((AN: i made a single stupid joke with my brother and then i was like "what if i wrote an entire fanfiction out of this" and like... he didn't stop me? so consider this his fault. theres also an oc in here for like two seconds

sorry for writing this))

dedede was sitting on his throne in silence one hot and hazy afternoon in dream land, the sun clearly in a bad mood and deciding to punish everyone with a heat wave. and, unfortunately, it was rather likely the heat was making dedede delirious (or at least less coherent than normal), as he suddenly sprung alert unprompted. "GUYS. EVERYONE. I JUST REALIZED SOMETHING GRAVELY IMPORTANT AS KING."

bandana dee was up and alert as well, startled by the sudden outburst. "what? what is it?!" he held his spear tightly in case the situation merited violence.

"I HAVE FORGOTTEN TO DO OUR GOOD DEED OF THE DAY." dedede sounded deeply grave.

bandana dee blinked as he felt anxiety rise up in him. "um… great king? i appreciate your goodwill and enthusiasm, but didn't we cancel the good deed of the day six years ago after the jell-o salad incident?"

all the guards in the room that had been there long enough to know of the aforementioned incident visibly shuddered.

dedede turned to bandana dee, eyes narrowed. "bandana dee, you are my greatest advisor and i trust you deeply, but we do not talk about the jell-o salad incident. " well, that was all well and good but it didn't answer the question.

one of the random guards piped up. "uhh, hey, great king dedede, what kinda good deed are we talking? just anything?"

dedede nodded. "pretty much! if it makes the world a better place even a little tiny bit then it's a good enough deed to count." he then went silent, thinking to himself. "OH. I HAVE AN IDEA!"

bandana dee braced himself. as long as it didn't involve jell-o salad, it would probably be fine…

"WE'RE GOING TO MAKE AN EDUCATIONAL TV SHOW FOR KIDS SO THEY CAN BE AS COOL AND SMART AND EPIC AS ME." dedede proclaimed, getting up and striking a triumphant pose with his hammer.

most of the waddle dee guards around the room clapped, though bandana dee stared blankly.

"that seems a little… out of nowhere?" bandana dee finally said. "i mean, no offense, no offense!"

"no offense taken! i got the idea because yesterday i saw a cursive letter and it gave me memories of my childhood." dedede answered casually.

bandana dee stared. "...huh?"

"ANYWAY STEP ONE. we need a crew! we need a cameraman!" dedede continued, giving no one any time to say anything else.

one waddle dee from the guard lineup stepped forward, grabbing a camera from who-knows where. "i bought a cheap camcorder last week! i'm aspiring to be a filmmaker! mostly horror found footage ARGs but i can branch out and all that. i can be your cameraman!" they explained cheerfully all in one breath.

"COOL! sounds great!" dedede responded, then standing in the center of the room. "OKAY. i need YOU to stand over there, and then bandana dee i want you to watch and make sure nobody breaks in and violently smashes the camera and ruins everything."

"um… okay?!" bandana dee agreed.

the cameraman waddle dee paused, unsure. "wait we're… we're just starting? right now? no prep?"

dedede sounded incredibly confident. "i've always been good at improv! this should be easy."

bandana dee cast the king a concerned look, but didn't say anything. this was not going to go well. everyone got in their places, and the cameraman started recording.

dedede began to talk with a clear and confident tone of voice, though maybe a little over-intense for a children's educational show. "OKAY KIDS. THE FIRST THING OF ANY LEARNING IS COUNTING. I THINK. SO. TO START WITH GETTING YOU ALL AS SMART AS ME, WE ARE GOING TO COUNT TO THE LAST NUMBER ."

"(oh god) ...great king, no offense, but-" bandana dee stepped towards dedede, hoping to interrupt him before things went too far.

"REPEAT AFTER ME. ONE!" he said the number loudly and clearly, and then left a couple seconds of silence afterwards, presumably so any theoretical audience could have the time to process.

...

"-great king, i-"

...

"TWO!"

...

"great king."

...

"THREE!"

...

"...king dedede."

...

"FOUR!"

...

"dedede!"

...

"FIVE!"

...

"DEDEDE."

...

"SIX- oh what is it bandana dee? DONT REPEAT THAT PART THAT'S NOT A NUMBER."

...

bandana dee sighed "there is no last number, great king. you can't count to it."

...

"YOU JUST SIMPLY AREN'T APPLYING YOURSELF ENOUGH. SEVEN."

...

a loud and disappointed sigh

...

"EIGHT."

...

"NINE."

...

"TEN."

...

"ELEVEN."

...

"TWELVE."

...

"THIRTEEN."

...

"FOURTEEN."

...

"FIFTEEN."

...

"SIXTEEN."

already, some guards were starting to get bored. bandana dee noticed one of them just casually fall asleep standing up.

...

"SEVENTEEN."

the cameraman shifted uncomfortably.

...

"EIGHTEEN."

...

"NINETEEN."

...

"TWENTY."

...

"TWENTY-ONE."

...

"TWENTY-TWO."

...

"TWENTY-THREE."

...

"TWENTY-FOUR."

...

"TWENTY-FIVE."

...

"TWENTY-SIX."

bandana dee snapped to attention as he heard a door opening and the sound of footsteps, but lowered his guard when he saw it was just finite.

"uhh, hey, i just wanted to ask if-" finite began to ask

...

"TWENTY-SEVEN."

"...huh?" finite's train of thought was promptly shot dead as he saw dedede standing dead center in his throne room staring into a tiny camcorder and loudly dictating a number before standing silently for like three or four seconds before saying another one

...

"TWENTY-EIGHT."

"what is he doing…?" finite finally turned to bandana dee and asked. "is he like… ok?"

bandana dee bit back a sigh

...

"TWENTY-NINE."

"he's, uh, making an educational show for preschoolers." bandana dee explained deadpan

finite blinked. "uh. okay. do you mind if i sit and watch and wait for him to be done so i can ask him my question?"

...

"THIRTY."

"sure. why not." bandana dee replied "you might be here a WHILE though."

finite shrugged and sat on the floor.

...

"THIRTY-ONE."

...

"THIRTY-TWO."

...

"THIRTY-THREE."

the cameraman sighed and set the camera on the floor, angling it up towards dedede. then he simply walked out of the throne room, possibly out of the entire castle.

dedede did not appear to notice.

...

"THIRTY-FOUR."

...

"THIRTY-FIVE."

...

"THIRTY-SIX."

...

"THIRTY-SEVEN."

...

"THIRTY-EIGHT."

...

"THIRTY-NINE."

...

"FORTY."

"...how long have i been sitting here?" finite asked

bandana dee checked his phone. "probably only two or three minutes."

"huh. ...feels longer than that." finite leaned backwards against the wall

...

"FORTY-ONE."

"yeah, it's kinda just that mind-numbing." bandana dee replied. "but it's my job to keep watch-" he glanced pointedly at some of the snoozing guards "-even if some others aren't. so guess i'm staying and watching."

...

"FORTY-TWO."

"...keep watch for what?" finite asked

bandana dee shrugged. "someone trying to destroy the camera mid-count, or something? i imagine the great king would probably have to start over if that happened."

...

"FORTY-THREE."

"...hm." finite understood the gravity of the situation. "...what's he counting, anyway?"

"he's trying to count to the last number." bandana dee explained.

...

"FORTY-FOUR."

"...th… the last number?" finite asked completely baffled

"yeah." bandana dee said

"isn't that like, infinity, which isn't something you can count to?"

"yeah. it's not stopping him from trying, though."

...

"FORTY-FIVE."

finite glanced away awkwardly. "you know, i think i'm just gonna go now."

"i don't blame you." bandana dee said

...

"FORTY-SIX."

finite got up and left.

...

"FORTY-SEVEN."

...

"FORTY-EIGHT."

...

"FORTY-NINE."

"almost halfway to a hundred!" a random waddle dee cheered excitedly.

...

"FIFTY."

said random waddle dee set off a party popper, sending confetti around the room.

bandana dee rolled his eyes as a streamer landed on his head.

...

"FIFTY-ONE."

...

"FIFTY-TWO."

...

"FIFTY-THREE."

...

"FIFTY-FOUR."

...

"FIFTY-FIVE."

...

"FIFTY-SIX."

...

"FIFTY-SEVEN."

...

bandana dee suddenly became acutely aware of a set of harsh yellow eyes watching them. he looked up to see meta knight sitting in the rafters, watching the spectacle with a look that, even as hard to read as meta knight was, was pretty clearly something between puzzlement and disappointment. how long had he been up there?

meta knight only answered bandana dee's questioning gaze with a look of pity that bandana dee quite frankly did not appreciate.

...

"FIFTY-EIGHT."

bandana dee turned back to watching dedede and the camera, figuring that if meta knight had been here without his knowledge and hadn't done anything yet, then there was probably no plan to sabotage the… this.

...

"FIFTY-NINE."

...

"SIXTY."

...

"SIXTY-ONE."

...

"SIXTY-TWO."

...

"SIXTY-THREE."

...

"SIXTY-FOUR."

...

"SIXTY-FIVE."

...

"SIXTY-SIX."

...

"SIXTY-SEVEN."

...

"SIXTY-EIGHT."

...

a group of younger waddle dee recruits stared and snickered with eager immaturity.

...

"SIXTY-... YOU CAN'T SAY THIS ONE IT'S ILLEGAL."

...

a collective groan.

"...wait, what's actually so funny about that number? i don't get it," one of them asked suddenly.

they were answered with unclear shrugs all around.

bandana dee blinked incredulously. "since when did we make the number sixty-nine ILLEGAL?"

...

dedede did not even look away from the camcorder. "BANDANA DEE YOU AREN'T ALLOWED TO SAY THAT NUMBER. STOP IT. SEVENTY."

bandana dee facepalmed.

...

"SEVENTY-ONE."

...

"SEVENTY-TWO."

...

"SEVENTY-THREE."

...

"SEVENTY-FOUR."

...

"SEVENTY-FIVE."

...

"SEVENTY-SIX."

...

"SEVENTY-SEVEN."

...

"SEVENTY-EIGHT."

...

"SEVENTY-NINE."

suddenly marx LOUDLY AND VIOLENTLY burst into the room with his wings out, startling everyone but dedede (who didn't react at all). the waddle dee guards that were still at least a little alert got their spears at the ready, bandana dee included.

"HEY EVERYONE. I HOPE YOU'RE READY FOR SOME VIOLENCE BECAUSE I'M IN A BAD MOOD TODAY AND I'M FEELING RECKLESS" marx threatened

...

"EIGHTY."

"...huh" marx paused and looked at dedede. "what"

the waddle dees around the room stood their ground even though marx was just floating there awkwardly.

...

"EIGHTY-ONE."

"...eighty-one WHATS?" marx asked, sounding on-guard

one of the random waddle dees shook their head apologetically.

...

"STOP TALKING I'M COUNTING. EIGHTY-TWO."

"COUNTING WHAT? " marx snapped before lunging down at dedede, but bandana dee leapt up and instantly knocked him to the floor.

"HE'S JUST COUNTING!" bandana dee snapped, holding his spear over marx's face.

...

"EIGHTY-THREE."

"BUT COUNTING WHAT?! " marx demanded, sounding way more bothered by this than anyone really had any right to be.

bandana dee glanced back at the king. "he's. he's JUST counting. for a educational show he's trying to film."

...

"EIGHTY-FOUR."

"...what?" marx looked between bandana dee and king dedede looking unsure if he was being japed or something. "an… an educational… wha? why? "

"it's… it's his good deed of the day." bandana dee tiredly explained. "if you mess things up and force him to start over i will NOT hesitate to skewer you."

...

"EIGHTY-FIVE."

"yeesh. violent." marx replied

bandana dee blinked. "didn't you just burst in here demanding violence?"

"not violence at MY expense!"

...

"EIGHTY-SIX."

"anyway. whatever. can i watch?" marx asked.

bandana dee really really did not want to say yes. "...i. i GUESS. as long as you don't cause any trouble."

...

"EIGHTY-SEVEN."

"cool. be right back" marx said and then flew out, which just the sudden movement of that caused bandana dee to clutch his spear intensely

...

"EIGHTY-EIGHT."

...

"EIGHTY-NINE."

marx flew back in holding a lawn chair and set it down on the floor. at least he apparently knew better than to try using the king's throne.

...

"NINETY."

"you're putting that back when this is done." bandana dee said matter-of-factly.

"well, DUH." marx replied. "this is my only lawn chair and i'm NOT letting dedede of all people have it."

...

"NINETY-ONE."

things settled back into silence.

...

"NINETY-TWO."

...

"NINETY-THREE."

...

"NINETY-FOUR."

"this is boring." marx said. no one replied to him.

...

"NINETY-FIVE."

...

"NINETY-SIX."

...

"NINETY-SEVEN."

...

"NINETY-EIGHT."

...

"NINETY-NINE."

...

"hey, look, he's about to hit triple digits." a half-asleep waddle dee lazily pointed out. no one responded.

...

"TENTY."

there was a delayed reaction.

...

"TENTY-ONE.

"wait wait hold on go back-" bandana dee said as the other onlookers suddenly became alert.

...

"NO. TENTY-TWO."

"i mean… i GUESS you could call that tenty? i GUESS?" marx said, leaning upwards from his weird reclining position on the lawn chair. "like, it's not INCORRECT. there's PROBABLY people that call it that."

"great king, that's…that's not…" bandana dee stumbled on his words awkwardly.

...

"TENTY-THREE."

"great king. i need you to answer a question for me." bandana dee said flatly

...

"OKAY. LAY IT ON ME. TENTY-FOUR."

"...what's one hundred."

...

"IT'S A HUNDRED. NEXT QUESTION. TENTY-FIVE."

"...right."

...

"TENTY-SIX."

...

"TENTY-SEVEN."

...

"TENTY-EIGHT."

bandana dee didn't give up as easily as he probably should've. "okay. okay. let's try that again. what number comes before one hundred."

...

"BANDANA DEE IF I SAY THAT IT'LL MAKE THE KIDS CONFUSED WHAT NUMBER WE'RE ON. I CAN'T ANSWER IT. TENTY-NINE."

"i. i see." bandana dee sat down on the floor

"ELEVENTY."

"oh dear." bandana dee sighed

"what's gonna happen when he hits two hundred? is he gonna call it twentyty?" a bystander waddle dee asked.

"i didn't think he was gonna even get to ONE hundred!" a different one replied. "i hope he gets to ten thousand. i want to hear him say tentytyty."

...

"ELEVENTY-ONE."

"no offense, but if he keeps counting even up to three hundred i think i honestly might attack him." marx said boredly

bandana dee brandished his spear threateningly. "no one is forcing you to stay here and watch."

"i am." marx said like that was a good excuse

...

"ELEVENTY-TWO."

...

"ELEVENTY-THREE."

...

"ELEVENTY-FOUR."

...

"ELEVENTY-FIVE."

...

"ELEVENTY-SIX."

...

"ELEVENTY-SEVEN."

"oh my god he just keeps going." meta knight muttered darkly from the shadows. bandana dee actually already had forgotten he was here

...

"ELEVENTY-EIGHT."

...

"ELEVENTY-NINE."

"twelvety time, folks! give it up for twelvety!" marx laughed. bandana dee shot him a glare.

...

"TWELVETY."

...

"TWELVETY-ONE."

...

"TWELVETY-TWO."

...

"TWELVETY-THREE."

...

"TWELVETY-FOUR."

...

"uhhhhh…" dedede paused, his bizarre counting fugue state seemingly interrupted and his voice returning to a reasonable volume. he leaned over to bandana dee and whispered with alarm. "bandana dee. WHAT comes after twelvety-four?"

bandana dee found himself completely speechless. "g. great king. w… what… comes after… twelvety-four…?" he was wishing he stayed in bed today

dedede completely misinterpreted bandana dee's hesitation. "WELL. if you don't know either, there is NO shame in that! because if i don't know then I'M SURE no one does."

bandana dee took a deep breath. "...y… you know what, great king. there are no numbers after twelvety-four. that's the last one."

dedede seemed thoughtful for a minute, and then let out a confident laugh. "you know what? that makes sense, you're probably right there! TOLD YOU i could reach the last number! wasn't even that hard."

a muttered " is he serious? " was heard from the rafters.

there was a single question burning in bandana dee's mind, but he thought better than to ask it in case it incited another bout of counting.

marx on the other hand did not fear death so he just went out and said it. "HEY, DEDEDE, IF TWELVETY-FOUR IS THE LAST ONE, THEN WHAT'S A THOUSAND?!" he waved his wings jeeringly

"IT'S A THOUSAND. EASY. GET OUT OF MY CASTLE MARX." dedede said firmly and without a hint of hesitation.

"WHAT ABOUT A MILLION? A BILLION?! " marx laughed as he grabbed his lawn chair (using his teeth) and flew out before he could be attacked by the waddle dee guards who seemed to finally remember that keeping marx out was part of their jobs.

dedede simply crossed his arms in disapproval. "marx should already know trick questions like that can't beat ME! a million is a million and a billion is a billion." he then picked up the camcorder on the floor. apparently it ran out of battery a couple minutes after the cameraman left so most of it wasn't even recorded. "...hm. well, bandana dee, i am QUITTING the edutainment business!"

bandana dee breathed a sigh of relief "oh thank god- I MEAN. as you wish, great king!"

without even looking, dedede threw his hammer towards the ceiling, narrowly missing meta knight, who clearly got the hint and also flew out.

dedede sat on his throne and sighed. "well, i guess instead of making an edutainment show, my good deed for the day could be making NEW numbers so it keeps going after twelvety-four." he pondered this deeply

bandana dee was not quite so sure this counted as a good deed and also just was really not in the mood to see dedede try anything else with numbers. "actually, great king, i think your good deed for the day was… uh…throwing a hammer at meta knight."

dedede blinked. "does that really count as a good deed? i thought it was a completely morally neutral deed."

"well. you can legally make it a good deed." bandana dee suggested against his better judgement. anything to keep dedede from trying to invent new numbers.

"HUH. i guess you're right!" dedede chuckled. "and THAT, bandana dee, is why you are the epicest advisor ever." he grabbed a pad of sticky notes from within his robe to write down the new legislature and post it on the front of the castle door. "maybe this whole numbers thing was a bad idea anyway. i got rid of all my knowledge of math like ten years ago to make room for more cool special attacks."

"...what?"

dedede did not elaborate.