Contact Information: plurk: with_pins
Age: over 18
Characters Played: N/A
Name: Dick Grayson | Robin
Fandom: DC Comics: Preboot
Canon Point: Robin Year One #4, just after Dick sees Babs on the roof for the first time.
Original Universe or Alternate Universe? CRAU
"It was as if color had come to our monochrome lives. No secret deathwish could survive contact with that ‘blitz of a boy,’ who always seemed to be everywhere at once. Everything changed..."
At twelve years old Dick is an outgoing, smart, engaging kid; a steamroller of thoughts and energy and ideas; a good student who’d still rather be on the trapeze than buckling down with a book; both alike and nothing like the fairly well-adjusted adult he'll probably eventually be. He formally entered life in the center ring early, with a role in his parents’ acclaimed trapeze act by the time he was four. He was an only child, a doted on son with the unconditional love and support of two parents as well as a wider network of close-knit adults working in and around the circus. Rather than crumbling under the pressure of performing Dick thrived there instead, while his parents’ constant attention fueled a furious work ethic and an unflagging enthusiasm for their shared profession. While his physical gifts came naturally, his ability to make quick decisions and strategize on the bar took years of work to perfect. By the time his parents were killed he was trusted to pull his own weight, designing his own costumes and routines, and responsible for safety of others as well as himself.
The Graysons were targeted by Tony Zucco, an extortionist who orchestrated a gruesome, fatal fall for them during a show to squeeze protection money from the circus. By chance Dick heard the whispers just before the performance that killed them, and while his concerns were initially brushed aside it was his natural persistence that carried him through the first few terrible hours and days following their deaths. With evidence all around him that flew in the face of the ongoing investigation he trusted his instincts rather than authority figures, striking out on his own, recklessly and without any thought to the reality of being one boy without training up against ruthless killers. He broke away from the circus, a temporary boys home, and then finally Wayne Manor in his determination to avenge his family. It was that determination that ultimately brought him to Batman.
The tragedy that took his parents away was the end of his career as a performer, and it easily could have been the end of the story of that happy, well-adjusted little boy too. But it wasn’t.
"Intuitive, quick, a little arrogant, maybe. A hothead, a risk taker. He’s brilliant, actually. A natural born showman. If you had to have one kid at your side in a fight, this is the one you’d want. The boy wonder."
While it’s in Dick’s nature to evolve in the face of adversity, his desire for meaningful connections is what motivated him to accept Bruce and Alfred into his life so readily and mostly without reservations. While it was Bruce who took the first step, opening up his home and then finally all the secrets of his alter ego to help Dick survive his crushing loss, it was Dick who pushed the relationship beyond the limits they initially agreed on for the Zucco case, throwing himself eagerly into the daunting task of engaging Bruce as a friend and eventually surrogate father. There’s a part of him that’s still damaged, a part that will hurt forever for the memory of his parents, but the closure brought about by Zucco’s apprehension is the thing Dick needed to move forward with his life and thrive with some of his innocence still intact – in a way Batman never has.
Bruce is unconditionally the person Dick cares about most in the universe, but their relationship remains complicated and sometimes difficult. As twelve years old, Dick is still very much a child craving validation and unconditional affection from his father figure, and for that reason it hasn’t really occurred to him yet to question much of what Batman does or says. When Batman orders him to retire the Robin-suit for good Dick is devastated, but it’s not until he’s run away from home and renounced Bruce as a guardian (and thus Bruce’s rules and opinions on a symbolic level) that he begins to defy him by working on his own to apprehend criminals again. Even at the best of times Bruce’s rough edges often leave him starved for praise and more deliberate expressions of affection, but he’s only once so far reached a point where his frustration outweighed his sense that Bruce needs him at his side. In all the ways that matter he’s Dick’s partner, his friend, his hero, and the closest thing to a father he has.
And being Robin is a role Dick thrives in, for better or worse. While his quick wisecracks and off-beat sense of humor can leave a flighty impression, his sense of responsibility for those around him never flags when he considers himself to be on the job. The lives of his loved ones sometimes depended on his ability to make catches and land flips in the circus, and it’s a sense that’s been drilled into him tenfold by Batman. He can’t miss a catch out on Gotham’s streets - not once, not ever - not if he wants to keep his partner alive. It’s a responsibility Dick internalizes without ever seeming to question the larger implications for his own life. Gotham needs Batman, and Batman needs Robin, and Dick is driven as much by his own fierce sense of justice and fairness as he is by Batman himself.
Dick’s sense of justice tends to be black and white, without a lot of room for gray-leaning ideas that err outside of the sphere of what Batman himself considers acceptable. Conversely, Dick’s natural compassion and empathy for others feeds into his approach to superheroing as much as his fierce sense of fairness. We see him diving off buildings to catch falling infants and supervillains without making a clear distinction between them, and his determination to refrain from killing at all costs comes as much from an intrinsic need to see due process served as it does from Batman. While living with Shrike’s gang of underage assassins in training he actively worked to prevent the other boys from taking lives unnecessarily, at the risk of his own position in the group. When he had the opportunity to take revenge on Two-Face - the man responsible for bludgeoning him nearly to death and driving a seemingly permanent wedge between Bruce and Dick - Dick struggled visibly with his anger and revulsion, with no hammer from Batman waiting in the wings to come down on him. In the end his belief in everyone’s right to a fair trial won over, and he allowed him to live with only a lingering sense of guilt that he’d let himself ever come that close to ending a life.
"As well as I profess to know the Batman, even I can't be sure what he was thinking when he agreed to assume legal custody for the orphaned boy who would be the first Robin. But I can tell you about this boy. He was fearless. He was effusive. And he was full of grace."
For all that Dick is happiest with a separate, mask-free life to occupy him outside the costume, the relationship between Dick and Robin– much like the relationship between Dick and Nightwing, or even Dick and Batman - has never been complicated. As much as the practicalities of being a superhero with a secret identity often force him into half-truths and outright lies, his costume has never represented an escape from a persona that wasn’t already part of him to begin with. For his own protection and Bruce’s he cleaves hard to the idea of maintaining the secret at all costs, but in reality he hasn’t yet mastered the ability to lie continuously without guilt or mistakes. Robin is Dick and Dick is Robin, which informs a lot about the (often pretty extreme) measures he takes to keep his secret ID a secret.
While Dick chats easily with others and forges connections in new situations almost by default, the realities of his responsibilities as Robin can sometimes interfere, and it’s been shown that his lack of honesty is something other people often pick up on in ways that alienate him from forming the closer bonds he might have otherwise. At school he’s targeted by bullies and teased on a regular basis, and when he’s in trouble it’s nearly always for fighting with other boys his own age. While the Teen Titans have yet to become a fixture in Dick’s life more kid sidekicks are finally starting to follow his example under the wings of other heroes, and it’s changed things for Dick to finally meet a few others like him.
Losing his parents at an early age has also left him with no shortage of abandonment issues, most of which tend to manifest around the fear that he will lose – or be declared unworthy of – the love or respect of those he cares about. He can be volatile and hot-tempered when he’s feeling threatened or alienated, and his tendency to hold himself to unattainable standards sometimes borders on pathological. Failing those he cares about – failing Bruce – is the fear that leaves him drenched in cold sweat in the wee hours of the morning. For Dick Grayson at twelve years old, this tendency hasn’t really been tempered yet with the experience and perspective that characterize him as Nightwing or Batman. He’s easier to rattle, easier to hurt, and still lacking any real ability to compartmentalize his emotions.
Is this character immune? yes
Background: batwiki, and another wiki
Thanks to DC’s awesome sliding timeline and huge penchant for retcons Dick’s canon (and all of his linked history) is weird and contradictory on some fairly important issues. Whether he was eight or ten or twelve when he lost his parents in particular is something that changes so much in every story that it’s almost impossible to pin down what’s actually canon at a given time, so in RP I tend to lean towards playing him with a few unspecified years of history with Batman at his current canon point (shown in stories like Dark Victory, Batman: Year Three, Legends of the Dark Knight #100, and flashbacks through Nightwing v1) rather than the few months implied by others.
Dick came into Haven at a critical point, right after making amends with Bruce and reclaiming his post as Robin at the end of Robin Year One. In a little over five months in game he was able to make some friends, gain a small boost in practical batskills, and meet a few important future members of his family. While not a lot changed for him personality wise, Dick was haunted throughout his time in game by what he saw of the future in characters like Damian Wayne and Tim Drake, and confronted again and again by a path (to being Batman) that he doesn’t really feel ready for or worthy of.
While Dick’s siblings withheld some important details about his future (mainly that they are his siblings (lol), his time as Nightwing, and that characters other than Damian will replace him as Robin), Dick struggled to come to terms with the idea that his costumed identity was transferable and that some choices were no longer his to make. He latched on hard to the idea of growing up to be Batman because for Dick at twelve it’s a trajectory that fits more neatly into the version of his own world that he understands and remembers, and it ties him to Bruce and Alfred - an important idea for a Dick who has yet to become an adopted son.
But learning the truth about his future Batmanly stint also came with a cost; meeting Damian and others who all relied on that older Dick Grayson as an important mentor and protector left him wondering continuously whether he would ever measure up in the eyes of the new friends he’d come to care about so much. Feeling daunted by the specter of his future self and with no consistent checks on his behavior, Dick became increasingly reckless in his attempts to meet what he perceived as an invisible and impossible bar.
Dick also found himself on the receiving end of timeline drama with the arrival of young Bruce Wayne, whom Dick worked to befriend with a fierce determination to impart practical Batmanly training as Bruce required it while sparing him details about the future or the true nature of his future role in Dick’s life. In forging a new friendship with Bruce Dick was able to see new sides of him without Batman in the mix, but as the truth unraveled over time Dick also carried persistent guilt, both for lying to Bruce from the beginning and for failing to protect him from the same terrifying knowledge of the future that Dick himself struggled with. While in many ways Dick is still the same boy he was when he arrived in Haven, he's a little more neurotic, a little more impulsive, and a little more aware of how his choices affect others and how little choice he may have in deciding his own future.
Other Notables: N/A
+ The (Original) Robin Suit (which I’d love him to keep if it’s possible!): includes green gauntlets, pixie boots, red tunic, yellow cape, green trunks, mask with very boring, low-tech infrared lenses, and utility belt. Since no one ages in Haven he has yet to grow out of the one he brought from home, but it has some visible tears and wear.
+ a fully stocked med kit
+ 3 crudely made smoke bombs
+ 3 batarangs
+ 1 beautifully carved robin sigil
+ 1 less beautifully but still lovingly carved wooden robin
+ 1 toy elephant
+ 1 old fashioned grapple gun, hook, and line
+ 1 useless commlink to the batcave
NETWORK SAMPLE: network
LOG SAMPLE: log
■ PHYSICAL AFFECTION: Dick is a huge fan and is the type to seek it out on his own with people who’ve crossed his bro threshold.
■ PLAYER: Lyrie