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|By Olorin The Black||Genre||Rating||Reviews||Updates|
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Zuko tosses and turns in his sleep before he eventually awakens. He approaches a Fire Nation prison and looks distantly towards it. As he stands near the entrance, a guard spies him from the roof and demands to know Zuko's identity, but he simply walks away instead.
Meanwhile, Aang and the others are traveling through the Fire Nation, using a combination of Waterbending and Airbending to hide Appa in a cloud. They take temporary shelter in a cave, and go to seek out new clothes so they could blend in the Fire Nation, eliminating the need to hide. They find an unattended clothesline and steal some outfits. Aang uncomfortably blushes when Katara comes in her new outfit, and he quickly indicates that she has to remove her Water Tribe necklace. Afterwards they go to town to buy some accessories (including a new necklace for Katara, who sadly removes her mother's Water Tribe necklace).
In town, the group attempts to act natural, which is somewhat impeded by Aang, who, having traveled through the Fire Nation a century before, claims to be an expert of their customs. He calls people he sees on the street "hotman" and other expressions that have clearly been out of date for a hundred years. When the others go to buy food from a meat stand, Aang declines due to his vegetarianism and goes off on his own for a bit. However, he is quickly caught by a group of men who escort him into a classroom. His stolen clothing happens to be the uniform of a local school, and the soldiers assume he had been a student playing hooky. The teacher assumes he is a new student from the Fire Nation colonies in the Earth Kingdom. Aang calls himself Kuzon after his old Fire Nation friend and attempts to blend in at the school with partial success. After dismissal he meets a girl named On Ji, who is friendly to him, as well as On Ji's apparent boyfriend, Hide, a popular student who is less than friendly. After a brief confrontation, Aang winds up making friends and playing with Shoji and other children from the school.
Aang returns to the cave at nightfall, to the relief of Katara, Sokka, and Toph who were evidently worried by his long absence. The fact that he had been attending a Fire Nation school all day shocks Aang's friends, especially Sokka. When Aang claims to have enjoyed the experience and wishes to return to the school the next day Sokka strongly objects. Aang argues that every minute in the class he is learning new things about the Fire Nation (showing Sokka a picture of Ozai as well as one he made out of noodles). Eventually Aang manages to convince him to allow it by pointing out that it's an opportunity to find out information about the Fire Nation, specifically mentioning a "secret river" they were going to learn about that led to Fire Lord Ozai's palace. Sokka admits that he is a fan of "secret rivers" and reluctantly permits Aang to go back the next day. Aang is full of joy, and says, "Flameo, hot man!" to Sokka, who doesn't have a clue what he just said.
Meanwhile, Zuko returns to the prison. When confronted by the guard from the previous night, he threatens him not to tell anyone about his visit to the castle. He goes into the room where Iroh is being kept prisoner; Iroh turns away from him, showing great disappointment in his nephew. Zuko tells Iroh that it is his own fault that he is in prison, and that the two could have returned to the Fire Nation together as heroes. Iroh still refuses to speak, sending Zuko into a fit of rage, leaving a saddened Iroh alone in the cell.
The next day at school, Aang gets in trouble for not properly reciting the Fire Nation Oath correctly, as he had obviously never heard it. The students think his bumbling through the oath is a funny joke, but the teacher punishes his disruption of the class by calling for a pop quiz on the Fire Nation's history. The first question asks for the year in which Fire Lord Sozin defeated the Air Nation Army. Aang, confused, points out to the stunned class that the Air Nomads had no formal military, and were defeated by an ambush. The teacher rejects his claim, as it is not in the Fire Nation's history texts, and stated that unless he was there 100 years ago, he has no right to argue.
In Band class, Aang tries to play the Tsungi Horn and gets chided by the teacher for dancing, which apparently is not considered proper in the Fire Nation. Nevertheless, On Ji is amused by the dance, and when Aang offers to show it to her during recess he incurs the wrath of Hide, who attempts to hit him. However, Aang skillfully evades every attempted blow with his hands behind his back, eventually getting the clearly outmatched Hide to stumble and fall over without any bending or even touching him. However, this gets Aang into trouble for "roughing up" a favored student of The Headmaster, resulting in a parent-teacher conference. Sokka and Katara attend the conference acting as Aang's parents, "Mr. Wang Fire" and "Mrs. Sapphire Fire". While they manage to succeed in fooling the teacher, Sokka is against Aang returning to school ("NO more school for you young man"). Aang, however, insists that they need to do something for the children in the school in order to allow them, at least briefly, to have freedom of expression. Since these students are the next generation of the Fire Nation, changing them might help. He then plans to hold a secret dance party in the cave for everyone in the school(to which Sokka, still wearing his beard, demands that he goes to his room).
Meanwhile, Zuko has a romantic picnic with Mai and they share a kiss. The two are interrupted by Azula, who tries to get Zuko to talk to her. He refuses, resulting in Azula sending Mai away; Mai complies politely, but shoots Azula a quick, venomous look as she passes. Azula tells Zuko about Sozin being back at the palace and tells him to go see Sozin. Azula then tricks Zuko into admitting that he was visiting Iroh, and warns him, with apparent sincerity, not to do so, as his visiting a traitor would make others suspicious. Nevertheless, Zuko visits his uncle in prison again. Again Iroh merely faces away from Zuko. Zuko attempts to be kinder, bringing Iroh food as a gift. Zuko begs Iroh for his advice; he explains that he believes the Avatar to be alive, and that he is very confused and has no idea what to do about it without Iroh's guidance. When Iroh remains silent, Zuko flies into another rage, berating Iroh, then leaves. As he leaves, Iroh remains silent, but a tear runs down his face.
Back in the cave, the children arrive and the school band begins to play. The children do not know how to dance and are afraid they'll get in trouble. Aang demonstrates some historical Fire Nation dances, and eventually asks On Ji to dance, which gradually encourages the rest of the students to do the same. Sokka states that Aang and On Ji look good together, to which Katara gives a slightly terse response. Later, Aang asks Katara to dance. After hesitating, she takes Aang's hand and they perform a combination of neijia drills and capoeira in synchronization, which does indeed appear to be an acrobatic dance. However, the headmaster and several teachers appear on the scene, having been told of the dance by Hide. They try to catch Aang, but he hides within the crowd of kids. Because the teachers identify Aang with his headband, they are thrown off when they discover several other students wearing the same headband. Eventually, every student in the cave appears to have put one on, effectively delaying the headmaster's hunt for Aang.
The crew manage to slip away in the opening behind the cave. But before leaving, Aang stops and exchanges smiles with Shoji before running off, closing the opening behind him with Earthbending and leaving Shoji speechless. While the party flies off on Appa, Toph compliments Aang on his efforts, which she believes made a serious impact on the students. Katara agrees and kisses Aang on the cheek, causing him to blush. Sokka refuses to take his fake beard off, claiming that it is permanently glued to his skin.
Meanwhile, Zuko walks into a dark alley at night. There he meets with a mysterious man with a metal arm and leg, as well as a tattooed third-eye. Zuko states his purpose for contacting the man very simple: he has heard the man is capable of doing his job effectively and secretly, and Zuko wants him to track down and eliminate the Avatar
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