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I believe the 'meta-language' you are referring to is not a 'language' at all, but rather human thought/cognition. Humans (monolinguals and bilinguals alike) have a conceptual representation for what goes on in the world around them. The part of this that we are consciously aware of can be thought of as 'accessible to us', in your words, but there is of course a great deal of cognition that is unconscious.

This explains why a (highly proficient) bilingual can respond to "what did you just say" like that - in their original utterance, they are coding their concepts/thoughts through one channel (language X), and in their second one they are merely coding the same string of concepts/thoughts through another channel (language Y). Only low-proficiency bilinguals would need to explicitly translate from language X to language Y directly (because they lack the means of efficiently coding an utterance their thoughts into language Y. So, indeed, as you say, "they have some internal representation of what they are saying". They may also be "just really good at saying it in either language", but that will vary according to proficiency, the context in which they learned their 2(+) languages, etc.

Your second phenomenon refers to the phenomenon known as code-switching, which has been extensively researched from many perspectives within linguistics. As you point out, code-switching can occur with any two languages (regardless of how closely related they are), with various kinds of words (nouns, verbs, etc.), and at various levels (within a sentence, across sentences, etc.). If a bilingual person code-switches when speaking to another bilingual, they are simply drawing from a larger range of communicative resources. This can be useful to communicate nuances that are only possible in one of the two languages. From the listener's perspective, they are using two different means/channels to communicate their thoughts. Since the listener understands both languages, this doesn't cause any problems.

I hope this helps!