Writers block is a bitch but I've managed to make... something...

Clint really only had a few set rules that stuck with him throughout his life. Sure, no killing innocent people, all that bible crap and whatnot, but these were his rules.

1. Don't talk too much about family around teachers, or anyone who might get too involved.

He'd been in so many schools, so many diners, CPS had been called more than a handful of times, and it had been a hell of a long time since all three boys actually were staying with John at the same time. Leaving at 20 had, of course, made it easier to talk about them, as it was all but a distant memory.

It wasn't like anyone but his family knew, anyway.

It wasn't until a few years later, when people who knew changed from just John, Bobby, and the boys to include long-lost siblings, kids, and his closest work colleagues that he realized he had one huge fucking family.

2. Don't ever, ever, underestimate people.

Something... weird had gone down for S.H.I.E.L.D. in 1995. Clint didn't join up until '96, so he figured he would never really know what had happened. He did, however, know that it had made Fury and Coulson trust each other more and other people less.

But he didn't really care too much when he did learn about what had happened. Nothing mattered anymore.

And he knew that any person, no matter how normal, friendly, or average they may appear, could potentially be mutants, aliens, supernatural and mythological entities, or just really good at killing.

3. Be grateful for what you have, before it's gone.

Strangely enough, he didn't really include his parents - his birth parents, that is - in this line of thinking, but that was more than likely because of the abuse. And the drinking. And the fact that he'd blocked out his early childhood enough that he honestly didn't really remember them. Awkward.

But when he was adopted by John and Mary, he had a pretty decent childhood, minus the rough patches. And, unlike most of his brothers, he actually got to experience a good chunk of it before the demons, monsters and other shit. He remembered the way Mary looked and sounded, the way she would laugh at his stories.

He missed John, although he realised that he'd been missing John for much longer than he'd been dead.

And as the world was utterly changed with the sound of a snap! Clint realized that his family was now just dust in the wind.

Word Count: 420