Even though Merlin's pretty darn sure than Arthur isn't going to reject him at this point, it still takes huge balls to do what he did. A little look into his state of mind.
Scene: Merlin waits in CamelotFM's green room
Many a time he had thought his mam a bit of an oddball, and with Will he was sure he'd declared him certifiably insane enough times to win some sort of award for repetition, but as he sat down on very comfortable plush sofa, he had to wonder about the state of his own mental wellbeing, because clearly, clearly
what he was about to do was absolutely crazycakes. Crazycakes with a dollop of cream and a thick layer of jam on the inside, served with jasmine tea. God, he was hungry. But he'd been really too nervous to eat. He'd been okay when he'd woken up, but then he realised it wasn't an alcohol induced dream and... well, at least Lancelot got to enjoy the crumpets.
So that was his state of mind about six hours ago.
By the time Morgana had rolled up to the shop an hour before recording started, Freya had forced Merlin to sit on his hands where she could see him and Gwen had put a straw in his tea so he could at least keep busy and pretend he was ingesting something. Morgana had honked the horn once, and Merlin had never seen the closing procedures completed so quickly, the girls and himself out the door in under five, flipping off the lights and turning the sign around from "open - just for you
baby" to "stfu & gtfo".
He cursed his inebriated self for thinking it a good idea to inform the girls of Leon's plan, because they trapped him in the middle seat, with no access to the car doors to even contemplate making a run for it (or at least open the door and make a roll for it onto the tar).
"This is so exciting! And so romantic!" Gwen had said, bouncing in her seat.
"This is going to be so good for business!" Freya had said, video recorder in one hand whilst she also bounced in her seat.
"I'm going to be sick," Merlin had said, and without even looking, Morgana reached into the side door and handed back a brown paper bag.
Then they'd gotten to the studio, and it had been an incredible blur of people and microphones and sound checks. Was that DJ Tauren and Midnight Myror in the studio next door? There was that lawnmower William Daira had managed to trade his first year physics textbook for! Morgause, the terribly capable and terrifying station manager sat him down in the green room, where Mary and Helen were having afternoon tea. Leon saved him from their cooing and cheek pinching after they ascertained his identity, shooing them out of the door while telling Merlin "it's alright, okay? Just breathe, just breathe, that's the way..." patting him on the back as the other hand held his head down between Merlin's knees, while Merlin did something that very possibly might have been called ‘hyperventilating'.
"I don't think this is a good idea," Merlin squeaked out.
"You can do this, Merlin," Leon soothed gently. "And if you don't, Morgause will kill us. All of us. And then Morgana will kill what's left of us." Merlin whimpered. He couldn't even muster up a laugh at Leon's attempt to cheer him up (and he was also beginning to believe that copious amounts of eyeliner must symbolise the ability to bend even the bravest of men with their iron will).
"Maybe I should just wait until Arthur comes clean about this," he mumbled weakly.
"If that's what you want," Leon continued soothingly.
Now that he thought about it, why didn't Arthur want to tell him? Why go to all this trouble? Why pretend to be someone else anyway? "What a complicated person..." Merlin muttered.
Leon laughed. "He's the most troublesome guy I've ever met." Handing Merlin a glass of water which Merlin devoured gratefully, Leon continued, "but he's a good sort. Probably the best man I know."
Merlin stilled, lip on the rim of the glass. He lowered his eyes, thinking about how tenacious Arthur was, how insistent, how he kept trying even though some of his attempts made Merlin want to rewire all of his appliances if he ever got the chance.
How ridiculous he was. How considerate.
How he'd felt, the first time he'd seen him (that Merlin actually remembered), confident and imperious and absolutely hilarious, absolutely gorgeous. How stunned he felt, holding his phone, text after text piling in, culminating in....he couldn't even think it without needing a very big drink — his brain didn't have enough processing capacity to even...
He leaned back into the sofa and covered his face with his forearms. This was really insane. Things like this don't actually happen to people. They were all hopeless romantics, and when Merlin stepped into that booth Arthur was going to look him up and down and realise there wasn't anything interesting about him after all, it was all a mistake really and laugh it off.
Crushing Merlin's heart in the process.
Then he saw him, just as he let his arms drop. Arthur, going into the sound booth, his back broad and strong, hair gleaming under the bright hallway lights.
Merlin's ratty red scarf was wrapped around his neck. The one he'd taken in exchange for the unbelievably soft scarf Merlin was wearing right now.
He didn't look back once, and still Merlin couldn't breathe until the door snicked closed behind him, clutching at his scarf, tracing the now familiar fleur de lis design with the pad of his fingers over and over.
He took a shuddering breath, willing his fingers to stop trembling.
"Merlin, I need to get in there. Do you want to back out? It's not too late," Leon said kindly. Fervently, Merlin shook his head.
He could do this.