Death Watch had abducted Korkie Kryze.
An underhanded act by a disgraced group, but this was different. This wasn't some act of terror or retaliation against Satine.
No, there was something else going on.
“Is it true?”
Obi-Wan reigned in his anger. Arguing wasn’t going to help right now. They could shout at each other until their throats were sore, but words weren’t going to change the situation. He took a deep breath and tried to let go of his feelings of betrayal. He fought back the urge to cry, to scream and rebel against the Force’s reassurance.
Why did everyone he love lie to him?
He was never enough for Qui-Gon. His Master abandoned him on Melida/Daan to lead an army of children alone. Even when they got past that, moved on from Bruck’s death and both of their romantic entanglements, he was betrayed. He finally thought he was good enough only to be repudiated for a boy his Master had known for a handful of days.
Force knew that boy grew up to be a strong and willful knight.
He raised Anakin but his younger brother didn’t trust him. Yes, he trusted him with his life, with the lives of his Padawan and his men, but he didn’t trust him with his secrets or his heart. He didn’t want him in whatever life he was building with Padme.
As soon as this war was over, Anakin would leave.
Obi-Wan was happy that he found peace. He was glad he found love. He pretended to be ignorant of their relationship. It was beyond painful that his Padawan didn't trust him with that part of himself, or worse, thought him so inhuman he wouldn’t understand what it meant to love another person.
At least he and Siri had an understanding. Duty before feelings, even if that duty meant lying to him and pretending to leave the Order. Even when duty led to her dying in his arms.
Satine didn’t lie to him. She was Mandalorian, deception was cowardice. She never shied away from sharing her opinion. She didn’t back down in an argument. He told her everything of importance in his life. He trusted her with his heart, his very soul, and thought she did as well.
He truly believed she wouldn’t lie to him, not about anything important.
Siths hell, she told him she loved him.
He took a deep breath again, and forced himself to look into her eyes on the holoprojector. As distorted as they were, he could see her sorrow, her guilt. He knew what the answer was before she whispered, “Yes.”
Obi-Wan cut the call short, turning away from the watching eyes of his men. Anakin prodded at his shields along their bond, worried about his well-being. He just strengthened his shields. He could let his hurt out later, when Anakin and Ahsoka weren’t around to realize how deep it went. He didn’t want them to worry more than they already were.
“Master Obi-Wan?” Ahsoka prodded gently.
He entered the frequency for the Council meeting. He’d talk to his Padawan and Grandpadawan later.
It was a full Council meeting. He pushed down his resentment when he saw their faces. It was so hard to find a time that all of them could meet, but this was considered an emergency.
They thought this would break him.
“Obi-Wan,” Mace leaned forward, “What did the Duchess say?”
“Korkie Kryze is my son,” He confirmed, the words barely feeling real to him, “Satine hid the truth because of the tensions between the Jedi and her people.”
He didn’t ask her, but it was the reason he left. Her people would not have accepted him as her lover, much less her husband or co-leader. The resulting attempts on his life would have placed her in danger. Simply staying on Mandalore threatened the peace she worked so hard to build, so he left. He stayed away.
If he’d known about his son...that wouldn’t have changed anything.
But he would have found a way to visit.
“You don’t look surprised,” Master Poof noted.
He sent him a withering look, “Birth control wasn’t high on my list of necessary supplies when trying to protect her. I wasn’t aware until moments ago that Korkie is my son, but I didn’t think it was impossible.”
“Irresponsible, you were,” Master Yoda shook his head, “Attached to the Duchess, you should not have become.”
Obi-Wan closed his eyes at the criticism. He could argue that he was young and no more irresponsible than many young knights. His creation of a new life was more statistics than any unique behavior on his part. He could say it was due to having Qui-Gon as a Master that he fell in love with the nearest person to him in a crisis.
But he had other goals for this meeting that weren’t being criticized for his perceived mistakes.
“I’ve never been the Jedi I could be,” He placed his hands on the holoprojector, leaning slightly on it, “I’ve fallen in love more times than anyone else I know, but I’ve always been trusted to balance that love with my duty. As I see it, this revelation is no different, unless this has caused the Council to lose trust in me.”
He wasn’t normally so direct, but he was exhausted.
“We trust you,” Kit frowned, “But Obi-Wan, this is different from your usual...intrigues.”
“You’re concerned I’ll become too attached,” Obi-Wan glanced between the other eleven Masters, “Just as you are concerned I am too attached to Anakin, but I am tired of having to prove myself. I didn’t burn Melida/Daan to the ground when Cerasi died. I didn’t run off on my own to hunt the Sith when Qui-Gon died. I didn’t even kill the bounty hunter who killed Siri.”
“I’ll admit that if I get to know my son, I will love him, and with love comes some attachment, but I thought by now I have proven I won’t fall from it,” Few could meet his gaze, “My attachments have caused all my brushes with the Dark Side, but a Jedi’s strength does not come from avoiding darkness. It comes from facing that darkness, and choosing the light.”
It was an argument they’d had before.
Mace pinched the bridge of his nose, “We can’t change the Code because you have a son.”
It was always a life goal of his to make it on the Council and institute some reforms. He understood where his Grandmaster was coming from when he said that the Republic and the Order needed to change. Unlike Dooku, he still believed those changes were possible.
Yet the Order didn’t want to change because of the war.
“I’m not asking to change the Code because of me,” He focused on the Master of the Order, “We hold ourselves back out of fear of getting too close, and that was fine before. Now, we are at war. We spend more time on our star destroyers than in the Temple. For many of us that means being alone, as we avoid becoming too attached to our troops.”
“Yes, we have the Force, but it’s not as reassuring as it used to be. There is so much darkness through the Galaxy...it’s hard to find the light, to find peace,” He continued, “We are isolating ourselves, and when we stand alone and feel alone, we are easier to defeat. I suggest changing the Code because everything is changing and if we remain stagnant we will be destroyed.”
His words hung in the silence. He could feel Anakin’s jaw dropping. Ahsoka’s hands were covering her mouth to prevent any noise from coming out. He wondered just how good he was at shielding if neither of them knew his beliefs regarding the Code and the Council.
There was a reason he was in this lineage of mavericks.
“I agree with Obi-Wan,” Plo joined in, “I find great comfort in my men, and I know many Jedi refrain from doing the same out of fear of becoming too attached.”
“I agree as well,” Shaak Ti nodded solemnly, “For centuries, the Jedi have fought alone, but we cannot win this war alone. There’s a reason Skywalker and Obi-Wan are so successful, and it’s because they fight for each other as much as they fight for the Republic.”
He smiled at her, even as Anakin made a choked noise in the background. It was tradition for a Master and Padawan to work far apart after the latter’s knighthood. The first few years were meant to create separation so both could learn to be more independent.
What he and Anakin had was dangerously close to codependency. Where he went, Anakin followed, and vice versa. No one could deny they pulled off the impossible on a regular basis. It wouldn’t matter if the circumstances weren’t so dire, but sometimes he didn’t look forward to the day when the war would finish and the Team would be dissolved.
Adi Gallia smiled slightly, “That was part of the reason we sent Obi-Wan and Siri on so many missions together as well.”
“We should not hold back from love out of fear of attachment,” Obi-Wan lifted his chin, well aware he was being defiant, “Love sustains us.”
“It can also destroy us,” Ki-Adi Mundi countered.
“Solitude will just as surely destroy us,” He repeated.
“And yet you insist on handling all your problems alone,” Mace grumbled, “Though that isn’t your fault.”
It was what he was taught. Qui-Gon left him alone more often than not. He didn’t have a dependable Master, so he learned to be far more independent than his peers. His friends were always there to help him with the aftermath, but rarely the cause.
“I was thirteen when I fought my first battle, fourteen when I won a war. I knew what it was like to fight day after day until the days blurred together long before this war started, and that is why I sit on this Council,” He stared straight ahead, “My attachments kept me grounded. They kept me sane. I wouldn’t have made it without my friends by my side.”
“Enough!” Yoda called, banging his gimmer stick on the ground, “Discuss changing the Code, we will later. For now, in danger, your son is, Obi-Wan. Plan, do you have?”
“Of course.” He stood up straighter, “I intend to challenge Pre Vizsla for control of the Death Watch.”
It was risky, but the biggest risk was to himself.
Satine would never forgive him for leading the Death Watch, but he wasn’t sure he cared anymore for her forgiveness. As much as he understood her reasons...it hurt.
It would always hurt.