A/N: This is for Peggy (PMD) for being a such good friend. It's told from Lex's POV.

I finally allow myself to smile as my father walks out the door, then pour myself a glass of Brandy before moving to the window to look out it as I think about the conversation we just had. My father said that friends are a weakness. A weakness I cannot afford. He's wrong. They are a strength I cannot do without.

My friendship with Clark is obvious, as are the benefits we both get from that friendship. My friendship with Lana is very different. It's simpler. We're friends who are also business partners. There's no need for the deceptions that are so much a part of my friendship with Clark. His deceptions, and mine, make it a complicated friendship, but one I value.

My friendship with Chloe is somewhere in between. There's an . . . attraction between us that keeps the friendship from being simple. But the lack of deception makes it different from my friendship with Clark. I think that's what I value most about my friendship with Chloe. There is no need for me to deceive her. Unlike Clark, she is able to accept me as I am. She can handle my dark side, as well as see the good in me. I don't need to hide the darkness in me from her.

Whether we will simply stay friends or one day act on our mutual attraction is something I do not know. She's still in high school, still too young, so it's better to leave things at friendship for now. But one day she will not be too young. Part of me hopes that we will end up together. Another part of me fears it. Mostly because I am afraid of hurting her. I also fear that a romantic relationship will end our friendship. I don't have so many friends that I am willing to lose one.

That's another thing I like about Chloe. She really is a friend. Most of those who claim to be my friend just want something from me. Lana is one of those, but still somehow a friend. At first Lana wanted the Talon, and since then she's wanted my help with other things, like Adam. Clark has never wanted anything from me but my friendship, and occasional help. Chloe is the same. The only thing she wants from me is my protection. As a friend she d entitled to that.

I also love her spirit. In business I'm surrounded by 'Yes Men'. That is something Chloe has never been. She loves to argue with me. Our games of Vebal Judo are becoming a Smallville legend. It's also why I value my friendship with Clark. He's also willing to stand p to me and tell me when he thinks I'm wrong.

No, father, my friends are not a weakness. They are a strength. And that is why you fear them. Because they give me the strength to fight you.