==His Mother's Heart, His Father's Spirit==

"You're the very image of him, you know."

He turned away from the holoproj on the stand, a hint of a smile tugging at his lips. "So I've heard."

The older man came forward, eyes fixed on the man depicted in the holoproj. "Not just that you inherited all his coloring, but your face… the lines are all his."

The younger man accepted that with a tilt of his head. "Thank you."

The older man picked up the holoproj and pressed a button, the display changing to a new image. The man in the original holo had his arms wrapped around a woman, and they were smiling. "I miss them… very much," the older man murmured.

"So do I, Uncle."

Dark eyes met crimson eyes, both mournful. "I'm sorry, Thrass. Maybe this was a mistake…"

Thrass shook his head, exhaling forcefully. "No… no, Uncle Jorj, I… It's been a year. I have to deal with the memories sooner or later."

Jorj Car'das nodded slowly, setting the holoproj down. "So do I." His eyes flickered down to the floor. "I, um…" He blinked, shook his head, looked up. "Shall I make us some tea? Or caf?"

"Caf would be good, thanks."

"Caf it is, then." Jorj began to move, then halted. "By the way, where is your sister?"

"Hmm? Oh, Captain Pellaeon is watching over Thrysa right now." Thrass raked a hand through his chin-length, blue-black hair. "She's only ten—I think that a memory trip like this would've done more harm than good."

"Quite possibly," Jorj nodded, moving into the kitchenette beyond and leaving Thrass alone in the study.

The young man picked up the holoproj and studied the image of his parents. Only a few holos of them together existed that weren't for publicity—they'd spent much of their marriage separated from each other since both had often been on move. But they'd loved each other very much, and their children were left with no doubt of that.

His eyes watered, inadvertently, and he brushed the tears away with the cuff of his sleeve. His mother had been his refuge, and his father… his father had been his hero.

A voice drifted softly from behind him. "Thrass? Thrass, are you okay?"

"No," he replied frankly, gruffly.

There was a sigh, then the sound of footsteps returning to the kitchenette.

Thrass's left hand brushed down to the comforting weight of the lightsaber riding on his hip. He unclipped it from his belt and twirled it around his fingers, an old habit for which his father had often reprimanded him.

He remembered Father studying the various forms of lightsaber combat and the various builds of lightsabers themselves. By Thrass's teenage years, Father could analyze a Jedi Knight by his saber just as well as he could a species by their art. It was an uncanny ability, and Thrass wished he could have inherited more of it. Yes, he could analyze art well, but not nearly as well as Father.

Darker memories brushed at his consciousness then, and he shoved them away. He was visiting his uncle to reminisce, and those memories did not fit the definition of "nostalgia".

He felt Jorj come up behind him once more, and the middle-aged man set a steaming mug down on the stand. "Thanks," Thrass said again, clipping his saber back to his belt and picking up the mug.

"No problem," Jorj nodded, taking a sip from his own mug. "I remember the first time your father tasted caf—he declared it vile."

Thrass laughed softly. "I remember that story from Mom—she repeated it several times, always when Dad was actually drinking caf. He protested that he'd never said any such thing, although I think he was privately amused."

"No doubt." Jorj smiled. "Your father had an understated sense of humor."

"Yes, he did," Thrass smirked. "Some of his best rare jokes were directed at Mom. I remember her once saying that she'd never dreamed Dad could unwind so much until I was born." Thrass's vision unfocused with remembrance. "She didn't know that Dad could actually be playful."

"Not many people did, or do," Jorj agreed. "He was a complex, multifaceted man."

Thrass smiled into his mug. "Indeed." He took a sip.

An inquisitive frown abruptly creased Jorj's face. "Thrass, how often did you call Thrawn 'dad' to his face? I can't recall ever hearing you say it more than twice or thrice."

Thrass laughed again, a true laugh. "Not all that much, really. About half the time was aboard the Chimaera." His eyes glittered roguishly. "I think Captain Pellaeon had a smile lurking beneath the surface just about every time."

Jorj laughed heartily. "Why, Mitth'ras'safis Ferasi, you son of a BlasTech! I always sensed Thrawn had a well-hidden touch of mischief."

"You don't think it was from Mom?" Thrass grinned.

"You forget I knew your mom better than your… oh stars, your dad," Jorj grinned back. "Maris didn't have a speck of mischief in her soul. Thrawn, on the other hand, was decidedly devious at times."

"Oh, very devious," Thrass agreed, unable to wipe the silly grin off his face. It was the look that Father would call "undignified and disgraceful," though Thrass suspected now that Father had privately been amused at seeing that look on the younger version of his own face. "Hide And Seek was a nightmare when I was a kid. I'd spend weeks trying to find him, and he'd never even leave the same ship or planetside region."

"Bet that was frustrating."

Thrass took another sip before muttering, "You have no idea. Even with the Force…"

Jorj shook his head, letting silence settle for a minute before speaking again. "Amazing, that, you know. That Maris actually got the Jedi child she sometimes wished for."

Thrass's face tightened, ever so slightly. "Mm." Those darker memories returned in full force, and he couldn't drive them away.

Jorj must've picked up on his darkened mood. "Thrass?"

"Just thinking," Thrass said brusquely.

"About…?"

Sighing, Thrass turned his gaze to the window on the far side of the room. "I was his penance, Uncle. The son of the man who destroyed eighteen Jedi became a Jedi himself. Father never said it in so many words, but more than once, I picked up a similar… a similar sense."

"Thrass, your father did not destroy Outbound Flight," Jorj said firmly. "He was trying to protect the region from the Vagaari and even trying to protect Outbound Flight itself. It wasn't his fault that C'baoth tried to murder him, and it wasn't his fault that Doriana pushed that button."

"Then whose fault was it?" Thrass exploded. Jorj took a step back. "Doriana's? C'baoth's? Sidious's? Like it or not, Uncle, Father did have a very large hand in it! I went there, remember? Back when the CEDF rediscovered Outbound Flight? I was there for the memorial, I was there when the Vagaari revealed themselves… I saw the people there. Trapped for what was forever for them, making do with what they had in a hostile environment…" His voice dropped to a low, hurt tone. "They had children—children—locked away, because they were suspected to be Force-sensitive. They'd already exiled two people for life because it was confirmed that they could use the Force."

"Thrass…"

"And when they saw me…" Thrass continued hoarsely. "I was all of thirteen, but I was their worst nightmare. I was the son of the man who had done this to them, and I was a Jedi-in-training. Their leaders wanted to kill me—would have killed me if Mara hadn't stood directly between me and a blaster barrel."

Jorj's face was strained. "Thrass," he whispered, "I had no idea."

Thrass squeezed his eyes shut, desperately reaching for calm in the Force. He didn't trust himself to speak until he had found his center. "Your focus determines your reality," Master Anakin had said so often. So where was his focus?

"You can't live the rest of your life," Jorj's voice entered his thoughts, "holding guilt for something your father was involved with ten years before you were born. All you're doing is punishing yourself, and it doesn't do you, your father, those Jedi, the victims, or the survivors one bit of good. It only hurts."

Eyes still closed, Thrass snorted. "Tell me about it." Opening his eyes, he settled into a nearby armchair, letting go of his militarily-precise posture and sinking into the soft cushions. "Kriff," he murmured, letting his eyes drift shut again.

"Indeed."

Thrass opened one eye to glare balefully at Jorj, who calmly accepted the gaze. The look would have instantly unnerved any Imperial or Republic officer, but Jorj had had two and a half decades to get used to it.

Unfortunately for Thrass.

He sighed and let the eye close, tilting his head back slightly. "So much for the Grand Admiral of the Empire of the Hand."

He could hear the frown in Jorj's voice. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"It means that I don't have nearly as much control and composure as Father did," Thrass replied. "Nor do I fully have his knack for unraveling a species' psyche through its art. Nor do I quite have his genius for tactics."

There was silence for a minute. Thrass brushed his consciousness against his uncle's mind, but it, as usual, was firmly shut to him. Jorj Car'das had learned the trick of non-Force-sensitive mental barriers well.

"Thrass… you're not your father. You look exactly like him, yes, but you're not your father. No one expects you to be him, either. No one expects you to have the inexplicable gift that made him completely unique.

"You are yourself, Thrass, and that's what people expect—and need—you to be. Your insight of the Force, your charisma, your wit, your emotional transparency, your empathy, your own style of combat command… that's Mitth'ras'safis Ferasi, and that's what people need. They need you to be you."

Thrass didn't open his eyes. "What if Mitth'ras'safis Ferasi isn't enough?"

"It is," Jorj said quietly. "Your father wouldn't have been taken away from your people like that if it wasn't."

Thrass sighed. "That's not exactly encouraging."

"Thrass, you can't second-guess yourself, you can't try to be someone you're not. If you do that, you've already lost. And you, Thrass Ferasi, are not a loser."

The smirk came unbidden to Thrass's lips, and his eyes opened. "I'm too stubborn for that."

"Exactly," Jorj nodded sharply. "So quit the guilt trip, quit the second-guesses, and quit the pretending. And get on with your life."

"Easy to say—"

"Not easy to do, I know. But you have to do it."

Thrass nodded contemplatively. "Thanks, Uncle. I guess I still need a little smack upside the head every now and then."

"No problem." Jorj smiled slyly. "And if you want a physical slap, as well, I can oblige."

Thrass laughed. "Thanks, but I think I'll pass."

Jorj's responding laugh faded as he studied the son of two of the closest friends he'd ever had. "You're a good man, Mitth'ras'safis Ferasi. You're the best of both your parents, and still your own unique person. You have your mother's empathetic heart and your father's noble spirit."

Thrass glanced again at the holoproj, where his father and mother stood smiling. "I hope that's enough."

"It is. Heart and spirit always win out in the end."

~Fin~

Author's Note:

Severely AU. As in, the Galactic Empire never happened, but the Empire of the Hand did, Thrawn married Maris, etc. etc. etc.

More than anything, it was a shot what kind of legacy a child of Thrawn and Maris's might be left with. I've come up with many, many OCs in the past for many different movies and books, but Thrass Ferasi has to be one of my favorites. He bears his late uncle's name and his mother's surname, looks exactly like his Chiss father but often acts more like the Corellian in him from his mother, and he's actually a Jedi Knight. I'm not sure how that last twist came about—only that it did and I thought it an idea with plenty of potential. I mean, Thrawn's son a Jedi? Whoa. (And by this timeline, he's… a year and a half to two years younger than Luke and Leia.)

Oh, and yes, he has a younger sister, Thrysa. Mitth'rys'alesta Ferasi. While I've had Thrass for a long time, Thrysa's pretty brand-new.

Writing this was fun—I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it!

Please review!