A/N: Yes, I am back after a gazillion months. Yes, I am aware that anyone reading this has probably long ago drifted away with boredom. Yes, that is completely my fault, I am sorry. But yes, I will continue to write, if only to prove to myself I can finish a story. Here's a short summary of chapter…seven? It'll probably be an issue, if like me, you can't remember the names of some characters…

Tyler's granddad and little cousin Timothy come over to visit. Very annoying, Tyler doesn't like them. Has a phone conversation which reveals: Emily Clement's (Noel's arch nemesis, befriends Kendall) mum wants Tyler and her daughter to get together, Tyler's dad's recently re-married, his parents are divorced and his mum's on a trip around the world to discover herself. Also, Tyler's been swimming maniacally and is still suffering from insomnia. Leap to school- Charles and Freddy established as Noah's friends. Tyler annoys his teacher, gets sent out. Noel gets sent out to bring him back after a while, they have a deep and meaningful: why did you come back if you don't like it here (tyler)- Noel says better the devil you know etc etc. Ends with Dana coming to get both of them back to class, Noel gets annoyed that Dana thinks there's something going on and makes up a lie- that she and Tyler were involved over the summer.

Noah: Distract Her While I Steal the Newspaper

Nothing travels faster than the speed of light, with the possible exception of bad news, which follows its own rules.

-Douglas Adams

Oh my goodness. These children seem to have made an awful mess of things, don't you think dear? No, don't be ridiculous darling; they are not handling it well at all. For one, Noel and Noah have had that awful fight, just on the first day back at school, and they still refuse to talk to each other. You rememeber, dear, Noel was furious that Noah had agreed to pretend Kendall was their cousin and Noah couldn't understand that Noel didn't see it was the right course of action. And don't they look miserable now? Look at Noah, he's lolling about on the coach, and I do believe it is almost past one o'clock in the morning down there. And Kendall seems just as

sad, and then Noel invented that extraordinary myth that she and Tyler had been involved and Richard Bell-Clair is launching that awful lawsuit against St Mary's Hospital for the mix-up with the births and look, is that Tyler knocking on the Bell-Clair door now? My, my and he looks quite ready for a fight…

Such darling children, but remarkably daft, wouldn't you agree pet? I think the time for a more direct Intervention is fast arriving. Don't look so nervous, dear, you must know how to run things quite thoroughly before I leave. It does get rather nippy and windy here in limbo and I do long for a change. Let's close this chapter quickly.

For sunshine and rolling waves beckon, darling.

There is a loud thump on the front door, jarring me out of my television-induced doze. My eyes fly to the clock- it's 1:23 am. Who in their right mind makes visits in the early hours of a Monday morning?

Nutcases. Nutcases and Thieves.

Thieves! Dude, we're about to get robbed! Sound the alarm, dammit!

Dude, why would a thief knock on the door?

There is a sharp rap again and I give myself a little shake. Time to stop being ridiculous. I open the door to find Tyler Durton standing in front of me, hand poised in the air to knock on the door again.

"Oh God," I sigh, rubbing my eyes. "Why don't you ever go away?"

"Top of the morning to you, Noah." He slides past me and by the time I've turned around, he's sprawled across the sofa.

I've barely ever seen Durton wear anything but red and black, and today is no different. He looks like a dirty black smear against the too-white furniture of our penthouse.

I sigh again and sit on the arm chair opposite him. Durton's presence is suffocating, but it is better to find out what he wants, before I attempt to kick him out- the guy's as stubborn as Noel herself.

"To what do I owe the pleasure?"

"Well, would you look at that," he smirks, and picks up one of the apples lying on a platter on the coffee table. "You've developed manners quite overnight." He bites into it with a loud crunch.

I glare at him. What gives him the right to swagger in here and behave like everything is his own? "I thought one of us should be civilised, at least."

"Your thoughtfulness does you credit, my friend. Being as it is that we live opposite each other; I could not but help notice the light on in this room. I had a strong feeling that it might be you still awake and I do think that…" He cocks his head slightly and then pauses, distracted by the television. "Forgive me, if I seem rude, but is it commonplace for you to watch…what is that? Gilmore Girls?"

I want to smash the condescension right off his face. "Is it commonplace, my friend¸ that you make uninvited visits in the middle of the night?"

Durton watches the screen incredulously and then returns his hard gaze to me. "As much as it may pain you to hear, you and I must talk."

I sit up straighter in my chair and flick the television off with the remote.

"I'm listening."

"If you have an astute turn of mind beneath all that blond hair, perhaps you may be aware that Emily Clement, and more particularly, her mother, wish that Emily and I begin a relationship."

I roll my eyes. It's a long standing joke at the Academy that Emily will give up the world to be with either myself or Durton rather than the long string of idiots she wastes her time with. The tragedy for her, and the comedy for us, is that we cannot stand the sight of her. It's probably the only thing Durton and I have in common.

"Sure, I've noticed."

"Well, she thought it would amuse me, and perhaps impress me, to give me this."

He reaches into his trench coat pocket and for one fanciful moment, I think he's going to whip out a gun. It may seem ridiculous but that's just how evil Tyler Durton is. Threatening innocent people is probably what he does as a way of killing time. The resilient strain of intelligence in my head however, shoots this theory down.

Don't be idiotic, as if Tyler Durton would murder you in your own penthouse.

True, he'd probably do it in some forlorn alleyway and manage to have a concrete alibi saying he was kilometres away in Tahiti.

It isn't a semi-automatic he pulls out however, but something that turns out to be immeasurably worse. The Diamond. That's the inventive name of our school newspaper- run by the students, about the students, for the students. (And don't let anyone tell you we're preoccupied with ourselves.) It's a well-known fact that Emily Clement is the Chief Editor of the Diamond; it's the jewel of her crown.

Yeah, I'm pretty witty this early in the morning.

"It's the first edition for the term. Emily came over last night, looking more pleased with herself than usual. Thought I'd like to see it… I know she hates Noel but…rather ruthless, girls, aren't they?"

The bottom of my stomach hits the floor, and with a terrible feeling of dread, I rip the elastic off the newspaper Durton throws me. An enormous photo of Kendall, looking pale and nervous, encompasses the top half of the page; Noel's 2005 unsmiling school photo completes the other half. Oh, God.

TROUBLE IN PARADISE?

Strong doubts have arisen concerning the origin of one of our most imminent students

The illustrious Bell-Clair family has hit some hard times, the Diamond can exclusively reveal. Noel Bell-Clair, beloved daughter of Richard Bell-Clair and heiress to a significant part of the Bell-Clair fortune, has left their penthouse on Briseis Avenue, amidst rumours of scandal and doubts concerning the nature of her birth and origin. Noel's cousin, who is also a close friend and confidant can confirm claims that Noel left her 'family' in December last year as a direct result of a saucy family scandal.

"There was a huge fight," says her cousin, who wishes to remain unnamed, "between you know, both the fathers. Nobody knew anything about it before her real dad confronted the family about it. Naturally, Noel was furious. And that's why she left."

Left, and flew straight into the arms of Tyler Durton, her steady boyfriend, despite the couple's refusal to publically acknowledge their relationship. Noel lived with Tyler for several weeks, as photos of Noel regularly entering and leaving Tyler's apartment, sometimes hand in hand with him, can confirm.

There is a reel of shots along the side of the page I have not noticed- poor quality black and white photographs from what appears to be a security camera. Several show Noel and Durton entering and leaving together (though none with them holding hands, I note). I swear under my breath but return to reading the article, and a strong need to vomit overpowers me as I read each sentence.

Noel now attends Diamond Academy under the charity of other's - she is a recipient of the Judith Hemmingway Scholarship, a scholarship long-founded by the School Council and solely dependent on the generous donations made by families closely connected to the school. Noel has not yet returned to the Bell-Clair penthouse and her cousin reports that she has rented a small apartment some distance from the school. Reports that Richard Bell-Clair is taking legal action against his wife, and will shortly disinherit Noel from the Bell-Clair fortune in favour of her cousin Kendall from Western Australia, are yet to be confirmed.

Dana Williams

I have to read the article three times before its impact can sink in. I can hardly believe it. Of all the brainless, down right idiotic things Kendall can do, she goes and confides in Dana Williams, the girl who can scarcely see a bird fly into a room before running around screaming that she's seen a bomb. Stupid! I knew we shouldn't have let Kendall come to the Academy. Hell, we shouldn't have even let her out of the house. A girl lacking that many brain cells is a God damn security risk.

Durton evinces from my shell-shocked expression that I've finished reading the article.

"Even I rate a mention. Personally, I'm thrilled," he remarks caustically.

I leap up and pace around the room with the newspaper rolled into a baton in my hand, and whack it against the other. It's obvious the whole article is a pack of lies, except…Is there any truth in the supposed relationship between Noel and Tyler Durton? I look over my shoulder at my sister's 'steady boyfriend', who is nonchalantly eating an apple. Anyone who has seen them together will find the plausibility of that ridiculous but…Noel did go off to live with Tyler during those weeks she was avoiding us and going to Hacket Grove. I always though it bizarre, out of character and now…

"You aren't involved are you? Coz I swear, if you are…." I shake my head and crack the knuckles in my free hand.

"Oh please," Durton responds, his face contorted with disgust. "Do not insult me."

I move forward and throw the article onto the coffee table with venom. "We've got to stop that from getting published."

He smiles grimly. "Too late. The newspaper has been printed on Friday afternoon, right and ready for Monday morning. That's today," he adds helpfully.

I frantically run my hands through my hair. My mind's eye sees an apocalyptic vision of doom- me, arriving at school, finding every single student reading that newspaper, sniggering to themselves about the scandal, and Noel, trying her hardest not to cry. Oh God, poor Noel. She doesn't need this. This is exactly what I am trying to avoid by playing along with Richard's plans. This is what they're like. They will raise you onto a pedestal, they will insist you're something special, they will insist on pressing onto you an aura of glamour and glitz. And they'll idolise you. Yet all the while, they will search for evidence to prove that you're just as plain, just as boring, just as human as the rest of them, and when they do, they'll bring you down with a vicious, vindictive, blood thirsty pleasure. Human nature deals only in extremes.

"We've got to stop it, do you hear me?"

"Haven't you been listening, you fool? You can't stop it!" He slams his hand down on the arm of the sofa. "Once teaching faculty get wind of the article, no doubt they'll do all they can to stop its distribution, after all, the Diamond is not meant to be some kind of tabloid magazine, but by then it'll be too late. You can be sure that those who've read it will be telling everyone who hasn't. Your position is quite helpless."

I sink back down onto my chair, as the truth of his words seep in.

"Well, we've got to get back at them. You can't take this lying down. Kendall, man, she is going to get. Once Richard sees this article…." I let out a low whistle. "Emily and Dana, though? God, who do they think they are, going after my little sister like this?"

"I'll asume that fatuous remark refers to Noel, who is, you may be obliged to know, not your sister, that being the root cause of all your current problems."

I roll my eyes. "Shut up Durton." I open my mouth to continue, but then stop, a clear thought striking me. I'm astonished I didn't think of it before, and I squint my eyes at him. "Why are you so eager to help us anyway?"

"Perhaps I dislike having my name besmirched, and in addition-"

I fly to Noel's defence. "Going out with my sister is not having your name besmirched, you idiot and-"

Durton stands up and crosses his arms in a swift movement. "It most certainly is besmirching it, and furthermore, it was only a moment ago you were growling like a dog at the idea of us being together." I open my mouth to argue but Durton continues determinedly. "However, I suppose I might take some sort of pleasure in seeing Emily revenged upon. I want to put an end to the ridiculous gossip I've been hearing about myself all week, since your 'sister' … well, and though I'm no stranger to being talked about, I shall admit, this time, particularly because the subject of it is so derogatory, I find it rather infuriating. This article, and those disgusting photographs, will only further fan the fire. So that is why I will be assisting you in any endevour to bring Emily down."

Durton's explanation doesn't seem to be quite satisfactory, nor entirely truthful, but I do owe him one for showing me the article in the first place. I nod and stand.

"So, Master of the Pranks, do we have an accord?"

I give a half-smile and shake his extended hand. "An accord, I guess. And I guess we can be happy that they don't know the whole story," I offer with a feeble attempt at optimism. "But why would Emily and Dana do this?"

Durton raises a brow. "Because like, Noel is like, such a bitch. And she totally deserves it. And like, who does she think she is, going out with Tyler anyway?"

There is an awkward silence, in which I stare wide-eyed at Tyler Durton. I swear he almost turns pink under my stare.

"Please don't talk like that again."

Durton lowers his head. "Agreed."

Later that morning, I step around feeling like I'm about to set off a field of landmines.

Today is going to be the day that they're gonna throw it back to you.

Oasis have got it right in one. They're pretty smart, some of those poms.

Showing, I believe, great strength of character, I do not confront Kendall before school, thinking that she's going to suffer enough when she realises the impact of her actions (and when Richard catches wind of them too.)

Also, I never talk to Kendall if I can help it.

I'm feeling adventerous so I tell the chauffeur that I'll drive the Merc into school today, and, being a nice sort of brother, I offer Kendall a ride. I have ulterior motives however, re: ulterior motives- I will leave school without Kendall and thus leave her stranded without transport!

Aha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

I'm one bad ass guy, wouldn't you know.

I pull into the Academy parking lot, and my short burst of pre-school perkiness burns up. Instead I remember that I gathered close to two hours sleep the night before. And Noah has not had coffee. And Noah really cannot function on lack of sleep. Especially on such a day, the day of ulterior motives, the day of squishing Emily Clement like a fly, the day of, ooh, is that Freddy?

I grab my bag and hurry out of the car, and lock it as soon as Kendall manages to get herself out. Then, I look towards Freddy with a huge grin on my face.

"Freddo!" I yell, and stride over to him. "Haha, like the chocolate."

Freddy looks me up and down and shakes his head. "I don't know why you bother turning up anywhere when you haven't slept enough."

I raise my brows. "I have slept, plenty! Plenty, mate plenty!"

"Sure. Let's get you some coffee, shall we?"

I nod, we enter the main building and head in the direction of the café. Then, just like that, a certain girl comes down the staircase ahead, making me gulp nervously. (And what, is that thunder and lightening I see flash yonder?) Why, oh, why can she not remain in her I-will-not-talk-to-Noah-because-I-can't-admit-that-I'm-wrong faze? I have an unfounded fear that our conversation will follow the course of something like:

Noel: Hi Noah. Read anything scandalous and untruthful and likely to cause me much trauma and distress in the Diamond lately?

Noah: (shifts from foot to foot) No?

Noel: Really?

Noah: No. Actually… I lie.

And we all know what that's going to mean: drama, shouting, 'why couldn't you stop it…' and oh, God. I need more sleep to finish that thought. I don't know what's going to happen, but my brain is sending me May Day signals and this isn't going to end well.

"Hi Noah. Hey Freddy." She pulls on the end of her jumper and looks at the floor. "Noah, I just wanted to say, I'm sorry. I don't really agree with you, but I guess you're doing as you think best."

"Nah, it's cool. Don't worry about it," I say, ruffling her hair, and heaving a sigh of relief.

She grins, and to my horror, falls into step with us.

"So where are you guys headed?" Noel asks cheerfully.

Freddy, who up to this moment has maintained a discreet silence, explains quickly my need for coffee and within the space of seconds, has invited Noel along with us. Just my luck. The danger that Noel will see the newspaper at any moment remains, and, dude, what the hell am I supposed to do? Act surprised? Tell her I knew all along but couldn't do anything? Tell her it's the cruelest thing Emily could have done, but s'all good because Durton and I made a pact in the middle of the night? Sensing my distress here?

"Noel!" The newcomer is Leigh, who skids around the corner, out of breath, holding that lethal newspaper in her hand.

I hate it when I'm right.

"Wait till you see this!" Noel's best friend exclaims.

With idiotic hysteria, I hasten to intervene.

"Um, it's a report I asked her to write," I invent spectacularly. "On…" Words fail me, and I look around rapidly to find a plausible subject… Tiles, walls, window, bird- "on birds." Feeling I may as well do the thing properly I continue, "from the Bahamas. They fascinate me really. So tropical."

Noel looks at me, half-amused, half-confused, then she steps forward towards Leigh, whose expression is much the same. I widen my eyes at her and press my index finger to my lips. Leigh raises a brow, but, she thankfully, posesses an intellect which quite surpasses that of my biological sister, and grasps the situation quickly.

"See," she explains to an incredulous Noel, "I've always found the Bahamas really interesting. And um, Noah here, found out, and asked me to do a little fact file kind of thing for him."

"On birds," Noel says, looking at Leigh with her head cocked to the side.

"Yes."

"From the Bahamas?"

"Affirmative."

She puts a hand on her hip, and I involuntarily draw a breath in. Noel is growing exasperated.

She extends her palm. "Can I have a look?"

I glance desperately at Freddy, who is a bright spark, and has a strong sense of the ridiculous. It's why I hang around with him.

"Noel," he says bravely. I say bravely because even I can tell Freddy has no idea what he is about to say. "Ever, uh. Ever been to the Bahamas?"

Noel turns her head around and shrugs. "Can't say that I have."

"You should," Leigh advises, nodding her head strongly. "Really warm, sunshine, and rolling waves, darling. You'd love it."

"Mm, tchuh. Can I look at the report? Please?"

Think quick Noah! Quick! "What's that?" I say, pointing wildly into a corner.

Noel spins around and squints into the distance. Freddy takes advantage of the distraction to grap the Diamond off Leigh, though what that achieves, I'm not sure I know.

"It's a, uh," Leigh stutters.

Freddy grins. "A bird?"

"From the Bahamas?"

"Where?"

"Over there, look!"

"Sorry, I lie, it's your boyfriend."

"What?" "Who?" "When?" "Never!" (This is all at once.)

"There is no boyfriend! Can I have the report?"

"Oh look, a truck."

The last rejoinder is said by Freddy, who looks quite pleased with his supposed diversion. It's too late however, and I watch, in slow motion as Noel reaches for the newspaper from Freddy, takes it in her hands and pulls the elastic away. As she reads, her smile slowly falls and her jaw drops, centimetre, by centimetre.

Life is so much more dramatic when you're tired.

A/N- Yeah baby! It's done! Can I get a whoop-whoop? Holla if its borin ya. Hehe. I think we'll have a Kendall- Noel Show Down next chapter. (See, aren't you happy you stuck around) I was going to write it now, but I think we need Noel's perspective for that. And, I've changed the title (again) but that was several months ago, and I still don't mind it, so I think it's here to stay. Also, I've added chapter titles. And changed the summary. Because really, it's my aim to change this story so much that you will not recognise it as the one you started reading oh so many years ago by the end! Aha! Ha! Ha! Ha! I'm a badass girl, wouldn't you know. (Apologies for Noah's lameness. I think I'd eaten one too many tim tams by then.)

Onto more important things has- everybody been watching the football? And uh, a little team I like to call the SOCCEROOS! I have. :D Hope you have too. Because they were just awe-some. And if I was a FIFA referee, they would be in the quarter-finals now, yes they would. Now, I support Germany. Because I like them.

And now if my lovely reviewers can streeeetch their memories to what they said oh so long ago….

Why Can't I Just Be tall: Le gasp! I know! You have every right to lose patience. I was thoroughly ashamed dude, thoroughly ashamed when I got your review in my inbox. Updated now but. Snaps for me? Please?

Becks: Unfortunately for Kendall, she most probably won't be out of Emily's grasp for a while yet. Silly girl. Interesting that you find her more realistic than the others. Not in a bad way. Just kinda interesting for me. :D And I really like writing Lady Fate now. It's kind of fun, the way she talks. So I'm happy you like.

Brooke O'Riley: Yes, I think we have established Tyler's rocks everybody's socks! Wish I had a Tyler. He might be a little frustrating in real life though…what say you? No worries about taking a while to review. I'm just very happy you do. :)

Menebar: Ouchies, to think the last time you reviewed was during Christmas. (shaking my head at myself for taking so long) Hope you had a good one. I feel bad for saying I'd update IGH coz I took it down. (Extended reasons in my profile.) I think I remember you saying you liked that more but…myself, I much prefer this. I hope you still keep reading, and thanks for reviewing!

Evan-Cora: Blak Pearl was most distressed to hear of Evan-Cora's brain damage, though is somewhat flattered that she laughed so much. Blak Pearl sends her heartiest wishes for Evan Cora's speedy, healthy recovery!

Your Favourite Stalker: Dude! Haha, you were in Malaysia when you reviewed. That is a-ages ago. I'm glad that you read almost as soon as I update, at least I know I'll always have a faithful reader in you ;) Ok, you give me three good reasons as to why Tyler sucks (which aren't along the same lines as the logic 'I know you are but what am I') and Maybe, just MAYBE I'll consider working Tyler getting chucked off a cliff into the story line. Maybe baby. Might see you at Bondi tomorrow, ay? Anyway, aren't you meant to be in Canberra?

Pixy Dizzy: I love your reviews. They're so funny. But uh, stoked as I am to be your ambassador of Quam, what is it? I'm laughing at the picture of Tyler in spandex. Yeah, I think Tyler in real life would be pre-etty hard to deal with. I think he'd make me cry too. Lol. That or, if I knew him really well, he'd make me laugh and we'd live happily ever after. He'd be useful to have around coz he'd always say the cutting things every one else is thinking. :D –Taps nose- you gotta think of these things, ey? Omigosh! Why doesn't starbucks sell coffee at high schools? That is lame-o, they're missing out. I think Noah has proved they'd make a bucket load. Glad you liked the will. I found it funny to write. I forgot to mention last chapter but that is based 100 on reality. Have I told you this before? I'm getting déjà vu. Anyway, it was with my brother's friend, not my cousin, and I stayed in my mum's walk in wardrobe all day and watched Catch Me If You can on my dad's laptop. And yes, the kid tried to eat my noodles. I live in continual terror that my brother will invite him over again.

Thank you very much also to: suganspice31790, nautyangel, Kjersti, and insane-mocha.

And thank you for reading! (You can leave a review if you'd really like to. Really. It's ok. I won't mind.)