As Gene and Brinker returned from working in the railyard, Brinker, completely disgusted with the oblivious attitude of Leper and the humor of shoveling snow while the war was raging, announced his intentions to enlist the next day. Gene, after serious consideration with himself, decided to join Brinker in doing so. "I owed it to myself to meet this crisis in my life when I chose, and I chose now."
Feeling positive about having made this momentous decision to take control of his life and his fate, Gene came up the dorm stairs looking forward to the new adventure that he would begin the next day. His anticipation lasted until he opened the door to his room and discovered that Finny had returned.
The next morning, as Brinker learned of Finny's return when he came to ask Gene when they should go enlist, Gene came to understand that he wasn't going anywhere after all. To his astonishment and surprise, Finny wanted and needed him.
He needed me....there was no mistaking the shield of remoteness in his face and voice...The war then passed away from me, and dreams of enlistment and escape and a clean start lost their meaning for me.