"I'm sorry," she says, the instant they are alone on this familiar fucking train.

He is mildly surprised. Enobaria makes a habit of never apologizing. She's served her time, she always says, there is nothing to say sorry for, and if she can't have anything else she is going to take the ability to not regret her mistakes. Even when she should.

"Do you understand why I did it?" she asks. They are sitting across from each other in one of the train booths, an embarrassment of riches laid out before them. (Truffle-glazed potatoes, of course; he wonders if the Avoxes pity her.) He looks at her; her eyes are wet but her face is set in stone. "I went to all that trouble and you ruined it."

"Trouble?" he says, louder than he intended. "Yeah, you looked like you were expending so much effort, when you said you didn't care any more, and then you left."

"I said I couldn't be with you," she clarifies, her voice strained, "and I left, all so that you wouldn't have to care if I died, and then you decided that wasn't good enough and you'd rather kill us both."

He considers this; it's true.

"I would care anyway," he says. "I did care anyway." He helps himself to a few spoonfuls of truffle-glazed potatoes. And then, when he needs something else to busy himself with, two airy dinner rolls as big as his fist and as insubstantial as a puff of foam. She sits across from him, glaring resolutely out the window, and he sees her left hand dart up to wipe imperceptibly under her eyes.

"Well, I lied." she says finally. She reaches forwards for the potatoes. Their eyes meet, across the table. "I love you."

He takes a bite of the roll. "I love you too."

She flashes him a smile, sardonic and so quick that he almost misses it. "But don't say I didn't warn you," she adds. He wonders if she means it to sound so dark and heavy in the air around them.

He feels it on his heels, the growing reality that he is about to go through all the pageantry and preparation and hell of the Arena again, but this time with her, this time knowing that she will either live or die, this time trying his hardest to kill the people he's spent countless dinners with and bought drinks at Capitol bars and congratulated during Victory Tours and gloated over and betted with, who have been through it the same as him and come the closest to understanding, who all have their unique, varyingly dysfunctional ways of dealing with the innate ruin.

But he loves her, and she loves him, and she smiled, if only for a second.