Title: A Single Moment
Author: HermioneSparta
Rating: M
Disclaimer: Jane the Virgin belongs to Jennie Snyder Urman, CW (et al). Buffy the Vampire Slayer (quotation) belongs to Joss Whedon and co. No money is made from this fanfiction.
Summary: Sometimes…you only have a single moment.

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His hands shook as he clutched the sheets. Every beat of his shattered heart rocked his body, mixing with the sobs that tore relentlessly from the depth of his bleeding soul.

He was in a dark place, he'd told her. The therapist.

Gods… He'd really gone to couple's therapy. With Jane.

It hadn't worked for Luisa, and he hadn't expected it to work for them.

He'd hoped, though. He really had.

Because in this dark world he called home, this place of pain and loneliness, she was his one happiness.

The Marbella wasn't worth a fraction of her, not one cent of her smile.

He curled upon himself, hugging the pillow to his chest even as his nails dug into his fists through the cool sheet.

He should he happy, he knew. He'd succeeded.

He'd drive her away.

From him. Away from him.

He'd lost her in that moment, both her and the baby. And…he knew it.

It was his own fault. He'd lost his family tonight– his real family, not the selfish bitch unworthy of being called his mother, not the father he'd failed or sister he'd misunderstood.

Jane was…his heart. His soul. And he'd broken it with but a few words.

He bit the pillow, mindless of the silk and feathers, desperate to muffle the scream that burned his throat like acid.

Last night– had it really been so recently?– had given him a single moment's clarity.

He loved her differently. So very differently.

He loved her with a wild passion that burned and consumed until there was nothing left. Love like that…doesn't last.

It couldn't.

Right?

Drowning in the agony of loss, of desolate heartbreak of the worst kind, it barely registered when his body spasmed. A parody of a lover's release, his muscles seized as he swallowed a primal howl of mourning. Desperate for comfort, his hips pressed further into the pillow, his arms tightening until they tingled from the pressure. His teeth rubbed one another, thin bits of cloth separating them.

In a single moment, she had given him everything he'd ever wanted.

"Are you sure?"

"I am."

She was right, and he'd known it seconds before Nick had spoken, long before she'd explained it to him in words.

It wasn't about the sex.

It was the acceptance.

She loved him. She accepted him. She wanted him.

Not his money, not his name, just…him. Rafael.

And he…betrayed her. He scorned her love, ridiculed her acceptance and rejected her desire.

To protect her.

Always to protect her.

The question which came to him, hours later as he lay upon the vast bed sinking under the weight of guilt, loss and a hangover, took but a single moment to answer.

Was protecting her worth destroying her?

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AN: Inspired by Chapter Nineteen (obviously).