He hadn't realised until just now, how alike they were at the beginning. Reinette and Amelia. Little seven-year-old girls when he first met them.
Seven-year-old girls with terrifying timey wimey cracks in the fabric of space and time in their bedrooms in the night. Who knew him as the imaginary friend of their childhood.
Seven-year-old girls who grew into twenty-something girls who wanted to dance. With him. Not that there hadn't been plenty of others who'd wanted to dance with him. But these two - not really Reinette and Amelia by then, more Madame du Pompadour and Amy - these two had been different. He'd loved them, in a slightly different way than other companions and friends. It wasn't just the dancing or the desire to dance; it was the little girls themselves, whose lives he'd touched when they were so very young, and who'd had the power to change their worlds when they grew up.
There had been a few others, the special ones like Susan, and Jo, and Sarah Jane and Ace... and Rose... and Donna. But those two little girls, one French and one Scottish, separated by under three hundred years in time and under three hundred miles in space - such infinitesimally tiny bits of time and space - those two little girls had had such faith in him, their Doctor.
Sometimes it awed him, how much he was loved and trusted. More often it terrified him, to be seen as a lonely angel and a raggedy doctor, as an imaginary friend who really could save them.
Until her. His River Song, who'd been raised to think of him as the monster under the bed, behind the crack in the wall, her own personal bogeyman with a vendetta against the universe.
He was both, and neither. The imaginary friend and the monster-under-the-bed. Not the lonely god, nor the vengeful one.
Just a man, a madman in his magic box.