Katniss waits as other members of the team are introduced onstage, and then it’s her turn, and she sees that Peeta is already there, standing a few feet from her. She runs to him, giving him a hug, and he kisses her until Haymitch makes them stop. They sit together on a loveseat, and Katniss cuddles up next to Peeta as they watch the highlight reel of the Hunger Games. It documents all the tributes’ deaths, as well as the scenes between Peeta and Katniss that seem to tell a love story. Katniss is grateful for the video’s edits, which have been designed to make her appear madly in love.
The video edits emphasize how the Hunger Games are just entertainment for the Capitol audience. They create a love story out of the clips because that’s what the audience wants. Many of the emotions depicted on camera were genuine, but the compilation of them paints a picture that’s not entirely true to Katniss.
President Snow, leader of Panem, arrives with a crown, breaking it in half to crown both Katniss and Peeta. By the coldness in his eyes, Katniss sees that President Snow blames her for being the instigator of the berry stunt. After the crowning, Peeta and Katniss attend a Victory Banquet, smiling and laughing for the cameras while holding hands. Afterwards, Haymitch sends Peeta off without letting Katniss talk to him. Haymitch tells Katniss to go to bed, since their interview is the next day at two.
President Snow’s gesture of breaking the crown in two emphasizes division. He knows that the fact that Peeta and Katniss outsmarted the Gamemakers as a team is dangerous to the control he has over the districts—what he wants most is to keep the districts divided.
Katniss attempts to find Peeta anyway, wandering to the roof. She returns to her room, but when she tries to leave again—this time to head directly to Peeta’s room—she finds that the door has been locked from the outside. She has the eerie feeling that she’s being monitored.
Katniss realizes that the show isn’t over, even when she’s not on television. She’s being watched, and she’s kept away from Peeta.
The next morning, Katniss joins her prep team and Cinna as they dress her for her interview. When it’s time to talk to Caesar, Katniss makes sure to allow Peeta to do most of the talking—however, she interjects when she hears about Peeta’s new leg. She hadn’t realized that his leg had had to be replaced because of the tourniquet she placed on it, even though the tourniquet did save his life. Caesar eventually directs some questions at Katniss. In particular, he asks what was going through Katniss’s mind when she decided to eat the poison berries. Katniss thinks for a bit, knowing that her answer is crucial, and she responds that she couldn’t bear the thought of being without Peeta. Peeta agrees, and the interview concludes.
Katniss's answer to the question of what was going through her mind is important because what she did in coming up with the plan to commit double suicide could be perceived by the Capitol as a direct attack against it and its rules. She hides the defiance of the gesture—in order to protect herself and those she loves—by saying that it was purely an act of love. She plays into the narrative, and in doing so minimizes any defiant action. That Peeta actually is entirely in love with her, however, means that she is not just deceiving the viewers. And, further, she does feel strongly about Peeta—perhaps not romantic love, but some sort of love and obligation, so even her subterfuge isn't entirely a lie.
Katniss and Peeta gather their things—just the mockingjay pin for Katniss—and they head to the train. They’ll have to travel again soon to go on a tour of the districts, but for now, they’re just heading back to District 12. As they move farther away from the Capitol, Katniss begins to think of home. She feels that she’s reverting to who she was in District 12, and suddenly, she feels uncomfortable with Peeta.
Because Katniss was constantly aware of keeping up appearances throughout the Games, she has a hard time figuring out how she should feel now that she might be allowed to revert back to normal.
When the train stops for fuel, Peeta and Katniss head outside, hand in hand. Peeta hands her a bunch of wildflowers, but they only remind Katniss of Gale. Peeta asks her what’s bothering her, but she replies that it’s nothing. At that moment, Haymitch appears and tells them they’ve been doing a great job and to keep it up. Peeta asks Katniss what Haymitch means and is extremely upset to discover that Katniss’s feelings for him have all been an act, part of a survival strategy. Peeta begins to distance himself from Katniss. Katniss feels sad about the distance between them, but she’s too confused to say anything. As they pull up to the station in District 12, Peeta extends his hand, adding that it’s for the cameras, and Katniss holds on tightly, dreading the moment she’ll have to let go.
Although Katniss was the one who didn’t want to pretend at the start of the Games, Peeta is now the one who’s hurt that Katniss has been strategizing with Haymitch all along. Katniss, in the end, is the one who’s been most effective at pretending. However, her sadness reveals that she does sincerely care for Peeta, but she doesn’t yet know what role that can play in their relationship outside of the Hunger Games arena, or the degree to which the false "reality" of the Games can or should or must bleed into the "reality" of the life she is returning to in District 12.