Author's Note: I do not own the song or the movie Shark Tale. Only Kylie and Kendall.
"Lenny, please tell me what's wrong," said Kylie.
Her husband only sulked on their bed looking melancholy. He'd been unpleasantly, and unusually, depressed since he came home from work. Kylie had tried the whole time to get him to explain why. He was yet to give a direct reason, but she was able to figure out what had not happened simply by asking and him saying no. He hadn't lost his job, he hadn't been demoted, and no one else who worked with him was in either of those positions. Nothing could possibly be worse than any of those, so Kylie could only help but wonder why he was so miserable.
She sat down next to him and gently said, "Please don't give me the silent treatment. I just wanna help you, Sweetie. I'm always here to help you. And Kendall's gonna be up from his nap pretty soon. You can try to hide it, but you know he can always tell when either of us is upset. He doesn't like to see you like this, and neither do I."
Lenny knew she was right of course. She had always been the crying shoulder he never had as a child and Kendall hated to see him look sad. Both of these were facts. But it was also a fact that he'd felt so unloved in his past that being reminded of it, like he had earlier at work, would haunt him to a point where he would forget all about the love he'd earned from his new family. Still, nobody understood his feelings better than his wife, even if she didn't know the whole story. Lenny repented and told her what'd happened that day at work.
"There was a new kid in the lost and found today," he began. "A little ten-year-old."
"When I heard about him, I thought I'd go introduce myself to him like I usually do. I smiled and asked him what his name was and how he was doing. He was a good kid. I could tell he was starting to trust me."
"So what went wrong?" Kylie asked.
"After I got to know him a little better," Lenny continued, "I figured I'd gained enough trust to ask him if he missed his home and family, which was the biggest mistake I've ever made."
Lenny shut his eyes. "He told me his family was the last thing he wanted to think about. It turned out he wasn't actually lost, he ran away."
Kylie had a feeling she knew where this was leading.
"He said he never got enough love from his father," Lenny sniffed. "His older brother was a bully and his mom couldn't do anything to help him. He thought his parents loved his brother more and it made him feel unloved and misunderstood."
"I get it," said Kylie, now realizing that this wasn't just about the little boy.
"I never thought I'd meet someone who had it as bad as I did," said Lenny tearfully. "I've been happy here for so long that I almost forgot about the abuse I used to get from my dad."
Kylie wasn't convinced of that. "Your dad didn't abuse you."
"At least not physically," said Lenny.
Sure Lino never physically abused him, but he sure had done so emotionally which was just as bad. "What's the matter with you?" "Why can't you be like Frankie?" "Your brother's beautiful, and perfect, and he does what he's supposed to do. But not you." Frankie, Frankie, Frankie. That's all Lenny ever heard around the house. Frankie was the apple in Lino's eye and he and Lenny both knew it. Sometimes Lenny was confused as to why though. Frankie was the abusive bully with horrible (if any) manners, ugly posture, no love in his heart, and who put himself before others. Lenny always thought it was a parent's job to prevent their kids from ending up like that. Apparently it was vise versa with sharks. Apparently the good kids were the rebels who needed tough love from their parents. To make matters worse, Lino was all tough and almost no love. And Frankie was no better. They both spent their time labeling Lenny as a disgrace to sharks and an embarrassment to the family. Granted Frankie was more open on the subject than Lino, but they both should've known better and cared more for Lenny's feelings. He never felt safe or happy around either of them. Maybe it was for the better that they were both dead now (or so he thought). Either way, he was hurting now to be reminded of the love they may have had for him but sure as heck never showed him.
"Are you alright?" Kylie asked.
"No," Lenny wept quietly.
"It's okay," Kylie said gently.
The love and comfort she was offering him made him feel better and worse at the same time. He laid his head down on her lap and tried to regain the happiness he'd felt since they became a couple. She stroked his head tenderly and decided to express her feelings for him through song.
"For you, there'll be no more crying,
For you, the sun will be shinin'.
And I feel that when I'm with you, it's alright,
I know it's right.
To you, I'll give the world,
To you, I'll never be cold.
'Cause I feel that when I'm with you, it's alright,
I know it's right.
And the songbirds are singing, like they know the score,
And I love you, I love you, I love you like never before."
Lenny's eyes were pouring out tears the whole time. He didn't know whether they were happy tears or sad ones. He was still heartbroken from the love his father was too pompous to give him, but the fact that he was now receiving love from his wife helped him to avoid complete depression. Plus she was delivering that love with an affectionate song and the most beautiful and gentle voice he'd ever heard. He realized the lyrics were true. Kylie loved him like no one had ever done so. Her warm olive green eyes would never go cold when they saw him and her gentle voice would remain gentle whenever she spoke or sang to him. Lino's icy cold eyes and harsh, bossy, explosion-like voice were not now and never would again be a part of his life.
"And I wish you all the love in the world,
But most of all, I wish it from myself.
And the songbirds keep singing like they know the score,
And I love you, I love you, I love you like never before,
Like never before,
Like never before."
As the song finished, Lenny could only help but ask, "How did someone as unloved as me end up with someone as perfect as you?"
Kylie almost laughed. "Perfect?"
"You are perfect," Lenny said, still resting his head on her lap. "And no wonder. You've been adored all your life. Everyone who's met you knows you're perfect. I can't name a single person who has anything bad to say about you."
Kylie smiled. "I can name six right off the bat."
Lenny knew she meant her little sisters. "Come one, they look up to you."
"Maybe so," Kylie admitted. "But even to them I'm not perfect. According to each of them, I hog the bathroom, I'm the queen of denial, and I'm a nagger."
Lenny smiled. "Actually those are all true."
Kylie teasingly smacked him on the head.
"Ow. It's not okay to hit."
Kylie chuckled and continued to stroke his head. "Lenny, coming from a loving family didn't completely affect my choice."
"What choice?" Lenny asked.
"The choice we all have to make," Kylie replied. "The choice regarding what kind of person we'll be in life."
"Well, looking at you and what a great family you had, I'd say they affected your choice completely," Lenny protested.
"They only helped a little bit. But in the end, as is the case with all of us, the final choice was mine. There are good and bad people in the world, Lenny. They all come from different families, homes, and habitats. But no matter how they're brought up, it's up to them to decide what kind of person they're meant to be. Sure there are good people who come from good families and bad people who come from bad ones. But there are also bad people who come from good families."
"Like Kelsey?" Lenny asked.
The young couple laughed.
"She's just immature. She'll grow up sooner or later," Kylie assured.
"Anyway," Kylie continued, "To me, the best kinds of people in the world are the ones like you and that kid you met today. People who were miserable in their youth and who didn't get much love from their families but in the end they become good people and live happy lives. People like that have good judgment of character. They can tell the difference between good and bad all by themselves. Just look at you. Maybe you didn't get the love you needed from your father, but you learned from it. Even without fatherly love and acceptance, you're the sweetest shark I've ever met. And I love you for that."
Lenny smiled. "Thanks, Kylie. Would you still love me if I embarrassed you by dressing like a dolphin in front of your friends?"
"That depends," said Kylie. "Did you ever do that in front of your dad?"
"Yeah. And he was so mad at me I actually thought he was gonna kill me."
"Aw," said Kylie sympathetically. "You could never embarrass me. I bet you made a cute dolphin."
Lenny chuckled. "My dad clearly didn't think so."
"Well since you're a father now, you know what you're supposed to do?"
Lenny lifted his head from her lap and looked her in the eye. "What?"
"You're supposed to do better for your son," Kylie replied.
This wasn't exactly old news for Lenny. He always knew it was his duty as a father to give Kendall a better life than the one he had. And until now, he never thought about what kind of shark Kendall would grow up to be. For the time being, he may have been sweet, adorable, and innocent, but what if that was just temporary? Lenny and Kylie both loved him to death, but even so Kendall could grow up and choose to be as violent and bloodthirsty as Lino and Frankie. Again, that wasn't a guarantee. Lenny would try to prevent Kendall from being like that, but the decision was Kendall's alone.
Lenny looked over at his sleeping three-year-old son and decided not to worry about that now. He knew he had to do as Kylie advised him to do and give Kendall the love and acceptance he never got from his own dad. He got up from his bed and quietly approached the side of Kendall's small bed. Then he gently pulled the bedspread off of Kendall and lifted him up, hoping not to wake him from a peaceful sleep. Unfortunately he ended up doing just that. Kendall stirred, rubbed his eye, and tiredly looked at Lenny, who smiled at him.
Kendall, though exhausted from being awoken from his nap, returned the smile and said, "Hi, Daddy."
Lenny held the toddler close to him and lovingly pressed his nose against his cheek. He knew Kendall loved to be nuzzled, something they both had in common. They both loved the feeling of a warm snout affectionately rubbing their faces.
"Are we going somewhere?" Kendall asked, hoping he could get back to his nap soon.
"No," said Lenny. "I just wanted to see you and to tell you that I love you."
Kendall yawned and huddled up against Lenny's chest, where he always felt safe. "I love you too, Daddy." Pretty soon, the little pup had fallen back to sleep.
Lenny didn't want to put Kendall back in his bed. He looked so peaceful as he dozed in his father's fins. Lenny laid down on his own bed and continued to hold his beloved son. Looking down at the pup he'd brought into the world, he was now convinced that even if Kendall did grow up to be like Frankie or Lino, he would still love him with all his heart. Nothing would change that they were father and son.
"To you, I'll give the world,
To you, I'll never be cold."
He wasn't just singing to Kendall, he was making a promise that he'd never break. Kylie knelt down by the bedside and stroked Kendall's back as he rested.
"You're a great dad, Lenny," she said to her husband as she kissed him on the forehead.
"Well he's pretty lucky to have you for a mom," said Lenny. "And I'm lucky to have you for a wife."
At this point, he truly felt like the luckiest shark in the world. He may not have had the perfect father, but he sure had a lock on the perfect wife and son. One last tear fell from his eye, but he knew this one was a happy one. He hadn't received enough love as a son. But receiving love as a father was just as good. His only hope now was that the kid he'd met that day at work would one day end up as happy as this.
Lenny looked back down at Kendall and continued singing.
"And I wish you all the love in the world,
But most of all, I wish it from myself."
"I'll never be like him," he whispered to his son. "I'll always love you no matter what."
"And the songbirds keep singing like they know the score,
And I love you, I love you, I love you like never before."
Song used: "Songbird" by Fleetwood Mac.