If Found, Please Return

Title: If Found, Please Return
Author: Jilly James
Fandom(s): NCIS, Stargate: Atlantis
Genre/Themes: Drama, crossover, second chances, family
Relationship(s): This story is Tony-centric, and more gen than romance. John/Rodney is the only pairing.
Content Rating: R for adult themes, language, and warnings
Warnings: Canon-level violence, past kidnapping, references to child abuse, cases involving sexual abuse.
Author Notes: Please see notes tab for all notes, inspiration, challenge, spoilers, timelines, and thanks.
Word Count: 55,393
Beta: Thank you, Naelany.
Summary: After Tony is cleared from the attempt by Chip to frame him for murder, his life takes an unexpected turn. The FBI discovers that Tony DiNozzo is the missing son of Patrick Sheppard — kidnapped from the hospital shortly after his birth.

Banner by Marlislash

Story Links

Acronyms and Rules


AFOSI – Air Force Office of Special Investigations
AD – Assistant Director
CODIS – Combined DNA Index System
MTAC – Multiple Threat Alert Center
NCO – Non-commissioned Officer
SAC – Special Agent in Charge
SF – Security Forces
TAD – Temporary Assigned Duty
UCMJ – Uniform Code of Military Justice
IOA – International Oversight Advisory (fictional Stargate canon)
SI – Sheppard Industries (fictional)

Gibbs’ Rules referenced in the story:

Rule #3: Never be unreachable
Rule #5: You don’t waste good
Rule #16: If someone thinks they have the upper hand, break it


May Be by Yiruma

Loch Lomand piano arrangement by Evan Guirsch

Author Notes

Author Note: I’m fully aware that familial DNA searches were not being done at a national level back in 2005. Call it creative license, or me being in line with the technology canon of the shows, which absolutely would have done that kind of thing.

Also, I realize DiNozzo Senior is not consistent with how we see him in later seasons. However, it’s my opinion that this is exactly how he was described in the early seasons.

Timeline: I tweaked the timeline slightly for SGA/SG1. It’s hard to say how much since the canon timelines are so wibbly, but it’s pushed out by three or four months, I think.

Spoilers: Mid season 3 for NCIS, late season 1 for Stargate: Atlantis, and late season 8 for Stargate SG-1.

Challenge: Written for the Second Chances challenge on Rough Trade, April 2016.

Story Inspiration: This came about from re-watching Frame-up (NCIS season 3, episode 9). In this episode, someone from Tony’s past frames him for murder. Tony is in the custody of the FBI for a time when they take over the investigation. In the course of the episode, blood on the victim was run, and it came back as a match to Tony. My “what if” scenario is what if there was a match for an abducted child? Specifically, Patrick Sheppard’s third son, who was kidnapped from the hospital shortly after his birth.

Thanks: To Keira for letting me borrow Mattie, who is an original character of hers. I promised to take good care of him and not get him dirty. Patrick Sheppard is a canon character, but I’m also borrowing Keira’s fan cast because that is my headcanon for him!

Also, Cinna Minion was instrumental in getting this story idea fleshed out. She was my sounding board and I can’t thank her enough for the late night chats and all the help. She also came up with the title for me!

Marlislash surprised me with the banner, which was awesome. Thank you!

Cast Page


Alexander Sheppard

Patrick Sheppard

David Sheppard

Matthew Sheppard

Rodney McKay

John Sheppard

Jethro Gibbs

Jack O’Neill


  1. Awesome story. I love Tony being thrown into other fandoms. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  2. Loved it, awesome story and as always your Tony are wonderful, Great big brother John.
    Great read that made a gray, troublesome day end on a good note. Thank you.

  3. Plez tell me that the Danny and Steve are from Hawaii 50 because I can so see that as well as Steve being overprotective and saying he knew he should have killed/maimed/tortured Seiner when he finds out about Tony/Alex being kidnapped as a baby.

  4. Love this story! Any plans to continue this storyline?

  5. I read this over on AO3 and loved it. But just saw the banner at the bottom here – had no idea you cast Jensen as Matt, definitely not what I pictured but so interesting!

    • Matthew Sheppard is an original character created by Keira Marcos. She cast Jensen Ackles in the role. I was just borrowing him 🙂

  6. Jilly,

    THANK YOU!!!!!! I read this story months ago and have been trying to find it. I finally gave up weeks ago. It’s is better than I remember. The story is lovely. I love the interaction between all the characters (both the team and Tony;s new family). I just wish there was more. You are the best. I can’t get enough of your NCIS stories. Thank you so much for sharing.

  7. Truly another great story. I’m in awe. Your treatment of the NCIS world and the canonically overlooked abuses to The Tony character so closely reflect my own feelings. And whether you put him in a pairing or, like in this story, simply tell a Tony-centric tale, you always give him the closure and happiness that he deserves. So thank you for that. You are one of my favorite authors. And it helps that you tend to write in some of my favorite fandoms.

    Loved the interactions between the Sheppard boys, and I always love your characterization of Rodney. And the Gibbs-Tony bond, whether romantic or not is always spot on. Thanks for a great read.

  8. This was the “Tony is a Sheppard” story I didn’t even know I needed. I loved it so much I keep re-reading it over and over. Thanks so much for sharing it!!

  9. great story and sweet how Tony *finally* gets a family that cares about him.

    But, Abby, seriously? Asking Tony if they *liked* him? Not a nice question Abby!

  10. This is one of my favorites of your stories!

  11. Thanks to Keira to let you play with her OCs, because this story is made of awesome, like seriously.
    Love that Tony/Alex will not go to Atlantis, it changes, and for a really good reason too. I like this twist.
    Thanks for this story !

    • Thanks 🙂

      Although, I only borrowed one character from Keira: Matthew. The other characters are all canon. I appreciate her letting me borrow him because he feels like part of the family to me. Great OC writing is like that and Mattie is a great OC.

      That said, the main character is Alex. The pivotal relationship is the one with his father. I think the story would hold up just fine without Mattie since he’s not pivotal to the plot, though I’m happier with him there.

      I’m not sure how Alex not going to Atlantis changes things.

      • Oh, in my mind (or is it because i only found/read these stories ?) when NCIS is in crossover with Stargate Atlantis, Tony goes as agent afloat. In If Found, Please Return, like you said, the point of interest is the father-son relationship. But, the first time i read it, i thought : a crossover with SGA, so agent afloat (conditionning myself much ? ^^). It was a great surprise, maybe one of my own making, because you never said he would go to Atlantis, but pleasant nonetheless.

        And yes, you’re right, it’s only Matthew, but he go so well in the family, i forget David is canon. They are so natural.

  12. This was a great read. I adore stories about people finding family (of any type!) and figuring out what’s healthy for themselves! And it’s really great to read about Tony doing so, since he seems to do it so infrequently in canon. <3 <3 <3

  13. It is three in the morning and I have just finished IFPR. As a long time fan of yours, this is definitely one of my new favourites. Good job and PLEASE keep them coming.

  14. I love this story to bits!!! Tony as a Sheppard!!! You know it’s hilarious because a while back someone actually gave an offhand comment about how much Michael Weatherly and Joe Flaningan looked alike. Then I read this story about Rodney and John being brothers and I was like, huh, wouldn’t it be awesome if Tony and John were brothers? The plot bunnies went round and round and I had some ideas but it never really went anywhere. THEN I read this brilliance and I was like, OH MY GOD!!! THIS IS BEYOND AWESOME!! LOL!!! My plot bunnies were more along the lines of an affair or the kid dying in a explosion but it was just Anthony Senior wanting to grab the kid, a girl in my story, I love genderbending my characters, but man this gave me so many ideas. I love your Sheppards. In a way they feel like the Kennedys, a legacy family. I know you have a very strict policy about sharing your worlds but I was wondering if you would let me borrow the name Alex for my story? It’s cool if not I just have your story stuck in my head and Tony as Alex Sheppard that I couldn’t imagine using the name I had.

    Any who, brilliant!! I very much enjoyed it. I love that this is a story about fathers and sons. And of course Mattie, who I very much love!!! Great OC.

    • long live Alex Sheppard 🙂

      Yes, you may use the name.

      The only thing I’m fussy about is people writing stories that are connected to mine. In an official way. But my world-building, concepts, and characters are available. Check my permissions page for clarification.

      As an aside, since you mention gender bending, I’m writing a female Alex Sheppard on another site. It’s where I do writing experiments and push my boundaries a little. I have the first episode up. It’s a little different from my site in that I only put finished works on jillyjames.com.

      Glad you enjoyed If Found… 🙂

      • Thank you, Jilly!!! I really appreciate it. The story I’m building is a Sentinel/Guide story so it’s going to be interesting. I have several, actually, lol but it’s so hard to just sit down and write an entire story. I have bits and outlines and notes but I’m having such a hard time writing heh. My world is actually het so I hope I do a decent job. Oh man I am so excited to read it. I’m such a fan!!! 😀 Thank you, really, I appreciate it.

  15. I am so glad I went looking for more of your work after stumbling across Emergence. This was just wonderful. And you fulfilled almost all my NCIS wishes. Senior goes to federal prison, Ziva goes to Israel in disgrace, Tim has to grow up, Abby needs to buy a clue but isn’t shopping. Best of all Tony gets a family. beautifully written story. I was dragged in swiftly and completely. Thank you for the writing and for the cast photos. yumm

  16. Loved, loved, loved this story! It was great to see protective Gibbs in regards to Tony again, as it was in the early seasons. And the Sheppards are just amazing! This is the family Tony (Alex, now) deserves. You did a great job in showing us how conflicted Tony/Alex was about everything, but how he was trying really hard to let himself have this family and life. And your Jack O’Neill characterization was spot on. Thanks so much for sharing. I really appreciate your writing and the time you take in maintaining this site. 🙂

  17. Every time I read this (and it’s been like half a dozen times or so) it becomes a little more head canon for me. Still one of my favorite stories from you.

  18. I’ve had this story bookmarked for a while now and just made time to read it all in one sitting. I loved it! I teared up a few times. You’ve reminded me of how much I disliked Ziva, especially in the early days. I also miss Gibbs being protective of Tony and realizing that he’s smart (and not the frat-boy he pretends to be) – I mean, Gibbs wanted him on his team for a reason! It makes me happy that Tony/Alex has a family that loves him and cares what happens to him. Thank you so much for writing and sharing this story.

  19. This is a wonderful story. All the characters are well developed and their actions follow the people you have written. This is the first story of yours I read and I immediately went back and reread it because I liked it so much. I will be reading everything else you have posted here and have no doubt it will meet the high standards I found in this story. As someone who occasionally writes myself I want to say I appreciate you putting this out there for others to enjoy and I admire the bravery it takes to do so. All to often all people will give you is criticism or impatience, so much that it becomes easy for that to be all you hear. I want to make sure you know that there are a lot of us out there, the quieter majority, who have nothing but respect for the works you have created and eagerly but patiently look forward to the next world you create or story you continue. Rome was not built in a day so please take your time and know that we will be here whenever you are ready to post, and quite willing to keep ourselves entertained rereading or following up with your links to fellow authors who will hopefully be at the same level as you. Thank you again.

    -A new but loyal fan

  20. I love this story. I think this read was number 20. I find that when I am stressed, rereading stories I love is comforting. I usually read one of your works. I love that only completed stories are posted here. I look forward to discovering more in the future. Thank you!

  21. Re-reading this story for the millionth time, it seems. I got to wondering – who would you have cast for their mother? Everyone talks about the three boys looking so much like their mom that I just got curious. 🙂 Thanks for considering! And thanks for sharing your wonderful talent.

    • I meant to respond to this earlier and totally forgot. It was difficult finding someone who looked enough like the three actors, but the closest I could get was Holly Gagnier, which is who I cast for The Horsemen. Emma Sheppard

  22. I absolutely love this story. It has a home-y feel about it, but I’m not sure how to explain it. It’s like, Tony is finding his right place in the world among the family that loves him unconditionally, and the reader is pulled into it as well, as if they were finding their place as well. Or maybe it’s just me;)
    If you ever write another story in this universe, I’d love to read more, but if not, I’ll just keep rereading this one. It trully is my happy place!

  23. This story has become one of my favorite, feel good stories. When I’m having a bad day, reading this story is incredibly comforting.

  24. I liked this story, as I do all the stories you have written (which I’ve read), but why did the FBI run the mitochodrial DNA, that wouldn’t prove anything from what I understand. They already have a match to his mother, why do they need another?
    But good story, and left at a good place, though if you write more I’d be interested.

    • When writing, I’d been trying to figure out how to verify mtDNA—exhumation of mother’s body or baby hair. Neither really thrilled me, but I wound up leaving both in. Two mtDNA checks aren’t necessary.

  25. This is my favorite of all your Tony DiNozzo stories. It gets re-read on every trip I take or just when i want a feel good story, although DeNovo is up there too. Thank you for giving Tony the family he deserves.

    Great job on revamping your page.

  26. this is the first story I read since I found your site… sorry I did not comment …loved all the pics and they so fit perfectly! Love Mattie and all of your characters just flow together…this is another favourite for me for sure!
    So glad I found this and m insomnia thanks you muchly!

  27. This is one I find myself going back and rereading over and over. I really like Tony as part of a family that really appreciates him as well as him getting support from at least some of his original team!

  28. This is my absolute favorite NCIS story of all time. So on my ~tenth time re-reading, I decided to find Yiruma’s ‘May Be’ on YouTube to help me visualize the story, and I fell in love with the song. Would you happen to recommend other music like that as well?

    • Yurima is my favorite contemporary pianist, and River Flows in You is my fave of his works. Other contemporary pianists I enjoy are people like Andre Gagnon and Fiona Joy Hawkins. You could google for people who are like Yurima and listen to samples of their work to see which ones appeal.

  29. I just reread If Found again for at least the sixth time and I still love it so very much. Of all your wonderful stories, this ones my favourite, and it’s always special when I allow myself to reread it, thanks so much for this all-time fave comfort read! <3 Any chance there’ll be maybe more in this universe someday? 🙂

  30. I can’t remember if I’ve ever commented but I just want to say this is one of my favorite of your stories you’ve written. It’s got so many good things; sorrow, joy, hurt/comfort, and excellent found family with a dash of parental/family hovering.

    I just love the way you write Anthony Dinozzo and makes me wish I could write him as well.

    Thank you so much for sharing and writing these amazing works!

  31. It has probably been about ten years or so since I went on a NCIS binge and my recent want of some Tony comfort led me to your site. I enjoyed everything I read, and this story is something special.

    Adored it from beginning to end. Thank you for sharing your writing with the world 🙂

  32. Another wonderful re-read, thank you for all the hard work. WW.

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