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I went on a sneak mission and didn't want to part ways with my mercenary, so I told him to wait at the start off the dungeon. When I finished I came back for him and he was gone.

So I'm curious, can I find him again AND/OR if I tell him to wait in one of my homes will he still be there or do characters have the same behavior in every environment?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

As long as you don't keep your follower waiting for days, your follower will still be there when you return.

From UESP

If your follower is left to wait for a long time, a message will appear that the follower has grown tired of waiting and will start walking to their originating location.

If you have not received that message, then your follower may have wandered off nearby chasing a hostile target, or glitched.

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Ok, I don't know that I've seen that message, but I'm pretty sure that it's been a few days at least. I've been wandering around trying to see if I can find him. Do you know if mercenaries will go back to their original location if not killed or some other mishap? –  Wills Dec 22 '11 at 20:51
    
Yeah. They'll eventually end up at the place you originally hired them. Unless they are killed on their way back. –  Fluttershy Dec 22 '11 at 20:54
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