I don't think the others realize just why Cloud is a hero.

They see him fighting, swinging First Tsurugi with confidence, grace, and precision.

That is instinct.

They hear him give orders in a sure, confident tone that will heed no argument.

That is a mask.

They see him standing tall, refusing to fall, bracing the others against the onslaught.

That is stubborn will.

They are certainly heroic attributes, but they are not what make him a true hero.

True heroes have true courage.

They believe that courage is leading the attack, never faltering, never fearing, never thinking of giving in.

They are wrong.

To paraphrase a human, courage is not the mighty oak standing against the storm, it's the flower that blooms through the snow.

I have seen him shake and tremble with silent tears.

I have seen him crumple and falter at the fork in the road.

I have heard his voice falter with uncertainty.

I alone have been privy to this.

We are alike, he and I, children thrust into the games of adults in a mad game of war in which no one will ever really win.

His arms held me when it was all too much.

My mane has caught the tears he shed.

His voice has soothed away old nightmares.

My side was his pillow when humans looked too much like scientists.

His eyes understood when I did not.

My ears listened to the words he didn't say.

He is the only one I trust with my blind side.

I am the only one he allows to see him when he feels weakest.

We are children caught in a mad game of war which no one can ever really win.

And he still manages to be what we each need.

He hears my real laugh.

I see his real smile.

And for that, my human friend will always be a hero to me.