In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning


A/N: I redid this story because I had uploaded it in a hurry and later realized that I had totally forgotten to talk about the fact that their fourth anniversary was coming up. So it's revised, and I hope you enjoy it.

Major Roger Healey was sleeping peacefully. Despite being recently assigned to six months' duty in the Aleutian Islands, he had no problem falling asleep.

His best friend, however, was not having the same luck.

Tony Nelson gulped in a sharp breath and sat straight up in his bed. He was drenched in cold sweats and couldn't seem to catch his breath.

He had been dreaming again.

Tony looked at his wristwatch, still breathing heavily. It was two in the morning. With a sigh, he fell back down and laid there, looking at the ceiling.

When the clock had hit midnight, it became three weeks to the day that he finally lost Jeannie.

These very early hours of the morning were what affected him the most. During the day, Tony had to put up a façade for Roger. During the day, he immersed himself in his work. During the day, Tony didn't have time to dwell on losing Jeannie. No, it was only the nighttime that gave him that luxury, that torture.

Three weeks. Tony hadn't been separated from Jeannie for that long since their first year together when Jeannie became a WAF and had to go off for six weeks' basic training. Back then it hadn't bothered him because he hadn't yet quite gotten used to having her constantly around. Other than that, Tony had been physically separated from Jeannie for that long only when she had been locked inside the moon safe. But even then, he knew where she was, what she was up to. He knew she was safe, knew she was still his.

Most recently, the only time they had spent apart was the few days he had spent in space on his way to the moon before Jeannie blinked him down. And then, of course, there was the week that he spent touring the U.S. as a conqueror of the final frontier. Which eventually led to three days of torture, leaving him alone with a strange woman, two demon children, and no Jeannie to help him along.

During that time, he had hardly had time to worry about where she had gone off. He knew she would eventually be back, and he knew that he would be able to explain the situation to her. He knew he would be able to keep her with him.

Now, however, Tony was faced with the cold reality that Jeannie no longer belonged to him.

He rolled over on to his stomach and placed the pillow over his head. Tony laid there for a while, trying to block out the noise of Roger's soft snores, and enjoying the warmth of his slowing breath against his face.

"Jeannie," he began to whisper. "Jeannie, can you hear me, darling?" He spoke softly, hoping she could still hear him, but not wanting to wake Roger. He waited a beat for a response before continuing. "Darling, I need you. I don't know what I was thinking, but I didn't mean a word of it. I love you, Jeannie. I love you, and I miss you. Please forgive me, darling. I'm so sorry. I'm so very, truly sorry, Jeannie. Please, just come back."

There was no reply, but still he went on.

Three weeks.

Three weeks without Jeannie, ending their relationship three days prior to their fourth anniversary. Three years, eleven months, and twenty-seven days all went down the drain because of one mistake.

That day he had found Jeannie particularly anxious to get him out of the house. He wasn't worried about it, though. Tony was fully aware that their anniversary had been coming up. So when she all but shoved him out the door, he figured it had something to do with her plans.

Tony had plans for their anniversary himself. It would be a challenge to out-do himself after their third anniversary, but he was confident he had come up with the perfect plan:

He was going to take her home to meet his family.

It was a big step, Tony realized. And he had lost a lot of sleep over the decision. But he was ready.

He was ready to start taking those steps toward marriage. And he honestly was excited about it.

But that day when Jeannie's Grand-Uncle had appeared in his office, almost killed Dr. Bellows, and sent him to be a slave on a ship, Tony found marriage to be suddenly forced upon him. His desires had nothing to do with it any more.

He had lost his temper when Jeannie asked if he loved her. Of course he loved her! What more could he do to show her that? So Tony gave in. He accepted the idea of marriage because he did love her. He had already decided to marry her, so really it was just luck that at that moment, when he seemed to have no choice, his desires were aligned with their demands.

But later, of course, when her granduncle screwed things up again, he had to lose his temper once more.

"Jeannie, darling, I didn't mean it," Tony said into his pillow. "I was angry at your uncle and I lost my temper. I must have been out of my mind, Jeannie. Darling, please, come back."

He continued like that for a while, hoping she would hear his message. He had been trying for weeks and nothing had happened, but he supposed it would take a lot of apologies for Jeannie to forgive him. And Tony was willing to apologize as much as it would take to get her back.

He missed her. Lord, he missed her. Tony hadn't known he could feel this miserable before. He just wanted her back.

Speaking softly into his bed, Tony began to make wild promises. Promises of long weekends with her mother to visit, of trips to Paris and Brazil and Rome, of keeping Djinn-Djinn as a permanent pet. At that moment Tony would have given her anything, promised her anything.

He knew, somehow, that the only thing that he could promise Jeannie that would bring her back was marriage. And he was ready. He wanted to marry her more than anything. She meant more to him than his career, more than his home, more than his reputation. He was ready to throw it all away, if only he could have her back.

"Please, darling," he continued to whisper, "please forgive me."

But still there was no answer. So Tony continued to indulge in the luxury, the torture of dwelling on losing Jeannie.


A/N 2: When I went back to redo this, the idea of Tony wanting to introduce Jeannie to his family just popped into my head. I tried really hard to convince myself that it was way too out of character. But I desperately wanted to put it in and after thinking about it, I think it really does work. Tony didn't really fight the fact that Jeannie told her uncle that he had agreed to marriage. He even said, and this is a direct quote, "I didn't say I do not wish to marry you, but I will not be intimidated." So I'd love to hear some thoughts on the subject. Thanks!