At the beginning of Chapter 11, Gene has come back from Vermont and wants to see Finny. He becomes part of a snowball fight that Finny organized. Later, Gene tells Finny and Brinker that Leper was Absent Without Leave. Brinker reacts by saying that “poor old Leper” couldn’t handle life in the army. He guesses that Leper must be crazy and Gene confirms his suspicions. Later, Brinker tells Gene that things won’t be normal unless people start acting natural about what happened to Finny.
Later that night, Brinker drags Gene and Finny to the First Building. Brinker is holding some kind of inquiry into the accident; Brinker brings Leper, who was at the scene of the accident, out to speak. When Leper says that Gene did indeed push Finny, Finny starts crying and runs from the room. He falls on the marble steps outside, and breaks his leg again.
The boys rush out to help Finny while one goes to get Dr. Stanpole. Finny is driven by to the infirmary. Gene decides to go to the infirmary and see how Finny is. Finny is angry at Gene, and falls out of his bed while trying to get up and come at him. Gene says he’s sorry, and leaves. When Gene goes back to give Finny some of his things, Finny asks if Gene pushed him on purpose. Gene says that it was an impulse inside him. Finny believes him.
One day, after lunch, Gene goes to the infirmary again to see Finny. He learns that Finny died during surgery. Dr. Stanpole explains that his bone marrow went directly to his heart and stopped it, causing him to die. Gene can’t get himself to cry because he feels like he died, and a dead person cannot cry.
In Chapter 13, we learn that Gene will serve in the Navy and Brinker in the Coast Guard. Gene talks about how Finny influenced him in his life.