Since rediscovering my love of the darling and heroic Dick Grayson, I've discovered he's even cooler than the Robin I loved so dearly as a kid. I just want to take him home and feed him cookies! *squee*
... Okay. So, warning #1: Meredith likes Nightwing-- this entry will be heavily slanted towards this view. Warning #2: Meredith is a slasher-- specifically, a Dick/Bruce slasher. Warning #3: see above re the blackhole of DC fandom.
Also, spoilers for... everything.
ETA: I just wanted to emphasize that this is all in good fun and freely mixes different universes. It's in no way 'official' or all encompassing. If you want that, please direct your attention to Dick Grayson's Bio @ Titan's Tower.
Why Nightwing is an Awesome Woobie: A Pictorial Essay
by Meredith, who begs your patience with any canon errors because, a) she's new at this and b)this is DC-- what canon?
The backstory behind Dick Grayson (aka Nightwing) is probably fairly well known-- at least the first part. His parents were circus performers-- trapeze artists, to be specific. The trained Dick in their art as soon as he could hold onto the bar. Some people take this to mean Dick has gypsy ancestry and can speak Rom. I'd go more with gypsy/Turk ancestry, but... yeah. I can see that. Anyway, the circus made a stop off in Gotham, which is like the hellmouth in that it is the home of big brew'n evil and semi-clueless citizens, only without the nice SoCal weather. To make a long story sort, his parents were killed in an "accident" after the manager refused to pay protection fees to Gotham's lovely seedy underbelly (Tony Zucco in comic and toon canon, Two-Face in the movies). They fell to their deaths right in front of Dick, who was all of eight, nine or twelve years old, depending on DC canon, the author, or the phase of the moon. ^_~ Bruce Wayne was right there in the audience.
So, you'd expect the guy to have considerable empathy for the kid, having gone through something similar himself. He tells Commissioner Gordon he'll keep the boy safe until the trial. Then something unusual happens. Dick's sweet, playful nature actually pierces Bruce's emotional bulwark. Bruce decides to adopt Dick-- but that's not all. Even the Bat is not immune to Dick's charms. So Dick becomes Robin, the intensely cute, short-pants-ed Boy Wonder.
And things continue in this way for quite some time. Our dynamic duo POW!s, THWAP!s, and WALLOP!s their way through Gotham. But Robin is suddenly not a little boy anymore and Bruce is not, contrary to popular belief, a monk. Dick is a handsome young college student. Bruce can't deal. (Whether you want to interpret that as dealing with Dick coming into his own, or...other things is up to the slasher in you.) When they track down Tony Zucco again, Bruce tries to cut Dick out of the chase because, as he later admits, he's "afraid to lose Dick to Zucco, too". Which is all very cute, but also indicative of how Bruce sees things. The team functions the way he wants it to function. The incidents in which he doesn't fully treat Dick like his equal and partner add up. Dick, understandably peeved, takes off the Robin mask and tells Bruce that "no one can be a boy wonder forever". He takes off for parts unknown, and disappears. This makes Bruce nuts. *Really* nuts. So nuts that, in the comic!verse, he practically kidnaps another kid to be Robin. But Jason is a whole 'nother, extremely messy story I don't want to get into now.
Dick eventually returns and makes his home in Gotham's sister city, Bludhaven, which is home of a slightly smaller but somehow more pervasive brew'n evil. He joins the police force and grows his hair out. (Both these facts also make Bruce nuts.) Now he's Nightwing, named after a hero from Krypton. His first costume clearly advertises two facts: 1) Clark helped him design it, and 2) really rather gay, here. Somewhere, Lex Luthor is banging his head on his expensive desk, wondering why superheroes can't be more fashion conscious. Bruce is just trying really hard not to look at that little 'V' dip in Nightwing's neckline. Hehe.
Of course, Dick and Bruce eventually reconcile (in the 'we're never going to talk about this, just ignore it') sense. They regularly team up, and Nightwing gets himself a slinkier, less flashy costume. Bruce doesn't really think the spandex helps. Now, toon!Nightwing is not as pretty as his comic book counterpart, but he is still quite cool. That is not to say that Bruce and Dick never fight. They do. Here, Dick tries a sexy smirk to get out of trouble. Bruce maintains his stoic exterior. How do you spell 'sexual tension'?
And Dick does, of course, have his dark hours. He's trying to make it on his own. He's cool, he's talented, but even Nightwing needs a hug, now and then. So hug him, damnit!
But, for the most part, Dick still has his makeshift, loyal, if extremely dysfunctional family. (The boy in the Robin suit is Tim Drake, Dick's pseudo little brother, or future love interest, if T/D rings your bell.)
(And yes, I realize Babs is now Oracle in the comics, but I don't feel like getting into that right now, either. ^_^;;)
(Oh, and BRUCE/DICK OTP, okay? Kay. ^_~)
Bruce is still dealing with all these changes. Here, Dick wonders if Bruce doesn't want to duck into a tent for a moment while Timmy is busy with some good old fashioned manual labor.
And Dick never hesitates to give Bruce a hard time. Batman has issues with PDA. (Actually, I'm not sure there's anything on the planet he *doesn't* have issues with.) (Also, look at Clark-- he completely appreciates good porn when he sees it.)
Bruce would like it noted that that anyone who touches Nightwing, ever, will die. Seriously. By the time he finished lecturing Oracle (Babs) on dating Nightwing... well, it wasn't pretty. Dick would like Bruce to know that his door is always open. Any time. Really.
Finally, a really subtext-y picture from the toonverse comics. (Yes, to make things even more confusing, we have comics for cartoons made after comics. Welcome to DC, where it is so very easy to break your brain.) Bruce wants to know if Dick is coming. Give him a minute, Bruce, and he totally will be. *giggles*