A/N: Everyone who writes Emma fic has to go through imagining and writing out her pre-novel friendship with Mr. Knightley, right? So here's my version; I'll be posting it as a series of drabbles. Hope you like, and please review!


A Partial Old Friend



'Mr. Knightley!' He heard the delighted shriek before he saw her, a little whirlwind of bouncing curls, flying skirts and trailing ribbons, and then–

'Oof!' He laughed as he picked up in his arms the little figure who had run headlong into his legs. 'And how are you, my little Emma?'

He saw the three-year-old scrunch up her forehead as she searched her memory for the correct response. 'I am quite well,' she said slowly, after some time, and he tried to hide his smile. Then she looked at him reproachfully, her small pink lips pursed into a pout. 'Why haven't you visited me for so long?'

He gently tugged on one of her curls. 'You know I was at Oxford, little Emma.'

She looked up at him, large hazel eyes very serious. 'It sounds like a perfectly horrid place,' she said firmly.

His eyebrows raised themselves slightly. 'Why do you say that?'

She rested her head against his shoulder and slipped her arms around his neck. 'Because it takes you away from me,' she said simply. 'I missed you, Mr. Knightley.'

His heart melted.

He had always thought Emma the most adorable child he had ever seen. But then he was a partial old friend.