Notes: Song used is "No Milk Today" by Hermans' Hermits. Xander comtemplates on his inability to have milk in the fridge ... and with it, Anya. Post-"Chosen". Xander/Anya. Please feel free to post reviews, whether they are complimentary or critical.

Xander Harris was always one for the 'way to a man's heart is through his stomach' motto. So now, as he's staring at his empty refrigerator, he realizes it is quite similar to staring into the empty depths of his soul. Both fridge and soul are cold and dark and void. But he usually doesn't care when he's out of food... only when he's out of milk does his heart twist and squeeze. And, sadly, he's always out of milk, these-days. Unfortunately, calcium isn't the only thing he lacks when this occurs. The bottle of milk – that one quart of milk sitting idly in the back of his refrigerator – can be traced back to the one person that meant the world to him.

To others, of course, this absolute need of milk stands as just another strange quirk of Xander's. It certainly holds no particular meaning. How could it? It's just milk. But others would never understand... and it's not their fault... they just never knew. They don't know the reason why this means so much to Xander.

No milk today, my love has gone away

The bottle stands forlorn, a symbol of the dawn

No milk today, it seems a common sight

But people passing by don't know the reason why

Sometimes, Xander is enveloped by nothing but thoughts. That... and reminiscences. At night, especially... that's when it gets pretty bad. Trying to get to sleep, keeping his eyelids shut, and, most importantly, having the images invade his mind. Over and again. The same ones recur. That isn't too bad. If they're repetitions, at least, Xander hopes, he will get so used to them that he will come to not fear them. For example, he has envisioned Anya's death about a million times. And each time he does, he convinces himself she went quickly and painlessly, a hero. They are foolish thoughts, he realizes this. But it keeps him going.

It's the new ones, the new thoughts, which suddenly pop out that frighten him. The other night, he recalled the time the first time they were together. Even in his dream, he imagines the shocking expression that must have been present on his visage when he turned around and saw the girl across him naked. He even feels his own hand squeeze down on the juice box, causing it to erupt. He recalls Anya explaining calmly that they, in fact, needed to have sex in order for her infatuation with him to pass. Infatuation... what a laugh. If only it was an infatuation between them, then he wouldn't even be in this pain in the first place.

But the point is that everyone else never knew this. No one knew these occurrences and events. They never thought Xander and Anya's relationship as a romance... more of a casual thing. It started out as that, be that as it may, but it evolved into something more. And yet no one knew the true wonderfulness of the moments they experienced behind that basement door that one warm afternoon. The way they felt as though they were the only two people in the world - in a world where they lived as a king and a queen.

How could they know just what this message means?

The end of my hopes, the end of all my dreams

How could they know the palace there had been

Behind the door where my love reigned as queen

Those memories, though, are just that... memories. They don't exist on this plane of existence anymore. Only inside dark corners of his mind. The only true remainders, objects, are scattered and, by now, probably misplaced. Still, he has the engagement ring he gave her; she had returned it to him after the wedding fell through. Small and nearly worthless, that ring symbolized a relationship that once meant everything to him. One time, while miraculously listening to his history teacher, albeit, she was a young woman with the features of a supermodel – perhaps that's why he chose to listen to her. Nevertheless, the teacher spoke of ancient customs and beliefs. She had told the class how the Ancient Romans explained the ring's circular shape. They believed wedding rings to be circular because a circle has not a beginning nor an end. Thus, this is the way marriage should be. And now as Xander remembers that one incident, he thinks on how all that is a bunch of crock. Forever... seriously, people should know better than to think that love lasts forever. Then again, he was one of those people that didn't.

One other item haunts him. It belonged to her. Once completed with an eighteen-inch chain, but now the pendant suspended from it only remains. The pendant is virtually flat and in the shape of a rectangle. It contains a picture... of a quiet village, perhaps. The rectangle is nearly all covered with lovely images of scenery – shrubs, small daises. And in the background of the pretty picture, in the far-off corner, there is seen a little white house. Anya once told him she imagined them living in that house one day, where their kids could play in the private backyard. He promised her he would he give her that life. That conversation took place three weeks before their wedding day.

Now the pretty picture is tainted – losing color, the promise he once made her lies within the ruins of Sunnydale, and the only thing that this pendant is good for is yet another memory... a shrine of his beloved Anya, if you will. And now if he should ever pass by a white house, he'll only think of her.

But all that's left is a place dark and lonely

A terraced house in a mean street back of town

Becomes a shrine when I think of you only

Just two up two down

Xander Harris has once again made it through another endless night. And just when he thinks he'll be alright for the rest of the day, he peeks back into his fridge and sees it there again; the vacant bottle of milk. It stood solitary, isolated from any other of the few items in the refrigerator.

Happy times, he thinks. You've got to remember the happy times. And they were, in fact, a lot of happy times to recall. The slanted smiles she sent his way for no specific reason at the Magic Box, the way she'd slide her hand into his when she couldn't fall asleep, the most especially the time he watched her perform the dance of capitalist superiority. Those were fantastic times.

And he even goes further back... to when he was in high-school. Anya had just had her vengeance-demon powers stripped of her. Not knowing what else to do, she followed the crowd at Sunnydale High School. And the 'crowd' was so excited about prom, and automatically, she was too. She didn't even understand what a prom was, but she wanted to go... with Xander. She asked Xander to go with her. Amazing... he even remembers dancing with her there. She was saying weird, meaningless, nonsense, he even remembers ignoring her... who'd have thought they'd be together for three years.

No milk today, it wasn't always so

The company was gay, we'd turn night into day

As music played the faster did we dance

We felt it both at once, the start of our romance

"Xander? Xander?" a distant voice pulls him back into the present.

"Huh? Yeah?"

Xander blinks twice, rubs his good eye, and finds Willow just standing there and looking down at him. "You okay?" she asks.

"Sure... why wouldn't I be?"

Willow doesn't say anything, knowing Xander will tell her whatever he feels he wants to tell her. Pressuring him will not solve anything.

Her technique worked. Only mere seconds after she placed her hand on his, he begins softly. "It's just that... today makes it one month since she's passed. How'd I ever survive an entire month without her in my life? I mean I'm not even capable of buying my own milk; I still have the empty container you brought over here a week ago. She always used to buy me milk, you know. Every morning, before I'd even wake up, she'd have milk in the fridge." He shakes his head, solemnly, "I don't know how she did it."

"Buy milk?"

"Wiggle her way into my heart. She always had that special ability."

A sad frown crossed the face of red-headed witch. "I'm sorry, Xand."

"Don't be. It's not like it's your fault... just tell me... I'd like to know..."


"Does it ever get any easier?"

She sighs, "Can you believe I still don't know the answer to that question... Losing Tara wounded me deeply and I know a part of me will always belong to her, but I have moved on. You sort of have to."

"Yeah. I guess you sort of do. I just wished I could have told her what she really meant to me... we kinda left things shady –"

"I'm sure she already knows your true feelings for her."

"I hope so."

"Is there anything I can do? Anything at all?"

"Well..." he sighes, "do you, by any chance, have any milk?" A barely visible smirk forms upon his lips.

The poor guy... he's always out of milk, these-days.

Whomever said, "It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all", never lost. -Unknown