In 2011, Ben Rayburn had been a medic in the Army special ops corps in Afghanistan. Ben met Lieutenant Dylan McAvoy after he busted his chin open falling off a camel. He stitched Dylan up, and left no scar, so had been called "Stitch" ever since. Stitch, Dylan and another soldier named Sully became best friends, sharing memories of the women they loved back home in the States. Dylan's girlfriend was Avery Clark, a woman with whom he had had an affair, and she had miscarried the child.
Stitch had been home on leave following the birth of his son, Max, when his platoon had been massacred, and felt guilty that he should have been there. Dylan and Sully ended up wounded face down in the sand, Sully died and Dylan felt responsible. Dylan was originally declared dead as well, but had been hidden out by an Afghan family while he recovered from his wounds.
By 2013, Dylan made it back to the States, and found Avery engaged to Nick Newman in Genoa City, Wisconsin. After a tearful reunion, Dylan stepped aside so that Avery and Nick could be together, but drowned his sorrow with a one night stand with Chelsea Lawson. Chelsea later claimed to be pregnant by Dylan, they fell in love, and were married. But when Chelsea's baby, Conner, turned out to have been fathered by Adam Newman, Dylan was brokenhearted. Dylan took Conner and ended up barricaded in a warehouse having flashbacks to the war. Avery had to talk him down, and she missed her own wedding to Nick because of Dylan's trauma, ultimately losing Nick.
Ben (Stitch) arrived in town about this time, and helped Dylan with his post-traumatic stress syndrome. Ben secured a residency at Genoa City Memorial, and moved in with Dylan, he said until Jenna and their son could sell their house and join him.
Ben became one of the doctors of Nikki Newman, who suffered from M.S. Nikki held a Veteran's Day fundraiser at The Underground Bar to honor the vets. Dylan and Ben were invited, but Dylan, still unable to see himself as a hero, was reluctant to attend. Avery was able to convince him to show up as they reconnected after remembering how much she loved him while he was in the service, and they kissed. Everyone was rather mystified by Nikki's overly friendly gesture of hugging Dylan for having the courage to attend.
Ashley Abbott returned to Genoa City for Thanksgiving. While there, she sprained her ankle and met Dr. Ben Rayburn. Her daughter, Abby, pushed for a romance, but Ashley reminded her that Ben was married and had a young son.
Running into each other at Crimson Lights, it quickly became evident that Ben and Kelly Andrews (Billy's grief partner) knew each other from the past. Kelly commented, "She was going to find out anyway, it just came up, and wasn't intentional. I take it you and your wife are over?" Ben told her, "We are not going to talk about my wife. In fact, we are not going to talk at all." Later Victoria invited Kelly to dinner, then Ben when he dropped off her lost cell phone. The get-together became very uncomfortable for everyone but Victoria. Left alone, Ben warned Kelly not to get involved with Billy. When Victoria brought down Johnny, Kelly got emotional and left, and Ben left soon afterward, leaving Victoria and Billy to have dinner alone.
Ben caught Kelly coming out of Billy's hospital room after Billy was involved in a car accident, and he accused Kelly of sleeping with Billy. Kelly admitted it was just once, a mutual sharing of their losses. Ben warned her not to let it happen again. Kelly lashed out at Ben, calling him Benji, saying that she is not the reason his wife wanted nothing to do with him, that their relationship was finished before it started. Then referring to Adam Newman's apparent hit and run of Billy's daughter Delia, said, "Who could do something like that, then just go on with his life?" That comment seemed to have hit a nerve with Ben. Ben later confided in Dylan that his wife had filed for divorce and custody of their son. Dylan urged Ben to fight for custody.