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Author's Chapter Notes:
I had the idea for this fic—well, the punchline, anyway—before this series started and after a conversation with Kadorienne about the idea of a possible Eroica/Batman crossover.

Culture Shock

“Why did we come here again?” Dorian asked as he looked out the car window at the dark, sleek structures stretching upward into the sky above Gotham City. The city certainly lived up to its name. It was quite gothic. Even in the daylight, it was very…dark.

The Major heaved an exasperated sigh, throwing a quick sideways glance in the Earl’s direction. “I am here for a conference,” he replied coldly. “You are here to annoy me.”

A bright smile illuminated the Earl’s face. “Oh yes! That was it.”

Klaus was too busy concentrating on the heavy traffic at this point to throw an angry scowl in the other man’s direction.

After he had whipped the ineffectual fools making up Europe’s meteor enhanced Hall of Heroes—or whatever the hell they were calling themselves these days—into some sort of organized fighting force, he had been invited to the U.S. to assist the M.E.’s there to do the same. Or at least, to advise those trying to train them.

Klaus had not been surprised to see the Earl patiently waiting for him at the airport with a smug expression on his face, the bloody showoff. After this was a quick stop for a briefing, to pick up his paperwork, and to find out who his liaison was. Bloody Batman.


“Is it true that Batman’s filing a lawsuit against you?” Dorian asked suddenly, breaking into the Major’s train of thought. “Trademark infringement or some such thing?”

“Shut up.”

“Now, Major…”

Klaus was grateful for the red light, which gave him the opportunity to glare at the Earl. “I am not going to discuss that ridiculous name that those fucking idiots pinned on me!”

Dorian leaned back in his seat, twirling a curl around a finger. “I think it’s cute.”

“Iron Klaus is not cute!”

The Earl flashed a bright smile. “I disagree.” He leaned over to plant a lightning-fast kiss on the man’s cheek just as the light changed. “Green for go, my Fledermaus.”

A low growl rose in the Major’s throat. “Don’t call me that!” he snapped. “You dislike Fabulousman—”

“Well, that’s different.”

How?” came the pointed reply.

“Well…” Dorian fumbled a moment. He hadn’t really thought about it. Neither of them had actually chosen the names that now seemed to follow them. They had been chosen for them…somehow.

It was to this that the Earl finally conceded. He looked back out the window at the chrome and glass structure that seemed to be their final destination. The parking garage was even more gothic than the exterior. “I don’t see what’s wrong with Eroica,” he said breezily. “It’s a perfectly good name.”

“Eroica, Prince of Thieves?” Klaus countered, pulling into a parking space and finally killing the engine. He turned to look directly at the Earl.

“You know full well that Eroica means hero,” Dorian said, crossing his arms. “And Fabulousman sounds like…like… Oh, I don’t know. A flying fashion show.”

“You are a flying fashion show!” Klaus said as he reached back to retrieve his briefcase from the back seat. “Never wearing the same thing twice…”

“I still have my standards, Major!” Dorian saw a dark look pass over Klaus’s face when he looked at his watch. “When’s your meeting?”

“Not for another two hours.”

Dorian’s eyes flickered. “I know how we can pass the time…” he purred seductively, running a finger up the officer’s arm.

Klaus gave him a sideways glance and allowed a small smile to play at the edges of this mouth. “I don’t have any roses.”

“Oh!” Dorian motioned as though to slap his arm, but stopped short of actual physical contact. He was determined to never harm his beloved Major again.

Klaus opened the briefcase and pulled out a folder. “You might as well see who your competition is,” he said, handing them over a stack of photographs.

Dorian’s bright blue eyes widened as he paged through the photos. “These are M.E.’s?”

“No. Batman’s standard unenhanced villains, apparently.”

“You are joking?”

Klaus tapped a finger on the photo of The Joker. “No, that’s his jurisdiction.”

"Good God! He's all teeth!"

The Earl flipped from one photo to the next as the Major briefed him about them. Each villain seemed more outrageous than the next. And the names! Scarecrow, Catwoman, Riddler, Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, Mad Hatter, The Penguin, Two-Face, Bookworm… The costumes. The hair. The…makeup?!

After going through them all, Dorian handed the photos back to the Major and announced that he was flying back to England. This naturally took Klaus completely off guard. “Just like that? Why?”

“Oh, my dearest Klaus…” Dorian leaned over, giving him a tender kiss on the mouth. “As over-the-top as I am, clearly, no one can out camp Batman.”

* * *

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