Shimiko found herself seething when he opened that trap of his. Like most gifted teenage boys, he had come to believe that his talent insulated him from social expectations. One does not show up to Kumo holding a pair of unconscious genin and start blabbing about "dropping them". He must have thought himself quite clever, but as far as Shimiko was concerned he was only reminding her of why she had curved him after their last meeting.
What does Kimiko see in this guy?
Then he said something that gave her momentary pause. He mentioned a "Mr. Frog". The name rang a distinct bell and Shimiko immediately knew who he was talking about. Seigi and her had uncovered and helped neutralize a terrorist plot connected to an ex-member of the Orthodoxy codenamed "Dart Frog". The man had conspired to destroy a significant part of the city's residential district in the hopes of riling up the Jashinists to disobey Lady Superior Mora. The aim was a complete takeover of the village with or without the Superior Sacristan's blessing. It was a heretical movement and Shimiko had come very close to killing him, although he managed to narrowly escape her Sai. Later, ANBU learned that he had died due to cancer of the tenketsu. Her own husband, Vik Chinoike, informed her that this was a carefully planned hit carried out by a third-party. The mystery assassin had managed to infilitrate the Dart Frog's inner circle, capture his DNA profile, engineer a bioweapon tailored specifically to him, and then kill him without blowing their cover. Professionals.... Shimiko put two and two together and realized that Akihiro and his intelligence agency were behind this.
Shimiko scoffed. The reaction communicated her thoughts. Are you still on about that friendship nonsense?. He was going out of his way to be helpful to her and that meant he wanted something in return. Akihiro then went on to inform her that they had failed the exams yet again, although this time with Miyu. Shimiko's face was neutral but internally she was a tad bit disappointed. After all this time, Yui, Yua, and Miyu still weren't ready to follow in her footsteps. The realization stung and it made her feel like a failure. The feeling was ultimately buried by the relief she felt knowing that they were still alive.
Akihiro and his clone had set them down on the ground. Slowly. Gently. He knew how much she valued them and he demonstrated it in how he handled their unconscious forms. Apparently, the trio had not only failed but had disclosed the Twins' status as Jinchuriki. Akihiro was scarce on the details but at some point they had expressed those powers as well. Shimiko furrowed her brow in annoyance. Something told her Akihiro was not lying. He had to know that she was just as astute as he was when it came to sifting through memories. If he was doing her all these favors, it'd be foolish for him to tell easily discernible lies. That left one question:
What the hell were they thinking?!
Shimiko bracketed the thought and listened to the rest of Akihiro's speech. Blades still gripped, senses on high alert, and eyes averted from the sort of contact that would place her under the influence of Genjutsu. Ever the ball-buster, Akihiro couldn't resist making a glib remark. Shimiko could take a good joke but Akihiro had needled the wrong area. She had sworn that she'd get the Twins prepared for the next Exams, that she'd impress upon them the importance of keeping their abilities secret and well hidden, yet at every turn she was hearing about their recklessness and ineffectual combat capabilities. Akihiro was having fun at her expense as many friends often do, but this cut to the heart of a deep insecurity that she held. A fear that nest in the core of her spirit. A fear that had defined her since she had adopted them.
The fear that she was a bad mother.
"If you make one more joke about how I raise the Twins...I'm going to kill you, Kimiko, and everyone in your Clan."
Shimiko had committed matricide because she was convinced that her own mother, Celestia Chinoike, had ruined her life. She had vowed that she would be a better mom in every single way. Unfortunately, Akihiro's joke had stripped away her pretensions and revealed the truth. She wasn't as perfect a guardian as she held herself out to be. This provoked a nasty and rather personal threat. It also revealed information that she would rather not share. But once again, Shimiko's emotions had gotten the better of her.
Assuming the response didn't lead to any immediate hostilities, Shimiko would allow Akihiro to finish. He all but confirmed that it was he who had assassinated the Hokage. Shimiko had liked that cat. He was generous, funny, hospitable, and a good cook. Plus, he was rather stupid and easily tricked which made him a delightful adversary to have. Of course, the last bit made his existence untenable for Konoha. She wasn't sure what politics were at play here. Why would Neko-sama designate one of her best shinobi as being a missing ninja? Shimiko had no clue and she was done trying to parse the former Hokage's thought process. The important thing was that Akihiro had serious'd up for a moment. He was the strongest shinobi in Konoha for a reason. Despite the goofy mask he wore, he was just like her. Neko-sama had tried to take everything from him. His good name, his family, his country. He responded by burying her within the same day.
This was the Akihiro she had been waiting to see.
Shimiko was pissed at him for joking about her twins but in that moment she could empathize and respect him. He'd notice her demeanor would adjust accordingly. He had earned a parcel of trust. Of course, he wouldn't be who he was if he didn't immediately revert back to his juvenile ways. The moment had passed just as quickly as it had come. She rolled her eyes at his lame joke, the action protecting her vision from the wink he had performed. He proudly declared that despite Kirigakure's lockdown, he had located the Twins and spirited them away. It all came into focus now. After revealing themselves to be the hosts for the Shukaku, Yui and Yua were in grave danger. With the lockdown it was only a matter of time before Kirigakure picked them off using the chaos and confusion as cover. They'd strip her twins of the Bijuu and dispose of their bodies. She'd have never seen them again if it wasn't for Akihiro's heroic actions. Shimiko's very next question was 'Why?' but that was soon answered by the self-styled Sparrow.
He had done so expecting a reward. Well, that and the possibility of future business. She had refused his friendship and so he saw fit to charge for this little excursion. She nodded in understanding. In truth, his request for payment had lessened her suspicions. If he had dropped them off and asked for nothing in return but her friendship, then she'd know he was full of manure.
He released them from their sleep using Genjutsu: Kai. The physical contact made Shimiko take a step forward but she relaxed once she saw what he was doing. Her babies were waking up and she could see it in their eyes that they were okay. He said something else about the benefits of being his friend verses his enemy. She had heard and comprehended his words but at this moment she only had eyes for the Twins and Miyu. He would urge them forward and assuming they walked to Shimiko, she'd run to meet them at the half-way point.
She holstered her Sai in the grooves of her Armour's lower pouch. With the Sai tucked into the small of her back, she fell to her knees and threw her arms around the twins. They were presumably merged which meant she'd get the benefit of coddling both. They were so tiny and small that she had to get on her knees to fully embrace them. She hugged Yui & Yua closely and kissed them on the cheek, temporarily throwing caution to the wind. Given the circumstances of their stay in Kiri, Shimiko was beyond relieved that they had made it out okay. She wasn't about to cry in front of Akihiro but she could still feel the tears welling up inside of her. If anything had happened to them, no amount of rage, killing, and destruction would ever bring them back. They were the most important thing in her world right now and Akihiro had been there for them when she couldn't be. For this, he had her thanks.
"I'm so glad that you guys are okay!". Her voice was cracking despite her vow not to show emotion in front of Akihiro. "I'm so sorry I wasn't there to protect you..I-I" there was so much she wanted to say and ask. She was wroth that they could be so foolish as to reveal their abilities, she was curious as to where the other Kumo Jounin and Proctors were, she was determined to make Kiri pay for putting her children in such a precarious position. But the swirl of emotions were secondary to the joy that she felt holding them. She turned to Miyu and embraced her with the same tenacity and vigor. "Miyu-chan..." was all she could manage. Saying more would definitely start the water works. The three would group hug for a moment and then she'd break the embrace. She'd check the twins over making sure there was no harm or visible scars. Akihiro knew about their status so she had no compunction about lifting their dress to see the state of their seal. Its worn...damaged in some places, indications of involuntary chakra release.... It was as he said. They had been put in dire straits. She'd need to talk to them in detail about what had transpired during the Chuunin Exams, but for now she needed to deal with Akihiro.
She fished into their pockets and found a scroll. She analyzed it using her prodigious intelligence and fuuinjutsu skills. She needed to ensure that there was not a trap within the scroll. Once she was satisfied, she read the contents and then swallowed.
It all made sense now. He had "ransomed" them in the gentlest way possible. But at the end of the day, it was still a ransom. Shimiko had thrown his offer of friendship back in his face and now she was paying for it. The attempted hit on Nozomi, successful assassination of Neko-sama, and the rescue of the Twins taught her what she should have known then. Akihiro Uchiha was a force to be reckoned with. A shinobi on par with her and Nozomi. The price he had written on the scroll was well worth his assistance. It pained her to pay it, but it was indeed a fair ask. Shimiko looked away from the scroll and back at Akihiro (his nose not his eyes). She gave a solemn nod indicating her assent to his terms. She stood up and tucked the scroll into a pouch on her Armour.
"...Thank you Akihiro..." A year ago she never would have thought she'd need to say those words. "I think...we have more in common than I initially realized. I appreciate your attempt on Nozomi's life. I wish I could have been there but..." she shrugged and smiled. It was the first time she had ever smiled in Akihiro's presence. "It wasn't Lord Jashin's will. I'm going to look after Miyu and the twins and get your payment ready, afterwards let's have a chat hm?" She took her family in each hand and would walk through Kumo's gates, gesturing for him to follow with her head.
Shimiko felt better. Miyu and the twins were safe, Akihiro had revealed himself to be a "friend" rather than a foe, and she didn't even need to reveal her new abilities. The Uchiha was beginning to see the more cheery side of the famed Honey Badger. It wouldn't last for long though. Soon, she'd need to prepare for war. Kirigakure had made its final and most fatal mistake. They had endangered her Twins.
Analyzing Akihiro for Precog Purposes
1 Technique Prepped