When the normal school year starts in September, Brinker has moved into Leper's old room across the hall from Gene and Finny. He comes into Gene's room and makes a joking accusation that Gene caused Finny's accident in order to get the room all to himself. Brinker goes down to the Butt Room with Finny where the gag continues.
Brinker turns out to be a poet…sort of. He writes short, rhyming odes.
Brinker goes along with several other boys to help clear snow from the railroad tracks.
When he boys get back to campus, Brinker makes fun of Leper for being a naturalist. He decides that Devon is no use in a time of war, and publicly declares that he's going to enlist.
The next morning, Brinker wants to talk about enlisting with Gene, but Finny is having none of it.
Brinker and the others imagine Leper's participation in all the biggest events of the war.
Brinker, disillusioned, steps down from all his leadership positions and becomes something of a rebel on campus. Nowhere is this more clear than during Finny's Winter Carnival.
Brinker ventures that Leper must have gone mad, and Gene confirms. Brinker grows increasingly disillusioned about the military.
One day he takes Gene aside and again brings up his suspicions concerning Finny's accident.
He finally comes to Gene and Finny's room, along with an entourage, and takes the boys after hours to the assembly hall, where about ten senior boys are waiting.
Brinker proceeds to "investigate" the facts surrounding Finny's accident. As he probes Phineas, it becomes clear that Phineas has forgotten or suppressed the details of that day.
Brinker agrees to bringing Leper in as a witness, and so interrogates him as to the day in question. He grows frustrated as Leper's answers dance around the truth.
When Phineas stands up to leave, Brinker yells that they need to collect the facts.
Brinker, along with the other boys, hears the sound of Finny falling down the stairs and rush to help him afterward.
After Finny's death, Brinker introduces his father to Gene, which explains a lot more about his motivations and anger. Brinker expresses resentment that his father's generation caused the war, yet his own generation will have to fight it for them.