He’s sixteen the first time he considers it. He’d just helped Niall take care of burning something he’d brought out of a dream. He asks why he’s always the one to help and Niall replied with, “because one day you’ll be helping Ronan”. It’s the same reason he always gave, and Declan knew not to question it, but that day it was like a flip had switched and everything that was connected to his father’s dreaming came into a new light.
Of course Ronan could dream. Declan’s earliest memory was walking downstairs one day to find Aurora in the kitchen with Matthew on her hip and Ronan by her side, putting on a necklace that her middle son had just gifted her, with a jewel that reflected in ways not found in real life. He remembered getting mad and throwing one of Ronan’s toys in the fireplace only for Ronan to wake up with an identical one the next morning. Declan always knew that Ronan could dream and he had always been told that his sole purpose in life was going to be helping Ronan cover it up and continue Niall’s business.
He knew that his life came down to one purpose; help Ronan.
Finally, that day by the barn, smoke rising up in front of him from the fire that was finally burning out, he made the connection. Dreaming was hereditary. All the men in his direct line could dream. Aurora was a dream. Niall got the idea of dreaming up a perfect woman from his own father, who had made his own perfect wife. Niall’s perfect mother. Maybe that’s how the dreaming passed down; a dreamer and his dream. How could they produce anything other than a dreamer?
Matthew wasn’t, but then again, Declan already knew that Matthew was one of Ronan’s, so it made sense that Matthew didn’t carry the family trait.
But Declan couldn’t.
Declan is Niall Lynch’s son.
But he cannot dream.
Because Declan Lynch is Niall Lynch’s son.
But Declan Lynch is not Aurora Lynch’s son.
It was then, standing in a field with faint lights starting to color the sky and even fainter lights still coming off of what little was left of the fire that had burned away his father’s nightmare that Declan had asked his father for the first and only time if Aurora was his biological mother. Niall just looked at him, a dozen emotions flashing over his face in the span of just seconds and said, “never bring this up again.” His father’s refusal to answer was answer enough. With his fears confirmed, Declan just walked back inside. He was proud of himself that morning. He managed to make it all the way to his room before he’d started crying.
He’s seventeen when his father comes downstairs to announce that his latest business trip has been cancelled. He tells Declan that someone dangerous is looking for something he owns, but that he’s safe in Virginia, so he’ll be staying home for the next four months instead of running around Paraguay and Bolivia. Matthew is ecstatic. Ronan pretends he doesn’t care, but Declan knows how much Ronan loves their father being around.
He’s nearly eighteen when Ronan walks in the front door one day covered in blood, a voice still coming through the phone in his hand,and all he’s saying is “dad’s dead, dad’s dead, dad’s dead.” Declan may not have particularly loved Niall, but his brothers are his everything and all he wants is to do is comfort them, but there’s an officer at the door needing to speak to one of them and Aurora is sobbing so hard that she won’t be able to talk to anyone for a while. So once again he lets his obligation for Niall take precedence over his love for his brothers. He says it’s the last time it’ll happen. Unfortunately, lying is one of the things he learned from his father.
He’s nineteen when he finally gets the contracts he requested from the lawyer, signed nineteen years prior between Niall Lynch and Rosanne Creedmont.
Rosanne was sixteen when she started working for Niall as a housekeeper. Shortly after she got pregnant with Niall’s child and was emancipated from her parents due to the pregnancy. She lived in a spare room at the Barns for the duration of the pregnancy, then was offered three million dollars to leave the child with him, disappear, and never tell anyone about what had happened. He was facing the possibility of jail time if anyone found out, but she was seventeen and desperate. Trailer trash without a trailer to go back to. She took the deal and never looked back. He dreams up Aurora to raise the baby.
Declan manages to track down a specialty pet food store in Portland, Oregon ran by Rosanne.The website has a page about her family. He clicks through the photos of her husband and daughters, then closes out the tabs.
He never tells his brothers.