Right before PoA. Malfoy overhears his parents talking about a certain cousin of his... possibly a slightly different take on the most evil family in modern literature. You may be surprised.
"It's not possible," his mother said calmly.
"How is it not?" his father replied. "He was raised with the same values you were, Cissy, you can't deny that much. I remember his mother-lovely woman."
The young master of the Manor, one Draco Malfoy, listened intently from behind the door. The news of the day was being heatedly discussed by his parents, Lucius and Narcissa, and like any normal son, he was eager for the details they would deign unfit for his young ears.
The news of the day was the only recorded break out of Azkaban prison. The break had been perpetrated by the young master's second-cousin or something or other.
One Sirius Black.
Sirius was the rotten apple of their family tree, not counting his aunt Andromeda. The only member of their family to be placed in Gryffindor, like that rat, Potter. Sirius Black was his mother's cousin, and by her stories, not a nice person to know. She often grumped about how cruel he had been to her when they were children - cursing her dresses, Vanishing her shoes, things like that.
And when the sun had set, and young Master Malfoy needed to be educated about his pedigree, his mother had told him the other tales of her noble cousin Regulus, and her sister, his Auntie Bella. He vividly remembered the one occasion his parents had taken him to visit Auntie Bella and Uncle Roldolphus in Azkaban. He had been awed to meet someone who had been desperate enough to torture someone into insanity.
(Privately, he wondered if he would ever be able to do the same. He practiced on that idiot Longbottom; might as well finish the clan off and gain his auntie's respect.)
But when his mother had snuck off to visit her cousin Sirius in his cell, Draco and Lucius had been asked to stay and keep up visiting with Bellatrix, Rodolphus and Rabastan. She had stayed with him for nearly a half-hour and the two Malfoy men had occasionally heard her voice raise... and when she had come out, Sirius had been heard laughing maniacally.
Lucius Malfoy's every attempt to ask what happened, every "Cissy?" and "What the hell did he say to you?" had been rebuked with a vicious Black glare, or a firm "Shut up."
Now it seemed like Draco and Lucius's curiosity would finally be sated.
"Sirius would never join the Dark Lord," Narcissa Malfoy declared. "Black he may be, my blood cousin, but he is not one of us. He's a blood traitor in every sense of the word, my husband." She paused. "Despite my sweet aunt's attempts to raise him properly."
Lucius sighed. "Then how the hell did he escape Azkaban?"
"I have no idea," the woman sighed. "I wish that Potter beast hadn't deceived you, I could really use one of Dobby's stronger teas right now. Or Kreacher's coffee, even if it did taste like mud."
Draco paused for a moment of 'damn Potter' mantras in his head, before turning his attention back to his parents.
Lucius ran a hand roughly through his hair, gray eyes slitting dangerously. "I never liked your cousin," he commented to no one. "Annoying, with his foolishness, and his indulgence of half-breeds like that Lupin fellow. And now our entire world regards him as the one who killed Pettigrew and those filthy Muggles, which I admit is a blessing, that Pettigrew was quite the annoying fellow, useful as he turned out to be, but it should be obvious to anyone who's met the man..."
"He's a blood traitor if there ever was one," Narcissa finished bitterly. "As bad as my rotten sister, marrying a Mudblood, and then having that freak child, that Nymphadora..."
Another brief scowl flickered across Malfoy's face. Cousin Nymphadora was quite possibly the only person he hated as much as the Saint Potter and his circus-act friends. His most recent memory of Nymphadora was actually not very recent at all, and involved Great-Aunt Black's old wand, a cowering Dobby, a screeching portrait of Great-Great-Grandmother Malfoy, and Draco minus most of his pale blonde hair.
And then his cousin just had to rub it in, that she could have any sort of hair she wanted, in braids, tails or barrettes, she could even duplicate his exact appearance, with and without his hair, being a Metamorphmagus...
Next time he saw her, she was going to be on the ground writhing from the pain of his curses. She had no right to soil the Black/Malfoy families' good names with her muddy blood.
"Forget about Andromeda, Cissy," Lucius instructed in his kindest voice. Which was actually more like a hiss, but his wife and son knew it for what it was. "The thing about Sirius... do you know what the worst part of it is? His crimes, as the Ministry calls them?"
"Of course I do," the Malfoy Manor's Mistress snapped back, edgy, and ashamed of her sister and cousin. "It's top-secret Ministry information, but Mrs. Fudge keeps me up to date on gossip. That friend of his, Potter, was under the Fidelius Charm, and Cousin Sirius was the Secret-Keeper. And since only the Secret-Keeper can divulge the whereabouts of those under the charm, my prodigal cousin must have told the Dark Lord this coveted information."
The young master's eyes almost popped. His cousin Sirius Black was... friends... with Potter?
He felt like vomiting right then and there. No wonder Great-Aunt Black had forbidden people to speak of her elder son!
Narcissa shook her head. "But it makes no sense, Lucius! Sirius would never have enough sense to join the Dark Lord."
"Pettigrew did," Malfoy the elder said coldly. "He double-crossed Potter, Lupin, your cousin, the whole lot of them."
"Pettigrew isn't Sirius," the woman returned. "Sirius liked Pettigrew well enough, but the boy frustrated him. Said he was useful, though, sneaky enough to slip through the cracks. Never shows up on anyone's radar. No one ever suspects him of anything. Ever."
It was one of those miraculous moments between his parents that Draco admired. They had been married so long that by some mysterious force, at times their minds and brains would just synchronize perfectly. It was the mark of a good marriage, his father said proudly. They were entwined as helpmeets and lovers ought to be.
His parents were currently exchanging a look that anyone but Draco would describe as 'evil.' Draco described it as 'enlightened.'
"That rat," Lucius breathed. "That filthy dog and that dirty rat. Cissy, maybe that damned cousin of yours did inherit some of that famous Black cunning."
"It was a bluff," Narcissa realized. "A bluff all along. Make everyone think Sirius was the Secret-Keeper, when, truthfully, it was Pettigrew!"
"Pettigrew must have framed him for that murder of all those Muggles, too, and then committed suicide or something else clever..." Lucius mused. "Or he may have gotten away, nothing was found of his body except a finger."
"Everyone would still think it's Sirius, though," Mistress Malfoy continued. "It's perfect. You know, they also named him godfather for that Harry Potter... I was never so ashamed of my maiden name..."
"Delightful detail," Lucius snickered. "I'll have to tell Draco before he leaves for Hogwarts. His parents' supposed murderer and his legal guardian... couldn't be better if it was written..."
"It just leaves one problem, though," the lady said. "How in God's name did my cousin get out of Azkaban?"
Lucius faltered. "Cissy, my wife, I have no idea. We may never have one."
Narcissa sighed. "Well, if nothing else, maybe this will wreak havoc for that Potter boy." She smiled proudly. "With our dear Draco in forefront. He performs as well as he can, doesn't he, Lucius?"
Lucius Malfoy nodded, and his son swelled with pride. His parents were not exactly vocal with praise for him, but even if they just thought it, and better yet, admitted it to each other, was good enough for him. He would have to try extra-hard this year to cause some real mayhem for perfect Potter.
But even with those cheerful thoughts flooding his blonde head, as he left for his bedroom, he could not help but wonder...
"How did Sirius Black get out of Azkaban?"