Did I ever say I didn't have the DVD? No, sir, you are mistaken. I do not have the box. And the key is on the box.
I scratched the DVD but I backed it up onto an ISO so I was able to reburn it. And my issue with starting the game is the physical hardware limitations of the new laptop I installed my hard drive in. It's what $1800 bought you in 2002, and it doesn't seem to like Halo 2. So... I'm stuck with trying to find the damned key in the registry. Or I never play the game again. Which would be a shame.