-1Disclaimer: No, it's not mine. And if the BBC had bothered to put this in in the first place, I wouldn't have to borrow them either.

Missing scene from Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Because we never saw their reaction after a scene that was basically a vehicle for 'Look everybody! Jack's back! And he killed Exposition Fish!'

Fifth Wheel

"Did you miss me?"

A variety of reactions followed those four words; but Jack chose to ignore Toshiko's strangled gasp of surprise, Owen's accusing gaze, and even Ianto's silent questions. He instead focused on Gwen's eyes, thanking every deity he didn't believe in for the hope that had flared up before she could hide it. Maybe there was a chance, then.

All four of them completely ignored him as they walked back to the SUV, Ianto and Owen carrying the blowfish corpse between them. At Gwen's request, he noticed. This appeared to be an arrangement that had been in place for some time. He thought back to the frightened, child-like face he had once seen staring at him from a Cardiff rooftop. He wasn't quite sure if he missed that little girl or not.

He tried not to care when Owen unthinkingly cut in front of him to take the driver's seat in the SUV. He almost managed, too. Almost.

Climbing into the back seat, his eyes never rested on one person for too long. He was still trying to gauge their reactions, and whether he had completely lost them. They continued to ignore him, even as Gwen questioned Tosh on whether she had blowfish-related information, and asked Ianto if anything was written in the more traditional archives. Owen still hadn't said a word, eyes determinedly fixed on the road ahead. The only sound he made was a snort of laughter when Ianto referred to some obviously well-worn in-joke that Jack didn't get. He tried not to care about that, either.

Traipsing through the tourist information office back at the Hub, Jack held the door open and looked each one in the eyes as they passed through. Gwen held out the longest. Ianto barely met his gaze before looking away.

Watching them work, he understood why he had been ignored. It wasn't that they were punishing him, or that they blamed him for leaving. It wasn't even that they were trying to show him he wasn't wanted. The simple truth was that they had struggled without him for so long that they didn't need him any more.

He felt a sudden rush of affection for each one. Toshiko, who was becoming so confident that she was almost open about her love for Owen. Owen himself, who had cut back his arrogant barbs to occasionally reveal the caring nature that Tosh had obviously seen from the beginning. Ianto; more a part of the team now than he had ever been while Jack was there. And Gwen, who had increased her empathetic influence to the point where the team themselves were becoming stronger.

It was only later that he would have time to consider the changes. It was only after John, and diamonds, and veiled references to Gray, that Jack would appreciate the irony.

Funny how he was proudest of his team when they were no longer his.