Proof that being the hero often comes at sizeable cost to even the hardiest souls arrived in the shape of the Dream Lord during the events of Amy's Choice.
Everything about the Doctor which he might rather not confront was given a voice & leering face - little wonder the Doctor is implied to rarely sleep!
"Blimey. Never dropped off like that before. Well, never, really. I'm getting on a bit, you see. Don't let the cool gear fool you. Now, what's wrong with the console? Red flashing lights. I bet they mean something."But what is it that so haunts him when he takes the TARDIS into dreamland?
"Oh, this is bad. This is very, very bad. Look at this X-ray. Your brain is completely see-through. But then, I've always been able to see through you, Doctor."
DOCTOR: Where did you pick up this cheap cabaret act?Maybe under the bow tie & bluster lurks the product of eleven minds' worth of recriminations. All that he thought buried deep in his subconscious, the bad shoved under the mental carpet so the madman with a box can get on with the business of running from it. Only now he can't even do that, the sandman stood right there with him........
DREAM LORD: Me? Oh, you're on shaky ground.
DOCTOR: Am I?
DREAM LORD: If you had any more tawdry quirks you could open up a Tawdry Quirk Shop. The madcap vehicle, the cockamamie hair, the clothes designed by a first-year fashion student. I'm surprised you haven't got a little purple space dog just to ram home what an intergalactic wag you are. Where was I?
DOCTOR: Everything's off. Sensors, core power. We're drifting. The scanner's down so we can't even see out. We could be anywhere. Someone, something, is overriding my controls.
DREAM LORD: Well, that took a while. Honestly, I'd heard such good things. Last of the Time Lords, the Oncoming Storm. Him in the bow tie.
"So, here's your challenge. Two worlds. Here, in the time machine and there, in the village that time forgot. One is real, the other's fake. And just to make it more interesting, you're going to face in both worlds a deadly danger, but only one of the dangers is real. Tweet, tweet. Time to sleep..."And the Doctor's not the only one the Dream Lord menaces, the romantic undercurrent of Amy's relationship with the raggedy man quickly becoming a target for his malice.
DOCTOR: Leave her alone.If this is an examination of the psyche the Dream Lord springs from, we might reasonably conclude that the air of mystery in which he is often shrouded is considered a necessity. But it doesn't stop the squat little man who's also adopted the bow-tied look from asking the questions Amy may want answered in her own heart of hearts.
DREAM LORD: Do that again. I love it when he does that. Tall dark hero. Leave her alone.
RORY: Just leave her.
DREAM LORD: Yes, you're not quite so impressive, but I know where your heart lies, don't I, Amy Pond?
AMY: Shut up. Just shut up and leave me alone.
DREAM LORD: But listen. You're in there. Loves a redhead, the Doctor. Has he told you about Elizabeth the First? Well, she thought she was the first.
DOCTOR: Drop it. Drop all of it. I know who you are.
DREAM LORD: Course you don't.
DOCTOR: Course I do. No idea how you can be here, but there's only one person in the universe who hates me as much as you do.
DREAM LORD: Never mind me. Maybe you should worry about them.
"Friends? Is that the right word for the people you acquire? Friends are people you stay in touch with. Your friends never see you again once they've grown up. The old man prefers the company of the young, does he not?"
DREAM LORD: Poor Amy. He always leaves you, doesn't he, alone in the dark. Never apologises.We now know the answer to that almost proved cataclysmic in his personal future. And while the Dream Lord may believe himself to hold the upper hand, being of the Time Lord's mind, even in dreams the Doctor's lost none of his powers of deduction.
AMY: He doesn't have to.
DREAM LORD: That's good, because he never will. And now he's left you with me. Spooky old, not to be trusted me. Anything could happen.
AMY: Who are you, and what do you want? The Doctor knows you, but he's not telling me who you are. And he always does. Takes him a while sometimes, but he tells me. So you're something different.
DREAM LORD: Oh, is that who you think you are? The one he trusts?
AMY: Actually, yes.
DREAM LORD: The only girl in the universe to whom the Doctor tells everything?
DREAM LORD: So what's his name?
DOCTOR: Star burning cold? Do me a favour. The Dream Lord has no power over the real world. He was offering us a choice between two dreams.Not that there's any time to savour the sweeping of his dark side back under the rug.
AMY: How do you know that?
DOCTOR: Because I know who he is.
"So, you chose this world. Well done. You got it right. And with only seconds left. Fair's fair. Let's warm you up. I hope you've enjoyed your little fictions. It all came out of your imagination, so I'll leave you to ponder on that. I have been defeated. I shall withdraw. Farewell."
Does he ever really leave, though? His grinning face confronting the Doctor at the conclusion of events suggests he could still be there, waiting for nap-time to strike once more. Of course, he hasn't so far. But what he still is is motivation for the Doctor to keep going, something to work against.
"Now don't get jealous. He's been around, our boy. But never mind that. You've got a world to choose. One reality was always too much for you, Doctor. Take two and call me in the morning."And it's that sense of escaping reality that drew he and Amy together in the first place, surely?
DOCTOR: All these years living here, most of your life, and you've still got that accent. Yeah, you're coming.And off they go for a real walk on the temporal wild side!
AMY: Can you get me back for tomorrow morning?
DOCTOR: It's a time machine. I can get you back five minutes ago. Why, what's tomorrow?
AMY: Nothing. Nothing. Just you know, stuff.
DOCTOR: All right, then. Back in time for stuff.