For those of you who are curious about Kilgharrah's personality I made him more friendly in this story since he wouldn't be bitter about being locked up by Uther since it never happened. He's been treated quite kindly for most of his life so he is much more trusting.
Arthur barely got his boots off before collapsing into his bed and burrowing down into the blankets to sleep. The stress of the last few days, the tension of the almost war and the blood loss had completely wiped him out. He didn't stir until midday however it wasn't a morning Arthur would soon forget.
As he blinked his eyes open he became aware that almost all of his field of vision was white with the exception of two blue orbs which blinked at him. With a surprised yelp the prince sat up to find a large scaly creature the size of a horse sitting at his bedside.
Significantly smaller than the golden colossus from last night but a dragon none the less. With white scales, blue eyes and a large pair of leathery wings. It cooed at him and without warning licked the side of his face like a dog.
"Ugh." Arthur gaged.
"Don't mind Aithusa, that's just how she shows affection." Lancelot chuckled walking into his field of vision, "She arrived here in the early morning, she was probably looking for Merlin but she couldn't get to him down in the crypts so she must of sniffed me out and decided to wait here with me."
"Why are you here in the first place?" Arthur asked getting out of bed to change out of the clothes he'd slept in.
"Merlin insisted I stay and make sure you were okay since he couldn't himself." Lancelot replied as he tried to stop Aithusa tripping the prince with her tail, "I think he still feels bad about the whole biting thing."
"He is the most human vampire I've ever met." Arthur scoffed pulling on a clean shirt only to have the dragon encircle him somehow and trip him up.
"She likes you." Lancelot laughed, "Lucky, took her months to get that friendly with me."
"So she's Merlin's?" Arthur asked trying to get up, "How many dragon's do you guys have?"
"Just the two, promise. They live in a cave not too far from the isle. Though Aithusa spends most of her time sleeping on Merlin's rug, he coddles her. You're lucky I stopped you entering his room the first day you visited, you'd of been sporting some impressive scratches."
"Only two?" Arthur questioned.
"They were hunted down, there are very few left now." lancelot replied sadly, "I think the Northern Vampires have one though."
"Forget it!" Lancelot cut him off quickly, giving the prince the distinct impression he'd said something he wasn't supposed to.
Arthur found himself constantly being followed by the white dragon all day, Aithusa seemed quite taken with him. She followed him about the castle, which at some points was quite difficult due to her size, she was as tall as Arthur but much wider and longer than any horse. It turns out she had climbed through his window this morning, cracking the glass she didn't break however she did not seem guilty, if anything she was pleased with herself.
"Don't you talk?" Arthur grumbled, getting sick of her bird like cooing and occasional snarls.
"No." She replied with what Arthur imagined was a grin then took off out into the courtyard and flew over to Kilgharrah who was currently sunning himself while village children clambered all over him.
Glad to be rid of the dragon he reluctantly headed up the stairs to his fathers room, completely unsure as to how he was going to face him. As he neared his fathers rooms he heard yells followed by a loud crash that sounded like something hitting the ground quite hard. Suddenly the doors flew open and shut in a matter of seconds and the court phician came face to face with Arthur.
"I wouldn't go in there sire." Gaius sighed.
"Why?" Arthur asked nervously.
"WHO'S OUT THERE!?" Uther bellowed from within.
Gaius and Arthur shared a look and then gently, the prince opened the door only to come face to face with his fathers sword.
"Who are you! What are you doing here!?" He demanded.
"Father it's me, Arthur!"
"A likely story, you are an impostor here to assassinate me and take my kingdom!"
He didn't need to be told twice.
"It seems his psych has been somewhat damaged by the shock of your 'betrayal'." Gaius explained, "He is refusing food or drink, he claims it's all been poisoned."
Arthur looked to his feet, he had done this. Sure he and his father no longer stood eye to eye but he never wanted to do this. He felt Gaius put a comforting hand on his shoulder.
"Your father has been heading this way for many years Arthur." He hushed, "His mind has never been quite stable since your mother's death, this was just the straw that broke the horses back."
The prince blinked to keep himself from tearing up.
"This isn't your fault."
Arthur cleared his throat.
"I am going to my chambers." He excused, "I will speak to you later Gaius."
Merlin curled up under his blanket in the crypt. He hated to admit ti but he felt homesick, he missed his soft bed and warm blankets and furs. He also missed Aithusa's purring while she slept. He was also sick of all the fussing his father and the other vampires were giving him. He was fine!
But no, they couldn't give him peace, every five minutes they were checking to see if he had a temperature or if he was hungry. He was fine!
"The moon is rising shouldn't he be awake?" He heard somebody ask.
"He's probably just tired." Balinor replied airily, obviously nobody noticed he;d been awake for hours and simply not bothered to move.
Truth was he didn't want to go out into the castle with the others, not until he was sure they were leaving. He still felt ashamed of himself for what he had done to Arthur. Not so much the bite, the prince was right it had only been logical. It was the fact that he hadn't stopped when he'd been asked to.
Merlin had never fed on somebody against their will, ever. He always stopped straight away if they felt uncomfortable or sick but he hadn't when he bit Arthur. He heard him ask but he'd purposefully ignored him, he'd been starving and as much as it ashamed him to admit, he didn't care if was killing Arthur at the time, as long as he could keep drinking. Well at least he had until the human had tried to get away from him and he'd opened his eyes.
Arthur had looked pale and tired but more importantly, he looked frightened. Frightened of Merlin. He had every right to be of course. It sickened him to admit but if he hadn't seen Arthur's face and snapped out of his madness, he'd probably have killed him.
How could he face Arthur knowing how close he'd come to taking his life from him?
He hadn't felt so ashamed of himself since he was a child. Carefully he ran his tongue over his sharp canines, hating them. Why did he have to be born a vampire prince? Couldn't he of just been born human? Even if he wasn't a peasant, anything would be better.
He knew Lancelot would tell him to stop wallowing in self pity but he just couldn't stand it. Finally he grew tired of the constant mumbling around him from his watchers and got up, leaving the horrible crypt before anybody could stop him.
He ended up in the gardens, finally alone. He sighed sadly at all the tightly closed flower buds, he could only dream of what it would be like to look at them for real, rather than in a book. A familiar gust of wind and swooping of wings alerted him to Aithusa's presence behind him, just in time to prepare himself for the large dragon almost bowling him over.
"Merlin!" She exclaimed happily.
"Hey girl." He smiled giving her a quick hug around the neck, "I should of known Kilgharrah couldn't keep you at home."
He was much more comfortable around dragons than most people, even for a vampire. Then again, most vampires didn't have Kilgharrah as a nanny. The good mood Aithusa had bought with her dissipated at the thought of his childhood with Kilgharrah as his minder. It reminded him of his sister too much.
"Merlin! There you are!"
It was Arthur.
To his surprise Aithusa ran toward the human prince and nuzzled at him, it was unlike her to take to strangers.
"Um, yes, hello Aithusa." Arthur giggled.
Merlin didn't bother to ask how he knew the dragoness already.
"I've been searching for you." Arthur smiled, "Come on I need to show you something."