Somewhere There's Danger
Things in town had only gotten worse while Ace had been escorting Lance to the school. The humans still on the streets seemed to be either panicking or, in the case of the more violent types, joining the chaos. Unfortunately, she didn't have nearly enough explosives to deal with all the monsters running around and her inability to find any trace of the Professor or the TARDIS only reinforced what she'd suspected since the school.
If she still had her bat, she might have considered jumping into the fight. The Professor had upgraded it into a rather nasty backup weapon but even if it hadn't been broken, there was no guarantee she would have it now.
She remembered some of the places from her previous visit, although she was less certain of how to get there. Ace could still hear gunfire from over by the houses where she'd started. She thought about heading in that direction since she didn't have have to watch out for the kid. The Professor probably wouldn't agree, but a guy with a gun might be rather useful right now.
She had barely started down the street, though, before Ace ducked into the shadows by a fence. A group that seemed focused on more than causing general mayhem passed by her hiding place. The displaced time-traveller considered her options.
She had already discarded the idea finding a safe place to wait out the night. Travelling with and learning from the Professor, combined with her normal inclination to confront problems head-on and the lingering instincts from the Cheetah planet just wouldn't let her sit out. With any luck, this group would lead her to the source of the problem and she could get everything back to how it was supposed to be.
Ace was pretty sure she was lost. She had trailed the pack into the industrial part of town. She'd glanced into a few of the buildings and about half of them looked either abandoned or as if squatters had moved in. While hanging back from the monster group kept them from noticing her, it also meant she'd probably missed a turn or two while trying to follow them. She could hear what might be the monsters, but the maze of warehouses and weird echoing made it nearly impossible to tell which direction they'd actually gone.
A crash sounded from around a corner followed closely by yelling and a black-clad body flying out of the alley. The ninja flipped to his feet just in time to redirect a charging pirate into a garbage bin. Ace watched the fight for a moment before slipping away, unnoticed by the combatants.
She only made it a couple more alleys before she found the pack she'd been tracking. Unfortunately, they were coming towards her from the opposite end of the alley. And she clearly saw the moment they noticed her. Oops.
Ace took off, dropping a Nitro-9 behind her to take out some of the monsters and hopefully delay pursuit. She ducked into another alley, making sure to avoid the one with the ninja/pirate brawl.
At the end of the alley, Ace skidded to a halt as soon as she saw another group of monsters to one side in the street. With the first group behind her, she could forget about sneaking past. And the noise from her pursuers had already drawn the new group's attention.
She took off again, this time with twice the monsters after her. To her relief, a door looked like it had been left open across the street. Ace made inside, slammed the door closed behind her, and almost immediately felt a thud from the other side.
Any hope she might have had to lock the door failed as she realized the jam had splintered from some break-in in the past. The rest of what she could see was a very empty werehouse, with nowhere to hide and nothing to brace the door. And with the pounding, she couldn't even set up her explosives to catch them when they came through.
Ace couldn't honestly say she was surprised when the door burst open, sending her sprawling and her Nitro-9 clattering away. She scrambled for the nearest canister, brandishing it as she rolled to her feet.
As the monsters flooded inside, she recognized about half as different variations on vampires. A couple had the over-the-top Bela Lugosi look with a few others looking like rejects from that punk/surfer vampire movie from just before the Time Storm took her to Iceworld. The last to enter could have been a stand-in for Billy Idol, if not for the neanderthal look she remembered from her last visit to Sunnydale.
"Back off, blood breath!"
It smirked, laughing at her. "Or what? You'll paint me to death?"
"I was thinking something with a bit more wallop."
A couple other monsters shifted nervously and one of them whispered to the leader, who suddenly looked slightly nervous.
Ace returned the smirk as she pulled the top to start the fuse. "Ten seconds. Nine. Eight."
As she threw the explosives and backed away, the vampire's eyes widened comically. It shoved its companions out its way in its scramble to escape...
Buffy stumbled as she found herself back in control. The rush of memories confused her just long enough that, by the time she spotted and recognized the vampire bolting out the door, she knew she'd never catch up.
She watched the confused teenagers wander out of the warehouse. From their comments, they seemed to already be repressing the last few hours.
Walking over to the no-longer-Nitro-9, Buffy picked it up and eyed the canister thoughtfully. She could still feel the other girl's memories rolling under her own. Like her, Ace had been pretty normal up until her mid-teens, although Buffy had had a better home life. Then there was the destruction of school property, leaving her grinning at the memory of an exploded art room to go with her own memories of the burning gym.
Still, she should probably find out what happened tonight and whether anything worse had happened while her brain had been on vacation.
Buffy eyed the damaged as she walked back to the high school, wincing as she passed a scorched crater where she'd used on of her explosives. At least she didn't see any bodies. She still didn't know what had happed, but if anyone knew why she'd spent the past couple hours as a teenaged time-traveler, it would be her Watcher.
She turned, grinning with relief. "Giles, what--"
"Are you alright?"
"Kinda wigged, but otherwise just peachy. Do you know why I just spent most of the night with someone else in the driver's seat?"
"Yes, actually. It was Ethan."
Buffy frowned, "Creepy shopkeeper guy?"
"He enchanted everything in his store. Anyone who used anything they bought from him changed into what they'd worn."
"But I didn't--" She cut herself off abruptly when she remembered the spray cans.
"You didn't what?"
"I changed, but not what I dressed as. I mean, I guess I kind of did, she wore a dress like this once, but I was definitely not some noble lady."
Giles looked both surprised and relieved. "Then who were you?"
"A time traveler-- Ace. She was originally from the 80's. She wore a dress like this for a portrait," Buffy's eyes took on a slightly dreamy look, "but she had some really cool, homemade explosives."
"And you used them tonight?!?"
"Sure." She chirped, showing him her last canister, "All but one."
Giles backed away, looking slightly alarmed.
"Relax, it's just spray paint again."
"Buffy, what all did you...blow up?"
"Just some monsters-- they were all still moving when I left them-- and I scared the crap out of Spike. I bet I would have had him if everything hadn't gone back to normal." She grimaced, clearly disgruntled at the failed dusting. "He was already out the door when I figured out what was going on."
"Yes, well, I'm sure you'll slay him next time."
Buffy shot him a mildly irritated look before turning serious.
"Did... did you see the others at all? I don't remember running into them."
"Only Willow. She had become a ghost version of herself and told me she, Cordelia, Xander, and Angel went looking for you. She said nothing of your mother."
"Mom had some big art thing in L.A. She dropped us off at the school on her way out of town and isn't supposed to be back until late Sunday."
"What-- what else do you remember?"
"Some places, a couple people. She knew about Sunnydale. About me."
"I think... I think something's going to happen. Something bad and I leave Sunnydale for a while."
"Do you know what will happen?"
"Not really. I think her memories came from a couple years after I meet her and it was all second-hand to start with. I just know I go to some lake in England... Voldemort's Lake?" She shook her head with a shrug as she searched for where Ace had stashed that note. "It had this whole big Sword in the Stone deal going."
"I see. Perhaps you could record everything you do remember?"
"Like my Slayer dreams?"
Buffy showed Giles the note. "Like this? She wrote down where I join up with her."
He glanced over the note before handing it back. "Yes, like this. Would you like a ride home?"
"That would be great."
As Giles guided her towards his car, another thought occured to her. "Is there a town called Perivale?"
"Oh, yes. It's a small community northwest of London. My father headed a Council investigation there, perhaps ten years ago?"
Buffy tilted her head. That sounded like an incident Ace remembered. "A bunch of people-missage?"
Giles looked surprised at her knowledge. "Crudely put, but yes. Some of the reports mentioned individuals with yellow eyes and fangs. They found no evidence of vampires, though."
"I think it was something else."
"I'm not sure if it's related, but last night, I remember I could still do some Slayerish stuff and Ace thought it was related to some place she called the Cheetah planet."
"Planet? Not dimension?"
"I suppose it could have been. I don't think she was entirely sure, but Ace thought of it as another planet."
They continued talking about what Buffy remembered. She had no problems remembering what she'd done while under the possession, and she thought she could remember some of the chemistry involved in making explosives, but everything else had faded to things Ace had actively thought about over the course of the night.
Once home, Buffy cringed at finding the backdoor open. Fortunately, there wasn't too bad a mess and she was reasonably sure she could clean it up before her mother returned.
Not tonight, though. Tonight, she just wanted to get the the weirdness written down in her journal and get some sleep.