Happy Hunting

by Erestor

Disclaimer: I own nothing pertaining to The Lord of the Rings. This story was written for entertainment purposes, so I'm not being paid for it.

Elrond was rummaging through his medicine chest, looking for a plant with aesthetical properties, when Legolas hobbled up to him and announced, "Aragorn and I are going hunting."

Elrond said, "What?" in tones of great alarm, and stood up very quickly, to see if Legolas was joking.

Legolas was not joking. He had on his face the I'm-going-hunting-and-nothing-you-do-will-knock-any-common-sense-into-my-head sort of look that so worried Elrond.

"Legolas, you are in no condition to hunt," said Elrond calmly. He began to rummage through his medicine chest again, only this time he was looking for his infamous sleeping draft. If he could ram some of it down Legolas's throat, then all his problems would be solved.

"I am very well!" said Legolas, swaying dizzily.

"Your leg is still in its cast," said Elrond.

"You could take the cast off," suggested Legolas hopefully.

"No," said Elrond. "You are not going hunting, and that's final."

Aragorn limped into the room. He had a bandage around his head, and a determined glint in his eyes. "You must let Legolas and I go hunting!" he exclaimed. "We love to hunt!"

"If you enjoy hunting so much, then perhaps you should endeavor to stay less injured," said Elrond.

"We don't try to get wounded," said Legolas. "It just sort of happens sometimes."

"You'll notice that I am capable of stepping outside without getting set upon by hungry wargs or hordes of orcs," said Elrond.

"Please, please let us hunt!" cried Aragorn and Legolas. They both stared beseechingly at Elrond, which was more than the poor Elf-Lord could handle. "All right," he said at last. "You can go hunting."

"Great! I'll go and get my things!" cried Legolas.

Legolas and Aragorn attempted to dash happily out the room, but Aragorn nearly keeled over, and Legolas was only capable of hobbling a little more briskly and cheerfully. He walked into the doorframe and staggered out the door, whimpering.

"Goodbye!" said Elrond, sure that he would never see them again. "Come home by this evening! Happy hunting!"

Elrond spent the rest of the day cutting bandages, mixing medicines, and preparing splints and tourniquets. By that evening, Aragorn and Legolas had not yet returned.

No surprises there.

Elrond called for Elladan and Elrohir.

"You are my sons," he said, "and despite your tendencies to be annoyingly mischievous, I'm rather fond of you. Go out and find Aragorn and Legolas, and please try not to get hurt."

"Certainly, Father!" said Elladan and Elrohir in cheerful unison, and they dashed out to ready their horses.

The next evening, Elladan, Elrohir, Aragorn, and Legolas were still missing. Elrond had cut so many bandages that his fingers kept on twitching even when he put away the scissors. He sat on his balcony and thought about how quiet everything would be in Imladris without the four of them.

When the next day dawned, Elrond called for Lord Glorfindel.

"Glorfindel," he said, "could you please stop chasing Erestor through Imladris with that squirrel? You know Erestor does not like squirrels."

"Yes, I know," said Glorfindel.

"Glorfindel," said Elrond, "I need you to go out and find Aragorn, Legolas, Elladan and Elrohir. They have been gone for some time, and I am afraid that they are seriously incommoded. Or dead."

"I thought seriously incommoded was dead," said Glorfindel.

Elrond crossed his arms, raised his eyebrows, and glared meaningfully at Lord Glorfindel.

"All right," said Glorfindel. "I will go out and find them!"

"Please try to come back in two days' time," said Elrond.

"Certainly," said Glorfindel. "Shouldn't take that long, though."

Glorfindel went out, saddled Asfaloth, and galloped off into the forest.

(Asfaloth galloped, not Glorfindel.)

Elrond cut more bandages. He mixed more medicines. He drank a lot of tea.

After two days, Glorfindel had not yet returned. Neither had anyone else. Elrond wondered what was going on in the forest. He wondered what had happened to everyone this time.

In the morning, Elrond called for Lord Erestor.

"Lord Erestor," he said. "Aragorn, Legolas, Elladan, Elrohir, and Glorfindel are all missing in the forest. I need you to go out and find them."

Erestor stared at Elrond in horror.

There was a long pause.

"You're supposed to go rushing out to save them," said Elrond.

"Oh," said Erestor.

"If you can't find them in three days, then you may return," said Elrond.

"My lord, I'd rather not go," said Erestor. "I would probably just disappear too."

"Well, that is true," said Elrond. "You can help me cut bandages then."

Elrond and Erestor sat in the infirmary and cut more bandages. After a while, Elrond realized that he had chopped all of the infirmary sheets into pieces. He sent Erestor to order new ones.

When three days had passed, and Aragorn, Legolas, Elladan, Elrohir and Glorfindel had not returned, Elrond called for Lindir.

"Lindir," said Elrond, "Aragorn, Legolas, Elladan, Elrohir, and Glorfindel have gone missing in the forest. I am worried for their safety and well-being. I need you to go and find them."

"Oh goody!" said Lindir. "I finally get to do something!"

Elrond nodded. "If you cannot find them in a week," he said, "then you may return."

"I'll probably have a wonderful adventure!" said Lindir.

"I'm sure," said Elrond.

Lindir scampered away to pack his harp and go into the forest to have his wonderful adventure.

After a week had passed, Lindir had not yet returned. Elrond began to make funeral arrangements for the lot of them. Erestor had started cutting the bandages into pretty little snowflakes that spelled out Lord Elrond has gone mad! Save me! if you looked at them from the right angle.

One bright, cold morning, Elrond was drinking his fifth cup of tea that day, when Elrohir hauled himself into the courtyard.

"Elrohir!" cried Elrond. "My son! You have returned at last!"

"Ack," said Elrohir, collapsing dramatically at Elrond's feet.

Elrond dragged Elrohir into the infirmary, where he swathed Elrohir in bandages and gave him a sleeping draft to drink. When Elrohir woke up, Elrond plied him with questions.

"What happened to you?" he asked.

"Lots of stuff," said Elrohir groggily. "I got mauled by a warg, and when Elladan tried to save me, he fell off a cliff, and then I was captured by orcs and I only just escaped."

Elrond patted him kindly on the head. "There, there," he said. "All will be well."

The next morning, Legolas wandered into the courtyard, humming to himself.

"Legolas! You're back! You're safe!" cried Elrond.

"Who are you?" asked Legolas. "What am I doing here? Why is my arm all numb?"

Elrond inspected Legolas's arm. "You've been poisoned," he said. "Come into the infirmary and I'll give you something that will make you better."

When Legolas was better, Elrond plied him with questions.

"What happened to you?" he asked.

"Lots of stuff," said Legolas happily. "Aragorn was captured by this evil Elf who wanted to kill him, and when I tried to save him, the evil Elf stabbed me with something and left me for dead and when I woke up I tried to save Aragorn again, but this time there was a huge storm and I nearly drowned in a flash flood and then I was captured by these men who poisoned me but I escaped and came here."

"When did you lose your memory?" asked Elrond.

"I don't know," said Legolas. "I can't remember."

Two hours later, Glorfindel crawled into the courtyard.

"Glorfindel! It's great to see you again!" cried Elrond.

"I wish I could say the same for you," said Glorfindel.

"What?" Elrond was offended.

"I've been blinded," said Glorfindel.

"Oh," said Elrond. "Well, that's all right. I have a great little herb that will restore your sight to you!"

When Glorfindel's sight had been restored, Elrond plied him with questions.

"What happened to you?" he asked.

"I got lost in a fog," said Glorfindel, "and then a band of men jumped out, overpowered me, and sold me into slavery. I escaped eventually, but then a poison-spitting snake blinded me when I stood on it."

Elrond nodded sympathetically.

Three days later, Aragorn stumbled into the courtyard.

"Aragorn!" cried Elrond. "My son! My adopted son, that is! How wonderful that you're alive!"

"I wish I were dead," said Aragorn.

Elrond tucked Aragorn into an infirmary bed, splinted his broken arm, bathed his fevered brow, and then plied him with questions.

"What happened to you?" he asked.

"I was captured by an evil Elf," said Aragorn, "who tied me to a tree and insulted me continually. Now I have no self-esteem."

"Hmm," said Elrond. "Well, I can fix that too. I can heal anything, you know."

Elrond gave Aragorn a long talk that raised Aragorn's self-esteem.

As Elrond was finishing his talk, Elladan wobbled into the courtyard. He still had his horse!

"You get extra points for that," said Elrond. "Most people lose theirs."

"This isn't my horse," said Elladan. "I stole it."

Elrond took Elladan to the infirmary, and put him in bed. He gave Elladan medicine that would keep his cracked ribs from hurting so much, and then he stitched up all of Elladan's wounds. When he was done, he asked The Big Question.

"What happened to you?"

"Well," said Elladan, "it's a long and pain-filled story, but to make it short and less disturbing–"

"You fell off a cliff, didn't you?" asked Elrond.

Elladan nodded reluctantly. He hated admitting it when he fell off cliffs. He said it was embarrassing.

"When did you steal the horse?" asked Elrond.

"It's Asfaloth, actually," said Elladan. "I found him at a market somewhere, and I stole him when no one was looking."

"Glorfindel will be grateful," said Elrond.

"He'd better be," said Elladan, "because after I stole Asfaloth, I was chased by wolves, attacked by orcs, captured by demented dwarves, and trapped in a mine filled with vicious lizards."

Elrond stepped back and surveyed the beds filled with injured hunters. "I hope you have all learned about how dangerous it is to go hunting," he said.

They all nodded repentantly.

Satisfied that they would not attempt go hunting any time in the near future, Elrond went to make a cup of tea. As he was drinking it, a horrible thought occurred to him.

"Curses," he muttered to himself. "I'm going to have to send one of them out to look for Lindir!"