AN: Well, I've been wanting to write a MackDax for a while, and then I realized, wait, Mack is suicidal after the team up, and really, no one likes Dax. So I wrote a friendship for them instead. But one day, one day I will write an actual MackDax. Until then.
Also, this has spoilers for Things Not Said and Red Ranger Unplugged. You were warned.
This whole android thing was really messing with everyone's heads. Especially Mack's. Ever since he found out about… his condition, he closed himself off. Usually when the Rangers had some time off, Mack could be seen reading one of his adventure books in his hammock outside, or on the couch in the rec room, or even in his room. But now, hardly anyone could find him, like he was trying to keep himself hidden.
Andrew Hartford held himself up in the command center under the mansion, and the only way they knew if anything was up was if the Rangers personally went down there or if Spencer called them. Tension was a mile thick between the two Hartford men, and everyone could feel it.
Rose hid herself away in the library, burying her nose into ancient texts that haven't been opened for ages, Will and Ronny went out on the town, just getting some fresh air, they claimed, and soon Tyzonn followed them after sensing that maybe, maybe Mack needed some space.
Dax was the only one who was unaware that everyone left the Hartford mansion, too distracted by the video game he was trying to beat. The sudden silence that followed a game save caused Dax to look around. He paused the game once it restarted and he got up, looking around for the others.
"Rose? Ronny? Where are you guys?" The other Rangers weren't by the pool table, the home theatre room, the library was dim, and all the rooms that were assigned to the team were empty. Dax blinked as he continued on his search on the first floor. "Will? Tyzonn? Oh man, don't tell me everyone left and didn't tell-"
A crunch under his foot caused him to stop. He looked down, moved his foot, and saw a crinkled package. Dax winced at the ruined packaging before picking it up, tearing the tape and pushing the papers aside. Instead was one of Mack's adventure books. And it looked brand new. He turned the piece of wrapping paper over, and sure enough, Mack's name was printed there along with the Hartford address. It looked as though Mack received a new book from his book club.
Figuring the Red Ranger was eager to read it, Dax went in search of Mack, finding him inside the little kitchen area, a plate of Spencer famous cupcakes seated in front of him. He didn't look particularly in good spirits, no doubt, considering what was learned in the last twenty-four hours.
But Dax was never one to act sad, unless the role in question required him to be. Instead, he tried to joke about everything and anything, to get a laugh out of the people around him, so they could lighten up, if only for a bit. He rushed over, calling his android friend while holding up the packet, "Mack! You got a special delivery from your adventure book club!" He grinned, bringing the book out for Mack to see, "Ah, it's the new Baron's novel!" He adopted a fake accent as he read the title, "The Baron's Demise!"
He kept his grin, but Mack only gave the book a dull look before looking down again. He nodded to the side, "Just put it on the table."
Dax nodded, apparently, the book wasn't going to do any good. He placed the novel and the packaging next to the plate of cupcakes, and turned to point at that, "Oh! Are those Spencer's specials?"
Mack offered a little smile and agreed, and the Overdrive Blue Ranger thought that maybe his friend was starting to feel a little better. He laughed a bit, grabbing the chocolate one at the end, and took a bite of it, savoring the taste before realizing Mack didn't touch one cupcake. He just leaned against the counter, staring at appeared to be the cupcakes, but at the same time nothing.
Dax pointed at the tray, his mouth full, "What are you waiting for?"
At that, Mack finally straightened up, "I'm not really sure whether I… even like cupcakes anymore," he moved around the counter as he passed by Dax, "I don't even know if I like adventure books…"
The Blue Ranger turned as his friend walked away, and he had no clue what to say to that.
So he said the first thing that came to his mind.
"Uh oh." He began to follow Mack as he walked through the hallway. "I've heard of this happening; people waking up and not remembering anything." He swallowed the food in his mouth. He caught up to the motionless Mack, who at this time was turned back around, as he put a hand on the Red Ranger's shoulder, "My name is Daaaaax."
He didn't expect Mack to smile or laugh at that. But there wasn't much he could do. Rose or Ronny or Will was better at things like this. Dax was just the stunt man that no one took seriously. But maybe that's just what Mack needed.
Mack pulled away, shaking his head, "No, it's not that…" They continued their walk. "It's just that I've spent my entire life—two whole years, if you can call it a life—doing exactly what my dad—if you can call him that—programmed me to do." They stopped again and Mack turned back to the Blue Ranger, who was nodding along as the android poured out his supposed heart and soul, his voice breaking at the end of his tirade. "I can't… tell the difference between who I am and my software."
Once again, Dax said the first thing that came to his mind.
"This is what's known as an identity crisis." He kept going, his mind coming up with things as he was left in the wake of what he just blurted out. "You need to do some soul searching. Try new things. See what fits." Mack adopted a thoughtful expression, clearly thinking about what Dax was saying. "My father always told me, Dax, you can be whatever you want to be. Just as long as you're not a stunt man!"
His brain finally caught up with his mouth, and he blinked, realizing the irony of what he was telling Mack, but the Red Ranger was too busy nodding, agreeing, with him, as he implied he would follow the advice and do an "upgrade."
Dax was still chewing on the cupcake when Mack patted him on the shoulder, saying he needed to find some spare clothes, and maybe go through Spencer's wig collection, before taking off. The Overdrive Blue Ranger just smiled as he watched his friend run through another hallway, probably to his room, and he nodded.
He might not be the others, he might be just a dead beat stunt man, but he tried to cheer up a friend, and supposedly, he succeeded. That was enough for him.
Dax finished up his cupcake just in time to see Rose emerge from the library, followed up by the reappearance of Ronny, Will and Tyzonn. They asked him where Mack was, but he only shrugged, saying he saw him just a second ago but seemed like he was busy with something at the moment. The others nodded and shrugged, before they went off to their separate rooms.
It wasn't until later that Dax heard the shrill of an electric guitar, and even though he was the only one jumping and whooping at the sound, he could tell the others weren't so thrilled about it.
And if his brain could catch up with what his body was doing, he would probably be acting the same way as the others.