Four has just saved Tris’s life, and he takes her to wash the blood off her face. Four explains that he’s beaten up Drew and let Peter and Al return to their dormitory. Peter claimed that he was only trying to scare Tris. Four offers to report the incident to the Dauntless government, but Tris declines—she doesn’t want the others to think she’s scared. Four nods, and tells Tris to spend more time with her transfer friends. Tris explains that she thought Al was her transfer friend. Four explains that Al liked Tris as long as she showed some weakness; in order to get the others on her side again, she’ll have to pretend to be weaker than she really is.
Tris operates according to her own “code”—in other words, she doesn’t report Peter and his henchmen, despite the fact that this would make her life easier and safer. Tris is so committed to maintaining an image of toughness and self-reliance that she doesn’t want to tarnish that image in any way. It’s also a mark of the intensity of Dauntless culture that a kind, sensitive boy like Al could be driven to hurt one of his own friends: Dauntless culture encourages everyone to compete with their peers, and doesn’t seem to punish those who use violence to get ahead.
As Tris prepares to go back to her dorm, she tells Four that her attackers didn’t just try to hurt her; they also “touched her.” Four seems to understand what this means, but Tris clarifies, “Not in the way you’re thinking … but almost.” With this in mind, Four tells Tris that she’ll need to keep herself safe for a few weeks, and not draw too much attention to herself. Four also tells Tris not to call him Four—but he doesn’t say what name Tris should use instead.
This is one of the most ambiguous passages in the novel. The idea of being “touched” has a clear sexual edge—it sounds like Tris was afraid of being sexually assaulted as well as hurt. It’s equally significant that Four picks up on Tris’s implication right away. This suggests that Four might have some personal experience with sexual assault himself. The connection between Four and Tris is closer than ever.