A/N: Arrghh. I thought Justin's chapter was hard, but it was nothing compared to this. Please review, I need feedback on this one.

Silent Soldiers

Terry Boot: Need Me

Do you know the exact magical theory behind the Cruciatus Curse?

Do you know why powdered root of asphodel reacts with wormwood to create the Draught of the Living Dead? What gives a mandrake its restorative powers? How to create a jinx?

I do. In fact, we all do.

It's our business, really – to know things. I and my fellow Ravenclaws are forever driven by the need to know not just what words to say, or which potions ingredients to use in which order, but how and why they work. It is never enough to know that Alohomora opens locks. We need to know how the spell was developed, who created it, what the theory is behind it, how it compensates for different types of locks, which locking spells it is useless against...in short, we need to know everything.

I don't think it such a strange trait. Even Muggles understand it. Their scientists and philosophers, much as they claim to disagree, are all searching for the same thing. Answers. Explanations. What is wrong with wanting to know the answers to everything?

The other houses don't understand. They view our common room, which looks like a library exploded within it, with disdain and amusement. They tune out our arguing over arcane literature and obscure philosophies and runes. They glare at us when we turn in rolls and rolls of parchment for a simple assignment and snigger behind our backs when someone like Hermione Granger beats everyone on a test. Take that, Ravenclaw, their smirks tell us. Not so smart now, are you?

Will they never comprehend that it isn't about the test grades, the OWL scores? It is only about the motive that drives us incessantly, obsessively; about the pure, intoxicating joy that comes from learning for its own sake. Becoming Head Boy and receiving top scores are nice, but they are only perks on the way to a greater end.

Most students believe that Hermione should have been in Ravenclaw because she's smart and magically gifted. They don't realize that Ravenclaw isn't about being smart, not necessarily. It's about the desire to know things, regardless of natural intelligence. The Sorting Hat once described us as "those of wit and learning." We know and believe that knowledge is not a means to an end – it is an end in itself.

It might also surprise people to realize that intelligence does not translate into magical strength. Some of the most learned people in Ravenclaw do not receive better than average grades, for though they can run rings around everyone on theory, they cannot hold up in the practice exam. Why else would so many of us work in laboratories? There we can research and be useful in a way no one else can.

Yet for many people, that is not enough. I know Ravenclaw is regarded as a lesser House. The strongest go to Slytherin and Gryffindor, while the rest get shafted into Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff. The attacks come from all sides. What good do Ravenclaws do? our detractors ask. Who cares about books when real people are dying and hurting? Come out of your academic fog and look at reality for a change. Wake up and make a difference!

I try not to let it bother me. I don't need anyone else's approval to be the way I am. But I wonder sometimes: Where do the criticizers think they would be if no one had ever studied healing? If there was no law, no Ministry, no vaccinations, no deterrents for magical pests? These things did not spring from the sea fully formed. They were the fruits of years of experimentation and toil – our years. My years. As for an academic fog – someone needs to be able to look at a situation dispassionately and find a workable solution. So it can isolate us – is that really so wrong?

Where would the healers be without our potions research? What about the Aurors, with their camouflage and complex defensive spells, all exhaustively tested by Ravenclaws locked away from the world? Virtually every spell, hex, jinx, or curse used in Britain has been crafted, analyzed, and perfected, sometimes over years. The majority of that work falls to us, silent in the background, studying, working.

Some have said that we are cowards. It is true that there are few Ravenclaws in the front lines of battle. But if not for us, there would be no battlefield. There would be no victory.

Do you know that someday you will need me?

Someday they will all know that they need me.