Title: Celluloid
Author: Zalia Chimera
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: America/Russia
Warnings: None

Summary: The heroes and villains of America's little play and Russia's place within.


EXT. CITY HIGH STREET – EVENING

An anonymous high street in an anonymous city which could be in Moscow or New York or almost any other large city in the world. The storefronts are all big brand names, brightly lit. IVAN BRAGINSKI stands with his back to the camera, staring into a display of top of the range ELECTRONIC GOODS. He is wearing a long grey overcoat and he quietly sings THE HYMN OF THE SOVIET UNION.

ALFRED (O.S.)
Another rally? Man, they never stop.

He does not sound entirely displeased about this. ALFRED F. JONES enters, flipping through a newspaper. He is wearing an expensive DESIGNER BUSINESS SUIT The front cover headline of the newspaper depicts a clash between two opposing rallies.

ALFRED
Can't complain though. It's beautiful in a way.
Freedom of choice. Freedom of speech.

As he walks he throws sheets of the paper casually behind himself, each one depicting a different conflict; Republican vs Democrat, Pro-Life vs Pro-Choice, Evolution vs Creationism, Iraq, Afghanistan, Terrorism, the sheets of paper keep coming.

He finally seems to notice Ivan and grins.

ALFRED
Don't you think so, Ivan?

Ivan turns. He is smiling beatifically and still humming the Soviet Anthem.

IVAN
Of course, comrade. It is a beautiful gift of Democracy.

Alfred nods enthusiastically, beaming at Ivan as Alfred approaches him. They press up against one another beneath a street lamp. Alfred cups Ivan's face. They kiss, long and slow, almost tender. As Alfred kisses Ivan, he undoes the top clasp of Ivan's overcoat, revealing a sliver of a darker collar beneath. He does not seem to notice the RED STAR pinned to Ivan's collar.

(A black space, lit by one harsh spotlight focussed on Ivan who sits on a chair in the centre. He is wearing loose grey sweatpants and t-shirt along with his scarf.)

You must understand that I do love Alfred. (He shifts uncertainly, squinting into the bright light.) Did love him. (He frowns a little, face crinkling in thought.) Or that I was in love with what I thought he was. It is not an easy thing to categorise. Love. Hate. I… I needed him for a time. Perhaps it was a form of dependency.

(Alfred appears from the darkness behind Ivan, his face in heavy shadow. His clothes are identical to Ivan's except black.)

He can be so very kind at times. (Ivan sighs.) And so innocently cruel. I do not think that he even realises that he does it.

(Alfred steps towards Ivan, the shadows twisting around his features. He speaks flatly, impassionately.)

Republicans only care about their goddam money.

(Ivan does not seem to notice.) He is always in a state of conflict. Liberal and Conservative. Capitalist and Socialist.

Democrats are practically communists.

(Ivan frowns and Alfred moves closer. Alfred's hands are clenched into fists. Ivan sighs and recites in a sing-song voice.) The poor get poorer, the rich get richer. The powerful get more power, the helpless become more so.

This is a Christian country.

That has always been the way of the world. I understand this. And when you put power in the hands of the people… (He sighs, lowering his head to his hands for a moment, shaking it.)

Separation of church and state.

(Alfred's voice rises, a dark chant, although each word is stated flatly, as though learned by rote. Ivan shifts uncomfortably, staring down at his bare palms.)

I saw a film with him once. It was a few years ago now I think. It is difficult to tell. Technology moves so quickly. A film could look out of date even after only a year!

The statistics for gun related deaths are…

It was an action movie. I cannot recall the name. (He smiles, a twisted, sour expression.) His hero was American, of course. But the villain, the villain was…

It's my right to bear arms.

(Alfred moves closer, pace by slow pace, constantly chanting, his voice becoming more animated the closer to the spotlight he comes.)

Perhaps I was foolish. (Ivan bows his head, peering through his fringe.)

Marriage is between a man and a woman.

Perhaps I was naïve. (He begins to look up slowly.)

We just want equal rights.

I believed that I was faltering. I believed that I was still looking through red tinted glasses. (He looks straight ahead.)

God created the world in six days and on the seven-

(Alfred moves up to stand behind Ivan. He is smiling as he chants. Ivan continues to speak.)

I believed that what I was seeing was the American Dream in action! The practice of a true democracy. Everyone can voice their opinion even if that opinion seems counter to the practice of democracy itself.

Evolutionary theory states that -

(Alfred begins to lean over until he is resting against the back of Ivan's chair, his lips next to Ivan's ear. Ivan seems to curl into himself, drawing his knees up in a child-like gesture.)

But now? I do not wish for those days when I was his villain, do not get me wrong. I am not incapable of seeing the flaws in what was my guiding principle. I do not know if I would go back. (His voice drops to a whisper.) I would not have a choice. I can no more separate what is me from my cities or my sibir, than I can dissociate myself from an arm or a leg or my face.

Abortion is the murder of a child.

I thought that it was the same for him. He cannot dissociate himself from his people after all. Their conflict is him just as I was as much revolutionary and Tsarist once upon a time. But America… (Alfred kisses his neck lightly, and smiles widely, perfect white teeth showing. Ivan's voice returns to a whisper again.)

He needs an enemy.

A woman's right to choose what to do to her own body.

(Ivan stands up sharply, his face twisting to an expression of anger. Alfred lets go and remains standing behind him, his expression blank once more. Ivan's words are almost a shriek.)

How can he claim to love me when I will always be Red to him?

(More softly, in Russian.)

How can he claim to love me when I will always be Red?

Alfred pulls back, pressing his lips against Ivan's throat.

ALFRED
Isn't it nice? We can be heroes together. It's just like the movies.

Alfred and Ivan continue to kiss as Alfred undoes the front of Ivan's overcoat until it falls away revealing the Soviet Uniform beneath.

The lighting suddenly turns harsh red.

ALFRED
Just like the movies.