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Fanfic / Love Feels Like Home

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Love Feels Like Home is a Tales of Zestiria Alternate Universe Fan Fic written by SaoirseParisa (also known as firechick12012 or Juliko)

Sorey Shepherd was looking forward to his future. He graduated from high school with honors, he has a loving family and great friends to support him, he had plans to major in archaeology and history in colleges he applied to, and is hoping to have a wonderful summer. His future looked bright and he couldn't have been happier.


...That is, until a drunk driver took his beloved mother's life. From there, the world seems to fall apart all around him. Sorey can no longer live in Camlann, so he is sent to live with his estranged grandfather in the faraway country town of Elysia. None of the colleges he applied to have accepted him, and he can't be with his friends anymore. All of those sudden changes would be hard enough, but with Sorey being autistic, it's extremely overwhelming. Now, Sorey is struggling to cope and deal with all of these circumstances, and he isn't sure what to do. Once he used to see everything with a smile, like sunshine, now all he wants to do is cry. He can't take all this.

He may not know it, but a little helping hand from an unexpected source might be exactly what he needs to deal with the changes in his life.


This fan fic is noteworthy for mostly one thing: Sorey is made autistic in this fan fic. But even without that, it's very well-liked for its good writing, Character Development, refreshing portrayals of certain characters, and well written romance.

It can be read on Archive of Our Own here and on Fan Fiction Dot Net here. It's complete on both sites at 22 chapters.

Love Feels Like Home contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: In the games, Sorey is pretty chipper and hardly ever spends too much time angsting about things, even when he has good reason to. Here, Sorey is much more emotional and prone to getting upset, sad, and even angry, to the point of frequently crying a lot on screen, for very good reasons at that. The authoress mentioned that she felt the original game didn't let Sorey have meaningful, human reactions to certain important events late in the game, or felt the few moments he did were too short and barely utilized, so she deliberately altered some aspects of Sorey's personality in order to make him feel more human.
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  • Adaptational Sexuality: Both Sorey and Mikleo are made explicitly gay here.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Michael in the game was once a Nice Guy who genuinely wanted to save the world from evil and loved his family and friends, but terrible events caused him to go mad. In this fic, Michael's good traits are only mentioned in flashbacks, and when we first meet him, he's genuinely mean: Showing up on Muse's doorstep to crash at her place and insisting on doing so despite protests, belittling his sister and nephew for almost everything, overstepping Muse's boundaries, invading everyone's privacy, and getting violent when he drinks.
  • Affectionate Nickname: In this fic, Sorey is a nickname, and everyone refers to him as such. His given name is Soren, and he got the nickname Sorey because he couldn't say Soren when he first started talking.
    • Mikleo's name is a nickname here as well, with his in-universe real name being Cormick Leopold Rulay.
  • The Alcoholic: Michael is a very heavy drinker in the fic, and becomes violent towards his family.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: A flashback in the beginning of chapter eight shows Sorey being ignored or shunned by other kids because of how his autism manifests, and they all thought he was weird. He does manage to gain a small circle of friends, though.
  • Alternate Universe Fic: Takes place in the modern day.
  • Anger Born of Worry: When Zenrus finds out Sorey got injured after falling through some decaying ruins, in a particular room he told him not to go in because of how unstable it became, he scolds and grounds Sorey for disobeying him when they get home, even though Mikleo did tell him Sorey only did it to get his cell phone back. Unfortunately, Sorey doesn't believe he was genuinely concerned for his well being, and at one point, the resentment boils over and he lashes out at him.
  • Arcadia: Like in the game, Elysia is depicted as this, being much less modernized than its neighboring cities, and it's near a mountain.
  • Bad Liar: Sorey, just like in canon.
  • Berserk Button / Beware the Nice Ones: Sorey does NOT take well to people insulting his mother in any fashion, as Taccio learned the hard way in chapter 4.
    • Mikleo won't stand for his uncle overstepping his mother's boundaries and acting like an entitled brat, even if he is family.
    • Oh, and DO NOT for the life of you mistreat Sorey in front of Zenrus. He will unleash his wrath on you and it will not be pretty, as Barlow learned the hard way in chapter 9, though it was off-screen.
  • Big Brother Bully: Michael, Muse's older brother, is quite cruel to her; belittling her, invading her privacy, overstepping her boundaries, and blaming her for all his problems. He didn't start out this way, though.
  • Birthday Episode: The fan fic ends with everyone celebrating Sorey's 19th birthday and throwing him a party.
  • Cain and Abel: Michael is the Cain to Muse's Abel.
  • Calling Parents by Their Name: In this case, calling grandparent by name. Because Sorey hasn't seen his grandfather in years, along with believing Zenrus hates him, Sorey can't bring himself to refer to him as Grandfather, or even call him anything. The only time he refers to him by his name is when he's giving him a "Reason You Suck" Speech in chapter 11, accusing him of secretly hating him and only pretending to care about him. Once the misunderstanding is cleared up, Sorey refers to Zenrus as Gramps and their relationship improves.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Sorey is under the impression that Zenrus secretly hates him because of his disability and can't seem to talk to him without freezing up out of fear, so anything he wants to say, he can't bring himself to bring out into the open. He is able to converse just fine with people he trusts, though.
  • Close-Knit Community: Elysia, the town where Zenrus and everyone else lives.
  • Cooldown Hug: With Sorey's permission, Mikleo gives him one in chapter 9 after Sorey is accosted by an angry restaurant goer for accidentally knocking over his food.
  • Crying After Sex: After having his first time with Mikleo, Sorey finds himself overwhelmed with happiness after the encounter, relieved that he was able to enjoy it despite his anxiety about it and that he was able to trust Mikleo not to do anything he didn't want to do.
  • The Cynic: Despite being relatively optimistic and nice, Sorey starts out being very cynical because of all of the bad things he went through before moving to Elysia. He believes Zenrus hates him because of his disability, fearing he'll be disowned and forced to live his life on the streets.
  • Determinator: Despite Mikleo's protests, Sorey willingly traverses a very unstable structure in a decaying ruin in order to get Mikleo's cell phone back. Not even knowledge of the potential dangers or Zenrus getting angry with him is enough to deter him from doing it. Even though he gets injured afterward, to the point of being sent to the hospital, it ultimately paid off.
  • Disabled in the Adaptation: Both Sorey and Muse are autistic in this fan fic, whereas they were neurotypical in the game. The authoress mentioned that she wanted to try exploring the idea after seeing how the Zestiria fandom was so open to so many different alternate universe ideas.
  • Downer Beginning: The story begins with a depressed, mentally exhausted Sorey on a train to Elysia with an unsympathetic social worker as he flashes back to the day his mother died.
  • Eyes Always Averted: Being autistic, Sorey doesn't make eye contact very much, as he finds it painful to do so. But once he warms up to Mikleo, he's able to look him in the eyes more, though the latter does respect his desire to not do so.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: In chapter 9, Sorey freaks out when he finds a stinkbug on his arm, and the sensory overload was enough to make him swing his arm and knock over a plate of food a waiter was carrying right behind him. It was clearly an accident, and Sorey did try to make up for it, but the angry customer curses him out, slaps him across the face, and assumes he did it on purpose. Despite everyone's attempts to defuse the situation, it's enough to make Sorey go into a Heroic BSoD and try to get away from the situation. In fact, Sorey, under the assumption that Zenrus hates him, believes this single act will make him want to disown him and cries himself to pieces over it.
  • Friendly Tickle Torture: When Sorey and Mikleo become closer friends, they start to partake in this, with Sorey in particular being on the (willing!) receiving end of it.
  • Genki Girl: Muse, surprisingly. She's very chipper when she first meets Sorey and is a pretty positive person overall.
  • Good Parents: Muse and her late husband Luzrov clearly love Mikleo, and the feeling is mutual. Even after her husband's death, Muse is still sweet and supportive towards Mikleo, and very open to the idea of him and Sorey dating.
    • Zenrus, made to be Sorey's biological grandfather in this fic, is still strict but dotes on Sorey and tries to better understand his needs and sensory issues.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: In chapter 16, Sorey and Mikleo have sex for the first time, and in spite of Sorey's anxiety about it, he does enjoy it. It helps that their sex scene is very heartwarming.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Taccio is portrayed as this here, to the point where he points out Sorey's eccentricities just because he didn't hear him calling his name.
  • Handshake Refusal: When Agatha visits Sorey in Elysia, she extends her hand out for him to shake in greeting. Sorey doesn't do it, as he hates touching people he isn't familiar with or dislikes. Noticing his discomfort, Lailah does it for him.
  • I Have No Brother: After Michael severely injures Mikleo, his nephew, a second time in a drunken rage, Muse decides she's had enough. She visits him in jail, calls him out for everything, and when he pulls a Never My Fault, Muse realizes the brother she once knew and loved is gone, so she disowns him.
  • Jerkass: Michael is definitely this when he first comes into the picture. He crashes at his sister's place despite her and her son being vehemently opposed to it, constantly complains about her eccentricities, oversteps her boundaries, invades her privacy, questions Mikleo's choice in friends, and even gets violent with them when he drinks.
  • Missing Mom: Sorey's mother was killed by a drunk driver while at a girl's night out. Mikleo's father died from cancer. Averted with Muse, as she's alive here.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When Sorey realizes that his previous assumptions about Zenrus were completely wrong, after having reached his Rage Breaking Point and giving him a "Reason You Suck" Speech, he is overcome with guilt. Thankfully, Sorey and Zenrus talk things out and reconcile afterward.
  • Mythology Gag: All of the characters mentioned in the Celestial Record (which is a fictional book series here) have the names of various characters from other games.
    • Sorey and Mikleo have little Normin plush keychains, with Mikleo having Atakk, a reference to their relationship in the anime.
    • The final chapter has a scene where Edna gives Zaveid and Mason a castella cake she made, which causes their mouths to feel like they're on fire. This is a reference to one of the DLC skits in the game, where Edna pulls the same thing on Sorey and Mikleo. The authoress thought it was funny so she had her pull it on Zaveid and Mason here.
  • Never My Fault: Instead of taking responsibility for his actions, Michael prefers to blame Muse for all of his problems and prejudices, even for getting upset for things he himself does, such as disrespect her privacy and claim her sensory issues are just her "being a bitch." This proves to be his undoing when Muse decides to disown him after he pulls this even after he's sent to jail for assault.
  • Nice Guy: Even with his Adaptational Angst Upgrade, Sorey is still very nice and sweet, just like his canon counterpart.
  • Opposites Attract: The normally cheery, optimistic, energetic Sorey and the calm, serious, level-headed Mikleo, though at their first meeting, Sorey was still adjusting to his mother's death, so at that time, he was still rather cynical, heartbroken, and mentally exhausted.
  • Parental Abandonment: Sorey's parents divorced when he was a toddler because his father, Percival, couldn't accept that he was autistic. Since then, he disappeared from their lives. Selene intentionally hid the truth from him because, with Sorey's self-esteem issues, she was afraid he would believe the cruel things his father said about him, so she told him he died.
  • Please Don't Leave Me: When Sorey is severely injured in the ruins he and Mikleo hang out in, the sensory overload from the pain was too much for him, and he begs Mikleo not to leave him alone. Mikleo does all he can to comfort Sorey and keep him calm before help arrives.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain:
  • Poor Communication Kills: A big theme in the first half of the story. Sorey can't bring himself to talk to or bond with his grandfather because of an incident years ago, believing that Zenrus hates Sorey because of his disability and doesn't want him around. As a result, he's become a Stepford Smiler who bottles up his emotions instead of sharing them, and strongly suspects nobody would care, as he's so used to his problems being dismissed as simple bad behavior or trying to get attention. Because of Sorey's refusal to talk to Zenrus about important things, their relationship, while somewhat amicable, is still strained, so Zenrus, and everyone else around him, are unaware of how much he's struggling. Furthermore, Sorey figured that even if he did try to talk to Zenrus, it wouldn't do anything, as he's so used to people getting angry at him whenever he had an anxiety attack or experienced sensory issues. Thankfully, once Zenrus finally clears things up with him, they both manage to talk things out in the end of chapter 11.
    • It's also a big part of Michael's character. Many of his issues come about because he doesn't want to tell anyone about his problems under the assumption that they'll leave him in the dust in favor of Muse.
  • Rage Breaking Point: After a month of having anger build up inside him, in chapter 11, Sorey finally snaps at Zenrus, accusing him of only taking him in out of obligation and hiding the fact that he's always hated him because of his disability and the Noodle Incident from when he was two years old. It turns out to be unwarranted, as Zenrus never hated Sorey or his mother and does genuinely love him.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Sorey's only living relative is Zenrus, his grandfather, who gets custody of him after news of Selene's death reaches him. It is revealed in chapter 11 that Sorey's father is alive, but no longer involved in his life.
  • Related in the Adaptation: In the game, Zenrus adopted Sorey and Mikleo. Here, Zenrus is Sorey's biological grandfather. The authoress explained that she did this so Sorey would have a valid reason for being sent to live with him, as having Zenrus not be related to him probably wouldn't have allowed social services to let Sorey live with him.
  • Shipper on Deck: Muse is very open to the idea of Sorey and Mikleo getting together. She goes on and on about how cute they are when talking to a friend on the phone.
  • Shrinking Violet: Sorey is much more anxious and shy in this fic, though this because, being autistic, Sorey is unfamiliar with his new surroundings and meeting new people and doesn't know how to go about interacting with them.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Muse and Michael are alive and well here.
  • Tender Tears: Sorey cries a lot here, for very good reasons. He does so after he and Mikleo have sex for the first time, but this is because he had a lot of anxiety about having sex and is relieved to have been able to trust Mikleo enough to do this with him and enjoy it.
  • Their First Time: Played straight with Sorey, who has never had sex before, but averted with Mikleo, who previously had two boyfriends before meeting Sorey, and was sexually active with them. Mikleo uses his experience to teach Sorey about sex and calm his anxiety about whether it'll hurt or not. Thanks to Mikleo's tenderness and respect for Sorey's personal boundaries and desires, he enjoys the encounter.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Sorey is both autistic and gay.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: When Muse and her brother were kids, Michael was a nice boy who loved Muse and treated her fairly, even after he learned she was autistic. He helped her and took care of her like any big brother would. But as they grew up, he began to resent her and her successes in life, turning to drinking to cope.

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