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Charles didn’t think his nipples were anything special. The areola and nipple size were average, about the size of a half dollar as a whole and were pink against his ivory skin. Perky would be the best way to describe them as even the slightest shift in temperature made them pebble to attention. It was normal, he understood that much, but it was definitely a contributing factor for his preference in cardigans.

The soft material kept him warm and hid his over eager nipples from announcing themselves to the world. He didn’t actively show his embracement and it added to his whole “professor” vibe according to his sister. So he didn’t think on them much else besides that.

Until Erik started staring.

It happened during a game of chess. They’d indulged in a few fingers of Scotch and Charles began to feel flushed. Alcohol tended to make him warmer so he wasn’t surprised when his cardigan began to feel constricting and hot. He didn’t think anything of it when he slipped it off and tossed it over the back of his chair.

“That’s better,” Charles sighed, turning back to their game. Erik made a noise he’d never heard from the man before. He furrowed his brows and he grinned at the man. “Come now, Erik you can’t be that shocked to see me without my cardigan. It isn’t that much of shock.”

The man’s eyes strayed down to Charles’s chest for a moment before jumping back to his face, a dusting of a blush on the man’s ears. He cleared his throat and took a sip of his drink. “I believe it’s your move,” Erik said, in lieu of addressing Charles’s statement.

“You’re wrong about that, my friend. It’s actually your move, but I’ll happily go again if that is what you’d prefer.”

Erik shook his head, looking down at Charles chest again before pushing his queen forward a few spaces. “Your move.”

Charles tilted his head at the man. It was a totally lax move on Erik’s part and while he could easily find out what Erik was thinking about so intently but he wanted to respect the man’s privacy. “Are you alright, Erik?”

The man nodded taking a second sip of his drink. “Fine.”

Charles decided not to push the man anymore and focused on their game. “’Check.’”

 

The next time it happened was after Charles had been training with Hank. He’d been running and sweat had soaked his clothes. Nothing could stop him from tearing off his hoodie and throwing it in the laundry. It was quickly followed by his shirt and he wiped at his face with the shirt before tossing it after the hoodie. He was for sure taking a shower.

He didn’t hear the door open nor see Erik step into his room.

“Charles, Axel wanted-“ Erik’s question cut off as he stared at the expanse of Charles chest.

Charles put a hand to his chest. “Oh hello, Erik,” Charles said with a grin. “Sorry I didn’t hear you come in. What did you need?” Erik continued to stare at Charles, his face blank and his eyes wide. “Erik?”

Erik shook his head, but still seemed at a loss for words. After another few moments of him silently staring Erik looked into Charles eyes. “… Where is your shirt?”

Charles laughed and waved a hand nonchalantly. “My clothes were too damp from training with Hank. Honestly, I’m not used to this level of physical exercise, but it’s good to do all the same.” The other man nodded his head dumbly, his eyes traveling back down to Charles’s chest. Charles resisted the urge to squirm under the man’s gaze. “Erik, really what are you staring at?”

“They’re pink.”

He frowned and tilted his head. “What’s pi-“ Bloody hell his god forsaken nipples. Of course Erik, the most attractive man he’d ever met, had some sort of fixation on his nipples. Fantastic. “Erik, are you just staring at my nipples?”

He thought the man would be embarrassed at being found out, but if anything the man seemed relieved that Charles had figured it out. “Yes.” He prowled over to Charles and he wondered if this was what prey felt like when the saw a predator.

But probably less aroused.

Erik’s hands fluttered around his arms before bypassing them entirely to place them on right on Charles’s chest. He lazily ran his thumbs over the pert buds and a shark-like smile grew at the hitch in Charles’s breath. “Am I allowed to continue?” Erik asked.

Charles rolled his eyes. “Well I’m not going to ask you to stop now, am I?”

“I was hoping you’d say that.”