"It's worthless," Castiel pronounced bitterly, tossing the amulet into Dean's cupped hands. He departed before either Sam or Dean could disagree.
As much as Dean had missed the heft and certainty of the necklace in the past few months, he wasn't exactly pleased to be reunited with it at that particular moment. He felt Sam's eyes on him as he finished zipping up his duffel. The brass pendant was cold in his hand. Sam's pleading look was almost palpable at his back. Put it on. Please, put it on. For God's sake, Dean, put it on!
But Dean didn't want to put it on. All he could think about was Heaven—Sam's Heaven, to be precise—and Dean's lack of a place in it. Sam's Heaven was Thanksgiving with other people's families. It was being alone with a stray dog and a cold pizza while his father and brother went insane with worry trying to find his runaway ass. Sam's Heaven was going to Stanford and leaving Dean behind. Sam was so very good at leaving.
Yeah, he'd seen Sam's fondest dreams, and they sure as hell didn't include him and his worthless necklace. Dropping the amulet in the trash was like taking off a yoke and laying it down after years of servitude.
At least, that's how Dean felt in the heat of his anger and hurt. He kept his back turned, ignoring his brother's reaction, and left the hotel. Sam meekly joined him in the front seat of the Impala a few moments later.
Sam remained silent for the entire trip—a silence reminiscent of the period of grief after Jessica was killed. They only travelled about 250 miles after leaving the Econo King. Coming back from the dead took a lot out of a person and they were both exhausted. Dean checked them in while Sam gathered their bags from the trunk.
Sam took a cursory turn in the bathroom and sat on the bed, laptop open but ignored. Dean felt Sam warily watching him as he lay lines of salt at the windows and the door. The silence had accumulated like that moment before a thunderstorm when the air is so tumescent it has little choice but to explode.
"Dean," Sam began, "About Heaven... there's something you need to know about what you saw—" his voice faltered on the last word.
Dean held up a hand to silence him. "I saw enough, Sam. And I don't need to know anything else."
"Dean, please. Listen to me—" Sam tried again, only to be rewarded by the slam of the bathroom door as Dean locked himself inside. As the shower warmed, Dean sat numbly on the closed lid of the toilet removing his boots and socks.
"Dean!" Sam's voice persisted softly. Dean could picture him, forehead pressed intently against the other side of the door. "My Heaven started right when you found me. My Heaven was being with you."
When the hot water of the shower began to soften the muscles in his shoulders and the significance of what he'd done caught up to him, Dean finally began to cry.
An hour later, when he was sure Sam had fallen asleep, Dean crept out of the room and drove back to the Econo King Hotel.
"We cleaned the room after you left," Haley, the night manager, informed him. "The trash can woulda been emptied in the dumpster out back."
Dumpsters are really nasty. Especially in the light of pre-dawn, when you can't quite tell what your hands might be touching. After discovering two used condoms and a rancid hamburger, Dean was ready to call it quits. But—not yet. Like U2, he still hadn't found what he was looking for.
Not realizing he was humming, Dean dove back in.