The first time Larry saw Sal's face, they were headbanging to Sanity Fall’s latest single. Larry had encouraged Sal to take out his pigtails- “Let your hair down, dude!” - so that he could really let loose.
However, Sal had headbanged so hard that his prosthetic loosened, flying towards Larry, and hitting him square in the face.
A clatter resounded throughout the room as the prosthetic mask hit the floor.
Sal was horrified.
“Larry! Fuck, your nose is bleeding!”
The other boy winced at the pain, covering his nose with one hand.
“It's nothing, Sal, it looks worse than it is,” he tried to reassure, but the blue haired boy was having none of it.
After retrieving Lisa’s first aid kit, Sal returned to Larry, ushering him to sit on the couch.
“I'm so sorry,” Sal said, voice soft and remorseful as he gently dabbed at Larry’s nose.
Then, the brunet looked Sal in the eyes, warm brown meeting cool blue, and Sal could gradually feel his worry melting away.
“I'm fine, dude,” Larry replied, smiling despite the crimson streams flowing from his nostrils.
That's when it hit Sal with the force of an earthquake- Larry can see me, he isn't looking away- and then, he was unable to stop the hot tears running down his scarred cheeks.
Larry's soft expression turned into one of confusion and worry, reaching forward to cradle his best friend's face with both hands, thumbs carefully wiping away the drops of salt water falling from Sal's eyes.
“Shh, Sal, I'm okay. It's only a bloody nose, don't cry,” Larry whispered.
Then, Sal's hands curled around Larry's wrists, holding them; he could feel the thrum of the other boy's pulse beneath the skin. The turbulent seas in Sal began to calm; everything was okay. Larry was here, with him, and he wasn't going anywhere.
Sal formed a faint smile at Larry's efforts to comfort him, and leaned forward, lightly pressing their foreheads together.
For a while, they remained that way, hearts beating in tandem, until Sal’s tears subsided.
The second time Larry saw beneath Sal's mask, it was planned.
They were chilling out in Larry's room playing video games when he turned to Sal.
The blue haired boy placed his controller beside him.
Larry rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly.
“I was wondering if- wait. Never mind.”
Blue eyes locking on to Larry's, Sal tried to school his voice into something reassuring.
“Larry, you don't have to hold anything back. Especially after all the shit we've been through together.”
The brunet chuckled nervously. “Yeah, you're right, man.”
After a brief hesitation, Larry spoke up again.
“I was wondering if you could take off your mask.”
Sal's breath hitched. “Are… are you sure?” His eyes were as wide as saucers. “I mean, I'm not exactly pretty under here.”
Then, Sal felt a warm hand on his shoulder.
“Sal, you're my best friend. I accept you for who you are, and you're fucking cool, dude,” Larry smiled, “But, you don't have to show me again if it makes you uncomfortable, I get it.”
Tearing up slightly, Sal’s voice wobbled, but the other boy didn’t mention it.
“Okay,” he said, unfastening his straps. Upon removal of his prosthetic, Sal placed it on the floor next to the controller. The light hit his face, highlighting every red, angry scar.
Once again, Larry wasn't disgusted, or shocked; as silly as it was, Sal was afraid that Larry would change his mind after the first time. He searched the other boy's eyes to make sure, and found nothing but genuine admiration there. Sal's cheeks began to heat up, but he didn't break his gaze.
Then, reaching for Sal’s face, Larry asked, “Can I touch you?”
Despite feeling so vulnerable, somehow, something inside Sal knew everything would be okay. He nodded.
Then, his scars were being slowly traced by warm, soothing fingertips, and the tension left Sal's body.
Larry's touch was gentle, starting from Sal's forehead, moving along his cheekbones, down the bridge of his nose, until it reached his lips, no less flawed than the rest of him.
Looking at the blue haired boy for confirmation, Larry’s fingers then continued their journey, brushing across the uneven surface of Sal's lips, which parted to exhale a shaky breath. Larry immediately ceased his movements.
“Hey, Sal... you good?” he enquired, voice soft.
“Y-yeah,” the other boy replied, “It feels nice.”
Smiling, Larry continued mapping the details making up Sal's face, leaving no scar untouched, treating every single one with care. Sal let out a small, satisfied sigh every minute or so, warm breaths caressing Larry's fingers.
In that moment, he felt content.
After that, Sal and Larry became even closer than before. Often, when he went over, Larry would ask to see his face, and would trace every scar adorning Sal's skin, and the blue haired boy always welcomed Larry's touch. If anything, he craved it.
Sal was addicted to the rush of warmth the other boy's caresses would bring; after all, the average person wouldn't even look at him, let alone touch him.
One afternoon, they were sitting cross legged on the wooden floor of Larry's treehouse, when without realising it, Sal’s eyelids fluttered closed, and he gently pressed his cheek into Larry's palm.
The trailing of Larry's fingers came to standstill, causing Sal's eyes to open. That was when it suddenly dawned on him just how close they were, Larry's hand still cupping one side of Sal's face.
Despite his heart beating just that little bit faster, Sal didn't back away.
Then, without any warning, Larry closed the remaining distance between them, pressing slightly chapped lips against Sal's scarred ones.
Before Sal could so much as squeak in surprise, the kiss was over in an instant.
“Dude,” Larry babbled, backing away, “I'm sorry, I don't know why I-”
But Larry never finished his sentence, Sal's mouth swallowing his words, left unspoken. He poured all of the feelings and emotions he'd been experiencing over the past few weeks into kissing his best friend, kissing Larry.
The brunet responded immediately, arms wrapping around Sal tightly. Their lips moved fervently against each other, clumsy and unsure, but Sal loved it anyway, because it was them .
They broke the kiss eventually, catching their breath.
“Wow, dude,” Larry said, a ruddy blush colouring his cheeks.
Sal smiled. “Yeah,” he agreed.
So they kissed again, and again, breaking into warm crooked smiles every now and then, until time no longer mattered, and they were concerned with no one but each other.