Title: Options

Pairing: Regina/Emma AU
Rating: G
Disclaimer: These characters are not my creative property

Summary: Prompt: AU, Cora pushes Regina to court Princess Emma.

Regina was beginning to hate tea time. Not only did it cut into her day and riding time, but because in recent months it had devolved from simple lessons in etiquette to becoming an all-out hunt for potential husbands- more specifically, royal husbands. Regina crossed her legs and sipped her tea as polite as ever, but under the placid surface she was rapidly reaching her breaking point.

Cora was nothing if not organized. She had detailed sketches and bios of every prince spanning several kingdoms, and she would lay them out one by one, fawning over them like trading cards.

"Regina pay attention- how about this one? His name is Quasimodo," Cora held out the picture for Regina to see.

"Is that sketch smudged?" Regina crinkled her nose.

"Oh no, dear- he really looks like that. There appears to be some inbreeding in that kingdom.

"You'd let your only daughter marry him?"

"I hear he has a gentle and sensitive personality. He would be kind and loving, just what a lady like you needs," Cora raised her eyebrows and held her breath in hope.

Regina sighed, they had been through this every day. She wasn't opposed to marrying a prince or king, but she didn't enjoy actively seeking them and the whole idea of an arranged marriage didn't appeal to her at all. Cora had already arranged dates for Regina with several princes, pulling strings and wearing out her connections for the sake of her daughter's happiness.

The men came riding up on horseback, her mother whispering that this one would be charming, and fussing over Regina's wardrobe and looks. They tried to woo her by telling awkward tales of their attempts at dragon slaying and battles. Regina couldn't have been more bored, and she knew half of their stupid stories were made up anyway. Cora would have been furious if she knew that soon as Regina and the prince were alone Regina would drive them away by behaving in an uncouth fashion until they lost interest in her and headed home.

Attempting to regain Regina's attention, Cora held up another sketch and cleared her throat, "Him?"

"No, absolutely not- I said no more old men."

"Dear, I don't know what you like!" Cora was becoming exasperated. She had scoured the lands for all of the eligible princes and kings, and even the most handsome and charming were not to acceptable to Regina's standard. Regina was far too picky and Cora was becoming desperate. She wanted Regina to have power, status and wealth. Sure she summed it up as happiness, but she knew Regina would be happy if she'd just stop her sulking and marry.

Cora noticed that Regina was becoming impatient, eyeing the hour glass that signified tea time was almost over. She took a deep breath and pulled a sketch from the very bottom of the stack.

"Oh, please mother- no more today," Regina pleaded.

"Hear me out, let me just show you this one last picture, and tell me what you think?" Cora turned the card over and held it up for Regina to inspect. The card wasn't even in front of her before she realized from the look on her mother's face that this one was different, but as soon as her eyes fell upon the sketch she was speechless.

"I won't judge you dear. Just please tell me…what do you think of her?" Cora asked nervously, she'd had her suspicions, but didn't want to believe that it was possible. As they went agonizing through the search for a prince the prospect had become abundantly clear. Cora had tried to keep an open mind and open options for this very reason.

Regina took the sketch from Cora's hands, holding it up close to get a better look at the beautiful princess with long blonde hair, lively eyes, and a smile that seemed to be reserved solely for Regina. She could feel it.

Regina licked her lips and then glanced worriedly at Cora and questioned dubiously, "Mother?- but this? She is a princess?"

"Yes, Princess Emma, dear. Would you be willing to court her; perhaps marry her?" Cora asked unable to read Regina's reaction, her heart beat wildly, unsure which answer that Regina could give that would relieve her anxiety.

Regina thought for a minute, her face creased in worry, until a smile blossomed. She sat up straight and looked to her mother, "Yes! I think I would like to court her. I shall ready my horse at once!"

Tears leaked from Cora's eyes, she clasped her hands together and smiled in joy. Perhaps her daughter would truly find happiness after all.