Legolas and Aragorn belong to the estate of JRR Tolkein. My sincerest apologies to both Mr Tolkein and Mr James Herriot, author of 'It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet' and others. This is amateur fiction and no money is being made.

It Shouldn't Happen to an Elf

Legolas went into the parlour, dropped his bag on the floor, and threw himself into one of the leather wing chairs that flanked the fireplace. He sighed wearily. Aragorn, inhabiting the other chair, shot him a shrewd but sympathetic look.

"Rough day, Legs?"

Legolas got up again and went over to the sideboard to pour himself a drink. "Rather, yes."

"Want to tell me about it?"

"Well, it's Mr Braithewaite's cow. He's called me out every other day for the last two weeks, and I simply can't find a thing wrong with her!" He sat down again and stared dejectedly into the fire.

"Hmm..." Aragorn pressed the tips of his fingers together in a familiar gesture as he considered. "Yes, I can see that would be a source of frustration for you. What does our esteemed Mr B say about the matter?"

"Very little, frankly. Just mutters, 'She's bad again, Vitnery. Right bad,' and then stands there staring while I do my best to examine the poor beast. And he won't have anyone look at her but me. Remember last week, when I was out at that difficult calving at Nether Gruddleby? Well, Mrs Galadriel tried to send Faramir out to see him, but the old rogue wasn't having any of it! Apparently Bessie suddenly made a miraculous, albeit temporary, recovery! I really don't know what to make of the situation, Aragorn." He sighed again, and ran his fingers distractedly through his fair hair.

Aragorn opened his eyes wide in mock surprise. "Really, Legolas? You surprise me. I should have thought the answer was perfectly obvious."

Legolas looked puzzled. "What on earth do you mean?"

Aragorn smiled. "I don't know whether you've noticed at all, Legs, but you've really made quite an impression on people around here. This wouldn't be the first time a farmer's asked for 'the blond vitnery with the ears,' you know. Not that I blame them. You do cut rather a ... well, dashing figure." His eyes twinkled as he looked at Legolas over the rim of his tumbler.

Legolas blushed crimson. "You're not saying... Surely you can't mean... Can you?"

"A farmer's existence can be a hard, lonely one, Legs. You know that as well as I do. You can hardly blame a chap for wanting to see a bit of, well ... beauty in his life."

Legolas spluttered into his glass. "Beauty? Oh really, Aragorn, I think that's a bit strong, don't you? I mean ... it's ridiculous! The whole thing's quite ridiculous!" He took a determined gulp of whiskey, and avoided Aragorn's eye.

"Is it?" murmured Aragorn. "Well, perhaps..." Neither of them spoke for a while. The clock on the mantelpiece ticked steadily away.

"Supposing you're right," said Legolas suddenly. "Well, what exactly am I supposed to do about it?"

The corners of Aragorn's mouth twitched a little. "That really depends," he said, "on how you feel about Mr B. I should follow your heart, if I were you."

Legolas looked shocked to the core. "Aragorn!"

Aragorn chuckled. "Oh, I'm sorry, Legs. Look, why don't you leave it with me for a bit, I'm sure I can sort something out. He's an awkward old bugger but he's all right really. You just have to be firm with him."

Legolas smiled, his face lighting up with relief. "What would I do without you, Aragorn? Always saving my skin."

Aragorn waved him away. "Oh, think nothing of it, Legs. Saving your skin is always a positive pleasure. Now, why don't you go and get some rest? Your turn for morning surgery tomorrow, I do believe, and Mrs Galadriel will never forgive me if she knows I've kept you up till all hours."

"Right you are, Aragorn." Legolas heaved himself out of the chair. "And ... thanks."

Aragorn made a dismissive gesture, and turned back to the fire. Behind him the door closed softly behind his colleague. Aragorn gazed into the leaping flames, tapping absently with one finger on the empty whiskey glass.

"Beauty..." he muttered under his breath. "No, I wouldn't say too strong. Not too strong at all..."