"Well," Hermione said once Harry sat down with his cup of tea, "how did it go?"
He didn't even sigh at the question. Had been expecting it. Would nearly have been disappointed if his friends hadn't jumped at the very first chance to interrogate him.
From their little table tucked in the back corner of their favourite tea shop, Harry could see out the front window at the bustling witches and wizards passing by. He found himself automatically watching for that glimpse of silvery blonde.
Ron nudged him with an elbow, making Harry jump and return his attention to the issue at hand.
"It was fine. Good." He adjusted his glasses. "I think."
Ron huffed out a laugh. "Resounding bloody endorsement there."
"Were you nervous?" Hermione said, tapping the end of her quill against her cheek. She was dividing her time between questioning him about the events of the previous evening and the sheaf of parchment she had shuffled amongst the sugar bowl and cups.
"Course he wasn't nervous. Harry's made of tougher stuff than that. Luna's only a girl he really likes, not a dark lord or a basilisk or Hungarian Horntail or something. It was only his first date with her, and he only took the last six months or so working up to asking her out. Not like the entire rest of their potential future together was riding on him not making a complete arse of himself on this one night in each other's company."
"Yeah, thanks Ron," Harry said.
"Even if you were nervous, she probably was as well," Hermione said. "I'm sure she didn't mind if you were a bit... weird."
"But just so we have all the information, exactly how weird were you?"
Hermione rolled her eyes. "I didn't mean it like that."
"Not that weird," Harry said, frowning.
It was a first date. Those things were always tricky. And he had taken a long time dithering about it before finally working up the courage to ask her out.
He had been rather nervous.
Had he acted weird? "Possibly," he amended. "A bit."
"But it's Luna, it's all relative, isn't it?" Ron said.
Harry's frown was directed towards Ron, and he was glad when he heard the distinct sound of Hermione's foot impacting Ron's unsuspecting shin.
"Oi! Sorry." Ron shrugged. "I meant it in a good way! You can be weird together!"
"I'll kick you again, Ron. Luna is lovely and sweet, and I didn't mean Harry was being weird weird, just perhaps a bit awkward, which would be understandable. And Luna isn't the awkward type, she has a confidence about her, doesn't she? A real sense of self. I've always really admired that about her." Hermione reached across the table to pat his hand. "I'm sure it went fine."
"It did. I said it was fine. It was better than fine."
He just wondered whether Luna thought the same. Hoped she thought the same. Worried she didn't.
It did go pretty well, in his opinion, embarrassingly sweaty hands like some ridiculous teenager and all.
"We had dinner and then apparated to the countryside for a walk." He stared intently down into his tea, not seeing the milky brown depths, but picturing the country lane and Luna's face in the moonlight. The feel of her hand in his, and then her soft fingers touching his cheek... "We looked at the stars. It was romantic," he finished firmly.
He looked up in time to catch his two best friends exchanging a look.
"That's great," Hermione said.
Ron nodded quickly. "Nice one, mate."
Hermione made some notes on her parchment. Ron reached over to snatch her uneaten scone.
Harry finally actually drank some of his tea, still perfectly hot thanks to the temperature charm added to the brew.
"She agreed to go out with me again, anyway," he said into the silence. "So I guess it can't have gone that badly."
Hermione looked up. "Really? That's great." It sounded more sincere this time, at least. "So when are you going out again?"
"Er, now. I mentioned we were meeting up this morning on your break, Hermione, and I said she should come too if she could."
"And if she doesn't," Ron said with a shrug, "good indicator she thought last night was a nightmare never to be repeated."
"Or that she's busy. I'm sure that she's just busy. Um, did you tell her we were meeting at eleven or...?"
Hermione's gently posed question went unanswered - verbally, that is.
"Harry. Oh, I'm glad I wasn't too late to meet you." Luna appeared at his side so suddenly she might have apparated right into the tea shop.
Harry had become so caught up in discussing her he had barely noticed the bells over the door tinkling as she came in. And now here she was and he was rocketing to his feet so fast the table was nearly upset and everything with it.
"Hi," he said while his friends scrambled to save the teacups.
"Hi." Luna smiled at him for a moment, and then turned to the others. "Hello Ron, Hermione. It's nice to see you both."
Ron waved, his mouth stuffed full of scone. Hermione's response was more polite. "Hi Luna, how's the paper?"
"Oh, it's going very well. How is the Ministry?"
Hermione's expression turned rueful. "It's still going."
"That's debatable," Ron mumbled.
"Can I get you a cup of tea?" Harry said loudly. And away from these people I call my friends, he added silently. They weren't even being dreadful, he just suddenly realised how idiotic it was to invite her to have morning tea with him and their friends when he actually just wanted to see her and have her all to himself.
"That would be lovely, thank you."
"Okay! Okay, that's great. Um, take a seat, I'll be - I'll be right back."
He talked very seriously to himself about not being a moron while at the counter, and when he arrived back at the table in the corner he sat down and gave Luna her cup without spilling anything, and Hermione was determinedly leading Ron and Luna in a conversation about the quidditch game last Saturday - a topic about which Hermione cared next to nothing and likely knew even less about. And Harry could only be very grateful for her endeavours, especially since he could easily join in without saying anything stupid.
And things were going pretty well, and not all that awkward, really.
Then there was a pause in the conversation.
"So, Luna, how was the date with Harry last night?" Ron said.
"Oh, it was wonderful," Luna said. She turned to Harry. "Wasn't it, Harry?"
It was funny how sometimes a simple thing like happiness could fill you up to bursting and make you feel light as air all at once.
He nodded his answer, and Luna smiled warmly, and for once in his life Harry found he didn't have a single thing to worry about.