Lestrade showed up on his first official day back at work to the pleasant surprise of a small 'welcome back' party with a few close friends and officers. There was decent coffee, doughnuts, and a promise of drinks later that night at the pub before everyone went their separate ways to work.
There was nothing very interesting going on that day, mostly paperwork. Lestrade, curious about the details of his returning to work after being so dishonourably discharged, investigated a little and found out that he had been simply 'reassigned' to Dorset... by Mycroft.
Besides, the truth would make New Scotland Yard look even worse in the public eye if they knew that the higher-ups had fired one of NSY's finest for working with a completely legitimate consultant who had helped the police solve hundreds of cases that would've been otherwise dropped.
So, Lestrade had been reassigned to Dorset and was called back. Simple as. That's what the reports said so it must be true. No matter that it was news to him.
It was interesting to find out that, while stationed in Dorset, he had been assigned to work with DS Hanaway, who he knew from the local pub, under the supervision of Chief Superintendent Harris, who was a close friend of the late DCI Bates and knew Lestrade as a rebellious teenager who once stole his cap and gun.
Huh. Funny how small the world is. Good thing he hadn't really been working for Harris, he'd have had his revenge for the theft from years ago.
A noteworthy point; about a year into his reassignment, Lestrade had been investigating a bombing case and had the suspect cornered in his own garage. Backup was called in as well as a K-9 unit to sniff out more bombs. The suspect took his own life with a bomb, taking out a K-9 and his handler. While Lestrade, who had been near the explosion, had been lucky to only need a few stitches, the K-9, Mallory, lost a leg, and her handler, Kenneth, lost his life. Lestrade had taken in the newly retired Mallory.
Lestrade huffed at Mycroft's efficiency in writing up his record during his period of semi-retirement. He even found out how he got his dog. Although, the report said he was working the case personally, not that he was helping DS Hanaway with the case as an outside source of help.
There was a difference. A small one. ...No, he was definitely ordering DS Hanaway around when they found the suspect with the bombs. That, Lestrade could not deny. It was a habit that he had never really grown out of. He was more surprised that DS Hanaway was going along with it. It was probably a habit that he hadn't quite grown out of either.
He put his file away and pulled up Sherlock's.
By now, the public knew that Sherlock was not a fraud, they had grown a slow and reluctant acceptance of the fact. He was still the 'Internet Detective' and had hundreds of thousands of online fans. The only reason the people were so slow to accept that he was legit was probably because they liked the idea of a scandal.
And now, Sherlock was back.
The newspapers were covering the story already and it went a little like this; Moriarty was real. Sherlock was not a fraud. Because of the threat Sherlock caused him, Moriarty discredited him with the help of a journalist that will remain unnamed... and her name is not Kitty Riley.
Really. It's not.
Sherlock did not die, that was an elaborate ruse to shake Moriarty off his tail. Sherlock had, in fact, gone into witness protection. Now that Moriarty and Moran were out of the way, he was back.
Lestrade snorted a little in amusement at the simple explanation. If the people only knew...
Just then, Donovan poked her head inside his office and mentioned something about a dead body. Lestrade decided it was time to drop by Molly's.
"Inspector!" Molly exclaimed with a pleasant smile. Then the smile dropped away from her face in mortification. "Oh! No! I mean-...!"
"It's alright, Molly." Lestrade grinned back at her. She'd never get it right. But it was good to know that some things would never change. "You can call me 'Inspector' again."
"What, really?" Molly's cheerful mood reared back up. "You're back with the police? Oh, I'm so happy for you!"
Lestrade nodded. "Yep, I moved back to London, too." he told her. "Looks like everything's going back to the way it was."
Molly smiled shyly. "Y-yeah... it's almost like a dream come true. I mean, with Sherlock back, and all. ...A-and you, too, of course! Welcome back!" Lestrade just chuckled at the flustered woman.
Donovan cleared her throat pointedly and reminded them that they wern't exactly here to catch up. Oh, yeah... that's right. Case.
He wrapped up the case a few hours later, said goodbye to Molly, and decided to drop by Baker Street after his shift ended. He wanted to see if John had killed Sherlock in annoyance yet. And if they hadn't reached that stage yet... even better.
Maybe he'd even have time to make popcorn.
"Gregory!" Mrs. Hudson greeted cheerfully at the door. "Come in! I heard you moved back permanently!" the little lady enthused.
"Yep, back with Scotland Yard, too!" Lestrade smiled back, inwardly a little pleased that Mrs. Hudson had not returned to calling him 'Inspector Lestrade', he kind of liked Mrs. Hudson calling him Gregory. Maybe Sherlock would remember his name better that way.
There was a thunk and a shout upstairs.
"Oh, they're at it again." Mrs. Hudson tutted, then she smiled softly at Lestrade and patted his arm. "All my boys are back again."
Lestrade just smiled back bashfully, not knowing what to say in reply.
"They're probably fighting about that awful explosion Sherlock caused yesterday, they'll be at it for hours." Mrs. Hudson shook her head with an expression bordering on satisfaction. "Come, let's have tea while they sort everything out. How are your folks? You said little Darren just started learning how to talk?"
And she led him into the downstairs flat. They had tea and Lestrade's favorite cinnamon doughnuts and talked until John grew bored of arguing with Sherlock and came down to join them.
Then, they started watching a quiz show on TV until one of the questions reminded John that Sherlock hadn't watched Star Wars yet and they forced Sherlock to come down for a movie marathon... just the three, though... not the prequel trilogy, the other three.
They watched until Mrs. Hudson excused herself to go to bed early in the last half of The Empire Strikes Back. John fell asleep at the beginning of Return of the Jedi, at which point, Lestrade could no longer persuade Sherlock to stay and watch so they stopped the movie.
Lestrade cleaned up Mrs. Hudson's dishes and the sitting room while Sherlock took John upstairs and Lestrade stuck around just long enough to ensure that Sherlock would not blow anything up before going to meet up with a few of the other lads from the Yard for drinks.
In the car, stuck at a red light on the way back to his flat a few hours later, Lestrade recieved a 'welcome back' text from Anthea that was no less than fifty words long. It was hard work reading the entire thing on his tiny mobile screen, but the traffic signal wouldn't turn green until he finished so he was left with no other choice.
It seemed like Anthea desperately missed having someone to complain to about Mycroft. In a twisted sort of way, it made Lestrade feel loved.
Although, she really did seem pleased to have him back in London so that was okay with him.
By the time he got home, he was exhausted. He stumbled through his flat, forwent a shower in favor of just kicking off his shoes and barely managing to change into his night clothes before dropping into bed, and found a crisp white card on his bedroom nightstand with Mycroft's elegant writing on it.
Welcome home, Gregory.
He pressed his lips together, fighting down a pleased smile. He was quite amazed at how just a written word from Mycroft could make heat prickle just so at the back of his neck. He placed the card back onto the nightstand and turned out the lights.
He was asleep even before his head hit his pillow.