She steps off onto the train platform a year after she left. She's lost weight, he notices, probably because the food she's been eating isn't as rich or as plentiful as it was in the Capitol. She barely wears any makeup at all, now, just a touch of concealer over the newly formed wrinkles and the dark circles under her eyes. She's wearing the simplest of blue dresses: no lace, no puffs in the sleeves, just a modest cut to ever so slightly accent her figure. She is almost unrecognizable.
He offers to take her bag.
He doesn't have a car and it's not far, so they walk to Victor's Village in silence. She breaks it first.
"So I've started work in Two. Plutarch has been incredibly helpful. I'm a special correspondent for their fashion stories," she says, like he knows that the fuck that is.
"And you came here why?"
"I get two weeks of vacation every year." She doesn't look at him. "Many of my friends were killed in the bombings. My parents, too. Many more are still loyal to the Capitol. They think I'm a traitor. And you did say I could come."
"So I did." They don't say anything until she breaks the silence again.
"And what have you been doing?"
He shrugs. "Drinking. Raising geese. Katniss and Peeta have started a book."
"Of past victors. Past tributes. To remember." He shakes his head. "Probably going to be in it myself, eventually."
"We all are," she says, and that's how he knows that she's changed, even a little bit. Capitol life makes you think you can live forever.
They reach his house before he can respond. "Here we are," he says, grateful to have something else to talk about. "Home sweet home." He opens the gate and is immediately greeted by his army of geese, who have all been given different names by Peeta that he can't be bothered to remember.
She grabs his arm and shrieks. "I didn't think you were serious about the geese!"
"Of course I was, sweetheart," he says, chuckling as he puts her bag down. "No point in lying."
She shuts her eyes. "I'm not opening them until they're gone."
He walks her to the front door, opens it, and gestures to a chair. "They're not coming inside, so calm the hell down and sit."
"Damn geese," she mutters.
"Damn straight," he replies. "You get to live with them waiting outside for two weeks."
"I'll get over it."
"Will you?" This is not the Effie he knew.
"I can try," she says, and he knows she's changed.