Richard "Rick" Grayson was born the youngest child in a family of over six generations of circus performers. As part of the highflying trapeze and tightrope act The Flying Graysons, Rick and his family were the crown jewel of Haley's Circus: they packed houses with their daring feats of bravery and acrobatic prowess.
Unfortunately, Haley's Circus had been running into some hard times when a mafia boss began targeting them to extort money. Attendance had begun to dwindle with various other more modern attractions siphoning off patrons. When the circus began missing regular payments, the mob became increasingly hostile towards them, culminating in sabotaging the Flying Graysons act resulting in the death of Rick's mother and father.
Bruce Wayne was in attendance of this last performance, staking out the mob family involved in a string of event rigging and extortion. After witnessing the murder, and seeing a boy of similar disposition as his younger self suddenly orphaned, Bruce reached out and adopted Rick.
Rick's natural curiosity lead him to discovering that Bruce Wayne was in fact masked vigilante, Batman. From there, Bruce began training Rick to fight alongside him as his sidekick Robin.
After years of being "The Boy Wonder", Rick began feeling bitter about not being able to bring his parents' killer to justice... So, when he discovers that the mob boss and his cronies have relocated to Blüdhaven, he follows them to take them down. In Blüdhaven, Rick discovered that there was an entire city needing protection and decided that he needed to be that protector.
He took on the mantle of Nightwing and started defining himself as his own hero. He was no longer Batman's right-hand man.
. No touching sans permission. ♥