The change came in waves, a slow but inexorable tide of disorder that crept in from the corners of his apartment until, suddenly, one day, it encompassed everything. Looking back now, a year to the day after it all started, he could catalogue what he hadn't noticed while it was going on.

It all started with the DVD Greg left at his apartment accidentally on the weekend of their third date, a campy horror flick that had been more funny than scary and so entirely macabre in its comedy that Gil loved every minute of it. The case stayed on top of the TV for about a week until he'd had to hurriedly clean in preparation for a visit from a colleague he hadn't seen in years, and then it had gotten shoved on the shelf with all of Gil's DVDs. After that he completely forgot it wasn't his, and maybe Greg had too.

Then came magazines and books, left out on tables or chairs or even the bed, that got shoved around the house until Gil was so used to seeing them that he didn't even think of asking Greg to take them away, and then they too ended up filed away on one of his many myriad shelves. Clothes started to mingle in after the third month they'd been dating, normally after they'd been thrown across the room or shoved under a piece of furniture, sitting in their hiding spots unnoticed for days on end. Gil would pick them up later on, wash them, and set them aside in his laundry room only to not do laundry for a while or get distracted.

Greg was a phenomenal distraction.

Random bits of clothes became a pile, which then got shoved into an unused drawer. He didn't remember to mention the drawer to Greg for almost a month after he'd put the clothes there. Greg had thought it a touching, romantic gesture, even though the drawer consisted mostly of unmatched socks and miscellaneous t-shirts. Greg's appreciation of the drawer was enough that Gil didn't even notice when the clothes in the drawer became less random and more useful, or when one drawer expanded to two, then became a full dresser and some closet space.

By then most of Greg's stuff was at his house, and Gil didn't even realize it until Jim had pulled him aside to tell him about the missing person's report Greg's superintendent had filed. That had come as a bit of a shock, both to him and to Greg. According to the superintendent, Greg hadn't been home for just shy of one month, a fact that was verified when they went to Greg's apartment and saw the pile of mail, mostly junk, built up inside the door.

Greg's apartment had reminded him of desert, so much that he kept thinking he saw tumbleweeds roll by out of the corner of his eye. He still remembered the first few times he'd been over when it had seem so packed full of life, almost every inch of the tiny apartment covered by something. The place had grown barren over the course of their relationship, stripped down to a shell as everything but a few posters on the wall, the furniture, and a few odds-and-ends had made the pilgrimage over to Gil's house.

They'd packed up the last four boxes of Greg's things on the spot, rolled up the posters, pitched most of the food in the kitchen, and handed over the number for Gil's apartment to Greg's landlord in case he found someone to take over the apartment.

There were so many things Gil took for granted in his apartment that hadn't been there a year ago. Gourmet coffee and strange music aside, there were also the giant coffee mugs Greg had brought that held at least two cups worth of coffee at once, the colorful fish that now swam happily in a corner next to the TV, B-rated movies from various bargain bins and discount sales, cherry blossom scented shampoo and bath oils, and an army worth of little things that all had one reason for being in his house.

The best out of all the decorative alterations to his house was the sight of Greg, everyday, dressed or undressed, sometimes in boxers, sometimes not, happy, angry, depressed, caffeinated out of his skull, and all the other variations that were part of Greg's existence. That was the one change that eclipsed all the others and kept him from noticing when his house had slowly become their house. He couldn't remember the last time he'd slept in a bed without Greg in it, or when he'd gotten so used to having Greg around that it was second nature to move around the house like Greg was a part of it, and not even seeing where the separation between his stuff and Greg's stuff lay.

As he kissed the corner of Greg's eye, gentle touches stirring his lover into waking, he realized that he couldn't think about himself in the singular anymore. Now it was them, and theirs, and us and ours. Sleep-hazed eyes blinked open, Greg's smile quirking wider at the feel of a knee pressing between his thighs. A silver-wrapped box sat on the end-table, a metallic blue bow sparkling in the morning sunlight.

Smiling down at his lover, Gil reflected on how much of his life had changed over the past year.

"Happy Anniversary, Greg."