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I never really thought much of Cloud during the time I played FFVII. I mean, sure...He was the main character and all, but I wasn't paying attention to that many details my first time through. But now, Cloud will get the recognition that is due him. Allow me to tell about his past, role, and future inside of FFVII.

Cloud Strife was born on August 19th and I actually have this numerology about the 19th day in a month.
"Your birth on the 19th day of the month adds a tone of independence and extra energy to your Life Path, but poses a number of obstacles to overcome before you are able to be as independent as you would like. The number 1 energy suggests more executive ability and leadership qualities then your path may have indicated. A birthday on the 19th of any month gives greater power and self-confidence, and very often a rather original approach; but with this, a somewhat self-centered approach to life that may be in conflict with some of the other influences in your life."
"This 1 energy may diminish your ability and desire to handle details, preferring instead to paint with a broad brush. You are sensitive, but your feelings stay somewhat repressed. You have a compelling manner that can be dominating many situations. You do not tend to follow convention or take advice well. Consequently, you tend to learn through experience; sometimes hard experiences. The 19/1 is a loner number and you may experience feelings of alone even if you are married. You may take a tendency to be nervous and anger more easily than your Life Path number suggests"
The beginning sounds a lot like Cloud, no? "...19th day of the month adds a tone of independence... poses a number of obstacles to overcome before you are able to be as independent as you would like.." That's what really gets me there. Cloud was born in August, so that makes him very stubborn and strong willed. He was raised in a small mountain called Nibelhiem by his mom. His father was never mentioned, so I think it's open to say that his father probably left.
His mother was very vibrant and strong and Cloud respected this a lot when he was growing up. Due to the fact he only had a mother, though, Clouds childhood was severely lacking with most of the other children. He was also a runt, and couldn't necassarily stand up for himself about most things. This lack of control made Cloud turn violent and he was often getting into fisticuffs. But Cloud also did these things since he had his eyes on someone inside of the town.
Her name was Tifa Lockheart.
Tifa was the queen bee of her friends--which largely consisted of males. So Cloud would always try to win her attention, but that just wasn't happening. An incident at some point in her life would lead Tifa to finally meet with Cloud.
Nibelhiem is home to some of the largest mountains that were abundant with Mako. It was said that when someone in the village were to die, or had a suicidal wish, they'd climb the mountains alone. The villagers knew that you weren't coming back then, so it was called a "Death walk". Tifas mother, unfortunately, grew suicidal and took the walk up the moutains.
A young Tifa followed with the aid of her friends, but they chickened out and left her to walk the paths alone. However, Cloud was nearby and tagged along behind Tifa. The two children came across the infamous bridge when it snapped, and both of them fell. Some villagers had been told about what Tifa was doing and caught up to them both, but Tifa was badly injured. She laid in a coma for 7 days. Cloud was the only one with her and so they blamed him for making her walk the moutains.
From then on, Cloud wanted to prove to Tifa that he could be strong, since he tried to save her but his efforts failed. During this time, SOLDIER was growing in ShinRa and a lot of the young men were making their way to Midgar. Cloud decided he'd go to SOLDIER and hit it big in First Class.
He invited Tifa out to the well in the middle of Nibelhiem one starry night and told her his plans. They had never really talked before, but something about Cloud made Tifa feel close to him. She asked him to make her a promise. It was about if Tifa was ever in danger, Cloud would come and rescue her.
He was a little confused about this request, but he agreed. Sometime after that, Cloud left for Midgar.

Now this was Clouds past, or at least what was shown to us inside of the game. We weren't told directly about his training inside of SOLDIER, or of any events that went on, instead we are taken back at least 4(I'm assuming he was 12) years when Cloud is 16 years old and inside of SOLDIER. While inside Kalm, after braving Midgar, Cloud tells his story. This is it summed up:

He had made it to First class SOLDIER and was being sent to Nibelhiem for a check on a leaking Reactor inside of the mountains. The cool air and tall cliffs made the Nibelhiem mountains ideal for a Mako reactor--especially since the mountains were abundant in it.
His leading officer was none other than Sephiroth. He was a famed General inside of ShinRa and one of the most important figureheads inside of the ShinRa army. He's about 10 years older than Cloud and didn't take too kindly to Clouds antics inside of the van.
A couple of miles prior to Nibelhiem, their van hits a monster. Sephiroth and Cloud climb out to battle the Dragon in the rain. This battle is purely Sephiroths. Cloud's still young and all that you can really do is maybe throw a grenade that's inside of your inventory. In the midst of the fight, Sephiroths awesome physical prowess is shown.
After the confrontation, Cloud finally makes it back to Nibelhiem. Sephiroth leads the team inside but stops, questioning Cloud about his town roots. The question is aimed at Sephiroth about his father and mother, but he quickly brushes it off. Soon Cloud is able to walk around town and visit the various people. Hell, you can even stop on by to see his mom, but Clouds memory is severly wrecked and there's not much shown.
Cloud rests inside of the hotel and by morning, the team is up and ready to traverse the Nibel mountains. Sephiroth had asked for a guide and so they got a local to lead them. This local just so *happened* to be Miss. Tifa Lockheart. Cloud was very surprised by this and then made a fuss that maybe Tifa would get hurt. Sephiroth dismisses it all and says that Cloud can be babysitter to Tifa.
With that done, they head through the mountains.
Remember that bridge? Well, it collapsed again. *laughs* After this event, you see just how cold Sephiroth can be since he says to leave the 2 lost infantries. Their task is the Mako Reactor. Upon reaching said Reactor, Tifa is told to stay outside with the last infantry watching over her. Inside of the Reactor, Sephiroth and Cloud fix the leak, but Sephiroth spots something that makes him start to question himself a lot more. I won't go too far into this since I made him his own shrine with details on his past.
After Sephiroth started showing some wear and tear, he locked himself away inside of the ShinRa Mansion. After a few days of being holed up in there, Cloud seeks him out. He finds Sephiroth in the underground labratory, laughing like a maniac. Sephiroth refers to his "Mother" often and grows extremely hostile towards Cloud when he finally sees him.
After giving out a few cryptic sentences of the Cetrans and JENOVA, Sephiroth leaves Cloud...And burns down the village.

Vowing revenge and blinded by sadness and rage, Cloud confronts Sephiroth. Course, this happened right after Tifa was mortally wounded and you again hear about how she wanted Cloud to save her. His memory gets blurred here and so ends Clouds story.
Tifa's reaction to this is a little odd when he ends the story, but it's left alone.

You then go through Clouds adventures. I would describe each and everything out, but I honestly don't want to take the time to. The turning point in Clouds life is meeting Aeris Gainsborough. She changes everything, and even Cloud himself.

You come across Sephiroth several times and Cloud instantly jumps to the occasion when he's near. But something changes when you're inside of the Forgotten City and see his behavior. He nearly *kills* Aeris. What's up with that? Cloud catches himself, though, but there's something wrong. Whenever he's around Sephiroth, Sephiroth can always manipulate him somehow.
Hell, Cloud gave up the Black Materia to Sephiroth.
This will all become explained, though, and it happens when everyone is inside of the Northern Limits--the center of the crater. Cloud and the gang aren't alone down there. Heavens no. Rufus and the ShinRa thought that maybe the crater was the "Promised Land". They drag Hojo along who knew that the Northern crater wasn't what they seeked. But he came for Sephiroth.
Your team makes itself to the center of the crater finally to see the ShinRa bigwigs waiting there. Hojo becomes excited upon seeing Cloud and then you learn the truth.

Cloud was created by Hojo to become a Sephiroth clone.

Tifa interjects but no one is listening. They all ignore her expect for a select individual--Cait Sith usually. The reason being is because JENOVA won't allow her voice to be heard and Cloud believes that he is only a clone. He accepts these claims and gives Sephiroth the Black Materia once again, and so Meteor is summoned. Rufus urges everyone to leave and all of the Northern Crater is absorbed in the sudden power. Apparently the Lifestream bursts through and Cloud is swept up into it.
The game then switches to Tifa and Cid, who govern the group while searching for Cloud. In Icicle Inn, his whereabouts are hinted. It seems that the Lifestream flows straight down to the Southern regions and to a place called Mideel. Tifa finally finds Cloud there, but something is visibly wrong.
Cloud's inside of a wheelchair and incoherant. He can barely even lift up his head. The Lifestream is not of the etheral world and too much of it is like...Poison. Cloud had almost drowned inside of the Lifestream and now had a severe case of Mako poisoning. Tifa, not wanting to leave Cloud like this, stays at his side while Cid takes over. You go through the segment of the game with Cid, trying to get all the Huge Materia, and then Cid makes a suggestion to go see that "kid" at Mideel.
Things don't go smoothly, though.
Ultima WEAPON attacks and it was drawn to Mideel because the Lifestream was acting up. Well, you don't *know* that anything is wrong until after the battle, when the whole friggin' town of Mideel is sunk into it. Tifa attempts to escape with Cloud but they both fall into the Lifestream, and everything here changes.

I explained earlier about Clouds story. He apparently told everyone about what "really" happened in Nibelhiem 5 years ago, but the parts dealing with him were not true. Cloud was a very weak kid and he made some high aspirations to Tifa in trying to reach First Class SOLDIER. Unfortunately...It never happened. He was only a lowly infantry. His best friend, Zach(or Zack), was who he modeled after. Zach was a First Class SOLDIER and they both went with Sephiroth into Nibelhiem. Zach was the one who went into the reactor, who got his picture taken...He was the one who faced Sephiroth alone when the town was burnt down.
Cloud hid behind his mask and was the only infantry that made it alive after the bridge accident and who watched Tifa at the entrance of the Reactor. He was too ashamed about not making it after he had told *everyone* in town, and so he hid himself.
After Sephiroth had burnt down the village, Cloud was severally wounded and left beside his own house to die. He saw Sephiroth making his way to the mountains and anger got the better of his pain. Cloud followed Sephiroth and Zach, but when Zach went to stop Sephiroth...He was thrown like a sack of potatoes. Tifa too was hurt, just like he had said. Sephiroth, meanwhile, had been inside of the JENOVA chamber and was looking up at his "Mother".
Cloud charged him, Zach's buster sword in hand, and wounded Sephiroth in the back. After this inital attack, he raced back out and helped Tifa off of the steelsteps. While he was doing this, a limping Sephiroth comes down the steps with JENOVA's head in one hand and his unsheathed Masamune in the other.
Cloud bolted up at the sight of him and again tried to charge, but Sephiroth was ready this time. He stuck Cloud on the end of the Masamune like a pig. Something happened though, and it worked for Clouds favor. Sheer will overcame the searing pain and Cloud lifted up Sephiroth AND his sword..Then flung them both into the core of the Reactor.
So was the end of Sephiroth.

Cloud passed out from loss of blood and after some time, I think Hojo came along. He grabbed both Zach and Cloud then worked his mad expirements on them. They were placed inside of the ShinRa Mansion and were being held captive inside of these...Beakers. Zach and Cloud wrote messages to each other inside of the beakers, using only their fingernails. When an aid went to feed them, Zach jumped him and took off with Cloud to Midgar.
Unfortunately the ShinRa was waiting. Poor Zach was riddled full of holes and Cloud was just too incoherant to do anything. Slowly he drifted back into consciousness and crawled to Zach, trying to rouse his friend. Alas, it was too late. Taking up the Buster sword, Cloud became Zach.
After this occured--it all happened in a span of 4 to 5 years--Cloud found himself in Midgar with an adult Tifa looking over him. She never told him what happened even when he said otherwise. I'm not sure why exactly she never said anything, but I believe it was because she was worried it'd break him...Or something.

So ends Clouds biography.
He was someone of weak character and so he created a fantasy world for him to star in. Unfortunately while inside of this fantasy...It caused him to lose a lot of things he could have loved. He hero-worshipped Sephiroth at first but it turned out to be warped into a clones journay to meet the great Sephiroth.
Hopefully Tifa can ease him and take care of the poor soul. She held understanding throughout the game, but she shouldn't hold back anything from him anymore. Especially her own feelings.