It might come as a surprise to a lot of Dream Landers, but King Dedede's second-most hated holiday was one which most others would gladly look forward to — the season of giving, Christmas.
Quite frankly, the reason was not immediately obvious unless one knew their ruler well. Of all the reasons to dislike the jolly Christmas season, it was ironically one of the pettiest that caused his disdain for the holiday.
Dedede hated having to give out presents.
After all, the act of giving was not easy for one who wasn't quite so humble like himself. Barely a couple of years ago, he had been taking food from his own citizens out of sheer greed, for crying out loud! His people couldn't really expect him to go from taking from them without a care in the world to giving out presents like he was Santa Claus in such a short span of time! It was an unfeasible expectation!
But at the very least, the festive season brought with it a frosty climate, along with lots of snow and fractal snowflakes, which helped to offset the troublesome hassle Dedede faced when he had to deal with the fuss of garnering presents.
Unfortunately, his personal most hated holiday had no such benefit. And yet, it still required him to give out just as many goodies to others…
"Trick or treat!"
Dedede suppressed a groan as he creaked opened the door, immediately greeted by an enthusiastic Waddle Dee who hadn't even bothered to put on a costume. Upon seeing that Dedede had acknowledged him, the Dee standing by the door raised both of his arms up with pleading eyes, his glistening eyes flashing him the universal term of asking for candy on this festive day.
Seeing that he had no choice but to comply, Dedede grumbled and reached for a bowl of candy next to the door. He hastily grabbed two mint sweets in a fist and tossed them at the Waddle Dee before slamming the front door to his throne room shut.
Dedede had never liked All Hallow's Eve, also known more colloquially by its more famous term — "Halloween". It was partially because he didn't like the customs of people dressing up as spooky things, but the larger reason was because of the emergence of trick-or-treaters on this special occasion — people who would dress up as monsters and knock on one's door, practically demanding candy from the house owner under the threat of playing a trick on them if they didn't comply.
He never liked the idea, namely because it meant that he had to have a literal tub of candy with him on this day. Because as the king of Dream Land, he was bound to have at least one or two poor souls asking him for free candy.
Sure, at the very least, he would be able to eat the rest of the candy. But could one blame him for wanting to gobble up all of it?
"Stupid trick-or-treaters…" he muttered as he moved away from the door, only to jump a few seconds later when an incessant knocking noise rapped on his door barely thirty seconds after the first guy had left.
"Hello! Who's there?" Dedede grumbled as he flung open the door, only to see a Bronto Burt fluttering outside.
"What's this about?" he asked, suppressing a tired yawn at the flying visitor. It took him mere seconds to register that he shouldn't even have bothered asking.
He almost facepalmed at the sight of the merry Bronto Burt outside of his door, grinning at him as it hovered at eye level with a look that positively screamed, "give me my candy!"
Dedede had to ponder how the Bronto Burt had even knocked on his door in the first place. Did the flying being literally smash his head against the surface of his door just for the sake of getting the king's attention? Because honestly, that was the only way he could see the whole ordeal play out.
He shook his head with a knowing look. He really should've known better. Some people would do anything for free candy.
The "trick or treat!" that inevitably came after was just the kicker.
Two hours later…
"Trick or treat!"
Dedede had to actively fight down the urge to slam the door shut at the sheer audacity of the next visitor who had come knocking — a Chilly, eagerly smiling at the king… in great contrast to the look of imbued rage of Dedede's face.
To be perfectly fair, if this had been just a single isolated case, he would have been fine with the whole affair.
But, no. Of course it wasn't. Of course fate had to mess with him.
For the close to the past two hours or so, he'd had an uncountable barrage of people knocking on the door of his throne room to ask for candy, each one consistently coming just mere minutes after the last one.
Just how many people were willing to walk through the entirety of Castle Dedede to reach his throne room just to ask him for candy, anyway? It boggled his mind as to how so many people were willing to put themselves through the torment of walking through his castle just so they could torment their king. In his opinion—and sure, this was coming from a biased viewpoint—it wasn't worth marching through the entire castle just to ask him for a Halloween treat!
Nevertheless, Dedede grabbed a piece of chocolate candy and tossed it out of the door at the eager Chilly. Once the candy was on the other side of the door frame, he immediately slammed the door shut, without even waiting to see if the Chilly had caught the candy that was arcing through the air.
This constant barrage of visitors was starting to become an issue. Through sheer attrition thanks to the inexhaustible number of trick-or-treaters knocking on his doorstep, his entire equally inexhaustible supply of candy was actually somehow running low. It was to the point where he'd given so many of them out that he himself barely had a chance to touch his treasure trove of candy… his own candy!
Dedede fought back a growl, losing to his inner temptation as he grabbed a candy cane and tossed it right into his mouth so as to improve his current mood. While his teeth crunched on the hard candy, he mentally made a reminder to buy more treats next year.
A rap on the door that rang out in unison with the motion of Dedede's teeth grinding against the candy cane sprang him out of his thoughts and threw him back to reality. Swallowing the pieces of candy cane swirling around his mouth with a gulp and clenching his eyes shut, he opened the door, expecting those darned three words again.
And sure enough, they came — those cursed words once again reverberating around his room.
"Trick or treat!"
This time, the newcomer was a Poppy Bro. Jr, the bouncing fellow flashing Dedede a jolly grin on his face as he reached his hands out, just like the countless visitors that'd come before him.
Dedede couldn't even be bothered to dignify him with a response, simply reaching for a piece of wrapped caramel. He took a single step out of the door and dropped it right into the Poppy Bro's eager hand.
The Poppy Bro simply gave a nod to show his thanks and winked at Dedede before turning around and strutting off. As the Poppy Bro bounced away, Dedede found himself shaking with frustration.
Oh, that was it.
He'd had to deal with too many trick-or-treaters tonight. Perhaps it was best for him to leave his room so that no one with a sweet tooth would be able to bother him again with that incessant knocking and same routine of begging for candy for the rest of the night.
He walked out of his room and into the corridor, only to notice a curious sight — the Poppy Bro. Jr had turned down a corridor which he knew led towards a dead end.
Now this was certainly off…
Dedede tip-toed silently along the corridor to follow the Poppy Bro. Jr — a feat that was harder than it looked thanks to the penguin's bulky size. As the bouncing Poppy Bro. ambled out of sight, Dedede walked forward and peered his eyes around the corner, only to feel his jaw go slack at the stupendous sight that he witnessed before him.
He barely held back a scream when he saw a white being detaching itself from the head of the Poppy Bro. As the dazed Poppy Bro. Jr stumbled away from the scene, Dedede flinched back when he saw the white being turn to the side.
In the span of a single second, his horror at the sight turned to that of extreme displeasure. After blinking and wiping his eyes, his brain finally caught up to what he was seeing.
As unbelievable as it was, Dedede recognized that face. That floating white being was his friend-cum-nemesis, the pink hero of Dream Land, Kirby.
Dedede clenched his fist, instinctively reaching for the handle of his wooden hammer with a snarl. He'd been played like a fiddle by Kirby!
It was now blatantly obvious why his stock of candy had disappeared rapidly this year — every single trick-or-treater that had knocked on his door to take candy from him was Kirby! It had been from the very start, with the puffball using one of his trademark Copy Abilities to his advantage!
This was Ghost Kirby, Dedede recalled, reaching into the deep recesses of his memory. The whole conspiracy was now clear as day to him, everything that had happened on this night finally making sense. The ghastly white sheet-like being ahead of him—Ghost Kirby—had used his power to take command of multiple helpers around Castle Dedede and pose as close to a hundred different trick-or-treaters, using the Copy Ability to singularly benefit off of Dedede's candy by assuming different identities with each pass.
He couldn't believe the nerve of that scoundrel! This… this was treachery! Treachery of the utmost decree! Dedede furled his brow, his knuckles going white from how tightly he was clutching onto his hammer.
It didn't help matters when he saw the ghostly apparition of Kirby zoom towards a walking Waddle Doo and disappear into him. When the "Waddle Doo" blinked curiously, stretching his now-physical arms as Ghost Kirby took control of him, it became quite clear to Dedede that the puffball was going for yet another helping of candy with his new host.
Not on his watch.
Dedede hurriedly rushed back to his throne room, his red robe trailing behind him because of the sheer speed that he was sprinting back to his room. Swerving around the corner while drifting as smoothly as a race car, he rushed back in and slamming the door shut, making it appear as though he hadn't managed to catch Kirby in the act earlier.
Yes, he was going to catch that Kirby off guard. He fiendishly held up his hammer, tentatively swinging it around a few times as he practiced the motion of a slam-dunk hammer smash, one which he was about to perform on his cheeky nemesis.
So all he had to do now was wait.
Knock, knock, knock!
Finally, just as his patience was wearing thin, Dedede was rewarded by the rapping knock on his door. The previous times that he'd heard it, it only caused him annoyance and misery. But this time, he was actively looking forward to it.
Payback time. Oh, he was surely going to relish this. He couldn't wait to take his revenge on that crafty Kirby.
The king grinned savagely as he reached for the door handle with his free hand, gripping onto his hammer firmly with his other. Dedede slowly inched the handle down so that the one outside his room would not be able to tell when he was going to open the door, and thus would have no time to react when he made his move.
A tiny creak was the only hint that the visitor outside was going to get before being introduced to a world of pain.
When the handle was fully depressed, Dedede swiftly kicked open the door in an impressive, exaggerated display that would feel at home if it were performed on the stage of a theater play. "Alright! Now I've gotcha!" he yelled with unrestrained mirth, immediately bringing down his hammer on the unsuspecting fool who'd knocked on his door in a single swift motion.
He laughed as his mallet hit its mark. "Hahahaha! Did you really think that you could get away with taking candy from my locale multiple times in a row, K-…"
Dedede then trailed off, flinching back in horror when he realized that the one by the door was most definitely not the Waddle Doo that he'd seen Ghost Kirby possess.
"Ow… G-G-Great King!"
A choked sob could be heard as his trusty servant, Bandana Dee, began to show tears brimming from his eyes. Dressed like a witch with a little purple pointy hat—one that looked pretty reminiscent of Kirby's Flare Beam hat—in place of his trademark bandana, he then fell to the ground from Dedede's hammer swing and began to rub the large swollen bruise on his head where he'd been struck. "That really, really hurt!"
The king's face fell in shock when his brain finally processed that he'd hit the wrong target. Wasting no time in lifting his hammer up form Bandana's forehead, Dedede then proceeded to kneel on the ground, lifting the injured Bandana Dee up to his lap and cradling him soothingly. "Oh man, Bandana! I'm so sorry!" he apologized, "I thought that you were…"
Dedede's eyebrows twitched as his ears caught the sound of suppressed laughter coming from behind Bandana Dee.
The hiss that emanated from his mouth caused the Ghost Kirby-possessed Waddle Doo to perk up, darting his singular eye about nervously.
"I know it's you, Kirby! You better show yourself, because the jig is up!" Dedede stood up from his squatting position, which unintentionally had the side effect of causing Bandana Dee to fall from Dedede's lap and land back to the ground in an ungraceful manner.
Seeing that he'd been caught out, Ghost Kirby made himself translucent, clearly hovering over the Waddle Doo that he had been possessing.
Dedede's eyebrow twitched visibly when he came face to face with Kirby. "You little darn trickster! Is this the spirit of Halloween? Playing a trick on me when I've given you so many treats!?" He marched forward, pointing a finger accusingly at the floating Kirby. "Ya better hand me back all the Halloween candy that I'd unwittingly given to you for all this time! I'm waiting, Kirby!"
Kirby could only use his white arms to sheepishly gesticulate at the area where his belly would have been, the teasing smile adjourned on his face giving Dedede the answer to his request without saying a single word in response.
Yeah, the king was most definitely not going to get this year's candy supply back.
"Wha… it's all in your stomach? You already ate all of it!?" Dedede uttered, astounded. As he pondered about the situation, he found himself realizing with a sinking feeling that this scenario should have been obvious from the start. There was no way that Kirby was going to keep food stockpiled in a place that wasn't his mouth.
Still, it didn't mean that he was going to let up on expressing his displeasure at this turn of events. Seeing Kirby nod in affirmation without the slightest hint of remorse was the last straw for the agitated Dedede. "Oh, that's it!" he yelled, spewing saliva from his mouth as he clenched his hand around the handle of his trusty hammer, lifting it up and brandishing it at Kirby.
"It's payback time, Kirby! You better prepare yourself, because when I get you, I'm gonna make sure that I pummel ya until you become a real ghost! How's that for 'trick or treat'!?"
Too caught up in his burst of anger to notice the plight of his assistant, Dedede immediately made a dash for the little perpetrator, who immediately dropped his possession of the Waddle Doo and scurried away, the white floating Kirby now clearly visible as he swooped down the corridor, determined not to let Dedede catch him.
As a result, when a befuddled Bandana recovered from being sprawled out by the door, he was greeted by a most unusual sight, one which he could not comprehend. "I'll get you for this, Kirby! I swear to the Stars above!" Bandana could hear Great King shriek as he sprinted along the corridor, chasing after a floating Ghost Kirby who was fluttering away as quickly as humanly possible.
"Kirbyyyyyy!" Bandana winced as he heard Great King bellow furiously at the flying Ghost Kirby again. "Do you think that this is some kind of a Gourmet Race redux? Because if you do, you've got something coming for ya! I ain't gonna let ya win with your stupidly large head start!" Dedede's voice echoed throughout the entire corridor as he sped up, shaking his fists at Kirby every step of the way. "Come back here, you coward! I demand compensation!"
Shakily getting to his feet, Bandana adjusted the little hat atop his head which doubled as his Halloween costume. As the duo ran out of his specter of vision—with Dedede dashing so fast that he actually wiped around the corner—the Waddle Dee could only let out an amused sigh at their chaotic antics. "Since Great King's now busy chasing after Kirby, does that mean that I won't be able to get my fair share of Halloween trick-or-treat candy?"
Bandana realized very quickly that he'd just asked a rhetorical question out loud, and thus quickly donned a dismayed frown on his face. Taking one last look at the ajar door, he walked away, letting out a lament as he did.
"Awwww… that's not fair…"
Happy Halloween! Now, I have a confession to make — I've personally have never went trick-or-treating before! Blasphemy, I know, but to be fair I never did celebrate Halloween over here…
October was a month which had physically and mentally drained me, which is part of the reason I found myself writing for Kirby at the end of it, since I find that this fandom is always a joy to write for. The idea of this fic came from a nice picture I'd seen of Kirby in a witch costume (which is what Bandana is dressed in!), which subsequently gave me the idea of writing a trick-or-treat fic, which my brain then quickly turned into Kirby being a mischievous rascal and trolling Dedede for extra candy… because of course he does.
And yes, I know that Ghost Kirby in Kirby Squeak Squad doesn't exactly work in this way, since Kirby is visible when he's possessing someone in that game, but I feel that it'll be much funnier and more realistic if he was transparent and invisible to others. So for the sake of Dedede losing hair over his candy, there ya go!
I hope that you all liked this short little one-shot, and I'll try and get back to uploading the next chapter of Terminal Paralysis as soon as I can! Enjoy your Halloween, folks! Here's hoping that all you trick-or-treaters don't be as mean as Kirby and relish the candy stash that you've been given!