Between The Seasons.
Immediately after 'Victoria's Secret Part 2'. After Ben is taken to the hospital when Vecchio shot him, Ben gets a visitor.
"I should be with her" Ben said, staring at the roof of the train station, lying on his back where he had landed after he'd fallen off the moving train.
At first, he hadn't known what had hit him. He had just felt a searing pain in his back, which had caused his hands to let go of the train and he had fallen. Then he had realised – he had been shot.
He didn't know by whom, but when Ray was kneeling over him, the look of guilt on his face revealed it all. And Ben felt bad for him. Just as he was sure Ray had felt bad for Ben when he himself had been the cause of Ray being in the hospital as they struggled to find the killers of Bob Fraser, Ben's father.
"What did he say?" asked Lieutenant Welsh, also leaning over Fraser.
"He said, 'Get me to a hospital'," replied Ray, frantic with worry, stricken with guilt and panicking about the possibility of grieving. The Mountie was like Superman – he couldn't lose his best friend and partner now. Even after all the times Ray had been put in situations no other partner could possibly have caused, and Ray had thought he hated Benny, Ray couldn't bring himself to think he might lose him.
Rushing down the hospital corridors, Ben saw the fluorescent lights pass before his face. He saw Ray, his partner – his friend – his shooter, leaning over him telling him everything was going to be alright and that he'd be there when he woke up.
Then everything went black as Ben passed out.
Ray paced up and down in the waiting room, wearing a track in the flooring where he was walking. He called the Consulate to let them know what had happened. He called his mom, to let her know where he was and that he wouldn't be home that night. Ma Vecchio was upset when she heard that Ben had been hurt. She was offering to go to the hospital to be with her son and his friend, to bring Ray something to eat, but Ray just said no. He just said that he couldn't eat until Fraser was awake.
Ray was relieved there was no-one else to call. Bad as it might have sounded, but Ray was grateful that he didn't have to call anyone to tell them not only was Ben in the hospital, but that he was the one who put him there.
Interrupting Ray's thoughts a while later, the doctor came through the door and smiled at Ray.
"He's been very lucky," she said, "the bullet didn't hit any of the vital nerves, arteries, veins or organs. It'll be a slow recovery process, but he will recover."
Ray's stomach stopped doing summersaults. Ben was out of danger. He called the Consulate again to let Thatcher know. Surprisingly he didn't have to leave a message; The Dragon Lady had remained there waiting for an update. So she did have a heart after all.
Then he called the Lieutenant, who was most pleased to hear Fraser was out of the woods. Welsh promised to let Louis and Huey know as they were worried about him too.
Ray's next call was to Ma Vecchio. After promising to come home as soon as he could, Ray hung up and went in search of the doctor who had operated on Fraser.
"Can I see him?" He asked.
"I shouldn't let you really, but it may help him if he sees a friend when he comes around."
Friend… were they still friends? Ray was panicking again. He had been so worried about Fraser staying alive to even consider that he might not want to see him ever again. The thought of losing Fraser's friendship made Ray sick to the stomach. He really did think he might throw up.
As he walked into the room where they had put Ben, the sight he saw shocked him. There were wires and tubes and drips and drains going in and coming out of him everywhere. Ray took two steps back at the sight and felt even sicker knowing he was the one who caused it.
He pulled a chair up to the side of Benny's bed, took his hand and urged him to wake up.
"I'm sorry, Benny," he said without realising it was out loud. "I thought she had a gun. I swear I saw it. I thought you were in trouble. I was aiming for her. I didn't know you'd step in the way. Oh God, Ben, please forgive me. I don't want to lose my best friend." Ray was in tears, repeating over and over his thoughts, hoping that Fraser might somehow hear them.
Ray didn't know how long it was he had been talking, but eventually his head fell down to the side of Fraser, resting his head on the bed, his hand still gripping Ben's.
Ray was asleep when he felt a grip on his hand. He stirred to feel fingers moving within his grasp. As he lifted his head up, they both said each other's names.
"Hi Ray, how are you?" asked Ben, wondering for a second why Ray was asleep next to him.
Ray was infuriated. How could Ben be asking about him when he was in the hospital? 'He must not know where he is,' realised Ray.
"I'm fine, Benny, how are you feeling? Do you need anything? A drink? Do you want me to get you some water?" He began to stand up when Fraser took his hand again.
"I'm fine Ray, I don't need anything. And just so you know," he said after remembering what had taken place and remembering hearing what Ray had said to him while he was asleep, "I don't blame you, Ray. It was an accident. And of course we're still friends."
Ray's face and heart lit up. The understanding of the man lying before him was incredible.
"Benny," he said, pausing, "Thanks."
Fraser nodded as much as he could in return.
"So, do you forgive me, Ray?" he asked.
"For almost jumping bail on you."
"Yeah, Benny, we're cool." The thought never having entered Ray's mind until now.
"You should go home, Ray, your mum will be worried. You should also get some rest. Sleeping slumped in a chair is no good for your posture."
"You sound like my Ma." Ray said, but agreed to go home for a shower, change of clothes and something to eat.
"I'll be back in the morning."
"I know, Ray."
"See ya, Benny."
As Ray left, Ben caught sight of the clock in the hallway outside his room. 5.30am. It was already morning.
As he tried to go back to sleep he heard the door handle moving. Assuming it was a nurse he didn't pay much attention and only half looked to see who it was visiting at this time in the morning.
But when he saw Victoria coming though the door his alertness was at its highest.
She closed the door behind her quietly and turned to face him.
"I hated you," she said.
"But I love you."
"Can you say anything else apart from 'I know'?"
"What do you want me to say?" Ben asked, not having the slightest clue what she might want from him.
"I don't know. Be angry with me, tell me you hate me or something."
"Would that make you feel better?" Ben asked.
"I don't know."
"Do you want me to tell you I love you?" he said.
"You know the answer to that," he replied with a slight edge to his voice. "Why else would I have chased that train?"
"You were coming with me?"
"I know." She said. Pausing, she drew a deep breath. "I never meant for you to get hurt."
"You mean physically?"
"Yes. No. I mean… I don't know what I mean. All I know is that I'm sorry. I'm not staying. I can't go to prison again. But I had to see if you were…"
"Ok." She replied. "You just fell, and I saw the look on your face as you were falling and it looked like you thought you were dying."
"I thought I was."
"I know. That's why I had to come to see if you were ok."
"Ah." Said Fraser, not really knowing what else to say.
Victoria hovered at his bedside, wondering if she should take his hand.
Fraser made the decision for her as he moved his arm from his side to across his chest where she couldn't reach it.
"I'll always love you, Ben."
"And I'll always love you. But it's not a wise idea for you to stay any longer, Victoria. Or we'll be right back where we started."
She moved back to the door, turning the handle. She paused and looked back at him.
And she left. Out of his life forever, but never out of his heart. No woman would ever be able to replace her.
Two hours later, Ray walked into Ben's room with Diefenbaker in tow.
"Morning Benny, how ya feeling?"
"Sore Ray, but I'm Ok."
Ben decided it was best not to tell Ray about his visitor. That it would just be too much torment.
And Ray decided not to tell Benny it was him who pointed Victoria in the direction of his room as he met her in the hallway leaving the hospital. Ben would only be disappointed in him for not arresting her.
And so, with Ray chatting about how much food his Ma had tried to make him eat for breakfast, the two men tried to work on re-building their best friendship.