There was once a great man called Jonathan Rokes.
He was a brilliant man, a man of both Science and Religion, a man of the people.
As a young boy he seemed like nothing special to the untrained eye.
Just another small, timid child who spent his entire days sitting inside, reading his books and dreaming of greatness beyond the likes of Da Vinci, of Einstein, of Gandhi.
But, as only his closest friends could tell, he was a very special child.
As most small, skinny kids with glasses, he was often bullied by his fellow classmates.
He never did anything about it, never tried to fight back, never told anyone.
People would later ask him why, to which he replied: “Because I am not worth the effort. It’s as simple as that.”
He never fought for himself, but by God did he fight for others.
One sunny, Monday morning he and his best friend, little Richard, sat on a bench in the shade of a large oak tree overlooking the entire school yard where the other children were busy playing soccer, football and many other games of own invention.
Jonathan never bothered himself with sports, he always preferred a nice talk or a good book over anything else and this he did, day in and day out with his close friend, talking, dreaming, discussing any- and everything.
Only this day, as he was just discussing the recent troubles that bothered the world, and thus bothered him as well, a very unpleasant surprise came over him.
A soccer ball, made of thick, brown leather hit him right in the head as he sat enjoying the beams of sunlight falling on his face, listening to Richard.
The object had come in with such force that it had broken his nose, smashed his glasses and remained in the air for long enough to fly over the large iron fence behind them that separated the school yard from the outside world.
As his friend Richard took the broken glasses off of his eyes, continually asking him if he were okay to which Jonathan replied: “Do not worry. I’ll live.”, a large boy, the boy who had shot the ball, approached them.
“You little shit. You’re not even good for stopping a ball.”
It was a large boy who went by the name of Sam, a vile, mean child who had bullied Jonathan many times before.
“Leave him alone! Can’t you see he’s hurt!” Richard shouted to the giant in front of him, perhaps just a little too loud.
“And what do you care? Are you his boyfriend or something?”
“No… No. I was just…” Richard stuttered.
“You’re just like him. A weak, little idiot.”
Sam walked up to Richard, pulling back his massive arm, ready to take a swing at the now cowering child in front of him.
He punched, hard.
A few seconds passed, as Richard slowly opened his eyes.
What he saw shocked him.
It was Jonathan, the small, already beaten boy had jumped in front of him and had taken the punch for his dearest friend.
He now lay in the shade of the old oak tree, bleeding profusely, almost blind and shaking.
Even Sam looked at Jonathan in shock and awe, quickly dashing away with his tail between his legs.
Richard sat beside Jonathan and wept.
“You fool. You unbelievable idiot! WHY DID YOU DO THAT?! You could’ve gotten yourself killed…” Richard shouted, tears streaming down his face.
“Am I a fool, for giving my life, a futile thing, to protect that which I love most in this world.”
Jonathan was now looking straight at Richard.
He stood up and pulled his best friend back onto his feet.
He wiped the tears from Richard’s red cheeks.
“Perhaps, I am a fool. But I’d rather be a stubborn fool than a coward who won’t even protect his friends.”
Once again, Richard wept.
Jonathan embraced him, attempting to sooth his sorrow.
In the time this had all occurred, the other children who had witnessed the scene had brought a teacher to help them.
The teacher, he to shocked by such wise words from a kid, walked up to the two boys.
“Richard, Jonathan, I am very sorry this had to happen to the two of you. I’ll take you inside, Jonathan, and tend your wounds after which you may go home.”
The teacher looked at the boys and saw Richard clinging tightly around his friend’s arm.
“You may come with us, Richard, and you may go with Jonathan after he’s all patched up.”
“Thank you, teacher.” Richard replied, wiping away a last few tears that rolled down his face.
After that day, people started to recognize Jonathan was special.
They started to become more involved, help him more.
He became more popular with the other children, to the point where even Sam felt regret for the terrible thing he had done, though he never explicitly said so, one could see it in his eyes and the way he treated Jonathan and his friend Richard from that day on.
Jonathan’s life went well for many years after.
He graduated high school two years after, earning the highest possible degree together with his friend, the two of them having grown even closer to one another in that short amount of time.
They loved each other, and stuck together at all times, through better and worse.
Two months after graduating, Jonathan started his study in social sciences at the university.
His friend Richard, close as they were, had chosen a different study but obviously at the same university.
Many more years went by as the two became better and better known, not only among those they knew personally but throughout the whole nation.
Richard, who had begun studying medicine, had teamed up with Jonathan in an attempt to help as many people as they could using their many skills.
They were, only one year after starting university, discovered by a doctor who had asked them if they would like to take internships at the local hospital.
Both boys were quick to agree on this offer.
They worked hard, they worked long, they worked well.
At the time of graduating from the university, they had become the most famous doctors in all the land.
Everyone knew their name and people traveled from far and wide to ask them for their aid.
There was one thing though, that bothered Jonathan.
He would wake up at night, scared and saddened, for he could not shake a feeling of guilt that hung over him like the death that hung over the old and the weak.
The death he bravely fought day in and day out.
He would see dreams, horrible dreams of people in other lands, too poor and far away for their help, suffering terrible fates.
There was so much pain in the world, so much suffering and no one were able to overcome it.
Jonathan knew that it was a fools attempt, but he were rather a fool than a coward.
One day, a sunny day, he and his friend Richard sat in the park in the shade of a large oak.
“Richard, I have to talk to you.”
“What is it, my friend?” Richard smiled so kindly, it melted Jonathan’s heart seeing those eyes twinkle in the light of the warm summer sun.
“I want to do more.”
“More? What do you mean?”
“I want to help more people.”
“More people?! Aren’t we already drowning in work?”
“I mean, I want to help people who need our help. I am sick of curing these small ailments. A little cold is nothing to worry about. There are so many people in the world who need our help so much more.”
“The world? Do you mean you want to leave all of this behind to help people elsewhere?”
“And you’ve come to bid me farewell, I assume?”
“Yes… I can’t expect you to come with me. Life in the big world will be rough. There will be many poor years. Many years surrounded by pain and suffering.”
“And you really think I’d let you go through all of that on your own, you blasted fool?!”
Jonathan looked at his friend who’s smile had made way for a look of utter seriousness but nothing than kindness and compassion in his eyes.
“Will you come with me, friend?”
“Of course I will. Now come here and give me hug!”
And so it happened.
They sold their practice in the small, American town and left for the big world.
Many people were sad to see them leave, even Sam, who had become a good friend of the boys over the years.
They bought a small plane, as this would be the safest and fastest means of travel, and set off with the few supplies taken from their practice before they had left.
A bag full of syringes, bandages and many different types of medicine.
They traveled the world together, first to Europe, as this was the closest from their home on the eastern coast.
They visited many doctors, universities and hospitals, known and unknown.
They learned much about both modern medicine and old tricks dating back to medieval times.
Even a small fortune could be acquired thanks to the smart deals that Richard was able to make selling medicine.
Still, Jonathan was not content.
He had not traveled all the way to Europe to make money, he had come to cure and heal those in need.
They traveled to the south, starting from the Netherlands through France, into the warm southern regions of the Mediterranean when they finally entered the massive continent of Africa.
Here, Jonathan found what he had sought, what he had desired for so many years.
Here, the two men found famine, thirst, illness and death.
The moment they crossed the border with Libya, coming from Greece, they found people, truly in need.
They came, they saw, they cured, the papers would say.
Their names had already become known throughout the western world, but now they made a name being saints, even saviors to some.
They would hand out free medical care and medicine, to the slight annoyance of Richard who had worked so hard to accumulate their small fortune.
Over time, though, even he saw the greatness of what they were able to achieve together.
Whole countries became cured of many terrible illnesses thanks to the great knowledge of both men.
They used Science and Religion in unison to battle the many evils found in the deserts, forests and cities of great Africa.
They helped the good, the bad and the innocent.
Jonathan was never a man of right and wrong, he just saw action and consequence and judged people as he saw fit, if he even judged at all.
The men helped western soldiers on the front lines of long lasting wars, they helped the rebels who fought those soldiers to regain their freedom and independence and they helped any random soul who were harmed by the wars, disease or plain misfortune.
The many different military powers in the world had thought of taking them down, many times, but due to their status on the world stage, this would be an impossible feat to perform for any nation.
Two men who took on the world, who won, and who did it in the name of good.
After Africa, which they left as celebrated heroes, they traveled the world further, first crossing the desserts of ancient Arabia into the mysterious lands of Asia.
They did this for many years.
Money was no matter to them, as they received massive donations from many different parties throughout the world.
It came even to the point where both the U.S. and their enemy at the time, the infamous Saddam Hussein, gave both with equal little greed to their cause.
The hardest part was to buy all the necessary medicine, due to Jonathan insisting on that they spend every dime on their cause, on his dream.
This was partly fixed by the fact that both gentlemen were clever, smarter than anyone known at the time and they learned. They learned much. They learned about many different types of foreign medicine.
How they could use plants to substitute the pills and ointments of the western world.
They would spend many days just gathering plants and herbs to aid them in their quest.
It were a glorious many years wherein these men lived.
They, two ordinary gentlemen of humble descent, had made the world a better place.
As Christ and Muhammad before them, they had united the people.
They had brought good, where there was once only evil.
But, even something as saintly as this had to come to an end.
It was during their final travel, the final country they had to visit, Vietnam.
The people there were kind, as they had heard of their legendary adventures, but even with their aid, they could not defend themselves from a great ailment that befell poor old Richard.
He died swift.
It took only a matter of days before he slipped into a coma and a matter of minutes before he had sung his final song.
A disease rarer than the rarest metal on this planet had struck the greatest doctor in the history of mankind, and it fell him as it had done to others.
It was a peculiar disease as it was untransferable, incurable and of unknown origin.
“Richard, is there nothing I can do?” Jonathan asked his friend who was slowly losing all life left in him.
“I fear not. This is one disease we cannot break. One man we cannot save.”
“Oh, God, Richard! WHY! Why did you have to die before me?!” Jonathan cried, for the very first time in his life.
It was a peculiar thing, as this usually dead serious man had never cried before, for he believed nothing bad had ever happened to him.
When his parents passed away he did grieve, but never cry, for he believed it was the natural order of things that people live and die.
Death was as normal to him as waking up in the morning.
“This is not the end my friend. It is merely a temporary separation.”
“What do you mean, Richard, my friend?”
“We all die, that is a fact. The only difference is that I died before my time. You will eventually die, as I, as us all, and then we will be united in the kingdom of the Lord, the heavens above where there is no pain, no suffering.”
“Oh, Richard. You blasted fool. You infernal fool. How would I have to live those years without you? How?”
“You will find a way, for you are a strong man, a special man, a man of God and a man of the World. A man of the people.”
That final night they sat side by side, talking, discussing and dreaming as they had done in that school yard in the shadow of the old oak tree so many years ago.
They spoke for hours when finally Richard told Jonathan he felt weak, that he felt tired.
Jonathan kissed him, telling him he had always loved him and Richard replied with the same.
He closed his eyes and breathed his final breath only moments later.
Jonathan wept for many days.
He wept on the flight back to America where Richard was to be buried in their home town.
He wept during the funeral of his dearest friend under the old oak near the school they once visited, now abandoned.
He would spend many days, even weeks crying over his grave, a large, beautiful, bright white stone cross with his name, date of birth and date of passing.
Under this was written a quote, a quote that belonged to his closest and most beloved friend and partner in the entire world.
“Am I a fool, for giving my life, a futile thing, to protect that which I love most in this world.”
“Oh Richard, please forgive me. If I had not brought you along on this journey, the journey of a madman, you would’ve still lived. You would’ve still been able to illuminate my darkest days with your smile, with your eyes.”
Jonathan collapsed and fell into a deep slumber.
He dreamt of Richard.
After he awoke, he left for his old home, the former home of his parents.
He had never attempted to sell it, the cause of it being that he were far too busy, if he were to be believed.
But even though Jonathan might’ve seemed like a cold and calculated man, he definitely felt, even for himself.
The last few years passed slowly.
He would sit in the park, under the old oak in front of the grave of his partner, his friend.
He would sit and sleep and dream of the days of old.
Of his days as a child, of his days of dreaming.
His death was a mysterious one.
There were papers that stated he had put an end to his own life, cause being the great grief over the death of his partner.
Some said he died of the same illness that had proved fatal to Richard only years before.
But to those who knew, to Sam, who had come to Jonathan’s funeral, and to the few who truly knew him, they knew that he had passed away gently from old age.
Like a bright candle light, who had just burned out over time.
It was his time, a natural occurrence.
One lives and one dies, and what a life it had been.
People still talk about Jonathan and Richard, the greatest men to have ever lived.
How they brought Religion and Science to the world, a fear filled world, and left peace for all.
How they cured what was thought incurable and how they united the many forces of man.
Great enemies had become the best of friends and for the first time in history there was no war, a voluntary peace.
The people had become one.
To honour the deeds of the two men, they made the oak a sacred tree, illegal to cut down, and all followed that law.
A silly law, perhaps, but a law worth upholding.
As for Sam, he still sits under the old oaken tree from their youth.
“I am so sorry, Jonathan and Richard.” Sam said as he sat alone in the shade, looking at their graves standing side by side.
“I know it is too late now, too late to ask for an apology, but I must. I beg you to forgive me and I truly hope you have both found peace as the living have, thanks to you two.”
Sam looked up from the ground, turned around and swore he could hear and see Jonathan and Richard, two children, playing in the field that now lay where once there had been the old school.
He smiled and they smiled back at him.