Unlike previous partners that Batman had taken on, Timothy Drake had been amazing before he had received any training from the vigilante. He had a distinct determination that saw him excel in school and gymnastics, merely because he wanted to. That determination extended to other pursuits as well - particularly that of discovering the identity of the Batman. That obsession was not unknown to Batman, who had occasionally observed the boy while in disguise.
Though Tim was a perfect candidate to become Batman's next partner, Bruce was reluctant to take on yet another young man after Jason Todd had died in his costume, beaten to death and blown up by the Joker. However, Alfred Pennyworth reminded that Jason would not likely approve of his death being used as a reason to retire the role of Robin. It wasn't just Jason, though. Bruce could see that Tim had a family - a loving and supportive family. Both Dick Grayson and Jason had lost their parents before Bruce had found them. With Tim, there would always be a risk that he'd have to explain to his parents how he'd got their son killed.
After another successful gymnastics trial, it was a near-certainty that Tim would catch the attention of an Olympic scout. His parents both knew that their son was destined for greater things than the simple life they could give him. When Tim returned home that night, he found his father waiting in his room. He explained that he had known from the day he was born that Tim would leave them. He promised that it was okay to want more for himself than his parents could give him. Firmly, Tim responded that nothing he would ever go on to do would mean more than what his parents mean to him - even though, secretly, he knew that his father was right.
Tim had been working on discovering Batman's identity in secret, often sneaking out at night, and spending time away from home on it. He had so far learned that something had happened to the most recent Robin; something that was having an effect on Batman. He seemed to be half a man. Tim had determined that it was necessary to make things right for Batman, but in order to do that, he had to meet him.
Tim had decided that the Gotham Aviary was the Batman's base of operations, having followed the trail of ownership to Enrique Fluente, who supposedly died five years previously - which, Tim though, was the perfect cover for a full-time job as Batman. Alfred had convinced Bruce to meet Tim there, and hear him out, despite the fact that Tim had been so wrong with his deductions thus far. When he saw the Batman in person, Tim confidently announced that he intended to apply for the job of Robin, whatever the hoops he'd have to jump through. At this, Batman pointed out that all of the clues Tim had followed to this point had been planted. He warned that vigilantism is no game, and left Tim with a warning to give up.
Of course, Tim was only spurred to search harder. He was motivated to be worthy of the pride his parents had for him. Unfortunately, this lead him to do some rather foolish things. As a bid for attention, he began using his hacking skills to steal from the rich, and give to the poor. One of these rich people was Oswald Cobblepot, whose fortune he stole. When Batman discovered this, he raced to Tim's house, but he wasn't as fast as Cobblepot's men.
When Batman arrived just in time to knock Tim out of the range of their bullets, Tim was more concerned with his parents' fate than his ambition to join his hero. Fortunately, they were alright, but Tim had to admit to himself that he had nearly got them killed. After Batman had cleaned up the mess, he had to then pull a number of strings to keep Tim out of prison. Unfortunately, Tim's parents had to be placed in the witness protection program - a fact they accepted willingly. They had asked, though, that Batman watch over their son.
Batman took Tim aside, and presented him with an offer. He would take Tim on as a Robin, provided that he would follow orders unquestioningly. He would have to trust Batman's judgment, and eventually the Batman would come to trust his. Afterwards, Tim was allowed to see his parents and say goodbye before their car came to take them away.
Tim was unsurprised by the truth of Batman's identity, and after arriving in the Batcave, he began already to make changes. He would not take the identity of Robin, nor wear the old costume, out of deference for Jason Todd. He designed his own costume, and took the name Red Robin. Regardless of Batman's influence, Tim Drake would forge his own destiny.