Disclaimer: Xander, Anya, D’Hoffryn and so forth are the copyrighted creations of Joss Whedon and the good folk at Mutant Enemy; the title character is the copyrighted creation of certain other parties we’ll discuss below so as to avoid spoilers. Unlike the above-named characters, however, the following exercise in speculation is purely my own.
“Company?” Xander asked Anya as he strode into the apartment.
The burnt-amber blonde nodded cheerily across the kitchen table. “Just stopped by to reminisce.”
Xander did mental math. “You’re one of D’Hoffryn’s...?”
She flashed Anya a grin. “He’s sharp. I could use...”
Anya glared. “You already have a team.”
The visitor shook her head. “The guys are tied up – football scrimmages this week.”
“Diet camp and a triathlon. And I’m due in Monterey tomorrow.”
“Ladies, please!” Xander lifted a hand, referee-fashion. “Don’t I get a vote? Or a clue what this is about?”
The blonde beamed. “Clues are exactly what it’s about. Also a haunted winery,” she added in a hopeful-sounding tone.
“You just want someone to rescue you after you get clocked on the head and tied up in a closet. Again.”
“I can be all about the rescu—” Xander caught Anya’s expression and stopped in mid-word. “Then again, this is beginning to sound like a job better-suited to the Buffster.”
“The Slayer? Serious overkill,” the visitor replied.
Anya laughed. “Admit it, you just don’t want the competition.”
“It’s academic; D’Hoffryn wouldn’t approve her anyway,” the blonde pointed out.
“What I don’t understand,” Xander put in, “is the getting-clocked-and-tied-up thing. I mean, it doesn’t seem like the kind of thing someone like you would go in for.”
“It isn’t like that!” The visitor glared at Anya. “I swear, it’s not like I plan these things.”
“Maybe not intentionally,” Anya retorted, “but after the first sixty or so cases, you have to admit it starts to look like a pattern.”
“Sixty or so—” Xander echoed – then paused, frowned, and studied the blonde critically for a moment. “Hold on; I’ll be right back.” He crossed the living room, opened a closet door, and tossed a storage-box lid backward over one shoulder.
“It is not a pattern! It’s a...”
“Cliché?” Anya supplied.
“Got it!” came Xander’s voice, as he emerged from the closet with a compact yellow-spined book held triumphantly in one hand. “I thought that sounded familiar!”
“Oh, dear gods,” said the blonde, shaking her head in disbelief. “Please don’t tell me you actually read those.”
Xander’s trademark grin spoke for itself. “Both the originals and the updated versions,” he told her, handing her the book. “Who’d have thought Nancy Drew, girl detective, was really a vengeance demon? Although it explains a lot about the not-aging thing.”
Nancy sighed, turning gloomily toward Anya. “I give up; you can keep him. The last thing I need is a drooling fanboy following me around.” And with a faint whoosh! of displaced air, she disappeared, taking her coffee mug with her.
“Hey!” Anya told the empty chair. “That was an original Farberware!”
“And I do not drool!” Xander protested. “Don’t I at least get an autograph?”
The empty coffee mug reappeared several inches above the table, landing with a clatter. A moment later, the book followed it, falling neatly open to the conspicuously unsigned title page of The Spider Sapphire Mystery
“Count yourself lucky,” Anya told him. “At least she gave it back.”#Endnote: Nancy Drew and her retinue are, of course, the copyrighted creations of the Stratemeyer Syndicate, and presently live under the corporate umbrella of Simon & Schuster.