Disclaimer—Characters belong to Erik Kripke. No copyright infringement intended. Any similarity to events or persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

Author's Notes—Clearing up something that has bugged me for a while now. Unbeta'ed. Spoilers for Season 5's Dark Side of the Moon.

The Collector—Balthazar picks up a discarded trinket.

He'd like to think that he had to fight for it. In a way, he did. He had to bide his time, to be patient.

Of all the things he hated, and there are many, waiting was at the very top of the list.

Its owner kept it close constantly. There was never a moment when he could've snagged it, could've taken it. Hunters were notoriously light sleepers. The slightest ruffling of his feathers as he landed could've woken his target. And the man slept with it for crying out loud.

Slept. Ate. Showered. Worked. Traveled. Even fornicated with it.

And then he'd just thrown it away.

While Balthazar had never been one to question or care about human behavior, the fact that Dean Winchester would toss out such an important relic was difficult for even his angelic brain to comprehend. He didn't bother to ponder long. The very moment the Winchester brothers vacated the roadside hotel room, he flew in.

The cleaning lady might've seen the shiny and taken it for herself. While certainly, he doubted the woman would've found the horned head all that appealing, he wasn't about to take the risk she had a teenage son who would find it "groovy" or "cool" or whatever the "word" was these days. Heaven forbid, she miss it during her rounds and just bag it up with the rest of the garbage.

He had far better things to do than go dumpster diving. He'd done that once or twice before and it had always seemed to take ages to get the smell out of his wings. Even at the memory, he fought his gag reflex.

Easing the worn leather strap from the can, however, he smiled. "Hello, my darling," he said, looking at the glint of gold in the moonlight streaming through the window.

With the Big Man having vacated the penthouse suite, it made perfect sense to him to hold onto the talisman. It might come in handy. The very last thing he wanted was for someone to come sneaking up on him, God or not.

Looping the leather over his head, he didn't particularly care for the way it hung against his chest. It wasn't as long as he would've preferred. It didn't slide neatly under his shirt like he wanted. If he ever wound up facing the Winchesters in person, and he imagined it would be nearly guaranteed given their importance in his social circles, then he wasn't about to have Dean asking for the thing back.

Finders keepers, after all.

With slight pressure, he tugged at the talisman and the leather snapped.

Besides, he didn't want to think about all the sweat, blood, bile and who knew what that the cord had seen during its decades with Dean. He let it fall back into the garbage can while holding onto the amulet. Sliding the ball chain from around his neck, it held a protection pendant, another part of his collection.

But his new acquisition was certainly the piece de resistance.

The gold stood out on the silver chain, but he didn't mind. It even rested nicely against the pendant. When he eased the necklace over his head again, only the chain itself was visible. Everything else was hidden beneath his shirt.

Smiling to himself, pleased with himself, he flew off, ready to start researching the next piece for his collection.