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Final Masquerade

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The temperature inside the Troupe’s main tent is lower than usual. Most of the other members knew to keep their distance, except the newest member, who had wandered in with a hurried pace. Her eyes were trained on the parchment in her claws and stifled a slight shivered when the cold air hit her.

“Master, I have that new song ready for your approval.” There is no reply so she looks up, eyes sweeping across the tent’s main room for the leader in question. The tent is strangely dark; the usual torches out except for in a few scattered clusters. It only adds to the cold. She is about ready to call out again when the flap separating his private chambers from the main stage opens.

Grimm looks...exhausted, a glass of what she hopes is wine in his claws, and his cape missing. He’s leaning heavily against one of the supports of the tent. His thin body shines in the low lighting as if he has a fever and his eyes meet hers steadily. His eyes are brighter than she remembers.

“Are you ill?” she asks, taking a step closer to him. She can’t imagine him being without his cape in the current coldness he has the tent’s temperature set at. His whole body seems to have a red glow, soft and reflecting from his glass.

He chuckles and it’s hoarse, “I forget that you are new, my friend. It feels like you’ve been around forever.” He takes a sip of his drink, his breath shuddering when he inhales.

Her brows draw together in worry and she approaches him but before she can even blink, he’s met her in the middle. His composure seems more put together as she tries no to show her shock. His grin is sharp, hungry.

“Let’s dance,” he purrs, holding out a hand. She blinks, taking his hand, and his carapace is so hot it almost burns. She tries to ask him a question again but before she can get the words out, his leg catches hers, pulling them out from under her and dipping her down. His face is inches from hers and she can feel his heat. She gasps quietly as he pulls her back upwards, claws sharp at her hips, and sets the slow tempo of their waltz. There is no music but she can hear his heartbeat in her ears, in her head , loud and slow. It takes her moment to realize it’s not his, but rather the Nightmare’s Heart.

“You’re burning up, Master,” she says when her mind catch up with their feet. He hums, deep and gravely. He doesn’t reply, just helps her ease into a spin. She tries to ask again and this time his claws tighten.

“The Ritual ,” he mumbles, voice so low she feels more than hears him.

Oh. Oh . “Is it soon?” she asks, trying to hide the fear that is suddenly bubbling in her gut. She knows what it means. Burn the father, feed the child . Once again, he stays silent but he turns her so her back is to him and his breathing is labored. He’s concentrating on his steps and...she’s not. Her mind is running at the thought that she is going to lose him .

She realizes too late she’s misstepped, broken the dance, and he growls angrily. Before she can even sputter out an apology, he shoves her hard against one of the support beams. Back still to him, one hand hold her hip and the other presses against her abdomen. He’s panting, heat radiating off of him in waves.

“Perhaps you should rest,” she whispers, unable to catch his gaze.

He laughs darkly, shoulders shaking, “They didn’t warn you. How rude of them.”

“What do you mean? I know about the Ritual,” she tries to stand up for herself. She’s new but she’s not useless. His claws on her hip slips to her thigh, squeezing.

“You really should leave, my dear…” the words are harsh and his grip lessens as he pulls back. “Please, before I do something we both regret.”

“I want to help you,” she says pointedly but his words have her head spinning. She never realized how hard the Ritual would be on him . She turns her head to look at him and he catches her chin between his claws.

“You said you understand the Ritual.” It’s a pointed question because how much could she possibly understand of something so Godly .

“I do!” She doesn’t understand what’s happening. She wants to help him but no one has even lit the torch yet. What part is he possibly struggling with?

His eyes narrow, whole body glowing, “Then you know what I have to do and if you don’t leave right. Now . I won’t be able to help myself.” His voice is low, dangerous, and she shudders.

Oh . It hits then. His voice and his heat. Feed the child . He needs a child. It's not exactly uncommon for some bug species to go into heat but she hadn’t expected it from him. Her face flusters. And he laughs as he takes in her compression. The sound itself is filled with self-pity. It makes her stomach drop.

“Do you...usually do it yourself?” She tries to turn around but he pressed a hand between her shoulder blades, pushing her back against the pillar.

“Leave. Please.” It’s a sad sound, like he’s begging. His body shakes slightly and he inhales her scent deeply. He stands up straighter, trying to gain some semblance of control. The whole situation is embarrassing for him. He’s used to being elegant and poised and he hates anyone to see him like this. It’s his burden to bare.

“You don’t have to face this alone,” she struggles against his grip and he growls, his heat increasing. “The whole Troupe is here for you. I’m here.”

He slumps, pressing himself against her back. His whole body feels like fire. His knee presses between her legs, spreading them. “Do you even know what you ask?”

Her breathing hitches and, oh, she wants to know. She’s dizzy on his heat. Instead of trying to wrap her head around anything else, she whispers, “Show me.”

Grimm growls – hungry, dangerous. Any sense he had been trying to talk into her leaves him and he nudges her legs apart wider, pressing himself between them. She hisses, feeling his whole body pushed against her back. His hand finds her abdomen again, fingers sprawled across it. He leans over her, chin pressed against her shoulder to look down at his own claws. His other hand grabs her hip to steady her.

“A spell,” he says, panting, “It will start with a spell.”

She nods, his heat making her just as hungry. “Do it. I want to help.”

He groans, nuzzling her neck and trying to concentrate while her smell invades his senses. “It will make you more...receptive. I won’t be able to stop. Please, my friend , this is your last chance to leave.”

She reaches back, looping an arm around his neck, and her response is instant and definite, “No.”

His reaction is strong. His whole body shudders and his hand presses hard against her stomach. “ Fine ,” he snarls and before she can even comprehend his word, he sinks his teeth into her neck. There is a flash of pain but it’s washed out by the searing heat against her abdomen. Glowing red runes bloom under his fingertips, covering her lower stomach and she quickly realizes it goes deeper than that. Her hips jerk forward as pleasure floods her but his other hand holds her in place. She lets out a shaky moan and he finally pulls his teeth from her neck. Blood runs down her chest but he is quick to lick it up.

She doesn’t think that was wine in his glass.

“I’m sorry. Look at me,” he whispers, grabbing her chin again. Her eyes are glazed and his are bright. He’s glowing even brighter now. She rolls her hips again and he presses his knee between her legs to give her something to grind against. She’s losing the fight, fast, as her veins are pumped with magic. “You’re doing great , my friend,” his voice is dark, husky, and his eyes take every inch of her in.

His claws move away from her stomach, eyes watching with hunger as he dips his claws between her legs. She shudders, weak from blood loss and drunk on the sensations. He purrs when he finds her slit already starting to open and presses a finger gently inside to urge her to fully bloom for him.

“So responsive already…” he mumbles and she moans breathlessly, head bowed.

He kisses her neck where he had bit her and pushes another claw inside her, easing her open. She arcs back, rubbing her ass against his emerging cock. He rewards her with a sharp curl of his fingers. But he can only give her so much time before he’s panting and shaking. He pulls his fingers from her, pausing to lick them before placing his hand between her shoulders again. He can’t trust his own voice, not when he’s so hot and painfully hard. His cock is slick and glowing dimly like the rest of him. He pulls her hips towards him sharply.

He had warned her this would be rough right? He couldn’t remember past the burning heat in his own mind. It’s like he’s swimming in lava and the only thing he can hear is the pounding beat of the Nightmare Heart.

He fits himself between her legs and she reaches down to grab his cock greedily, her fingers rubbing over the ridges. He gives out a broken groan at the feeling of her fingers around him and she guides him towards her entrance. He doesn’t know what is his influence over her and what is her own and he would rather not think of it. He’ll lie to himself in the morning and say it was all her.

Grimm growls, pressing into her without so much as a warning, and she hisses in pleasure as their hips meet. She’s tight and he’s on fire. He stills, catching his breath as his cock twitches inside of her, stretching her even more. His hand moves to her abdomen again, pressing down and igniting the runes there once again. She lets out a sharp moan, both arms pulled back to wrap around his neck. She rolls her hips back into him and his head jerks up with a snarl. He pulls back, cock twisting and coiling trying to stay connected to her, before ramming back inside. It nearly knocks the wind out of her and she clings to him to keep her balance. He grabs one of her legs, pulling her knee up to her chest so that he can push in deeper.

Her tightness draws a hiss from him and he rocks himself against her ass before pulling out again. He ruts against her like an animal – setting his pace as rough and sharp. His body burns against her and she melts into his thrusts, meeting them as best she can with their positions. She could barely catch her breath in between his thrusts and he stretches her in a way she had never felt as her body clings to each bump and texture of his cock. Her voice is hoarse from her cries and she’s lost track of the fact that she’s already came more than once. She’s dizzy and weak, the feelings too much.

A deep rumble escapes his throat and his cock swells within her. She hisses sharply, nails digging into anything they can reach and he holds her still as he fills her. His cum is hot, unnaturally so, and her head lolls back. The runes at her stomach pulse with each shot of his cum that floods her and she nearly blacks out from the feeling.

“M-master…” she pants, shaking in his grasp.

“Shh, don’t try and talk,” his voice is rough, dark, and it’s a command, not a request. He pushes down slightly with the hand over the runes and she shudders. He can feel the heat of his seed even through her exoskeleton and he hums in pleasure. His cock is swollen at the base, knotted in her, and he gathers her up and turns her around in his arms. The movement makes her clench around him and he’s still painfully hard.

“ aren’t done,” she manages to say.

A chuckle rocks through him and the sound would be unnerving if it weren’t for his magic. “Oh no, my dear, the show is far from over. But remember,” his fingers run down her side, slipping under her chitin plates near the joints of her hips to stroke the sensitive skin underneath. She bucks in his grip – hypersensitive and burning up . “You asked for this. And I warned you.” His voice drops dangerously.

She whines, slouching against his chest as he eases them into a sitting position. He rocks against her, his cum dripping down around his knot, before catching her head between his hands. He meets her hazy gaze and flicks his tongue out to lick across her mouth to get her to focus on him. She wraps her legs around his waist and places her hands on his shoulders to steady herself. Then she thrusts her hips forward. She moans and he devours the sound with his mouth, kissing her harshly. Their teeth clash and he pushes his tongue deep into her mouth. He tastes like blood and she’s dizzy on it. She raises up as far as his knot will let her before lowering herself back flush with his hips. He nips at the side of her mouth as a reward.

“Such a good girl…” he purrs, leaning back slightly to watch her ride him. She shudders, cunt spasming around him as she cums again just from his words. He chuckles, reaching for her hips and leaning down to nuzzle her neck. He tilts his hips up, dick grinding against her g-spot as she pants, before opening his mouth and biting into her shoulder again. She yelps, pressing up against him. The pain is there but the heated pleasure quickly overpowers it. It’s like fire in her veins and she’s drunk on him as he sucks at her neck, tongue lapping at her blood.

He groans, pleased, as he lifts her up by her hips. His knot is just barely shrinking but it gives him more room to pull out and then thrust back into her. His fingers find their way back under her plating, rubbing soft circles on her skin that makes her tighten around him. He purrs deeply, tongue lolling out of his mouth and licking away any stray blood. He mumbles praise against her neck as he continues to move, each thrust hard and sharp enough to rock her whole body. She arches her back, panting, as he grinds his cock against her.

Grimm cums faster this time but it’s just as much. He snarls, pressing her hips down and holding her there as he pumps even more of his seed into her. The runes glow brighter and his cum drips down around his knot as she’s filled to the brim. He rubs his claws down the small of her back as she clenches around him with a moan. Her vision blurs with pleasure and he kisses the top of her head.

“Just a few more times,” he whispers with a chuckle as she starts to regain her energy. He tucks a claw under her chin, tilting her head up to press his tongue into her mouth. “Can you do that for me, my dear?” He asks when he breaks their kiss.

He know she’s too far gone to say no but when she nods enthusiastically his cock jerks. He reaches between them to gather up some of his cum on his fingers and presses his claws to her mouth. She sucks on them greedily and he growls. It will give her more stamina and he knows she’ll need it.


Grimm wakes up first, sticky, but his heat has eased just a bit. He isn’t sure he welcomes the clarity, though. He glances back at his...mate and the idea makes him flinch. Her stomach is just barely swollen and he swallows. His whole heart aches because he’s now involved her far more than he ever wanted to. He’s going to end up hurting her and that’s the worst part.

But isn’t that what his Troupe is for? They had swore themselves to the Nightmare Heart. To him .

He growls and leans over to nudge her as his cock starts to harden again. She opens her eyes lazily and blinks the sleep from them.

“Good morning…” he purrs, peppering kisses across her jaw and crawling on top of her. Seeing her wrap her arms around him and smile makes him think that maybe, mating isn’t so bad after all.