stay here with you?"

"Now, Jeannie," Tony began, "you need to get some rest. You're exhausted. No, it's better if you go home."

"Yes, Master," she agreed, and yawned, too tired to argue any more. She folded her arms, and blinked, and Tony saw the dirty dishes become clean.

Chuckling lightly and shaking his head, Tony said, "Goodnight, Jeannie." He leaned down then and kissed her, slowly and passionately. When he pulled back he heard Jeannie sigh loudly.

"Goodnight, Master. I love you," she said sleepily. Tony swallowed hard.

He and Jeannie had been together for about eight months but it had only been just the week before when the l-word had been thrown into the mix.

It started when Jeannie blinked up that phony Tony and almost got him to marry her. When Tony started to contemplate his escape, he realized for the first time that he was in love with her. That thought, needless to say, complicated things immensely. And it didn't help when, right after his revelation, Jeannie voiced those thoughts that crept up into Tony's conscious thought. He could still hear her voice, weak and frightened, using her last words to tell him she loved him. He still trembled at the thought of losing her like that. So the words just flew out of him like an overflowing river when Roger locked her in his safe, trying to take her away from him just days later. It was that slip-up that made things progress much faster than he wanted.

When he finally got Jeannie back from Roger, he knew he would have some explaining to do. And he was right. After he left work, he arrived at home to find Jeannie waiting for him. She greeted him at the door, throwing her arms around him and covering him in kisses. "Oh, Master!" she exclaimed and then kissed him. "Oh, Master, I missed you!" She went to kiss him again and this time he was prepared. He kissed her back, reveling in the feel of her lips, of her body pressed tight against him.

"Hello, Jeannie," he said after pulling away. "I'm glad you're back."

"Oh, so am I, Master," she replied, pulling him into a warm embrace. "I missed you so much. And then you said such wonderful things to me-" She stopped and pulled back to look at him. "Master," she began shyly, "did you mean all those things you said to me? Do you really love me, Master?" Tony took a deep breath.

"Yes, Jeannie," he exhaled. "I meant every word." And after a short, expectant pause, he added, "I love you, Jeannie."

"Oh, Master!" she exclaimed. "Oh, I am so happy!" She pulled him back into her embrace, gripping him tightly. Tony giggled but quickly separated himself and looked at her with a more serious look in his eyes.

He pointed at her and said, "Now, I don't want you to get any ideas. I love you, Jeannie, but I can't marry you. People wouldn't understand." Jeannie's smile fell and she swallowed before nodding and replying.

"Yes, Master. I understand." Glad she was being so sensible, Tony smiled again and kissed her as if his life depended on it.

But now, Tony was worried. An excessive use of this terminology might make Jeannie forget what he told her. So when she said, "I love you," he couldn't help but hesitate. But, after a moment or two of quiet contemplation, he finally replied.

"I love you, too, Jeannie," he said softly. Jeannie smiled then and gave him a quick kiss before she folded her arms, and blinked. The next thing Tony knew, he was sitting inside Jeannie's bottle. "Jeannie!" he called, looking up through the opening of the bottle. "Jeannie? What's going on?"

"You will be more comfortable in there," Jeannie replied, holding the bottle up to her eye.

"Well, how am I gonna get out of here?" Tony asked, yelling up at her.

"Well, just blink!" she answered.

"Oh. Well, that makes sense," he said, half to himself.

"Goodnight, Master," she said.

"Goodnight, Jeannie," he answered and watched as she vanished from his sight.

He sat like that for close to an hour, contemplating how complicated things had become with Jeannie, before he heard Roger's voice calling for Jeannie. Then Tony stood up, focused, and blinked.

Needless to say, Roger was very surprised when it was him that materialized from the smoke. Tony admonished him, told him that his days of borrowing Jeannie were over, and let himself out the back way. He caught a cab and arrived home a little after 3:15.

When Tony entered his house, he moved to put Jeannie's bottle on the coffee table and stopped when he found her sound asleep in her pajamas on the couch. Worried about the quality of sleep she would get on the couch, he shook his head and knelt down in front of her. He cautiously cradled her in his arms, and picked her up. Jeannie stirred slightly at the movement and placed her hands instinctively around his neck.

"Master, what are you doing?" she said, sleep slurring her words.

Tony soothingly shushed her and answered, "I'm taking you into bed. You won't get any sleep on that couch."

"Yes, Master," she said as he laid her down on his bed. He shifted her as he pulled down the covers and then pulled them over her.

"Sleep tight, Jeannie," he told her. He leaned over and kissed the top of her forehead. As he went to leave, Jeannie took hold of his hand, pulling him back to her side.

"Where are you going, Master?" she asked, her eyes half way open.

"To sleep on the couch. Now, goodnight." He tried to leave, but Jeannie kept her grip on his hand.

"You will not get any sleep, either, Master. Come lay here," she urged. "Please?"

Tony looked at her, her eyelids slowly surrendering to sleep, and caved.

"Alright, Jeannie. I'll be right there, just let me change. You go back to sleep."

Without hesitation, she replied, "Yes, Master," and closed her eyes.

Tony quickly went into the bathroom and changed into his nightclothes. When he came out he went directly to the other side of the bed and slipped in beside her. Jeannie reached behind her, searching for contact. He held out his arm and let her pull it securely around her. He scooted closer to her and she snuggled back until his body perfectly molded around hers.

Tony laid there, tense for a while, but eventually rested in her presence. He listened as her breathing slowed and deepened and realized he wasn't far behind. Then, while he still could, he said softly, "I love you, Jeannie," and kissed her shoulder. As he surrendered to his own sleep, his last thought was how glad he was to be home.

Fin.

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