When Darcy was exceptionally bored in school, her papers often had more cartoons on them than history, math, or whatever. Mostly she drew to siphon off frustration, and never really thought of her sketches as anything more than doodles. Still, she had fun with them, and her wry humor combined with a childhood watching Nickelodeon cartoons made them really funny.
One of her college boyfriends loved her doodles of their TA so much, he urged her to submit them to the school paper. She did, anonymously. Her tiny caricatures of popular professors and unpopular administrators were a huge hit, but she never took credit. She loved listening to reactions and didn’t think people would be half as honest if they knew the artist was in the room. Her boyfriend kept quiet about the comic even after they split up, which was rather nice of him considering she broke his heart into tiny pieces.
Cartoons for the paper mostly took the place of doodling out of boredom until Darcy got to New Mexico. In Puente Antiguo, everything was boring. Working in the lab took energy and attention, but there were long stretches where Jane just needed someone to talk to and Darcy was the only one around. Jane bought her a sketchpad after the first time she found cartoon Darcy’s head exploding on one of the data sheets. It was the expensive kind, with really nice paper, and Darcy tried to pay a little more attention as a thank you.
When they finally saw the auroras in person, Darcy drew Jane doing her happy dance. Jane tucked it into her notebook and mostly forgot about it until SHIELD took all their stuff. When Thor stole the notebook back for her, she was pleased to find Darcy’s sketch tucked inside just where she left it. Jane had been afraid it would get lost in the shuffle.
After SHIELD finally gave the lab back, with 10,000 strings attached, Darcy spent a few days penciling Nick Fury in tutus. Eyepatch had it coming.
Once Darcy got over the concept of superheroes existing at all, nothing really phased her. Ok, so there were god-like aliens, people with insane powers, and dudes who could shoot a fly off your cupcake. None of this was as important as the level of hotness and douchiness that the superhero problem brought into her life.
The first time Darcy met Captain America he was so relentlessly cheerful that she decided he was the most plastic person she’d ever met. After one of his more ridiculously optimistic comments to Jane she started working on his costume, adding flourishes and details in unnecessary and absurd places. She tried capes, wings, massive codpieces, and everything else she could imagine.
The more she got to know Steve, however, the more Darcy realized he was just the most insanely glass-half-full guy she had ever met. Also, the optimism was rubbing off on Jane. Darcy stopped sketching him altogether, except when the scene required it. They had gotten to be friends by the time Steve found her sketchbook, so she tried to excuse it and flailed miserably. Steve just chuckled and told her to look up his old costumes. It only took 20 seconds on Google before Darcy was appalled on his behalf. Steve laughed and said that if she could come up with something better, he’d wear it just to get Agent Coulson to crack a smile. He’d been far more embarrassed when Natasha tried to explain Ke$ha.
When Steve went back to New York for a stretch, Darcy found a rough sketch of herself tucked into her inbox. The art was sloppier than her cartoons, but she loved it. Steve had given her a red cape and a diabolical monster made of paperwork. From the expression on the monster’s face, Darcy was clearly winning.
Darcy thought the Captain was pretty great.
Everything had just about calmed down from SHIELD taking over the lab when Tony Stark decided to add his crazy to the pot. If it hadn’t been for Pepper, Darcy wasn’t sure how they all would have managed. Forget the costumes, Pepper Potts was Darcy’s superhero. She ran a major corporation like clockwork, kept Iron Man in check, and did it all wearing the most wonderful shoes Darcy had ever seen. Whenever Jane was busy with the scientists, Darcy followed Pepper around hoping some of the awesome would rub off on her. Pepper didn’t seem to mind very much, and even gave her a few helpful pointers for dealing with the suits.
During a rare moment of downtime, Pepper asked to see what it was that Darcy was always scribbling in her notebook. Darcy blushed and told her it was mostly doodles, but handed it over anyway. She had decided 10 minutes after they first met that she would do pretty much anything for Pepper.
Pepper paged through the sketches with a raised eyebrow until she got to section that was mostly Iron Man. She groaned audibly at the ones of Iron Man as a mulletted medieval knight and told Darcy not to let Tony get his hands on them. She didn’t want him getting any ideas. Darcy blushed some more.
Pepper flipped through a few more and asked if she could have the one of a stiletto-clad enchantress saving the mulletted knight from a patch of quicksand. Darcy pulled the original out her notebook and Pepper tucked it away in her briefcase before going to see what the yelling on the other side of the lab was about.
When Pepper left, she told Darcy to give her a call after graduation. Darcy wasn’t sure she wanted to leave Jane on her own long enough to graduate any time soon, but she said she’d definitely keep it in mind.
Tony was insane and Steve was adorable, but Clint was frustrating enough that Darcy had threatened to shove the exploding arrows up his ass on more than one occasion. He knew he was hot, he thought he was in charge, and he touched things. Not just the data or the equipment either. He touched her things. After Clint took her pop tarts, Darcy gave him giant Robin Hood boots and a superhero mask so big it took over his face.
The day he expected Darcy to thank him for roughly shoving her under a table - when she was already well out of the line of fire, thank you very much - she went to store and bought colored pencils. She tried out bright blues and yellows before deciding on mostly Barney purple for his costume.
The Black Widow came by during the cleanup after that episode - which Clint was not helping by sitting on his ass at the coffee table. Darcy never knew what to make of Natasha. She was deadly and she knew things that no human being ought to know, but other than that she was just black leather that popped up at random intervals. She’d been hanging around surveying the scene for a over an hour when Clint looked up, noticed her, and nearly spit out his coffee in surprise.
When Darcy finally got back to her desk that evening, she had email from an unknown address. that included her sketch of Clint, now with a giant H on his forehead, and the message, His code name is Hawkeye.
Darcy laughed for days.