Genre (TV/books/etc): comics
Fandom: DC Comics
Canon point: One Year Later/pre-Batman RIP
Why this Character and Canon point?: I'm not gonna lie, I want to play Dick off of Claire's Batman, even though/because they are from different canons. Dick is a fun character, amiable and light-hearted, yet capable of intensity and deep emotion. Also, his name is "Dick". Ha ha ha ha oh me. No, but he's a social character who's fairly easy to get along with, one who's carrying a lot of secrets around with him to keep things interesting.
I chose this canon point because it is when he is still Nightwing and not Batman (as he is now in current continuity), a change which turns the stress burners on high for him and turns him into, well, kind of a dick. This canon point, pre-Batman's disappearance and death, is Dick free of incredibly weighty obligation and crushing grief, Dick as he really is at his best.
Programmed Possession: a motorbike (and helmet, if allowed)
Abilities/Weaknesses: Dick is an excellent natural athlete at the peak of his strength, endurance, and agility. He is generally considered the greatest human acrobat of the DC universe. He is a master of half dozen martial arts (including capoeira), and was trained in everything from escapology to criminology, fencing, stealth, disguise, and numerous other combat/non-combat disciplines.
However, Dick is ultimately only human and has typical human limitations. Additionally, he is emotional, and in comparison to the rest of the Batfamily, he wears them on his sleeve. He has a bit of a martyr complex, and is fairly needy (especially in comparison, once again). He's particularly bad about accumulating romantic partners, and he also has an affinity for father figures. He fears rejection and loneliness, losing the ones he loves, and killing, which he has come very close to doing in the past.
Psychology/Personality: For Dick, the duality of Nightwing versus himself is not nearly as strict as for Batman. Elements of his personality are present in both identities, such as his charismatic nature and sense of humor. Nightwing is at least nominally more serious, especially when leading a team or otherwise investigating or working, something partially born out of the desire to reflect well on his mentor. But otherwise, Dick Grayson is for all intents and purposes the same as Nightwing. He is empathic and people-focused, and tends to be very physical and physically aware about his interactions; he is somewhat emotionally dependent on the people he thinks of as friends and family, but has never been, due to a difficult adolescence with Batman, /obviously/ needy or clingy. Those characteristics manifest in different ways. For instance, when Dick was going to get married, he visited an old girlfriend to tell her but after a misunderstanding, ended up sleeping with her. He is incapable of letting go of the people he loves.
Dick thinks with his body. His physicality can be as theatrical as walking on his hands to as subtle as being in your personal space. When permissible, he tends to touch people in the appropriate manner. Though sometimes a stern leader, he is at heart a people person, what one writer (Phil Jimenez) referred to as "the soul, the linchpin of the DCU", because "he's well respected by everyone, known to the JLA, the Titans, the Outsiders, Birds of Prey — everyone looks to him for advice, for friendship, for his skills. He's the natural leader of the DCU."
Batman: [after the Obsidian Age] I'm going to give you a bit of advice. You're ready to graduate. Leading the JLA proves it. You can handle bigger and better than you are now.As an ex-sidekick, he is still immensely devoted to Batman, the second and biggest influence of his life. What he learned at Batman's side was that he could make a difference in people's lives, and that reason is why he continues to be Nightwing today. Even in cities like Blüdhaven, which was hopelessly crime-infested, even more so than Gotham, he stayed and fought to make a difference when he himself expected that he wouldn't. Similarly, he is devoted to the rest of his family, Alfred, Oracle, and Tim, who functions as his little brother. Even Jason, with whom he now has a wary, standoffish relationship, has indicated he's willing to consider Dick as family, he used to be somewhat friendly with — he brought Jason to meet the Titans and treated him well, considering Jason was Dick's "replacement".
Nightwing: Thanks. I had a good teacher, except for the interpersonal skills and the ability to work with others. That was me.
Dick needs family and friends. He's an emotional person, though he's learned to hide it when necessary, and needs other people in order to function properly. He also works best for other people, rather than for his own sake.
History: Born the first day of spring (hence "Robin" as a nickname and being used later on) to John and Mary Grayson, Richard John Grayson grew up in Haley's circus. His parents were trapeze artists known as the Flying Graysons, and he joined their act at an early age. After mobsters attempt to solicit protection money but are refused by the owner of the circus, they sabotaged the wires and Dick's parents fall to their death. Batman was there at the circus that same night, investigated their deaths, and eventually took him in. Dick became Bruce Wayne's ward, and Robin to his Batman. This dynamic worked until Dick was seventeen, at which point a combination of his outside obligations to the Titans, emotional issues on Batman's part, and just the general growing up process led to Dick being fired. It was after this that he consulted Superman on what to do, and heard the story of a Kryptonian vigilante called Nightwing. Dick took that name and made it his own.
He stayed estranged from Bruce, especially as Bruce took on Jason Todd as the second Robin. After Jason's death, however, a young Tim Drake sought him out to ask that he return to being Robin so that Batman would stop acting self-destructively. Unable to reconcile with Batman, Dick refused. He did support Tim's cause to be Robin and helped train him.
When Batman broke his back during a fight with Bane, he chose Azrael to inherit the mantle instead of Dick, which hurt him. The reasoning given was that "Dick was now his own man and would not willingly take the responsibility", but in reality, Bruce didn't want Dick to face Bane. He did become Batman for a period as Bruce healed, and that among other things cemented his sibling relationship with Tim.
More significant storylines in Dick's life include "Cataclysm" — Gotham was overtaken by a magnitude 7.6 earthquake. This led direction into "No Man's Land", wherein the government officially evacuated Gotham and then abandoned and isolated those who chose to remain — gangs took over the crippled city, superheroes were legally forbidden from entering. After the city was rebuilt, the "Bruce Wayne: Murderer?" storyline saw Batman framed for the murder of his then girlfriend. This is especially notable for his emotional breakdown during which he escaped and decided to be Batman full time rather than live a double life; he also decided to dismiss his partners and family, but Dick asked him that if there was only Batman left, what happened to the man that raised him? Batman had no answer. Dick was also the only one who unquestioningly believed in Batman's innocence.
Obsidian Age and Infinite Crisis: when the Justice League disappeared on a mission to do something supercomplicated and not related, Batman activated a contingency plan, in which a handful of heroes would be assembled to create a new JLA. Nightwing was chosen to be the leader until everybody came back. INFINITE CRISIS was just as infinitely painful as it sounds, and during the Battle of Metropolis, Dick was nearly killed. But he did not die, due to editorial edict.
One Year Later: Dick returned from a training trip with Bruce and Tim retracing his steps to becoming Batman to New York only to find that Jason was sitting in his chair, sleeping in his bed, and eating his porridge. Or rather, that Jason was alive and masquerading as a more murderous Nightwing. This storyline contains the event We Do Not Speak Of. It involves tentacles and regurgitation. It's not really important, so we shall continue Not Speaking Of It. (Oh all right: http://asylums.insanejournal.com/scans_
After Jason leaves New York, Dick settles into a job as a museum curator, dealing with such things as a serial killer couple, being buried alive, and ninja man-bats.
Arrival Post (Third Person):
The way Dick sees it, abduction, like a Hallmark card, can mean so many things. It's all in the subtle nuances. For example, as he notes a split second after his appearance on a small platform in an empty room, he is free of restraints. This is a promising beginning.
He turns slowly, taking in the room in more detail, the lines of his body tense and watchful. But nothing happens and nobody comes, so the almost militant set of his body fades into something approaching normality. Curiously, now is only when he starts to look concerned, eyes darting as he chews his bottom lip. It is, in fact, the picture of a calm man struggling to look worried rather than a worried man struggling to look calm. Nightwing is used to intergalactic space kidnapping by mushroom people, etc. But Dick Grayson, the man he currently is — suit jacket, band t-shirt (Jill Presto), jeans, and oh hey a silver bracelet — is not, even if he has his uniform on underneath. And he's sure he is being observed. It's just how these things go.
Examining the tablet, Dick carefully picks it up and spends several seconds analyzing its functions.
"There anyone on the other side of this?" He says quietly but urgently, masking his fear and uncertainty with a collected demeanor. Or, you know, the other way around.
Additional Third Person Sample:
Home. At this point in his life, it means many things to Dick, something which keeps him endlessly on the move, it seems. Most recently home has been New York, the renovated church where he lives. Before, it had been Blüdhaven. More abstractly, home has been rooftops and cityscapes, night air and stone gargoyles: Gotham, the silent stateliness of Wayne Manor, and deeper still, the Cave with its cool stillness and the rustle of bats. At the very center is the circus. Home is a matter of layered hearts, chambers upon chambers of blood rushing in and out, carrying with the ebb and flow memories and emotions.
And home is certain people. His parents, ghostly and young as they fly through the air, inhabit that center most room, and wrapped protectively around it is Bruce, always. Tim's smile, Babs' hand in his, Kory's warmth, Roy's laugh. The Titans.
Even when he's alone, he isn't really, though this isn't always the comfort it should be on lonely mornings in the museum. He does paperwork, wishing every now and then for the controlled clamor of the gym he'd been teaching acrobatics at when he first came to New York. But that feels like forever ago, something he's already left behind in ways that are irretrievable. He likes his new home; he likes his new job. He carries his old homes with him, hidden inside his chest, returning to them periodically to renew their significance. They are waiting for him always, all except Blüdhaven, and the shame and pain of that lack will never leave him. That's how it should be.
Even now as he pauses in his work, Tim texts him, and he can't help the little curl of feeling up his spine — something like comfort, something warmly responsive. He's on his own, but he's still home.