Grasping Insanity
by Lithanika
A Dresden Files (bookverse) fanfiction

Description: When isn't someone or something conspiring against this lovable hero?

-Chapter One-

Some days, it's unbearably hot in Chicago. Like, really hot; even to the point where sausages will just roast themselves just to get it over with, rather than suffer the heat like I was suffering now.

Of course, it didn't help that Mother Nature was getting pretty irritated with all the crap we were dumping on her. Global warming and climate change, all that jazz, y'know?

As I dodged another fireball flying towards my face, I rolled to the side, briefly scoffing at my current situation.

Mother Nature was so lucky she had no say in the creation of this.

Some thirty feet away from me stood an easily fifteen feet tall vaguely humanoid monstrosity bathed in angry, red-orange flames. A pair of bright white slits for eyes focused on me, and it began to lumber towards me, fire trailing in both its wake and curled fists.

I hastily stood up. The even brighter sun glared down upon me, and for once, I regretted having not designed a protective coat that was compatible with the damned heat. I was going to suffer a heatstroke and die first than be pummeled or burnt to a crisp by the angry elemental stalking towards me.

I glanced around futilely. I was in a wooded area near Lake Michigan, and surrounded by the charred remains of both plant and haphazardly strewn belongings of the campers nearby. Small fires here and there cracked and popped, and faintly I could hear the cries of the innocent nearby, which only served to fuel my anger even further.

Elemental djinn, as I was aware, were usually deployed as sentient guardians for the tombs of pharaohs but not restricted only to the royal bloodlines. The practice of summoning and binding to objects of great significance were just as common, as I had been told, although much more deadlier to contain due to the usually magical nature of the objects themselves. Those djinn, much like the one I was facing, possessed far more magic and strength than normally present.

Not to mention more hate, as I rolled away from another deafening blast or fire and heat.

Wiping the sweat from my brow, I struggled to my knees, wincing as my bare skin touched the smoldering dirt. The djinn continued to advance on me, and I backed away, still looking for any signs of stopping the elemental. I glanced at the lake, the obvious answer to the solution.

If only I could distract this guy long enough. I would never be able to evoke that much water without a moment's notice, even if I didn't have some big, hot, and angry monster breathing down my neck.

"What to do, what to do..." I muttered, quickly raising my shield bracelet to block another blast, the flickering surface of my shield momentarily obscuring my view. I continued to fuel energy into the bracelet, strengthening the barrier, as I rapidly thought about what options I had on hand when the blows of fire stopped.

"Hey, big and ugly! Yeah, you, Hothead!" A firm and feminine cry broke out opposite of my position, and I raised an eyebrow in surprise as both me and the Djinn turned towards the newcomer.

The girl had her hair up in pigtails. Soot covered most of her, and she showed no fear despite challenging an angry elemental. In accommodation with the hot weather, she was dressed in a tank top and shorts, although that was mixed together awkwardly with a pair of knee-high combat boots. Grasped in her hands was a large Super Soaker, and she pumped it once in mock duel, squirting a jet of water from its nozzle.

The djinn roared in anger, and began to lumber towards her, arms outstretched. The girl fired the mock weapon in defiance, and I noted gleefully to see the djinn hesitate slightly in his advance, despite the dismal amounts of water the girl was using. I knew the elemental would eventually push aside his natural fear of its polar element, so I had to act quick.

Hoping that the girl could fend off the djinn for a moment or two longer, I ran over to the shore. Ignoring the burning intensity of the sand, I traced a circle with a broken branch, willing power into the construct as I closed it off. Feeling the heat suddenly snap off in response to my creation, I knelt.

"Aquavarius, aquaverium, aquavastria..." I murmured, repeating it as I rotated my wrist in a rocking motion. I could feel the subtle energies growing and expanding exponentially around my arm as I got to my feet, never stopping my chant.

"I hope you got a plan, Harry." I glanced briefly at the young girl beside me. Molly Carpenter gave me a small smile, wincing as she coughed. Her hair had unraveled during the short encounter, and limp blonde hair hung around her blackened face. Her blue eyes trailed over me for a moment before settling again on the advancing djinn, who had located its prey.

I nodded and broke the circle with my foot, snarling in pain as the power I controlled within my arm suddenly spiked with added pressure. The djinn now stood on the very edge of the shore, and ambled towards the girl and me, each step turning the sand beneath its feet into glass. I swallowed, and broke out in fresh sweat as its heat began to envelop me too.

"I always do, little grasshopper."

Behind me, Molly stifled a laugh and coughed.

"If this fails," I told her, "Jump into the lake. I'll be right behind ya." I faced the djinn, who was now within twenty feet of me. Its long arms were extended, and the flames along the limb were dancing in anticipation.

I raised my arm despite the weight of power I held. Behind me, I could hear faint rumbling as the lake churned in response to my actions. For a long moment, nothing happened. The djinn tilted its head in puzzlement, and I almost did too, fearing the worst. Was it not enough?

I stood tall and resolute though. Had to have some confidence in my abilities, right?

The faint rumbling continued, followed by a succession of rapidly rising bubbles from the surface of the lake. Another moment of silence passed by until a giant arm, reminiscent of mine even down to my shield bracelet, broke the surface. Comprised purely of water, I could hear the plips and plops as fish and debris fell out of my construction.

Inwardly, I let out a sigh. Whew.

"You look thirsty." I remarked, grinning broadly now, never mind the strain of maintaining my spell. The djinn recoiled away, hissing. Our eyes met, human and elemental. I could feel its hatred, unbound and dreadfully focused, but hesitant nonetheless.

Hey, I would be too if I was facing someone with a fifty foot tall giant watery hand of Pure Awesome. It would hurt.

And we both knew it.

With my remaining scarred hand, I taunted the djinn. Behind me, Molly took a small step backwards.

The next few moments were a blur. All I recalled was a surge of intense and rapidly expanding fire that met my pillar of murky green water, and the resulting explosion of hot, vicious steam that blasted me off my feet. I caught a glimpse of the beautiful blue sky above me as I soared through the air, my arms eagle spread.

Hey, I'm just like a bird!

Everything went black, and I barely felt the cool lake water wash over me as I sank into the water's depths. There was no resistance, no pain; just tranquil, muffled sounds as everything settled down again. My eyes opened just a sliver, and I could just sense the rippling effects of the refracting sunlight. My arms, although numb dangled in front of me as I continued to sink, tried to grab a hold of the shafts of light.

Bah, can't do anything right, Harry... Can't even grab sunlight. How weak are you?

My vision began to fail then, and vaguely I felt my back hit something hard. A rock, perhaps?

Who cares? Tired... So tired... I closed my eyes again.

At least I wouldn't worry about the mess I made.

/Note: Just a little teaser for now, folks. I've always been a HUGE fan of the Dresden Files bookverse, having found the first book a good 5-6 years ago, and have been anxiously awaiting new releases since. I've never read such an awesome series by a very talented writer before (Jim Butcher, I am in awe), and I make damn sure all my friends know about the series too.

As for this fanfic? I've been mulling over this for... Umm, over a year? I can never seem to make up my mind on where I want this story to go, but I have some very solid ideas right now, so I'm just going to let my fingers decide for me. Plot description to be included... Later. Maybe. (smiles) Shouldn't be hard to garner some sort of vague idea from the title, right?

How is my writing? I love criticism; as long as it's valid and helps me improve. Review, and thanks!