If you look very closely, you can see it.
It's just an ephemeral expression. A flicker in his gaze to betray his thoughts. An inconsistency in his temperament.
He stands straight and proud, as he always does. But his features warp. His eyes dull, glazing over in deep contemplation of something far away. His teeth clench in fury or anguish behind tight lips, which fall into a solemn frown. His prideful stature becomes rigid and cold; his entire body tenses.
And then he snaps right back into his well-practiced façade, his face reverting to its carefree state, complete with the goofy grin and bright, jovial emerald eyes.
It's only for a moment when you catch it. If you catch it. If you know it's there to see and you're fast enough to notice.
But it's horrendously disturbing.
For half a second, the hero disappears, giving way to this abnormality. You can see the haunted look, the fleeting memory of untold tortures at the hands of his enemies, and for just that half a second, you watch in silent horror as his resolve cracks.
You suddenly realize the agonies he must have suffered. Oftentimes during wars with his adversaries, he would disappear for days at a time. What had transpired in the duration of those absences?
It is then that you notice the scars hidden beneath his cobalt fur.
Had he ever taken a life? Is he capable of doing so? The man you know would never do such a thing. But the man you know is a mirage. Would he hesitate to kill his own friends if the result would ensure the safety of the remainder of the world?
You don't have the courage to inquire.
You study him, scrutinize him; you watch his every move for some clue to his true character.
And then you begin to see things.
Things of monumental consequence. You glimpse disgust marring his face for a brief moment when he encounters idiocy, filth or ugliness. You detect the muted look of annoyance as the paparazzi approaches, and then watch with interest as he soaks up the unwanted attention like a sponge, noting the look of relief on his face as he manages to escape from the press after fabricating an excuse. You see him stiffen ever so slightly during a thunderstorm, his eyes widening no more than a millimeter. You recognize the faint trepidation in his countenance when he lays his eyes on water. You spot the minimal softening of his features when he looks at you, and the subsequent struggle with his emotions as he forces himself to hide it, fleeing your company once again.
You catch him flinching at the sight of blood.
And then the fantasy shatters. Because you've realized the truth.
He's not a higher being, he's not a hero, or a deity. He's not untouchable.
He's not a god.
He's just a boy of fifteen, forced to mature far before his time at the demand of a dying, selfish world.
Publicly, he masquerades as the paragon of virtue, the philanthropic champion, lighthearted, charismatic and beatific, never looking back and never hesitant. With his friends, he does the same. But within the catacombs of his memory, horrors await his wandering mind, eager to surface at any opportunity.
Maybe this is why he's always running.