Thirty years have passed since then… Bakura thought to himself, and laughed. For the longest time, he reminded himself that the only reason he stayed at the monastery involved protection from the authorities, a roof over his head, and a good meal. It was an empty promise, though, much like considering Ryou a means to an end.

The truth was, Bakura eventually came to accept, that he enjoyed it there. For the first time in five thousand years, his soul didn't feel so heavy.

He leaned against the cherry blossom tree.

The monk could no longer climb it. In fact, it had been ten years since anyone had done so. But that didn't matter any more. Viewing the picture in the sand had become far less important over the years. Bakura knew what each and every one was. He could see it in his heart, before and after it was made.

And it was always Ryou. In one form or another, it was always Ryou.

He smiled. The sun was starting to rise in the east, its rays spreading over the sand garden. As the light inched its way towards his feet, the vast colors of sand were illuminated. Swirls of red, pink, and yellow marked the Egyptian sun in the northwest corner of the garden. Soon, long white and blue figures danced in the sand. Pyramids jutted out from behind the dancers, each brick outlined evenly in black.

As Bakura felt the sun on his face, he smiled.

That picture had taken the longest to complete. His body, no longer the pillar of youth, could only draw small sections at a time. A total of two months he had worked on this one, thinking of Ryou with each grain of sand he dropped onto the field. Hoping with each loving touch that he would someday see him again.

Slowly, and painfully, Bakura stood up. His bones creaked with age and abuse, and the millennium ring jangled at his chest. He slowly walked over to the side of the monastery, where he kept the rake.

He smiled as he took it in his hands, and set off towards the start of the garden.

The opening of the large wooden door distracted him. A visitor? He turned around.

Standing in the doorway were all of Ryou's old friends. Bakura froze. The rake fell from his hands, and crashed into the sand, scattering part of an oasis.

"Yu…" he tried to speak, but found the words stuck in his throat.

They were all there.

Yugi Moto stood in the middle. He was still as short as he was before, and perhaps a little shorter. His hair was still spiked, but streaked in grey instead of blonde. He still looked innocent, even after all those years.

Tea stood next to him, her hair tucked neatly into a bun. Yugi had plumped with age, but Tea was still as beautiful as he remembered her. Bakrua supposed that a career of dancing would do that to someone. Her smile was still infectious.

Joey leaned on a cane. He appeared to have injured his left leg. As Bakura stared at it closer, he noticed it was artificial. Surely there was a good story behind that, or at least an amusing one. With Joey, you never knew for sure.

Mai stood next to him. She had lost some of her looks with age, but her charm and spirit still showed through. Several new faces stood next to her. Bakura supposed they were Joey's children and grandchildren. He had such a large family. Perfect for his generous heart.

Tristan looked the most familiar. He had hardly changed a bit, except for his age. His expressions were still the same, and his cocky smile still made Bakura laugh. No wonder his hikari was fond of him.

Kaiba was sitting on the end in a wheelchair, with a quilt draped over his knees. Tristan had brought him in. He hardly resembled the gruff young CEO that Bakura remembered. Instead, he seemed to have softened with age. His eyes actually showed traces of laugh lines.

Surprisingly, as he looked at his visitors, not a single hint of regret appeared across his face. There was only a soft smile.

"Mokuba was taking his son for a flight in the new Kaiba Copter," Yugi smiled. "He saw the drawing of you and Ryou…"

Bakura just stood there. The others nodded their assent.

"That's how we found you." Joey smiled. The group asked a variety of questions, all at the same time. How was he? What happened? How did he end up here, of all places?

Bakura smiled. It was too long of a story. And it was one he'd rather not tell.

"It was a beautiful picture, Bakura… Ryou would have liked it." Yugi finally spoke.

Slowly, Bakura limped over to his friends. All traces of anger and sadness had been raked away. Now, he just smiled. And suddenly, one lifetime didn't seem so useless after all. Maybe Ryou was right all along…

"Oh, Yugi… he does like it…" Bakura replied calmly. He glanced up at the sky, which seemed to smile back. "I know he does…"