The Avengers think they're fine - they’ve dealt with gangs with guns before, and the crooks Director Hill has tasked them with arresting hardly look like professionals: from the bright colours and pixie boots, they look like they’ve all tumbled out of the circus. Stark points this out to them by way of a greeting.
“Eh,” a blonde man in stripes shrugs, wiggling his hand. “Close, no cigar.”
The Rogues don't know whether to coo or to feel insulted when they see the professional team that have come to try and take them in. On the one hand, these newbies think they can take them. Sweet. On the other, what, is Wally too busy for them now? Has the League started hiring interns for a ‘Little League’ and suddenly the Rogues have been demoted to the bottom of the criminal food chain that they aren’t worth the great Flash’s time?
The short brief Shield gave them had been simple: the self-dubbed “Rogues” work as a team, so their best strategy is to divide and conquer. So they work at doing just that, and through a mix of strategic cover fire and Banner’s intimidation, they succeed.
But then again, by the time the Avengers realise how all-too-easy it was to split the team up, it was far too late.
The Avengers may have a demi-god, a super solider, a genius scientist, two spies, a witch, and a billionaire, but they don’t match up to the conman heralded ‘cleverness incarnate’.
So the Avengers succeed in scattering the Rogues, and the Rogues let them have their literal victory. It’s only kind.
But they are only so kind.
Steve will admit fear as willingly as he will admit defeat, but the sight of the Hulk swaying uneasily, the green fading from him as lilting flute music curls through the air from an alleyway to narrow for Banner to fit down unnerves him. By all accounts, if it came down to it, Bruce should've been the last man standing. Captain Rogers watches as the red-haired man in the green cape emerges from the shadowy alley as Bruce, now back in his usual form, slumps to the ground, asleep. Steve catches the Rogue’s eye and the man smiles and gives him a mock bow, before ducking back inside the alleyway and out of sight.
“Banner’s down,” Captain Rogers informs the team down the com as he runs towards the alley. “The Pied Piper took him out - I’m going after him now. Has everyone isolated a target?” Above him, there’s the clap of thunder.
“I’ll take that as a ‘yes’.”
Thor is enjoying baiting the man flying above him. “You fly, I admire that!” he calls up to the man. He twirls Mjolnir and sores upwards, landing on the roof of a skyscraper. He walks to the building’s edge, tossing his hammer and catching it. Pointing it at the man floating fifteen feet from the building’s edge, he grins.
“So what of it, Weather Wizard?” Thor calls to him. “You think yourself a match for the God of Thunder?” He’s twirling a silver rod lazily between his fingers and there are sparks crackling around his dark eyes. Sparks, Thor thinks to himself, shaking his head in amusement. Child's play. He can do better.
Marco raises an eyebrow as he watches a flood of lightning flash across the sky, converging on the man's bulky hammer. "'God of Thunder'," he repeats.“That,” he says with contempt, “for starters, is lightning.” He drops out of the sky as Thor drops his hammer and blasts the lightning at him once, twice, and a third time.
“You know,” Thor goads, “you’d make this a lot easier if you stayed still.”
The Weather Wizard’s lip curls as he pushes himself upwards with the wind currents, his long coat and hair flapping around him. He dodges a few more blasts skillfully, soaring high into the sky and back down onto the other side of the building.
“Is that all you can do?”
Marco’s eyes go white as he raises the wand in his hand. The Asgardian can only watch as the world bends to the man’s will; the clouds descend and the wind picks up, pulling him irresistibly into the tornado building above the roof of the building. “God of thunder?” the Wizard drawls with a smile.
Clint dives from the roof just in time as a hurricane rips Thor from the building a few blocks from him.
He fumbles in his quiver until he finds the right arrow and fires it on instinct. The grappling hook meets its target and he swings round the side of the building, skidding safely across the ground as he lands, reaching again for an arrow. He watches the sky wide-eyed as Thor's hammer is hurled from the hurricane towards the man channeling the elements. Before it can reach him, it swerves dramatically and hurtles towards the ground, behind a building and out of the archer's sight. Clint pulls three arrows from his quiver, rapidly loading and firing each one after the other towards the man floating in the sky untouched by the violent storm brewing. They zip through the air towards the Weather Wizard, however they’re sliced from the air by something silver.
Clint swings round, bow loaded and fires two arrows at the man in the blue coat behind him. Each shot is deflected cleanly by the curved blades in his hands.
As Clint reaches for his quiver again, the man laughs. “See, that’s the problem, Robin Hood! You gotta keep reloading! While mine-” the man sniggers, watching something just over Clint’s shoulder “-come back!”
The boomerang hits him before the realisation does.
Tony watches, dumbfounded, as Thor's hammer careers through the air and drops into the hand of the blonde woman dressed in silver and pink on the ground.
“Well that’s new,” he murmurs to himself, propelling the suit downwards. “Should be fun- Hey, Britney Spears!” The woman holding Thor’s hammer looks up at him hovering above her as he trains his pulsars on her. "You might wanna give that back!"
She tilts her head, looking at his suit in interest. "Gold-titanium alloy, yes?"
"Beauty and brains," echoes out of the suit. "Shame you're on their side."
"And what side is that?" she calls up with a collected curiosity.
"Sir," JARVIS interrupts. "I must inform you that-"
“I’m not a career criminal.” Her hair is floating up now, fanning out like she’s underwater and her eyes are glowing. “But I am interested in pest control.”
"That still translates to ‘I’m a bad guy’ in this sitch, pretty-in-pink!" Tony shouts, firing a series of warning shots towards her on the ground.
“Sir, please, she-”
The woman raises her the hand not cradling Thor’s hammer like it’s a toy. “It’s Magenta.”
"Whatever, glamazon, you-” He tries to raise his arm to fire at her again, but something’s wrong. “JARVIS?" He can't move. The suit has seized up around him. "JARVIS?"
"Sir, it appears Magenta is manipulating the Earth's magnetic fields and thus has full control of the metal elements your suit is composed of."
Tony watches the information JARVIS is feeding him across the visor of his suit. He looks impressed, all the while grunting, attempting to get his suit to obey him. The woman named Magenta lowers her hand slowly, and Tony grits his teeth, groaning against the heavy pressure of the suit against him as she leisurely drags him out of the air towards her on the ground.
"I have never been more attracted to a woman in my life," Tony quips, tone pained.
"Quite literally, sir,” JARVIS agrees.
“It’s a gold-titanium alloy,” Magenta announces once Tony is floating a foot from the ground.
“You don’t have to tell me, sweetheart,” Tony mutters.
“She wasn’t talking to you,” a calm voice behind him says.
JARVIS open up the rear-view camera: a man in a green hood is stood behind him, tapping the rough stubble of his chin with a finger.
“So, Britney, who’s Mr A who’s joined the party?”
“It’s ‘Dr’, actually,” Albert says calmly. He steps around the suit, eyeing it with interest. “Now, 'Iron' Man," the scientist says slowly, pulling something gold and glowing out of his pocket. "I'd quite like to run a few tests on your suit..."
Natasha is silent as she steps through the building. She’d see three of the Rogues run into here, and it’s clear now how painfully they’ve underestimated them. She’s got both guns ready, not willing to take chances with a single one of them.
The bank building is ornate and glimmering. There’s no one in sight, and the whole place is silent. She can hear the sound of shouting and crashing outside, but in the bank you could hear a pin drop.
Natasha whips round and fires the pistol the second she sees something move out of the corner of her eye. The bullet buries itself in the mirror, right in the heart of her own reflection, and long cracks splinter out from the centre, breaking the mirror into seven jagged shards on the wall.
She knew she’d was out of practice, but she shouldn’t be that bad, she thinks to herself, scowling at the broken mirror. She’s a professional, she shouldn’t be jumping at shadows.
She turns her back on the mirror, silently stepping backwards until she’s stood flat against the wall, scanning the room.
“That,” says the voice right next to her left ear, blowing out a trail of cigarette smoke, “is seven years bad luck, you know.”
The Black Widow’s fist collides with the mirror where the man had been leaning out of just a second ago. The mirror shatters into glittering pieces around her knuckles, and the Sam Scudder’s face laughs at her over and over and over in every single sharp facet of glass.
“Cap,” Tony’s voice comes over the com breathless. “We’ve been played. We need to get out here. Regroup. We need-!”
“I’m a little busy right now!” Steve shouts, bracing himself behind his shield as the human turbine pounds against the vibranium like a drill head. He can feel his boots dragging against the gravel as he’s pushed backward by the spinning blur of green and yellow; the velocity of the human hurricane’s offense only increasing and it’s too much.
“Wanda! I need a little help here!” Rogers shouts down the coms, and he strains against his shield as the Top speeds back and attempts an assault at a new angle. The blur of red sparkling out of the corner of his eye gives Steve a new resolve to push back against the Top and keep him in place until Wanda’s got him pinned down.
Roscoe can feel the friction building against him down as blurs of red try to force his spinning to a grinding halt. He grits his teeth and powers against it for as long as he can, before slowing and revolving the other way, away from the soldier to face the woman in the air. She raises her hands, a look of concentration of her face as she shapes the red glow spreading from her fingers.
The feeling is unwelcome, the uncomfortable prodding at the edges of his mind, trying to slip in, to take over. Roscoe bares his teeth.
“You alter minds. I can do that too, you know,” he challenges, and Wanda slumps in the air, cradling her head in her hands with a cry as the world spins and swims before her. The red haze leaves Roscoe as the Scarlet Witch focuses on lowering herself safely to the ground, trying to get the world to focus again, when there’s a simpered cough behind her.
The Golden Glider spins elegantly and raises her leg in a swift kick, knocking the Witch out in one smooth swipe.
“Enchanting him is my job,” Lisa smiles as she steps over Wanda’s unconscious body and leans into Roscoe’s side.
“That it is, my love,” Roscoe murmured, taking her hand in his and kissing it. “Now what happened to the super sol- Oh,” Roscoe says, trying not to smile. “Bless.”
“That everyone?” Len asks, stepping around Captain America followed by Mick and Sam. The super soldier is frozen in place, glistening with frost and ice shield drawn back ready to be thrown.
“He makes an excellent statue,” muses Roscoe. “Very Grecian.”
“Right,” Len snorts. “Can someone get Flash on the phone and get him to come round these bozos up?” he barks to the Rogues. “I want a word with him about slacking on the job and sending in amateurs…”