AN: So who would believe me when I said I wrote this... years ago but never got around to finishing it until now? Heh... Yeah. This is more like a friendship fic than a romance. And this shouldn't be considered to be part of the Cupcakes AU.


It was one in the morning, and Dax could not sleep. So much had happened... he didn't know how the others were sleeping.

There was the new jewel for the Corona Aurora, for one, Mack's new battlizer... and Mack's secret.

Dax still remembered how they found out.

Mack ran into battle, transformed, defeated the monsters... and then Rose brought up how he shouldn't even be alive... And then that pained expression shooting across Mack's face...

Dax was a little glad Mack insisted they returned home before breaking the news.

The returned to the rec room, Ronny, Will and Tyzonn sitting on one couch, while Rose sat on the other, Dax hovering, obviously worried.

He should have known something was wrong. Right after the fight with the monster with the computer virus, after Mack kept repeating himself and Andrew stopped him from rushing over to ask if the Red Ranger was okay, and the team was practically shoved out of the command center, Dax was sitting on nerves, constantly bouncing until Will couldn't take it anymore.

"Would you stop bouncing already?"

Dax paused, looking up from his thoughts, "Huh? Oh... sorry Will." He took a seat near the wall, signing the computer on to get his mind off Mack, while Ronny and Rose chatted about something or other in the other room, and Will and Tyzonn chilled by the couches.

It was when Will called out, and everyone was already on their feet that Dax turned around, getting off his chair, coming over to the crowd surrounding Mack. He reached out, and Mack caught his hand, but Dax was too worried and tried to keep contact, so he pulled off a crazy handshake that Mack didn't return but looked grateful for.

And then Mack took a deep breath, like he was thinking about something real hard, "I've got something really... important to tell you guys..." He paused again, just when the alarm sounded, and Will pushed past, insisting Mack could tell them later.

Oh sure, if he knew before he took the job to be a Ranger, he probably wouldn't be in the predicament he was in now. It just seemed the longer the secret tore at the father and son, the more it drove Mack from the rest of his team. Will was near wits end with how Mack seemed to forcibly put himself in harm's way.

Dax got up out of bed, not thinking to put a pair of pants on over his boxers as he left his room. He found the kitchen area, pulling out a glass from a cabinet and filling it with tap water. He finished the water in two large gulps, letting out a big sigh as he placed the glass on the counter top. He rubbed his eyes, not feeling any more sleepy than he did before. He began to fill the glass again when footsteps stopped him.

He turned, finding his best friend in the doorway. The two remained silent, the faucet still running. Dax twisted around, turning the faucet off, twisting back around only to have Mack closer than before.

The cup clattered as it fell into the sink, the noise echoing through the small room. Mack gave a small wince, taking a step back. "Sorry." He muttered. "Sorry."

Dax's eyes glazed over as the memory of earlier came to mind, Mack repeating himself as though there were something horribly wrong... He blinked, snapping out of it. He shook his head, "No, no. My bad. Didn't expect... um." He looked down, only bringing his eyes up when he didn't get a response, "Why aren't you sleeping?"

He got a shrug in return, "Androids don't need sleep."

Dax shook his head, "But you slept before. I even saw you napping after a hard battle. You fell asleep reading your adventure novel. You told me about that dream where you fell from an airplane and you really fell off your hammock." He balled up his fists, "You don't seem like an android. You seem like Mack." He hardened his eyes, "My best friend, Mack."

The robot gave a chuckle, "Could have been part of my programming to act like that." Mack leaned against the wall, "Maybe this whole thing between us was just... nothing." He shook his head, "Yeah, it was most likely nothing."

"That's not fair."

Mack froze, letting their eyes meet. Dax moved forward, taking hold of the other man's shoulders, "If it was mostly nothing, then how come the sight of you like this hurts me? I really like you, Mack. I consider you my best friend. And to just see you like this..." He heaved a sigh, "I don't like it. Right now you're not Mack." He loosened his grip, letting his hands drop to his sides, "I don't know who you are."

It was like a switch. Suddenly the events of the day catching up to him and Dax had to suppress a yawn. He gave one last stare in Mack's direction, "I'm going to bed. ...You should too. Android or not."

Without waiting for an answer, the Blue Ranger turned towards the exit, quickly finding his room and crawling into his bed. He didn't know if Mack took his advice to heart, or if he was still in the kitchen and willed away any of those thoughts. Tomorrow was another day and they needed all the strength they could get before they managed to find all the jewels and beat the bad guys.