Ray Vecchio and Benton Fraser were having an argument.

"Benny, I know you don't like talking about her. But we need to talk about her, about what happened, if we're ever gonna put it behind us," stated Vecchio.

"Ray, why must we talk about it? It's over. Victoria is gone. It's in the past."

"Benny, I almost lost my job and my house because of that bitch. Diefenbaker could have died. She framed you for murder. I really would like to know why after all that happened, you were still going to go with her."

"I loved her, Ray. She became what she did because of me. She kept me alive at Fortitude Pass. I should have let her go. I should have looked the other way and allowed her to escape. Then she might have had a chance to redeem herself. Instead, she went to prison. Prison made her what she is, Ray. If she hadn't gone to prison.... It was my fault. I should never have taken her in."

"Benny," sighed Ray. "What she did was not your fault. She broke the law. She suffered the consequences. She used you — your guilt, your sense of honour, even your body. She used her sexuality as a way to control you. In that way, she was no better than a whore."

CRACK! Fraser's fist connected with Ray's jaw. The detective stumbled back a few steps and stared at his partner in shock. "Benny...?"

Ben looked at his hand, slightly sore from the impact. He opened and closed his fingers. He couldn't believe what he had just done. He'd just struck his best friend, the man that he loved. He turned and fled out the door of the Vecchio home.

After the shock had worn off, Ray ran after the Mountie, but Fraser was already gone. He swore, jumped into the Riviera and headed in the general direction of Benny's apartment, assuming he was on his way home. But when he got there, it was empty. The wolf wasn't even there. Ray began to drive around the neighbourhood in search of his Canadian friend.

Finally, when it was getting dark, he gave up. He decided he'd just go to Benny's place and wait for him there. He had to go home eventually.

When he arrived at the apartment on West Racine, he discovered his partner was already there. Somehow he'd made it home without being spotted. Some detective I make if I can't track a guy in a bright red uniform, Ray thought to himself. He approached Fraser, who was sitting in the dark, staring out of the window into the night. "Benny?"

Fraser turned to look at him. "Oh, hello, Ray. What are you doing here?"

"I came to see if you were okay," the Italian replied.

"I should be asking that of you. After all, I am the one who struck you."

Ray rubbed his jaw. "I'm not likely to forget that, Benny! But you ran outta my house so fast I got worried. I'm okay. Are you?"

"I don't know," mused Benton. "I am sorry, Ray. I never meant to hurt you."

"It's all right, Benny. Apology accepted. My jaw's a little sore but I'm sure it'll be fine by tomorrow."

"I don't mean just for hitting you, Ray. I never meant to hurt you when Victoria was here. I know that what I did was inexcusable. I betrayed you, and for that I am very, very sorry."

Feeling a bit uncomfortable because of this sudden display of emotion, Ray tried to keep his tone light. "You're not the only man who ever did stupid things for a woman, Benny."

Ben rose from his chair and approached Ray. "Do you think, Ray," he said, "that men ever do stupid things for other men?"

"Like what, Benny?" asked his friend, though he had a feeling he knew.

"Like this, Ray," the Mountie replied, taking his partner's face in his hands, gently, and kissing him.

"I don't think that's stupid at all, Benny," replied Ray a few moments later. He kissed the other man, increasing the intensity.

For the rest of the night the two simply kissed and caressed each other, their feelings too raw, too battered to do much more. There would be plenty of time for that later.

As the dawn broke, and Ray reluctantly got up to leave for work, Fraser said, "Ray, I am sorry for everything that happened because of Victoria. I could never intentionally hurt you. I love you."

Ray put his arms around his partner. "I know that, Benny. I love you, too. The only way you could ever hurt me would be if you stopped loving me."

"You need not fear that, Ray — ever."