He's always known he will win the Hunger Games. It's what he's always been told, and he believes it. After all, he is easily the best in his district, and no other district even comes close to challenging Two. So he doesn't feel arrogant saying that he will win, because he will.
At least, that is what he's always thought, before he got shipped off to the Capitol with her. Now he doesn't know what to think.
He tells himself he doesn't love her. Is anyone from District Two capable of love? He doesn't think so. But whatever it is or isn't that he feels for her, it scares him. Because he is a Career and he shouldn't feel anything but a desire to win and, after he's won, a desire to lead others to victory. Always bringing glory and honor to his district. That's what it's all about, after all.
Sometimes, though, when it's just the two of them, he allows himself to feel. But he'll deny it later.
He is from District Two. He is a Career. He shouldn't feel. But as much as he repeats this like a mantra in his head, it never sticks. It's always conveniently gone when he's alone with her, when he lets his walls down and emotions start happening.
He's always been told that the only thing worth thinking about is the Games, but he's not sure if he believes that anymore. She's pretty great, too. But he never tells anyone that, never voices his opinion on her. When the mentors ask, he says she is strong, lethal, and will very likely be a Victor, too. Just not this year, because it's his year.
Only it's not, because they're standing on that stage together. Knowing only one of them will live to see District Two again.
He actually thinks the Capitol is pretty great. It's bright and noisy and there are plenty of things to distract him, and that's good. The less time he has to think about her, about their whole situation, the better.
But at night, when she sneaks into his room, all of his efforts come crashing down. Because he realizes that he does care. It's not love, but he cares.
She always leaves before dawn, and he's glad. It gives him enough time to pick up the pieces and block her out again.
The other tributes are probably panicking when they start rising through the tube. He knows this, and he laughs. He isn't scared at all.
The bright sun blinds him for a second when he rises into the Arena. When his sight returns, his eyes are drawn to her. It's almost automatic, and that scares him. They are enemies now.
But it can't scare him more than what he feels when the countdown begins. He glances over the weapons in the mouth of the Cornucopia. In his mind, he sees the mass bloodshed that will follow the gong. He sees all this, and the thought is in his head before he can stop it. It won't be her. It won't be her that dies.
He shouldn't feel this; he shouldn't feel anything. But he does. And he knows that he must be the most pathetic tribute in District Two history. Because District Two tributes don't think about things like death, and they definitely don't think about dying for someone else. But he does, and he knows he would. For her, he would die.
And that scares him most of all.