you'll never know if you can fly unless you take the risk of falling.
Meredith Grimaldi was on spring break with a gaggle of sorority friends in Santa Cruz when she met Jeremy Bower, then a ferris wheel operator at the popular beachside boardwalk. The two struck up an amicable conversation by sheer coincidence, initiated by something predictably teenager-esque like a band t-shirt or an offhand remark about the oppressiveness of their parents' generational establishment and which subsequently spiraled into dinner dates and romantic sunset strolls and stolen kisses under the pier. When it was time to fly back to Massachusetts to begin the spring term of her sophomore year at Emerson College, Meredith was loathe to leave her new beau—instead making the entirely responsible decision to turn her back on what could've been a promising career in communications and leap into Jeremy's (muscled, sun-kissed, sturdy, much more interesting than a communications career) arms.

She wasn't exactly prepared when he took her home to the large townhouse he shared with his parents, his grandparents, and his older sister's family (three young children included), despite a quiet explanation of his family life, being of the Romanichal community and culture which he'd only chosen to mention on the train ride home to Long Beach, after sliding a modest silver ring on her finger and proclaiming he couldn't live without her. No, definitely leagues away from prepared when her soon-to-be mother-in-law swept her away and babbled at her at length about the 'traditional romani wedding' and how 'glad she was that jeremy had finally chosen a lovely bride' after 'turning his nose up at the idea of an arranged marriage.'

Fortunately, by the time she gave birth to Rian two years later, Meredith had been enveloped into her loving husband's culture as thoroughly as if she'd been born into it. And Rian, in turn, was raised to know no different—surrounded by family, extended family, and members of their tight-knit community wherein everybody knew everybody else, and there was no such thing as a stranger.

Rian was a happy, active, giggly child. To some degree, however, he lived a fairly sheltered life—tucked away from the outside world beyond his network of family and extended family, he wasn't even permitted to attend school. His mother homeschooled him, as was expected, alongside a few younger cousins and second cousins, and he played only in neighborhood parks and playgrounds, watched closely by those of his community. Though his mother never uttered a word against them, his grandparents often warned him about interacting with 'outsiders,' telling him stories of the persecution and hatred his father's people faced, even in America—home of the supposedly tolerant and accepting. That his trust should only be granted to his family, to their people, and no one else.

That went on until Rian was eight. At eight-and-a-half, Rian was suddenly and inexplicably orphaned when an electrical fire burned down a significant portion of the Bower family home in the middle of the night, killing both Jeremy and Meredith and seriously injuring his grandfather, who'd rushed to their rescue despite his already failing health. Had Morris Bower any inkling of the outcome of his rescue efforts, he might've hesitated to climb the stairs to his son's bedroom and saved himself the rehab and repeated surgeries in favor of holding on to something more meaningful: custody of his grandchild.

After years of bare minimum communication from their daughter, Meredith's parents leapt at the chance to fight for custody of Rian—then a total stranger aside from the occasional christmas or birthday card and blurry photo. And with an equal claim in the eyes of the law, a stable home, and largely more favorable opinion by the local authorities, Jack and Leslie Grimaldi quickly won the legal battle, despite fervent objections and claims of discrimination from the entirety of Rian's extended family.

Rian was too emotionally devastated to put up much of a fight, but he still cried more than he'd done so at his parents' funeral as his mother's parents calmly urged him to let go of his grandmother's hand and guided him into a waiting taxi. The flight back to the Grimaldi family home in Boston, Massachusetts was equally awkward, mostly due to Rian's blank faced silence and empty stares regardless of whatever lighthearted conversation topics Leslie chose to broach. To her credit, she didn't throw in the towel and continued on, for months, for years to coax her grandson out of his stubborn, recalcitrant shell.

It worked, eventually. Though the child Rian used to be had been seemingly lost, shoved down in some endless internal void and blocked from emerging again by feelings of abandonment and otherness and insecurity, Leslie Grimaldi was the perfect person to wield the emotional baggage pickax (tm) and chip away at all the walls Rian had shored up. She was kind, she was loving, she baked cookies for any occasion, real or imagined, and despite burning a good half of them, bit by bit Rian learned to smile again. His grandfather, wisely, chose to leave most of the parenting to his wife, but what few fatherly encouragements he decided to voice felt, to Rian, hard-won and just as meaningful as Leslie's scorched peanut butter blossoms.

By the time he entered high school, Rian was as well-adjusted as any other teenager (with varying degrees of childhood trauma.) He'd mounted the hurdles of figuring out public school, the discomfort of being surrounded by endless throngs of strangers, of mistrust and deeply ingrained wariness that set him on edge and instantly labeled him the weirdo outcast in elementary school. In high school, Rian experimented with extracurricular activities, with sports and clubs and laughed his way through a shitty speech that miraculously landed him the coveted spot of student body president his senior year and a date with the homecoming queen. When he graduated, Rian was finally optimistic about his future.

Which—like any other millennial—he assumed required an undergraduate degree and thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Boston University was his next stop, though he waffled about choosing a major and fell back on the tried and true 'undeclared.' At the time his career path seemed less important anyway, to him, than his grandfather begrudgingly allowing him to live in the dorms, even though the Grimaldi house was less than a twenty minute drive from campus.

Rian made it through his freshman year. Miraculously. Given the sudden loss of his grandfather's leash and the wide, wide expanse of hedonistic pursuits offered by a college campus, it was actually more of a miracle that Rian didn't end up dead in a ditch somewhere from alcohol poisoning midway through his first semester. Because he indulged. A lot. As much as he could, with a passable fake ID and a charming smile and a not so insignificant amount of obliviousness nurtured by a well-meaning, overprotective grandfather. When he voluntarily withdrew after the second term and less than stellar grades, the only thing he genuinely had to show for his (very expensive) year-long walk on the wild side was a really awesome, really tolerant, really enabling friend. And debt. And luckily, no STIs. God bless condoms.

After that, Rian wasn't too confident about what he wanted to do. For a few months, he toyed at working menial, low-paying jobs mostly to keep his grandparents off of his back and to pay rent for a small, shitty apartment near campus because he couldn't quite bear the idea of moving back home. When he got fed up with getting bitched out for not having some frat bro's size in a navy blue douche polo or running out of pumpkin spice syrup or forgetting to file form 10-A-whateverthefuck in triplicate, Rian packed a bag, emptied his (meager) savings, and jumped on the first available flight south. To Miami.

God, Miami. Rian's apartment was just as shitty as his Boston hovel, but from his bedroom window beyond the miles of parking lot and miscellaneous industrial rooftops covered in seagull crap was the slimmest sliver of ocean view. And it was enough. Rian found work first as a glorified cabana boy, a poolside gofer at resort hotels and beachside bars, then as a bartender the second he turned twenty-one and for a while, for a solid two years he was happy. Friends taught him to scuba dive, to cliff jump, to parasail. He bumbled through numerous failed relationships but in a helpless, endearing sort of way that guaranteed all of them stayed friends. In this supreme state of zen, once or twice Rian even considered reaching out to his father's family, to initiate contact after over ten years of nothing at all, but chickened out each time. Knowing by then he was probably considered a 'gadjo,' no longer a member of the roma community—regardless of whether or not it'd been his choice to leave.

Eventually, he was called back to Boston at his grandmother's behest. His grandfather had suffered a massive heart attack—poor dietary choices combined with years of working a stressful job as a police officer for the boston pd had taken its toll and Rian didn't think twice before gathering up his crap and sprinting to his bedside. He and Leslie nursed their belligerent patient back to decent health, and for all of his trouble Rian earned himself a stern lecture about his future the moment Jack had enough breath to string the words together. That wily old coot used his medical crisis to guilt Rian into enrolling back in school—Boston University, again—living off campus and taking vows of celibacy and sobriety until the day some withered old professor dropped a diploma in his hand. Rian crossed his fingers behind his back during those last bits, but smiled and nodded his way through the laundry list of his grandfather's demands anyway.

This round, he chose a criminal justice major. Originally, because it made him laugh. And, okay, it made his grandpa's eyes look a little less stern and maybe a little more misty with pride. Surprisingly, after slogging through the same gen-ed requirements he failed his way out of the first time, once he made it to the relevant coursework Rian found himself enjoying it. He wasn't quite sober, or celibate—

—and it bit him in the ass, because of course it did. Just when Rian thought his life had begun to smooth out, he knocked a girl up. Repeated discussions, panic attacks, one regretful paging through a pile of adoption pamphlets and nine stress-filled months later, Stella Conley was born and Rian abruptly forgot what it was like to not be the father of one seriously adorable (and seriously feisty) little girl. And fortunately for this beautiful blossoming relationship, the mother of his child wasn't crazy nor vindictive nor even a little petty because the custody arrangement discussion came easy, benefited them both, and left them with equal Stella time.

Rian doesn't remember graduating. He remembers sleeping a solid twenty-four hours after the ceremony, waking up to his diploma framed above his bed, and losing the fight against bawling like a mentally-unhinged baby from sheer relief that it was all over. After that ordeal, making it through police academy training was a breeze. Getting a job? Even easier, with his grandfather's connections and his mostly above average training scores.

Two years since, and he's still working a dodgy juggling act with his roles as a father, a cop, a (grand)son and twenty-something who never quite gave up on having a good time, but at least he's sleeping better. Sorta. Sometimes?

⤑ name rian jeremiah grimaldi ⤑ date of birth + age march 20th, 1988 + 30 ⤑ birthplace long beach, california ⤑ residence west roxbury, boston ⤑ occupation police officer ⤑ education boston university, bs (criminal justice) ⤑ sexuality kinsey 2 ⤑ status single ⤑ children stella and jackson
Born to a family of acrobats, Dick Grayson began his life with an exciting childhood growing up in the circus. With his parents, John and Mary Grayson, his family forms "The Flying Graysons," famed trapeze artists and acrobats.

These happy times soon take a turn for the worse, as the mafia begins targeting the circus. At eight years old, Dick witnesses mob boss Anthony Zucco threaten the circus owner, demanding insurance for the safety of his performers. The owner vehemently refuses the extortion and Dick goes along his way. Unfortunately, Zucco decides to use the headlining act, which happens to be The Flying Graysons, as an example.

As the Graysons plummet to earth, hundreds of spectators watch in horror. Among them are billionaire Bruce Wayne (also known as Batman). Feeling empathy for the boy's loss, Bruce decides to take the boy in as his legal ward, as none of Dick's family wanted him. The major difference between Bruce and Dick is that while Bruce's swore vengeance on his parents’ grave, Dick Grayson swore justice, which helped him cope with the death better then Bruce had his own parents.

After a short while, Dick realizes what his mentor is doing all these late nights, and eventually chooses the same life as well. Bruce decides that with the boy's extensive training in acrobatics and his sense of justice, he has just what’s needed to become the Batman's partner. After rigorous training from Bruce, Robin, the Boy Wonder, is christened. (read more)

comic parallels 🌟 both share the same initials: rjg
🌟 both work, or worked, as a police officer
🌟 both had (in one universe or another) a little girl with starfire/koriand'r
🌟 both were orphans and of roma heritage
🌟 both experienced a sudden lifestyle change after the death of their parents
🌟 both had little to no patience for academics
🌟 both are a smidge too optimistic for their current occupation
🌟 both suffer from some degree of insomnia
🌟 ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) redheads
🌟 batfam connections, teen titans connections
unlocked incentives items unlocked in both cv and au are noted in green.

🔓 mastery of martial arts
🔓 acrobatics
🔓 peak human condition
🔓 nightwing suit
🔓 eskrima sticks
🔓 swordsmanship

locked incentives 🔒 computer hacking
🔒 escapology
🔒 firearms proficiency
🔒 genius level intellect
🔒 indomitable will
🔒 intimidation
🔒 investigation
🔒 leadership
🔒 multilingualism
🔒 stealth & disguise

🔒 various projectiles
🔒 wingcycle
🔒 bombass car

🔒 memories of dick grayson
🔒 memories of batfam
🔒 memories of gotham
🔒 memories of (teen) titans
facts 🌟 ESFP, hufflepuff, pisces, 9w8

🌟 attended boston university (2010-2014) for his criminal justice degree

🌟 has a deathly cat allergy, for which he carries around an epipen that expired in 2011

🌟 enjoys the thrill of heights and the feeling of free falling; recently acquired his solo skydiving license

🌟 fairly athletic due in part to job-related necessity but mostly because he genuinely enjoys spending time outdoors and existing in a constant state of activity

🌟 tops out at 6'5"

🌟 shameless yankees fan

🌟 equally shameless superman fan

🌟 seriously, owns a ridiculous amount of superman merch and willingly sat through smallville in its entirety

🌟 generally unambitious in his career but has hopes of (someday) becoming a detective in the crimes against children unit (CACU)

🌟 shares custody of his daughter and son equally with their mother

🌟 totally inept in the kitchen; when his daughter isn't around, habitually relies on cereal and takeout for sustenance