It struck Lightning one evening, sitting across from Hope at their campfire on the Archylte Steppe as they waited for the others to return with dinner, that he had changed. He looked older. Something about that seemed wrong, because certainly they couldn't have been on Gran Pulse for more than a matter of weeks, a few months at most. And, yes, some of it was certainly in the way he'd begun to carry himself with more confidence, with how his expressions these days were often more suited to someone five or ten or twenty years older. But he was just sitting there, curled up and watching the flames, half asleep.
It took her a bit of surreptitious staring to realize it was his hair. It had grown, gotten longer around the collar so that the ends that used to flip out and up now flattened out under the added weight. It lent him a slightly more mature look, slimming down the childlike roundness still present in his face.
How long had it actually been, since the purge? How long had they spent running, trying to stay one step ahead of the Sanctum on Cocoon before ultimately ending up here, on the wild world of Gran Pulse? How long since any of them had a truly fresh set of clothes, the opportunity to bathe in more than a public sink or a river, or a chance to use an actual mirror rather than their reflection in a convenient puddle? Still, they'd all - Hope included - made a point of at least attempting to groom themselves properly. Was he growing it out deliberately?
She'd just decided that must be the case when an alternative answer presented itself; Hope simply might not know how to cut his own hair. Lightning had always taken care of that herself; it was something she did without thinking about, trimming up this piece or that when it started to bother her. But she knew not everyone did so. Remembering the wealth apparent in Hope's home back in Palumpolum, she realized it was likely that was something Hope was accustomed to having done for him.
That wouldn't do.
"Hope," Lightning called, softly, but the commanding tone was still enough to startle him out of his half sleeping daze. Her fingers delved into her leg pouch. Past the gun care supplies, Gil, and other survival paraphernalia, they encountered the cold handle of a small pair of scissors. "Come here; I need to show you something."