Dale realized Fiona was trying to cheer him up, and didn't realize why she felt the need to do so until he realized she thought he was upset about his parents and not the sort of lie. He berated himself for making his new friend feel that was her responsibility. Nevertheless, he couldn't help but smile as she spoke, glad that he now had a friend in Slytherin who was kind and understanding.
He really did have his whole life ahead of him, just like Fiona said. In fact, coming to Hogwarts had practically given him a new lease on life, getting him away from his parents and their demands for perfection and giving him the opportunity to explore whole new paths in life that were suddenly available to him. Hands in his pockets, he turned back out to the window as Fiona did the same.
"You're right," he said, laughing at her joke. "Maybe I'll talk to them in the summer about it!" He grinned again as he turned back to her. "I'm, um- I'm glad we're friends, Fiona," he said, feeling more than a little ridiculous.
Feeling the need to change the subject away from families and parents, he remembered something Fiona mentioned offhand. "So you don't like the ocean? I've always really liked it, especially the animals. Oh!" His eyes lit up. "Did you know there's a giant squid in the Great Lake?I heard you can see it sometimes through the windows in the common room!"