At the party, eventually Kuzon's friends are the only ones who aren't dancing. Kuzon manages to talk the older girl—On Ji remembers she said her name was Hua Mei—into joining him for a spectacular and somewhat sensual dance. The bearded man—On Ji thinks it's fake; he's too young to have a beard that thick—doesn't get completely out there dancing, but he's bobbing his head and tapping his feet along with the music. On Ji thinks that's close enough, and apparently so does Kuzon because he doesn't bug him. But the younger girl, who looks closer to On Ji and Kuzon's age, isn't dancing at all. She simply sits at the table, sipping her drink, and not looking at anything in particular.
"Don't you want to dance?" one of the boys asks her. On Ji knows it's impolite to eavesdrop, but she's curious.
"I'm not really one for dancing," she answers. "Too many people moving around in one place. It crowds my senses. I'll just sit and watch."
"Okay," he agrees and returns to the party.
It's funny, though. The girl never quite focuses her eyes on anything, but she's swaying in time with the music, following the dance moves as if she can feel them without seeing. But then, maybe that's what dancing really is.
Though Kuzon is gone, for On Ji, the revolution is just beginning. The very next day at school, everyone wears their belts as headbands—everyone who was at the dance, that is. Those who weren't feel out of the loop, minus Hidei. He tries to tell On Ji to wear her belt properly, but she flatly refuses and tells him that it's over. She's tired of his jealousy and the fact that she's not allowed to have any boy-friends because her boyfriend won't trust her. He doesn't take it well, of course, but with everyone watching and willing to jump to On Ji's defense should it get ugly, he can't afford to do anything about it.
The Headmaster can't do anything about this either. As long as this many students are wearing headbands, he can't punish them. He convinces himself that it's just a phase that the young men and ladies are going through, initiated of course by Kuzon's appearance and disappearance, and it will fade given time. He simply asks them that they not invert the school crest on their headbands, and they comply. The revolution must be gradual. First the dance party, then the headbands. Then they can get things to change.
A new girl named Shingshing arrives from the Colonies. The teacher is harsh on her, correcting every minor flaw because of the sharp memory of their last Colony student. Shingshing tries not to show it, but she's obviously about to cry when they criticize her calligraphy. It's not her fault that her hands are shaking so badly that a stroke is misplaced and completely changes the character. She's scared.
On Ji stands up and bows, offering, "Ma'am, I'll help Shingshing with her calligraphy, if it's all right. She's new, so she might need someone to be her guide to the Homeland."
It's perfectly logical and helpful, so the teacher doesn't mind the slight rebellion. After school, the shy Kame and the nervous Yasu join them for a snack of fire flakes. Jian joins in after a round of hide-and-explode, and they ask Shingshing about life in the Colonies and the arts there. Sure enough, they dance there, but it's been a long time since anyone did the phoenix flight or the chamelephant strut. The soaring dragon is all the rage, and it looks kind of like the phoenix flight, but with more jumping. They ask her if she can teach them in secret, and she hesitantly agrees. It's certainly dangerous if anyone finds out, but the danger is what makes it fun.
The next day, Shingshing walks right beside On Ji as they head to school, and she's wearing her belt as a headband.
It's several days before Jian and On Ji can return to the cave where Kuzon's party had been. They're sure to do it after school, when the truancy officers have no reason to be out and when the Headmaster won't suspect. Jian holds out a flame as he searches the wall, and On Ji realizes for the first time the way the fire dances as the wind blows. It's such a natural thing, so why doesn't the Fire Nation encourage an act that their beloved element does so beautifully?
"What are you looking for?" she asks when Jian raps a fist against the rock.
"It's solid," he notices.
"Of course it is," she replies.
"On Ji, do you wonder how Kuzon escaped that night?" he asks her.
"A little," she admits. He'd been running toward the back of the cave, giving him no chance to slip away to the front with his friends. But given the way Kuzon managed to win a fight against Hidei without throwing a punch—just by evading—she supposes she shouldn't be too surprised.
Jian is cautious to tell his secret out loud. He comes closer to On Ji and whispers, "I saw him earthbend a space in the cave closed."
"He's an earthbender?" she repeats in surprise. But it's odd that she doesn't feel betrayed like she should. Somehow, her unquestioning loyalty to the Fire Nation has faded since Kuzon arrived.
"I also saw him firebend," Jian confesses. "We were playing hide-and-explode on his first day of school. He wasn't all that good at it, but he could still do it. An earthbender can't firebend."
And things suddenly piece themselves together for both of them—the way Kuzon could hold a note on the sungi horn for so long, despite being a terrible player. The cups that their drinks had been served in, made of ice. On Ji grins in excitement and Jian looks hesitant but impressed when they both whisper, "Kuzon is the Avatar!"
They should hate him for it, but the memory of the silly dancer doesn't match up at all with the tales of the horrible enemy of the Fire Nation. Everything he said contradicted everything they'd been taught. And maybe that was a good thing.
On Ji steps back a little bit, into the stance she remembers Hua Mei in during her dance with Kuzon. Jian is confused for a moment before recognizing it, and he mimics Kuzon's stance. Their wrists lock together, and they dance.
I do not own Avatar: The Last Airbender. The title comes from a song by Josh Groban. While On Ji and Hidei were named in the episode, other friends of "Kuzon" were not, so I chose my own names for them. Jian is the boy who invited him to play hide-and-explode and saw him earthbend the cave wall. Kame is the shy, heavy boy who kept ducking his head into his collar ("kame" is Japanese for turtle, so I thought it was appropriate), and Yasu is his friend, the boy who was somewhat nervous about everything. Shingshing is, of course, an OC I created for that specific part—her name is Hangzha Chinese for "star."